Andrea Iannone takes Red Bull Ring pole ahead of Valentino Rossi
Marc Marquez dislocates shoulder – Jack Miller tumbles
Andrea Iannone has taken an incredible last dash pole position at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, as the Italian came out top in a four-way shootout at the front. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was just beaten to the top spot and will start from the middle of the front row, ahead of the second Desmosedici of Andrea Dovizioso.
Iannone, who is riding through the pain of an injury sustained during a motocross incident in the summer break, was the last man to cross the line and made it count – taking the honours after the flag had dropped and knocking fellow Italian Valentino Rossi off the top. The Ducati rider, who is set to move to Team Suzuki Ecstar next season, sealed his second pole position of his career after dueling with his teammate for supremacy throughout the weekend.
“My pole today was a fantastic one and I did a really incredible lap. I made a mistake on my first attempt, going long at turn 3, and became a bit nervous. On my next run I did a 1’23.404, but on the final lap I pushed really hard to try and shave off a bit more and in the end I got the pole. Today I managed to ride a bit better thanks to some treatment from the Clinica Mobile who did an incredible job, seeing as my ribs are not giving me as much pain as yesterday, even though 28 laps around this track tomorrow is going to be tough! I’m so happy to start from pole position at Zeltweg because it’s my second pole in MotoGP and tomorrow I hope to be able to give some real satisfaction to our fans.”
Valentino Rossi, who briefly led the way in the final seconds, leapt up the timesheets in Q2 to get involved in the fight for pole – and the 9-time world champion will surely be satisfied with a front row start and an incredible improvement for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team after struggling for pace during some sessions of the weekend so far. The 9-time world champion took his first pole in the world championship at the track, almost twenty years ago.
“I tried to push where my bike is very good, in the last sector and T3, and we worked well today from this morning, which was a difficult practice. We improved a lot and already in free practice four I was third behind our fastest rivals. We were able to make another small step for the qualifying, which gave me a better feeling so I could push a little bit more to stay in the center of the front row. To split our main factory competitors was a great target and I did a great lap so I‘m happy.”
Andrea Dovizioso, who topped the timesheets ahead of the session, was unable to beat his teammate to the top but has spent much of the weekend focusing on long run pace – something that could play into his hands as the race gets underway on Sunday. With the battle close at the top and the strong points of the Ducati lending the Italian a natural advantage on race day, the front row start could be important.
“It was a really tight qualifying session, and it’s great to be on the front row with two other Italian riders. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the pole position: I did a good lap but it wasn’t perfect. In any case the important thing today was to manage to find the best possible set-up for the 28-lap race tomorrow. We worked a lot and in my opinion we have a good chance of having a say in the outcome, even though being competitive throughout the race will be complicated, especially because some riders have made big improvements. In any case I am happy with the work we have done over the weekend, because we have been able to focus a lot on race pace, even though we have to see what will happen with the tyres, which will start to wear two-thirds of the way into the race.”
Early pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) looked set for pole until the final laps of the session, with the reigning world champion pulling some incredible form out of the bag to get involved in the shootout at the front.
“How things can change in MotoGP is just unbelievable, in just one day! Everything can affect the results and today the conditions helped us a lot. Our main rivals didn‘t improve their lap times a lot and we improved by a great difference, more than a second, and that‘s why we were closer and able to fight for pole position. I was very happy with the progression and the lap time. I thought I could be on the first row or even in first position, but finally in the last moment they overtook me. Still, second row is a good place, better than we expected before starting the Grand Prix.”
Points leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), after dislocating his shoulder in a crash in FP3, put in a valiant qualifying run to start the race from the middle of the front row, ahead of compatriot Maverick Vñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who completed the all-Spanish second row.
“It was a tough day for us as we began the morning session with a crash in FP3 that was completely my mistake. I braked too late and went wide at turn 3, risking a clash with Dani who was in front on the outside line. To avoid him, I crashed and I dislocated my left shoulder. I decided, along with the doctor, to go to the hospital to check that everything was okay. Luckily it was just a scare, and I was able to ride in the afternoon despite being bruised up. In the end, I think fifth place is good. The goal was to be close to the podium spots, and we succeeded in that. Tomorrow we’ll try to get close to the two Yamahas, with the knowledge that the Ducatis have been faster until now, but we’ll give our best as usual.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed row 3, with Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) beating first time Q2 participant Eugene Laverty (PULL&BEAR Aspar Team) to P10.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) suffered the most in the session, ending up P12 but having made big progress since a Friday morning crash set his weekend off on the wrong foot – the Sabadell native went two seconds quicker on Saturday.
“With today’s higher temperatures, we were able to take a step forward from yesterday and I lowered my lap by two seconds, although it was a shame not to get into the 1’23 range. Even if I expected a better result, we’ll try to concentrate, get as much confidence as possible and be positive. We will look for possible solutions for the race; our intention is to go out and give everything we have and get references that help us to move forward. We want to improve this dynamic as soon as possible; the rider is the one who can contribute the most, so I want to do as well as possible.”
