"FP3 went well for us. We were able to do a fast lap with the intermediates at the right time. The conditions were difficult but going straight through to Q2 really helped. In qualifying, I started straight away with the intermediates. We were expecting rain, but then all 15 minutes were on a dry track. So I went back to the garage to put slicks on, maybe a lap too late, but in any case, I was able to improve up to the eighth best time. It is a good position, the best yet for me and for Aprilia, and I am happy about that, but the conditions on these two days have been truly incredible. At the moment, it is impossible to make predictions on the race. If we have a dry day, it will be important to take the best possible advantage of warmup to gather information on the setup and on which tyre to use".
STEFAN BRADL ON THE THIRD ROW WITH THE EIGHTH BEST TIME ON A DAY COMPLICATED BY THE WEATHER.
NOT MUCH FEELING FOR ALVARO BAUTISTA WHO WILL START FROM THE SIXTH ROW.
The practice sessions on Saturday at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix stood out above all for the great uncertainty, where bad weather that plagued the Phillip Island circuit with downpours alternated with times when the track was almost dry. It was difficult to find the right pace in this situation, but more importantly, impossible to set up the traditional work in the garage, both in terms of settings and evaluation of the available tyre options.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders focused mainly on adapting quickly to the changing track conditions. Stefan Bradl was quick to take advantage of the dry track during FP3 to go through to Q2, a goal he achieved with a seventh best time of 1'34.914. Alvaro Bautista, who shone in the initial stages, had his session compromised by the umpteenth downpour that kept him from improving. In Q1, the Spanish rider chose to stay on the track for the entire session, but he was unable to find the right feeling, settling in the end for the eighteenth best time.
In Q2, which decides the starting order for the first four rows of the grid, Stefan Bradl used the right strategy, going out straight away with intermediate tyres and doing some very interesting times. With the asphalt drying out, many riders chose slicks, which Stefan also used to do two very fast laps. The best of the two, at 1'33.015, allowed him to ride his Aprilia RS-GP to his best placement yet in qualifying, an eighth place that earns him a spot on the third row of the starting grid.
"Today I was not able to do two laps in the same conditions. The weather changed constantly, making it difficult to choose the right tyre and invalidating the usual work on the setup. In FP3, when I put the intermediate tyre on, it started to rain and I even crashed, luckily without consequences. Then, when the dry track forced us to choose slick, it started raining again and kept me from improving. In qualifying I didn't find the right sensations. Yesterday in the wet I felt better, but today I had to concentrate mostly on not making any mistakes. All that's left now is to wait for tomorrow and see what the weather holds for us. It certainly will not be an easy race since we will not have any references on the settings and on the right tyre to use".