Marquez takes pole in Austria – Ducatis hot on his heels
Marc Marquez has staked his claim at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, taking out pole position from the two Ducatis, to ensure a strong start at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.
Expected key frontrunners Ducati were in close company, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) taking second on his final lap and teammate Jorge Lorenzo completing the front row as Spielberg once again proved a happy hunting ground for the Borgo Panigale factory.
Despite fears about the weather, there was no rain on Saturday and good conditions for heading round the track with the highest average speed of the year and some of the most beautiful scenery – meaning there was plenty of track time to make use of throughout the day as the grid get ready for 28 laps on Sunday.
Staring down those 28 laps from the head of the second row is Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), as he hopes to take an important podium finish for the Championship fight. The rider from Roses lines up ahead of a late charge from Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) to take fifth after the Italian moved through from Q1, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the second row as the French rookie looks to get back in the fight at the front.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) moved back up the order after a tough Friday to take seventh, just 0.003 ahead of Q1 graduate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) on a high-profile Row 3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), after having a fast lap disallowed for exceeding track limits, completes that third row.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone, winner of his first ever premier class race at the Red Bull Ring last season, is P10 on the grid after finding some pace on Saturday morning and bouncing back from a mechanical problem – with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) completing the top twelve after Q2.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is thirteenth on the grid after just missing out on graduation to Q2, ahead of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), who locks out the fastest fifteen.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was impressive once again for KTM, taking P16 at their first ever home race and only a few tenths off moving through to Q2 as the Bulls continue their charge.
Sunday is race day, and after Warm Up in the morning, the engines fire up at 14:00 (GMT +2) for the Austrian GP.
Marc Marquez – Pole
“I’m very, very happy with his pole because here it’s very important for the first corner, and because so far we’ve done much better than last year. We’ve really taken a good step forward with the bike; we already had a good engine, but we were struggling with some wheelying. We worked a lot on this aspect and now I feel much more comfortable with my bike. We also prepared very well for this race. During the Monday post-race test in Brno, we tried many different configurations focused on this track, and that allowed us to start with a good base even on Friday morning. So at the moment it looks like our pace is very good, but as always, it’s the race that counts. We’ll try to give everything again, but it will be very important to choose the right rear tyre. Today we worked with the soft and hard rears, so we’ll probably try the medium in tomorrow’s warm-up and then make our choice.”
“Today was quite a strange day because the temperature was different from yesterday and things didn’t exactly go the way we had expected, but in the end we were able to interpret the situation and do a good qualifying session. We used a different strategy to the other riders, fitting a medium rear tyre which worked well and I’m very happy about the job me and the team did together. We still don’t have a clear idea about the choice of tyres for the race because today they behaved differently from yesterday and tomorrow the temperature should be a bit warmer so it won’t be easy to make the right decision, but qualifying today confirmed that we are competitive enough to be able to fight at the front tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P3
“Q2 was pretty hard work today. With the first tyre I didn’t ride very well, maybe I was too aggressive, but on my second run I stayed calm and, even though I didn’t do a perfect lap, I managed to get onto the front row, which is very important for tomorrow. So far it hasn’t been an easy weekend for us but we have gradually managed to improve the bike and my sensations on the track. In Ducati Corse they’ve done a great job to improve my feeling: we could already see this at Brno, also during the test, and we can see it here as well, even though we still have to improve the braking to get in amongst the leading positions at every circuit. I’m very pleased because it’s the first time this year that both Ducati Team riders are on the front row, which demonstrates our excellent potential on this track. As for the race Marquez is looking really strong, but tomorrow many things can happen and the choice of the rear tyre will be fundamental.”
Maverick Viñales – P4
“I feel OK and positive about today’s result, because Ive been struggling in prior qualifying sessions. Tomorrow we have the opportunity to start from the front, on the second row. There’s still a lot of work to do. We need to improve on acceleration in the first and second sector, because thats where we lose some time. We’re going to use the new fairing tomorrow in the race, because we think its a little bit better and I look forward to trying something different that the team will prepare for tomorrows warm up.”