Jack Miller qualifying was a missed opportunity to move through into Q1 and have a crack at a top 12 grid spot. In his best physical condition of the season Miller had been 11th fastest in the FP4 session but then suffered the setback of a spectacular crash on his first qualifying run. Forced to switch to his spare bike Miller’s time of 1’24.852 was only good enough for 20th on the last row of the grid. With tyres set to play a crucial role in the race outcome the 21-year-old Australian is confident that he can mount a late race surge to finish in the points.
Jack Miller: 20th – 1’24.852
“The first sector was good but I threw it away at turn four. I lost the front on entry and then the rear went around, got some grip and threw me to the moon with a highside. I was really lucky to walk away from that one and then get back out for a qualifying lap. My second bike had 17 laps on the front tyre so that wasn’t ideal for a fast time. But I’m feeling good about the race, I think I have the pace to be coming on strong at the end.”
The 28-lap, 121km race gets underway at 2200 EST.
MotoGP Qualifying Results
- Andrea Iannone (ITA) DUCATI 1’23.142
- Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA + 0.147
- Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI + 0.156
Johann Zarco reigns supreme as the championship leader gains traction
Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) has taken pole position in Moto2 qualifying in Austria, keeping himself in the front seat as MotoGP returns to the country for the first time in nearly two decades. Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took P2 for his best-ever qualifying position, ahead of Tom Luthi as the Garage Plus Interwetten rider completed the front row.
Zarco has been the pacesetter for the majority of the track time so far in Spielberg, and the championship leader and reigning champion continued his form into qualifying to take pole. The Frenchman, who has clawed back his advantage in the world championship from rivals Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), looks to be the man to beat as the Red Bull Ring prepares for the Moto2 race.
Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) starts from the middle of the front row in his best result so far in Moto2 qualifying, and the Italian looks to have the pace to play a big part in the race. Using a tow from Zarco to initially top the session, Morbidelli then just lost the provisional pole as the Frenchman hit back.
Garage Plus Interwetten’s Tom Luthi has been on the pace all weekend and could prove a key rival to Zarco in the race, with the Swiss rider proving fast and consistent since Day 1 – when he was fastest. The veteran seems to have a good race rhythm and was aiming for a front row start; eager to be a protagonist in the race.
Marcel Shrotter (AGR Team) heads up the front row after the German has shown to be competitive throughout the weekend, heading 2014 Moto3 world champion Alex Marquez on row 2, as the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider celebrates his best ever qualifying position. Axel Pons completes row 2 for the AGR team.
Championship contender Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) qualified in P7 as the Brit fights to find some form and chase down leader Zarco, with key rival of both men – Alex Rins – just behind in P8. Taka Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten.
Remy Gardner has improved throughout the weekend and was 23rd quickest Moto2 qualifier, 1.-48-seconds off poleman Zarco.
Moto2 Qualifying Results
- Johann Zarco (FRA) KALEX 1’29.25
- Franco Morbidelli (ITA) KALEX +0.112
- Thomas Lüthi (SWI) KALEX +0.225
Rookie Joan Mir takes impressive first pole at the Red Bull Ring
Red Bull KTM Ajo are racing at home at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, and it was expected that Brad Binder would follow up his domination of Friday with a pole position at the team’s home GP – but it was Leopard Racing’s rookie Joan Mir who took the top spot, with Binder’s fastest lap interrupted in the final corner and the South African then unable to improve. Gresini Racing Moto3 rider Enea Bastianini remained one of the closest challengers to the front and will complete the front row in P3.
Mir, who moves up onto the world stage in 2016 after some incredible performances last year in the FIM CEV Repsol, takes his first pole with his incredible performance in Austria and has looked on much-improved form throughout the weekend at the Red Bull Ring. Despite two run offs in the session, the Spaniard’s fastest effort was enough to hold off the previously unstoppable Binder and set himself up for a good race result on Sunday.
Binder has been the man to beat in Spielberg so far, consistently the first man to break into the next bracket on the timing screens since track action got underway in FP1. The South African currently leads the standings in Moto3™ by a stunning 47 points, and seems to go into the race on Sunday as the favourite despite narrowly missing out on pole position.
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) completes the front row in P3, with the Italian starting to show more flashes of his 2015 form and get back into the top echelons of Moto3, ready to try and challenge for the victory on Sunday.
Big movement at the end of the session came from Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who moved himself up into an impressive P4, ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) – who continues to show a return to form. Francesco Bagnaia (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra Team) was the fastest Mahindra to complete the second row, ahead of Sky Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega – who was demoted a place after having a lap time deleted.
Key championship contender Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) is the closest man to Binder in the points standings ahead of the Moto3 race in Austria, and the Spaniard had a more difficult session to qualify in P16. Similarly, Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Romano Fenati – currently third in the title – was only able to get himself into P11 and the two men will be hoping to move up in the race.
Moto3 Qualifying Results
- Joan Mir (SPA) KTM 1’36.228
- Brad Binder (RSA) KTM +0.107
- Enea Bastianini (ITA) HONDA +0.372