Round 11 – Red Bull Ring – Qualifying Results
It was a breathless fight to the wire for pole position at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, with the battle boiling down to a three-way scrap between Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) vs the Ducati Team riders of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.
The red sectors came thick and fast for both Borgo Panigale machines but in the end it was Marquez’ benchmark 1:23.241 left at the top of the timesheets as a target, with neither of the red machines able to quite push him off pole.
Marc Marquez – P1
“We’re on pole but it was all so very tight today. The plan was to make three runs, but I was comfortable during my second exit and decided not to stop. My last lap wasn’t perfect as I made a little mistake in the last corner and had to close the gas a little bit, but we got it anyway. I’ve felt good on the bike for the entire weekend, and today I was able to be fast during every practice, especially FP4, and that’s the most important thing. Anyway, we must keep pushing, keep working, and remain totally concentrated because Dovizioso and Lorenzo have a very good pace, consistent and fast. It looks like tomorrow will be dry and the warm-up will be crucial for choosing the best tyre for the race; I’ve tested the soft and the medium, but it will be important to also understand the level of the hard spec. Of course I would like to win here and tomorrow I’ll start with that objective, but if it’s not possible, I’ll take points for the championship.”
Dovizioso came incredibly close – just 0.002 back, making the closest margin since Germany 2003 – but the Italian will line up second, with Lorenzo completing that front row and just over a tenth off.
Andrea Dovizioso – P2
“I was just a couple of thousandths of a second off the pole, but in any case qualifying went very well: I set a really good time and I didn’t expect that because in FP4 I didn’t have a great feeling with the bike. We chose the medium rear tyre for qualifying and it went well, and also for the race we are in good shape. Marquez here is particularly competitive, more than last year, but we are also stronger and so I believe that tomorrow it will be a three-way battle with Marc and Jorge. Unfortunately, we were not able to do many laps in the dry and so we’ll go into the race with some doubts about the choice of tyres and the strategies, and we’ll just have to be ready to manage the situation.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P3
“We’re on the front row again and very close to the pole, with a very good lap time that I think I could have improved even more. It was actually a pity not to be able to do more laps in the dry in practice, to set up the bike better. In qualifying we opted for a three-run strategy with three new rear tyres, but probably in the last exit we should also have changed the front tyre, which was pretty worn, and it didn’t allow me to push the way I wanted to and improve my time. In any case third place on the grid is very good and now we have to think of a good strategy for tomorrow, because it’ll probably be a race between me, Dovi and Marquez, and I think we’re going to have some fun! We are all very close together and the most important thing is that we have confirmed that now we’re competitive at every circuit and that we are working in the right direction.”
That makes a tantalising top three just a week after the trio battled it out at Brno, with many expecting a spectacular repeat on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring.
Just behind them is top Independent Team rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), who will be hoping he can get in the mix on race day with his Ducati GP18 after also showing good pace on Friday, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) starting alongside him from fifth.
Danilo Petrucci – P4
“I am very pleased with this qualifying. To be honest I think that the three guys in the front row will play the victory and my goal is to stay with them throughout the race. It will be important to manage the tyres well. Finishing in Top 5 would be a good result”.
Cal Crutchlow – P5
“We have to be happy with the second row, but I made a really scrappy lap to be honest. I pushed hard but it wasn’t good enough unfortunately. I had the speed and should have gone faster, but I was just not clean enough really. I don’t know how much farther we would have been up the grid, maybe only fourth, but we tried our best. The team have worked well with the bike, and I’m pleased to qualify where we have. I think we have good pace for the race on Sunday. We are in between set-ups at the moment, going back and forth between what we have used up to now and a quite radical change with the bike. I have set the same lap times with both settings so we are a bit confused which way to go, but we look forward to the race to see what we can do.”
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completes that second row, meaning the top three in the fight for top Independent start very close together, and it’s just seven points cover them in the standings. Zarco is also top Yamaha.