Danilo Petrucci – P5
“We have obtained a great result in qualifying and if I have to be honest this 5th place gives us more satisfaction than the first row in Holland and Germany. However, we struggled a lot. We cannot find speed, especially in the straight. In fact, we have the lowest speed on track, and this worries me as losing precious hundreds of a second in the straight is a great problem in the race distance. Probably the new fearing is a bit small for me. Tomorrow is not going to be an easy race”.
Johann Zarco – P6
“We have undertaken some good work and the feeling is positive at this track, plus I am happy about qualifying on the second row. However, I have to admit that I was not quite relaxed enough and I feel that it would have been possible to produce a better time. Perhaps I couldn’t have equalled Marquez’s lap but I think that I would have been able to fight with Lorenzo for 3rd, yet, I needed to be calmer to do this. That is the only shame about the qualifying, but my race pace this morning was fast and I was consistent. In FP4 we tried a different compound of tyres and it became a bit trickier, so it looks like we know where we are with this. Tomorrow, I aim to have good start and fight as soon as the lights go out because when you get into a solid position at the beginning, then you can run a better pace and have a more positive time. So the top five is my target in order to score a lot of points for the championship, but if everything goes well and I feel comfortable, I will take the chance to fight for another podium.”
Valentino Rossi – P7
“It was a good Saturday, because we improved the bike a lot and I have a good pace, especially with the race tyres, but also with the soft tyres it was not so bad. I think that my potential was better, that I can try for the front row, or anyway for the top-5, but unfortunately the second tyre was worse. I didn’t have grip, I tried to push a lot, but I had too much spin. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens. I have to start from the third row, which is always difficult, very complicated, but my pace is not so bad, so we can try to fight.”
Dani Pedrosa – P8
“The key today for us was FP3 and the fact that for some reasons we weren’t able to set a good lap time when we fit a soft rear tyre in the final minutes of the session. I suffered a lot of spinning and wasn’t able to be fast enough. FP4 went better; we had a good pace, and also in Q1 I was able to do a fast lap time, but on a medium rear. I made it to Q2, but at that point I didn’t have enough new tyres left to make both runs on a new set of tyres. I ran on a bit of a mix and although we were able to recover some places, it wasn’t enough to get a good grid position. Getting off well at the start will be important in order to make it through the first three corners in a good position. We don’t know yet which rear tyre we’ll use in the race. We have to wait to see what weather and temperatures we’ll have. For now, the tyre choice is still open.”
Cal Crutchlow – P9
“It’s not been a fantastic weekend so far. Obviously you saw that I crashed in FP3 this morning, we were struggling a little bit and I needed a harder front tyre, but the harder tyre doesn’t work as there are only two left-hand corners. We were struggling yesterday in the first sector with the speed of the bike and were again today, but it seems we have improved a little bit and we’ve improved in some other areas as well. We need to just keep working tonight. I think you’re going to see a strange race tomorrow as there will be a lot of different rear tyres choices and probably the track temperature will be slightly different from the last two days practices”.
Andrea Iannone – P10
“This has been a positive day. The weekend had already started well yesterday and we did a good job. We improved the bike and gained some confidence. Maybe in qualifying we weren’t able to reach 100% of our potential; we had a problem with bike 1 in FP4 and only had bike 2 available in qualifying. It had a slightly different setup but there was no time to change it. It’s a pity because with the little improvements we had made to bike 1, I was able to make some improvements and this might have helped. Anyway, the pace is very good. We still have some areas that we know we can improve on, hopefully in time for the race.”
Karel Abraham – P11
“In general it has been a great day. The bike is going very well, although sometimes I was locking the front, and in the morning I managed to enter directly into Q2. It was very important for us. In qualifying on my fast lap I made two mistakes that may have cost me one or two positions. Anyway, the fourth row is a good way to start tomorrow’s race. ”
Loris Baz – P12
“Until Q2 the day was almost perfect, but then everything went the wrong way. I was not able to put all together on my flying lap, I went long several times and I couldn’t find the feeling I had with the front tyre in the morning. But I’m quite satisfied because we tested a lot of ideas to be faster, and that’s the good thing about going straight into Q2. Finally the lap didn’t come, but it is not a big difference to start from the third or fourth row. The most important thing is that we did a great job so far this weekend. We did more than 20 laps in FP4 to learn about tyre performance and we will see what happens tomorrow. My goal is to finish the race in the top ten.”
