Pol Espargaró has taken his and KTMs maiden MotoGP pole position with an incredible lap aboard the Red Bull Factory KTM while Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco finished second and third.
In Qualifying one, Johann Zarco lead the charge with fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci in second place. There was late drama in the first 15-minute session when Valentino Rossi crashed out at turn nine on his charge for a Q2 spot. The Italian was set to just squeeze Petrucci out for a second time at the Austrian circuit, but a fast front end crash ended the 41-year-olds qualifying session. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider will start from 14th.
As the flag dropped for Q2, Maverick Viñales stormed to the top of the timesheets but later lost his fastest lap due to exceeding track limits. The Spaniard slipped as far back as tenth but a last minute lap fired him back within the top six.
KTMs Pol Espargaró jumped back to the top of the timesheets and managed to hold the advantage over Takaaki Nakagami, who looked like he had the pace to steal pole from Espargaró. Nakagami’s final lap matched Pol Espargaró’s sector times, but lost his lap due to exceeding track limits at turn one.
From Q1, Johann Zarco leaped onto the front row, taking the advantage of Joan Mir’s dropping rear tyre to hold on to third place, however, Zarco will start from pitlane as a result of last weeks near-catastrophic crash.
As the flag fell, Pol Espargaro was confirmed on pole with LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami and Joan Mir joining him on the front row.
After his crash in the third free practice session, Jack Miller will start fourth ahead of Viñales and Suzukis Alex Rins.
Miguel Oliveira lines up seventh alongside AustrianGP race winner Andrea Dovizioso and championship leader Fabio Quartararo.
Second PETRONAS Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli will start tenth ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona, who is elevated into the Q2 spot thanks to Zarco’s penalty.
Brad Binder will line-up alongside Valentino Rossi in 13th and 14th while Michele Pirro will complete row five with Alex Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith filling the sixth row’s grid slots.
The final row of the grid is completed by Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl and Tito Rabat – while Johann Zarco will start from pitlane.
The MotoGP race is due to get underway at 14:00 local time on Sunday.
Featured image: KTM Factory Racing