On the day when Casey Stoner became an official MotoGP Legend, Jorge Lorenzo has finally wrested the outright Phillip Island lap record from the six-time Australian Grand Prix winner.
In the final 15-minute qualifying session, Lorenzo’s Yamaha overcame a first-lap handicap of catching a seagull in his front fairing to destroy the outright record with a 1:27.899 and even Marquez, on pole eight times this year, was powerless to respond.
Lorenzo will start from his third pole of 2013 and the 28th of his MotoGP career with Marquez sandwiched between him and Yamaha’s other star, Valentino Rossi, in tomorrow’s Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Rossi was delighted with his second competitive qualifying session in a week. “The new asphalt is fantastic,” beamed the five-time Australian Grand Prix winner. “Every lap I smiled in my helmet! It’s my second first-row start in a row, which means we are working well.”
While the new track surface is producing the fastest ever lap times around the Phillip Island circuit, tyre degradation is higher than predicted and should make for an interesting race tomorrow.
An estimated 25,500 fans made the pilgrimage to Phillip Island to lap up the sunshine and record breaking action. Amongst the onlookers was the man who had held the circuit record since 2008, Casey Stoner.
The two-time World Champion joined the sport’s most elite club when he was inducted today as a MotoGP Legend, becoming only the 20th rider to be bestowed the prestigious title.
It was a big day for Stoner with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and Motorcycling Australia also announcing that they will be commissioning bronze busts for the three Australian World Champions – Gardner, Doohan and Stoner – to be displayed at Phillip Island and unveiled at next year’s event.
With lap records and world titles up for grabs, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, is excited about tomorrow’s race day action.
“With blistering qualifying times on the track today and more good weather predicted for tomorrow, we are set for one of the fastest races ever at Phillip Island,” he said.
“Lorenzo is not going to give up his title to Marquez without a fight, so I encourage fans to head down to Phillip Island to witness some intense racing.”