Pol Espargaro was among the minority of riders that wanted to go ahead with MotoGP qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

A strong gust of wind had blown KTM colleague Miguel Oliveira onto the grass heading towards turn one during final practice, prompting Race Direction to red flag the session and call a Safety Commission meeting with the riders.

Estimates vary, but only around three riders voted that it was safe to continue riding and so the Saturday action was brought to an end.

"Tricky conditions for sure. The wind was blowing quite strong but not stronger than FP3," said Espargaro, who held an opposing view to brother Aleix. "I rode 15 laps and nobody was in the pitbox saying ‘that’s dangerous! You must stop the session!’

"Then when they red-flagged the session – which I won’t say is not OK because the track was tricky – everybody was out and riding. We had ten laps on the tyres. If there is something scary or I am scared to do it then I stop, but everybody was out on the track. Argh!

"It was a strange red flag for us and the safety but I’m not really sure if we had to stop in that moment and we could not have made the qualifying like Moto2 did.

"It’s true that we have bigger engines, heavier bikes and for us so it is more dangerous.

"[But] As Marc [Marquez] said in the Safety Commission we have been in worse situations at that track. In FP3 the wind was higher – we have a lot of tools to measure that – and we all did the session and nobody complains about it, well they just say ‘it’s very windy’ but everybody was out.

"In the end the decision was made for safety and I don’t have a problem with it, but I think we could have done the qualifying. It was not as dangerous as everybody said."

Qualifying will now instead be held after warm-up on Sunday morning.

Having only been 17th fastest in free practice, Espargaro will be among the riders taking part in Qualifying 1 and, he hopes, Qualifying 2.

"It will be tricky because you’ll need to really push in qualifying and there won’t be much time between that and the race," said the Spaniard.

"If you crash here in a fast corner then it tends to destroy the bike! Then there will not be time to repair it. It’s something we realise and we have to push twice to get through the Q1!

"We’ll have to use all the tyres. Our risk will be higher, Luckily we have two bikes in the pitbox. It will be a long, long day and we’ll try as much as we can."

As well as Espargaro and Marquez, Jack Miller was among the riders that voted to hold qualifying as planned on Saturday.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...