Johann Zarco – P6
“This morning we had half and half conditions again, so it was not possible to improve the lap time. FP4 has already been in the dry and I was happy to ride well. My lap time was coming quite good, although I struggled a bit with the acceleration. Overall, the bike gave me a good feeling and the Qualifying was pretty interesting. I believed I can do a fantastic lap time, but I did all and I’m in sixth position. It’s complicate to fight against these fast bikes, but I try to manage. I must be happy about this and use this opportunity to start well, do the best as possible at the beginning of the race to be close to the podium and after half the race we will see how good the others are.”
Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) kept his good form to take seventh after also having gained automatic graduation to Q2, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) taking the middle of a third row at a more difficult track for the Hamamatsu factory.
Tito Rabat – P7
“So far, we’ve had a good weekend. We were clever yesterday and pushed at the right moment to get into QP2. Today we had a really strong pace in FP4 and were competitive once again when it counted in qualifying. But obviously, the race is on Sunday. I hope to put the bad luck of our recent races behind me and to be able to fight for a good result, which we really need by now. We can’t prepare ourselves any better, we are trying everything possible and all we can do now is wait and see if we can battle for the result we deserve.”
Andrea Iannone – P8
“My feeling on the bike was good, but I wasn’t fast. I would prefer to have a bad feeling but to be at the top! We struggled on the acceleration points and the top speed, and with grip and sliding in general, and it’s difficult to control. This track is one where we struggle, but tomorrow I’ll try my best and I hope we end up in a good position.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), on the podium here last year in third, took P9 ahead of the second Suzuki of Alex Rins. Rins was one of the riders who moved through from Q1 after having not got into the top ten in FP1 before the rain interrupted further practice, along with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team), who took P12.
Dani Pedrosa – P9
“After yesterday and today’s rain, the track didn’t have much grip, and I didn’t have a good feeling with the rear. Basically, that was the issue today, and it’s why our performance wasn’t what we were looking for. I hope the track conditions will improve tomorrow and that I’ll be able to start well and be fast from the beginning.”
Alex Rins – P10
“Qualifying was quite nice, I was feeling comfortable on the bike and I gave my maximum, 110%, to get through to Q2 – which was our target. In Q2 I did my best and enjoyed it, and finally I’ll start in 10th tomorrow. We need to make a good start and try to enjoy the race, I feel good and I feel ready to battle with the other riders. Starting in 10th place here is difficult because the track is tight, but we will fight and I will try to defend positions. Let’s see if we can be with the top group.”
Between the two men starts Maverick Viñales. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider was only able to take eleventh at a tough track for the Iwata marque, and the result comes a week after the Spaniard started twelfth in Brno.
Maverick Vinales – P11
“Actually, this weekend we have some more problems with the electronics and the bike was not working well on the track. Anyway, we hope to solve it for tomorrow. It is an important race and it’s important to be inside the top-10 and get points for the championship. We have the same situation as yesterday, we couldn’t find improvements. So, let’s see tomorrow if we can fix it in the Warm Up. For the race the soft tyre is too soft for us. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’ll do my best as always. We’ll get through this race and then we’ll focus on Silverstone. We’re a team, we have to keep pushing and working. I hope Yamaha can respond, so we can be stronger.”
His teammate, meanwhile, also had a tough qualifying session – and Valentino Rossi will be starting in P14. Just pipped to the top ten in FP1 by Viñales and with FP2 and FP3 affected by the weather, the Italian headed for Q1 and wasn’t quite able to move through. Moving through, though, will be something both Yamahas will be dead set on when the lights go out – with a good start crucial.
Valentino Rossi – P14
“During this weekend I was unlucky, because the only dry session for going into Q2 was Friday morning and I broke the bike after three laps. With the other bike I wasn’t strong enough to be in the top-10. The other problem is that, when we tried the soft tyre today in the qualifying, I didn’t feel good. It didn’t work well for our bike. I was able to improve my lap time but not by a lot and I didn’t feel comfortable, and unfortunately I didn’t go into Q2. We have to say that in FP4 my pace was nothing fantastic, but it was average. So, we need to work to improve the race pace for tomorrow a little bit. Starting from the fifth row will be chaotic with everybody going crazy in the first braking zone. We have to overtake in that moment, and then we’ll see.”
