Jack Miller will need to battle through the field to win the Moto3 Australian Grand Prix after qualifying 8th – behind pole-sitter Alex Marquez.
Australian Moto3 title hopeful Jack Miller has vowed to look on the bright side of a disappointing eighth place in qualifying for the Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old Queenslander couldn’t hide his frustrations at being denied space on-track to chart a quicker lap, flailing his arms wildly during his qualifying run.
Compounding Miller’s frustrations was the strong form of championship favourite Alex Marquez, who found enough room to take pole with a scintillating ride.
The Phillip Island race is crucial to Miller’s championship hopes, as he sits 25 points behind the resurgent Marquez.
After leading the Moto3 championship until a dramatic race at Aragon last month, the unfortunate indications are that Miller’s home grand prix might not deliver the result his title hopes drastically require.
“Today was a difficult day,” Miller said.
“We have good pace but we were not able to set a good single lap.
“Eighth is good enough to fight in tomorrow’s race and I think we can do a good job.”
It could have been worse for Miller, who sat 13th on the grid with as little as two minutes of the session remaining.
With a late effort, he grabbed his position on the third row of the grid, but bailed from a final fast lap, showing his frustration by gesturing wildly at other riders.
Marquez looked a likely pole-sitter throughout qualifying, setting the pace with an early lap record of 1:36.387 before improving to 1:36.050.
Last year’s Australian Moto3 winner Alex Rins will accompany Marquez on the front row, with Juanfran Guevara third.
Remy Gardner, son of former world champion Wayne Gardner, improved his time again and will start 24th.
Fellow Australian wildcard rider Olly Simpson qualified 33rd of 34 riders.
Marquez told Speed TV after qualifying he had eyes only for the race win, not the championship win.
“Today we had a really good rhythm; we made really good laps … we need to try to win this race,” he said.
Husqvarna rider Niklas Ajo will race on Sunday despite a high-speed crash off Doohan corner which broke his little finger.
Brazilian Eric Granado was carried away on a stretcher after a heavy fall, transported to Dandenong Hospital for scans despite an x-ray giving him the all-clear.