15 October 2022 – Phillip Island – Australia
In qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, Ayumu took the second Pole Position and the seventh front row of the year. He set a time of 1’35.854, which represents the new All Time Lap Record of the Phillip Island Circuit, a record that has stood since 2014. An absolute domination for Ayumu, since he was first Friday, and this morning he lowered his best lap in free practice 3, managing to keep the first position of the combined ranking.
During qualifying he made only one run and in the first lap he got pole, without using any trail. His very fast pace allowed him, in the lap after pole, to reach the group that preceded him. At the entrance of the last corner, to avoid being obstructed, he invented an overtaking on the outside, which projected him in first position, with a gap of almost a second on the first pursuer. At that point Ayumu went back to the pits to change the tire, but in fact he did not return to the track. Although he saw his advantage from the pits a decrease, our driver kept pole, with a gap of almost two tenths.
The position from which John will start tomorrow, does not do justice to the good work done together with his team in these two days. In fact, after the high side yesterday, following which John suffered several bruises, in free practice 3 he failed to fall into the top 14, So he had to take part in qualifying 1. During qualifying 1, John lowered his best lap of the weekend and with a time of 1’37.041 he got the first position. In qualifying 2 he brought his time in Q1 closer, but it was not enough to gain a good position on the grid. Tomorrow he will start from the 16th position.
Here are the words of Ayumu, John and our Team Owner Max Biaggi.
AYUMU SASAKI : “I am happy with today, I am happy with my lap as well. I did two laps in a row and managed to make the fastest lap of this track! That was my target, because I missed it in FP3, so o was happy to do that. Being able to finish in pole position feels good, because i have been finishing always in P2 or P3 this season, so I am happy to be first, also this is a great momentum for tomorrow. My target is trying to win the race, in order to fight for the championship. I am ready, but it is going to be a difficult race. As you know, every time it is a big group, but hopefully I can make it to a small group for try to fight for the win.”
JOHN MCPHEE : “In the end, it is good to salvage something to go fastest in Q1. It is the first time this year I have been in Q1. Honestly speaking I am really disappointed this morning. For me it was embarrassing to be this slow and I don’t understand how. I missed a lot the feeling from the bike. It is frustrating, because I feel like I need something to improve to go faster. We changed a lot the bike for Q2, and we made a step, but it was not enough to be able to fight for the top positions. We need to keep working. P16 is nothing to smile about, but ok. We come s little bit in the correct direction, which is a positive point. Of course the race will be difficult tomorrow, but I will push 100% and try to be there.”
MAX BIAGGI – TEAM OWNER : “It is a great pleasure to see Ayumu in the lead with the second pole of the year. Ayumu and his entire team did a great job, also taking into account the lack of some elements of the team. In these days he has put on display a great speed in every round and I expect that he can confirm it in the race, so he can fight for the podium. I’m sorry for John, because after the excellent P1 in qualifying 1, I thought he could fight for the first rows. He’s got to do a big comeback tomorrow.”
Results Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022 – Qualifying
Pole – Ayumu SASAKI (Husqvarna) 1’35.854, 16. John MCPHEE (Husqvarna) 1’37.271.