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MT 19 October 2014

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2014 Sport 53 MOTORSPORTS Márquez takes pole position in Australia Top drivers want better wet tyre after Bianchi crash MOTOGP World Champion Marc Márquez claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix at Phil- lip Island, ahead of Ducati rider Cal Crutchlow. The MotoGP qualifying session at Phillip Island saw Márquez, the 2014 World Champion, take pole, with Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo secur- ing front row starts for Sunday's Tis- sot Australian Grand Prix race. Márquez, confirmed as this year's Champion at Motegi last weekend, was comfortably quicker than his rivals to take his 12th pole of the campaign. Dani Pedrosa held provisional pole for Honda, with the Spaniard having progressed through from Q1, which was affected by a brief rain shower. Pedrosa's time was consequently beaten, firstly by Jorge Lorenzo and then by Crutchlow. Márquez came through on his fi- nal lap in Q2 to move 0.234s clear, his time of 1:28.408 proving un- beatable. Crutchlow was a fine second, marking his best qualifying result all season, while Lorenzo rounded out the front row of the grid as he seeks his third consecutive victory. Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith also beat Pedrosa's time and claimed fourth, demoting the Honda rider to fifth, ahead of Aleix Espargaró and Andrea Iannone. Valentino Rossi was eighth for Yamaha, while Pol Espargaro and Motegi pole-sitter Andrea Dovizio- so completed the top 10. Stefan Bradl and Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the Q2 runners, the latter having progressed from Q1 after capitalising on the damp con- ditions. LEWIS Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have called on tyre manu- facturer Pirelli to improve the performance of their wet-weather tyre in order to make Formula One safer. Hamilton, who leads the driv- ers' standings with three races re- maining, and Vettel, the reigning four-time champion, are both in agreement that Pirelli's current wet- weather tyre, which was introduced this season, is not up to scratch. Their comments come in the wake of Jules Bianchi's horror crash at the rain-lashed Japanese Grand Prix. The now critically injured Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in worsening rain conditions at Su- zuka recently on worn intermediate tyres. The Frenchman suffered a severe head trauma when he ploughed into the back of a tractor after he aqua- planed off the track on the interme- diate tyre – the lighter treaded of the two options – despite the wors- ening weather conditions. "It is no secret that they are not the greatest wet tyres that I have known,' Hamilton said. "The slick will always be im- proved, but I guess not so much fo- cus gets put on the wet. You want a tyre that clears the water and does not force us to go to the intermedi- ate when it is so much quicker, and when it is probably not safe enough to do so." Bianchi catastrophically lost con- trol of his Marussia during the clos- ing stages of the race in Suzuka. He remains in a grave condition at Mie University Hospital, 10 miles from the circuit. "It's definitely something we've passed on already, not just after Ja- pan,' Vettel said. He raised his concerns about the intermediate tyre in a drivers' brief- ing ahead of last week's Russian Grand Prix. 'Currently the extreme tyre has a very narrow window and the intermediate is quicker. "As soon as you've got rid of most of the water, you try to put the in- termediate on, taking a lot of risk into account, just because it's the quicker tyre. "That's something we need to work on," he said. Pos. Rider Nat. Team Bike 1 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Ducati Team Ducati 3 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 4 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 6 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 7 Andrea IANNONE ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 8 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 9 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 10 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 11 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 12 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda

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