Massino Mergalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Today was a very complicated day to get it right, due to the big contrast between the morning and the afternoon sessions. FP3 was wet, so it became clear early on that Vale would have to join Q1, while Maverick would promote to Q2. The change in conditions in the afternoon meant we had to try all our dry-setting options in FP4. The dry qualifying didn’t go as we expected. The riders couldn’t push the way they wanted to, so the team will work hard to find a solution to the problems. The start of the race will be crucial, both riders will need a good launch from the fourth and fifth row to hit the front of the field early on. We will use the warm-up session to fine-tune the bikes for the race, regardless of the weather conditions, though we hope for either a fully dry or fully wet day. It’s been a very dark weekend for us so far and we acknowledge our responsibility for not being able to provide the riders with a package that enables them to fight at the top, where they both deserve to be, but we will continue to fight as a team, so together we can overcome the struggles and the technical issues that have held us back so far.”
Just ahead of Rossi, Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) flies the flag for KTM after a very positive day for the Austrian factory.
Bradley Smith – P13
“It was frustrating not to get into Q2 and I should have done it on the first flying run but I made a mistake into Turn 4 and then I’m sure 0.05 was about the tyre not accelerating a bit better out of the last corner (on the second run). It is weird to be frustrated in a situation where we are 13th but I feel we had the pace to be in Q2 today. Anyway tomorrow is when it counts and when it’s about points. I had good pace on the Medium tyre in FP4. We’ll try and analyse everything we can for tomorrow when we’ll have another chance. I’m happy we can keep on improving our current bike because that bodes well when the new one comes along. The top ten is possible tomorrow. It will be very close. The start will be everything and tyre choice as well.”
With his teammates sidelined through injury, the Brit did the home team proud to only just miss out on Q2 and outqualify a difficult day for the ‘Doctor’.
Sebastian Risse – KTM Technical Director MotoGP
“Considering all the pressure and expectation here Bradley is doing an excellent job for us. Having just one rider instead of three does not make it easier for anybody; we miss data and information and especially with quite ‘special’ track conditions in a lot of the sessions. The bike works well here and we are still working on things because some corners are demanding. The track looks quite simple on the map and amazing when you are standing next to it but you have to set up the bike in a particular way. Tyre choice will be a bit of a gamble because nobody could get a lot of experience with the range in all conditions. I don’t think we are in a bad spot and we just missed Q2 by a little bit. The dominant feeling is one of positivity and we’ll try to make the most of it tomorrow.”
Behind Smith in P13 and Rossi in P14, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completes the top 15.
In the first run of the Q1, Jack Miller was forced to return to the garage after 2 laps due to a technical problem. The Australian got back on track with the second bike but did not find the conditions to be incisive, finishing in P17.
“It’s a very difficult weekend for me. I thought I could do better but we had some problems that did not allow me to find the feeling. Tomorrow will be a very difficult race but we will work with the team to be able to recover and take valuable points”.
2018 MotoGP Round 11 – Austria – MotoGP Qualifying Results
- MARQUEZ Marc SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’23.241
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea ITA Ducati Team 1’23.243 / 0.002
- LORENZO Jorge SPA Ducati Team 1’23.376 / 0.135
- PETRUCCI Danilo ITA Alma Pramac Racing 1’23.503 / 0.262
- CRUTCHLOW Cal GBR LCR Honda 1’23.812 / 0.571
- ZARCO Johann FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’23.887 / 0.646
- RABAT Tito SPA Reale Avintia Ducati 1’23.922 / 0.681
- IANNONE Andrea ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’24.091 / 0.850
- PEDROSA Dani SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’24.124 / 0.883
- RINS Alex SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’24.227 / 0.986
- VINALES Maverick SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’24.284 / 1.043
- BAUTISTA Alvaro SPA Angel Nieto Ducati 1’24.342 / 1.101
- SMITH Bradley GBR Red Bull KTM 1’24.245 Q2
- ROSSI Valentino ITA Movistar Yamaha 1’24.309 / 0.114
- ESPARGARO Aleix SPA Aprilia Racing Gresini 1’24.762 / 0.567
- MORBIDELLI Franco ITA EG Marc VDS Honda 1’24.767 / 0.572
- MILLER Jack AUS Alma Pramac Ducati 1’24.805 / 0.610
- SYAHRIN Hafizh MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’24.834 / 0.639
- SIMEON Xavier BEL Reale Avintia Ducati 1’24.868 / 0.673
- REDDING Scott GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’25.067 / 0.872
- NAKAGAMI Takaaki JPN LCR Honda 1’25.178 / 0.983
- LUTHI Tom SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’25.310 / 1.115
- ABRAHAM Karel CZE Angel Nieto Ducati 1’25.339 / 1.144
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) sealed pole position at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich after setting a scorching 1:29.409 on his fifth flying lap, ensuring he starts Sunday’s race ahead of second place and main Championship rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
Oliveira starts on the front row for the first time since Sepang last season, 0.310 behind the Italian. Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego – Speed Up Racing) completed the front row in a dramatic Moto2 session.