Jonas Folger – P13
“I know that our potential was much higher than the result that we achieved today so I’m a bit disappointed. So far, we have struggled throughout the weekend and we are still slightly unsure about which direction to head towards. However, in Q1, we did an ok job and with the lap time that I set, I would have qualified in 9th in Qualifying 2 and that would have been quite positive. Anyway, the timing was not perfect and we had to analyse a lot of things which caused us to lose time. In the end, P13 is a tricky place to start from, but if I have a strong performance, which I fully intend to, then I can collect some valuable points for the championship.”
Hector Barbera – P14
“I was really close but finally it didn’t happen. I missed Q2 by just one tenth. Everything is really tight and we have been pushing during the whole weekend. Today we went faster compared to yesterday and I was fourth in Q1, only two tenths from the fastest rider. I lose too much in the lefthand corners, but we have some ideas to test during warm-up. I’m confident to recover in the race because my rhythm is quite good. I believe that we can have a strong race tomorrow.”
Scott Redding – P15
“I am disappointed for how things went, but at the same time I am happy for the performance. In Brno I made some mistakes in qualifying, while here I was only at a heartbreak from Q2. Unfortunately, in the last corner I felt the front locking and I have lost precious tenths. However, we worked well and I think we have shown our potential for the race. Starting from the 15th position is not going to be easy, but I am very confident because the feeling is optimal”.
Álvaro Bautista – P17
“Everything is very tight in Austria. Yesterday I was not very comfortable in the braking and today we could not find a solution. The temperature was a bit lower than yesterday and that did not help us. I had difficulties in stopping the bike, because I lack grip on the rear and I am not able to brake hard, but we have a couple ideas for tomorrow in the warm-up. Then we will try to race with the best possible set-up. I am not very happy with my feelings, I feel very far from what we could do. I would be satisfied tomorrow if we improve them. If we do, we can also improve our position in the race.”
Jack Miller – P19
“My lap was pretty good and could have been even better if I had put it all together on my final run and I’m reasonably happy. Of course I always want to be closer to the front so now I just need to focus on the race and go for the best result possible. This always this was going be a difficult track for us, especially the struggle with wheelie and acceleration, but we’ve improved step-by-step, even if it has been a case of too little too late.”
Aleix Espargaro – P20
“It’s hard to remember a qualifying session this difficult for us. Throughout the day I was never able to find the right feeling with the soft rear tyre. It is not a problem with acceleration, but with braking. The tyre pushes a lot and I can’t get the bike stopped. I pushed to the limit, I ran long and I risked but without any result. Fortunately, we will use the medium tyre in the race tomorrow and we have shown that we can maintain a good pace with it. It will not be easy starting from so far back, but I am convinced that a top ten finish is within our potential for this race too.”
Sam Lowes – P23
“These qualifiers were rather hard for us. Even Aleix struggled and we were very close on our fast laps. In terms of pace, on the other hand, we have good potential, to be honest. I worked a lot on braking and the results are tangible. I always compare notes with my teammate who is one of the strongest late brakers on the track and our reference points have gotten quite close. It would seem that we do not have any big problems with fuel consumption, so we’ll be able to use maximum power for race distance and that could give us an extra weapon in the race finale.”
Tito Rabat – P24
“It was difficult qualifying session. In FP4 I did a very good job at the end of the session on a soft tyre and maybe this created some confusion because in FP3 I preferred the medium rear tyre. The soft tyre takes time to warm-up so for Q1 I just stayed out and did ten laps with a best time of 1’24.9. I know this is not normal for qualifying but it was better for me to work on my rhythm for the race.”
