Jorge Martin wins pole for Australian MotoGP as all three divisions set new qualification records

Martin qualification Australian MotoGP
Steve Wobser / Getty Images
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With a lap of 1:27.767, Jorge Martin topped qualification in the senior division of the Australian MotoGP as records were also set in Moto2 and Moto3. All three previous records stood for eight or more years.

In his first attempt at Phillip Island, Martin eclipsed the record set in 2013 by Jorge Lorenzo. Second-place Marc Marquez also crossed under the checkers with a lap below the old record as the three principal championship contenders line up immediately behind them.

In the latest round of the MotoGP schedule in Thailand, Francesco Bagnaia closed to within two points of championship leader Fabio Quartararo. This week, he rolls off the grid two positions in front of his rival with the third-fastest lap of 1:27.953, which was .186 seconds off the pole. Quartararo starts fifth with Aleix Espargaro slotting in between.

Including Sunday’s Australian MotoGP, three rounds remain on the schedule, which means one of these points’ leaders has an opportunity to set themselves up as the frontrunner for the title.

In a spirited qualification session for the Australian MotoGP, Martin set the early pace in Q2 only to see Bagnaia eclipse him momentarily. Quartararo came close to insinuating himself into the pole mix before getting pushed back to fifth as the time ran off the clock.

In the 2019 edition of this race, the last time the race was run after being canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bagnaia finished best in fourth. Espargaro finished 10th. Quartararo failed to complete a lap that season.

The Japanese MotoGP winner, Australian Jack Miller qualified among the top 10 in front of his countrymen.

Additionally, Fermin Aldeguer posted a time of 1:32.233 in Moto 2 to beat that division’s previous qualification record for the Australian GP set in 2014 as Ayumu Sasaki circled the track at 1:35.854 to better Moto3’s previous record set that same year.

Moto2 points leader, Augusto Fernandez was only .073 second off Aldeguer’s time to start second.

Cameron Beaubier was 11th as the highest qualified American rider in the field. Joe Roberts will start 15th.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.