As has become custom in Moto2 qualifying, some of the fastest times were set at the start of the session, with Bagnaia coming straight out the blocks to set what proved to be an unbeatable benchmark. Oliveira had to wait until his 22nd flying lap to set his quickest time, but the Championship leader couldn’t get within three tenths of the man who sits just four points behind him in the overall standings.
Quartararo was another to set his best lap late in the session before a battery issue signaled a premature end to qualifying, with Bagnaia also having to end his session short – running out of fuel on the run towards Turn 3. Fourth in qualifying was Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who grabbed his equal best Saturday afternoon result of the season, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) recovering from a small crash at Turn 3 to qualify fifth. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) rounds out the second row in sixth.
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) starts seventh, 0.026 off the second row, with Sachsenring winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) eighth at the team’s home race. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) had to pull off the circuit late in the session with a problem, and the Italian will launch from P9. Brno’s pole man Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) settled for tenth after a crash with just over 20 minutes to go briefly saw the Red Flag shown – rider ok.
Remy Gardner found his rhythm today in Spielberg and led the first session of the day in difficult conditions on Saturday morning. The young Australian then performed impressively in qualifying to finish up 11th and will start from the fourth row.
Remy Gardner – P11
“This has been a pretty great day. In FP3 I ended up on top in the wet and it was good fun. Then it dried up for Qualifying and to be honest, I was a bit nervous because we weren’t so good in the dry before. But we had a direction and found a solution. On the first exit I didn’t get a great run and I knew inside myself that I could improve, so the last run we went out, did a decent lap time, really close to P3 and I ended up eleventh, which is not too bad. I think we can have a strong race tomorrow.”
The session started in dramatic fashion for Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) after they collided at Turn 1, resulting in Vierge being declared unfit for the race after suffering a right wrist fracture. Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) also crashed in the session – riders ok.
2018 MotoGP Round 11 – Austria – Moto2 Qualifying Results
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 1:29.409
- Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM +0.310
- Fabio Quartararo (FRA) SPEED UP +0.521
Despite a crash at Turn 3, Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) secured his maiden Moto3 pole position at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as the Red Bull Ring dried up at the end of a dramatic qualifying session, setting a 1:38.617 to beat main Championship rival and the truly heroic Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) by 0.078 seconds, with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) completing the front row.
The session started off in the wet, but as the sun started to creep over the Austrian mountains, it was only a matter of time before the slick tyres would be introduced. And sure enough with 15 minutes to go, Philipp Oettl (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing) was the first rider to head out on the slicks, setting off a chain reaction that would see a phenomenal end to the lightweight class qualifying.
Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Oettl were alternating quickest lap times, before magnificent Martin joined in, setting his first provisional pole lap with five minutes of the session to go in what was nothing short of an astonishing effort after breaking a bone in his left wrist eight days prior. The three, along with Bezzecchi, kept leapfrogging each other until it was the Italian who went fastest on his final run – with Martin narrowly missing out at the checkered flag and Canet just pushed off the front row behind Arenas, set to start fourth.
Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) threatened the front row on several occasions, with the Italian going fifth on his last flying lap. Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) crashed towards the beginning of the session but recovered to start P6 for the Austrian GP. Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) will start seventh at the Red Bull Ring, with Oettl having to settle for eighth. Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) starts 9th on board his Honda, with Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) rounding out the top ten in Austria.
2018 MotoGP Round 11 – Austria – Moto3 Qualifying Results
- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM 1’38.617
- Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA +0.078
- Albert Arenas (SPA) KTM +0.638