PETRUCCI Danilo / ITA / Octo Pramac Racing 1’23.780
ZARCO Johann / FRA / Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’23.879
ROSSI Valentino / ITA / Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’23.982
PEDROSA Dani / SPA / Repsol Honda Team 1’23.985
CRUTCHLOW Cal / GBR / LCR Honda 1’24.024
IANNONE Andrea / ITA / Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’24.185
ABRAHAM Karel / CZE / Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1’24.220
BAZ Loris / FRA / Reale Avintia Racing 1’24.483
FOLGER Jonas / GER / Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’24.015 Q1
BARBERA Hector / SPA / Reale Avintia Racing 1’24.036 Q1
REDDING Scott / GBR / Octo Pramac Racing 1’24.037 Q1
ESPARGARO Pol / SPA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’24.101 Q1
BAUTISTA Alvaro / SPA / Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1’24.202 Q1
KALLIO Mika / FIN / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’24.261 Q1
MILLER Jack / AUS / Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’24.321 Q1
ESPARGARO Aleix / SPA / Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’24.447 Q1
RINS Alex / SPA / Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’24.448 Q1
SMITH Bradley / GBR / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1’24.530 Q1
LOWES Sam / GBR / Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’24.852 Q1
RABAT Tito / SPA / Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1’24.900 Q1
Moto2: Pasini pips Morbidelli to pole – by a single thousandth
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) starts the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich from pole position, as the veteran Italian beat compatriot Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by one thousandth of a second in qualifying. EG 0,0 Marc VDS have both bikes on the front row, with Alex Marquez joining his teammate on a late charge to take P3.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) once again takes the honour of top rookie to head the second row, ahead of Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) in fifth. Another impressive rookie performance completes Row 2, with Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40) in P6.
Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) continued his great pace this weekend to cross the line for seventh, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P8 after crashing earlier on Saturday and leaving himself some work to do on Sunday – currently third in the points.
Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) took ninth, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the top ten – just 0.004 behind the Spaniard.
Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) pulled off either the save of the century or the quickest recovery from a lowside ever seen in qualifying and takes P11, with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) for close company in twelfth on the timesheets – but the Malaysian will be faced with a grid penalty and will drop back.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) had crossed the line in ninth before having his fastest laptime cancelled for exceeding track limits, and was moved back to thirteenth. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) complete the fastest fifteen on the grid.
Australian rider, Remy Gardner endured a challenging afternoon, yet remains fully focused for the battle, which he will start from the ninth row of the grid. Gardner fell just metres before his teammate at the beginning of the session, but once he returned to the track, he pushed onwards and eventually finished with a lap time that left him 0.883 from the second row. Both riders intend to close the weekend with two positive results in the race, which begins at 12:20 tomorrow.
Remy Gardner – P25
“I can’t hide my disappointment with the qualifying today, especially because I was confident that I could get a good grid position. I had a strange crash on the first lap at turn 1 and to be honest, I can’t explain why this happened. As a result, we were on the back foot from the start and we couldn’t quite turn it around. There is definitely some work to do for tomorrow, but nevertheless, I am still determined and I’ll do my very best to close the weekend in a positive way.”
The intermediate class have lights out on Sunday at 12:20 (GMT +2).
Moto2 Qualifying Results
Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) 1’29.394
Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) +0.001
Alex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) +0.176
Moto3 – Rodrigo takes pole at the Red Bull Ring
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) put in another stunner in qualifying for the Austrian GP, taking his second ever pole – and the second for Argentina – just a week after his first at Brno. The RBA BOE Racing Team had even more to celebrate as teammate Juanfran Guevara was second quickest. Completing the front row is Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Aron Canet – the highest-placed Championship challenger on the grid.
Canet’s teammate Enea Bastianini heads up Row 2 after having gone fastest in FP3 only to have his laptime cancelled, with British Talent Team rider John McPhee fifth quickest and setting himself up well for race day. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who had been on provisional pole before the last minute dash, was sixth after a solid day.
Mugello winner Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) was back at the sharp end in P7, ahead of Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) – who has shown solid pace all weekend. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was ninth.
One headline was Championship leader, 2016 winner and pacesetter so far in 2017 Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), who had gone P2 by the end of the session before the Spaniard’s best laptime was then cancelled for exceeding track limits. He’ll line up in P10, just ahead of closest title rival Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers).
Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), riding-through-the-pain-barrier Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), impressive injury replacement Jaume Masia (Platinum Bay Real Estate) and Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) filled P12 to P15.
Then get ready to race at 11:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday.
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