Five MotoGP riders that shocked us during qualifying at Phillip Island

Ducati once again proved too strong for its competition in qualifying trim at the Australian MotoGP, as Jorge Martin secured pole with a new lap record.
Miguel Oliveira, KTM MotoGP Phillip Island
Miguel Oliveira, KTM MotoGP Phillip Island

Ducati will start Sunday’s race with a great chance of claiming yet another MotoGP victory in 2022, as Martin is also joined on the front row by Francesco Bagnaia.

But with that said, other riders are well and truly in the mix which should make for a very exciting race at Phillip Island, the first since 2019.

Before that, here are’s five riders that shocked us during qualifying.

Jorge Martin - 1st

Starting with the pole sitter, Martin was the first rider to go underneath the 1m 28s barrier as he smashed Jorge Lorenzo’s nine-year-old lap record that was set on Bridgestone tyres. 

With Johann Zarco showing incredible pace aboard his Pramac Ducati all weekend, such a result appeared more likely from Martin’s team-mate. 

But immediately after Q2 got underway, Martin looked like being a contender as he led the way following the opening flurry of laps. 

Getting somewhere close to his best form in recent races, Martin should be a contender for victory during Sunday’s Grand Prix although team orders at Ducati could be a factor should Bagnaia have a chance of the win.

Marc Marquez - 2nd 


Marquez was one of the standout riders, not just in qualifying, but throughout Saturday at the Australian MotoGP.

Fastest in FP3, Marquez was also strong in FP4 before going on to claim second place in Q2 with a time that was just +0.013s off Martin’s pole lap.

The six-time premier class world champion also produced a miraculous ‘save’ at turn ten which brought the Australians fans to their feet. 

It was a lap that, at the time, was going to be enough for provisional pole although not faster than the time he eventually set when following Bagnaia. 

Enea Bastianini - 15th

Although Bastianini could and probably should have made his way through Q1 - instead the Gresini rider lost out after being hindered by Miguel Oliveira who was seen touring on the racing line - the second-year MotoGP rider has been lacking pace for much of the weekend.

Bastianini, who remains a title contender for Ducati, could see his hopes dented in a big way during Sunday’s race as Bagnaia, Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo are no lower than the second row.

When Bastianini has started towards the front of the field he’s usually produced great results, however, coming through the pack after a tough qualifying has also led to mistakes in earlier rounds. 

Enea Bastianini, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 15 October
Enea Bastianini, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 15 October

Miguel Oliveira - 21st

Winner of the Thailand MotoGP last time out, Oliveira’s hopes of becoming a back-to-back race winner have all but ended after a disastrous qualifying. 

Granted, KTM has lacked pace compared to its rivals this weekend so a victory challenge was never really on the cards - that’s unless rain falls which is not expected.

Overhauled by Brad Binder late on in Q1, Oliveira was also out-qualified by Tech 3 KTM rider Remy Gardner. 

Franco Morbidelli - 24th

With only stand-in rider Tetsuta Nagashima behind him, qualifying for the Australian MotoGP was nothing short of a disaster for Morbidelli. 

After showing good race pace in FP4, Morbidelli’s struggles over one lap continued as he finished a second off Zarco’s best time in Q1.

The Italian has failed to show improvements as the year has gone on which is going to put him under real threat when it comes to keeping his factory Yamaha seat beyond 2023.

Read More