Moto3: Manuel Pagliani scores Top 10 result in Australia qualifying for Mahindra
Coming off from a good weekend in Japan, the Mahindra riders started on a sound note in the Phillip Island qualifying on Saturday.
Leading the pack for the Indian manufacturer was CIP's Manuel Pagliani in seventh, finishing a mere 0.683s off from pole-sitter Gresini's Jorge Martin.
Teammate Marco Bezzecchi, who has shown solid pace all-through the practice, was 12th - fresh from his maiden podium, the last rider under a second of Martin.
After starting his weekend with a struggle due to mechanical issues, Aspar's Lorenzo dalla Porta returned the favour with a 14th place finish. "It was a satisfactory qualifying session for us," said the Italian.
"The only negative is that on the last lap I lost a lot of time in the first sector, but I did the rest of the lap really well.
"I think it could have been better, a lot better, but anyway I am happy with how I rode and because the bike is struggling less here than at other circuits. The race tomorrow could be a lot of fun.”
The Peugeot riders saw Jakub Kornfeil in 20th, with teammate Patrik Pulkkinen in 29th. "I think the qualifying was not so bad today. The position is not so good but my lap time nevertheless. The goal was to go a low 1:38 and that I did," said Kornfeil.
"Anyway I could have been faster in my opinion because even in my fastest lap I did a mistake in the end. If I hadn't done that I could have had a better position. This time the grid is very close together so every small mistake could mean a big difference.
"Still I am positive for tomorrow because here in Australia it is possible to gain a lot of positions in a really short time so all we have to do is attack. The weather is changing all the time here so we have to wait and see if it will be raining or not."
Aspar's new recruit Maria Herrera, on her debut on the Mahindra MGP3O was 27th. "This morning we took another step forward and little by little I am getting to know the bike and understanding its strong points," she said.
"At the start of qualifying I equalled my best lap from the weekend. It is always a positive when you hit your reference point so quickly and then I could work on gradually improving it.
"I realised what it is I need to improve in order to set a good rhythm and I think we can make further improvements tomorrow and get into a good group in the race."