Jorge Martin grabs his second pole position of the year with a record-breaking lap. Bagnaia was second and Quartararo in third in a fascinating qualifying session in Austria.
With rain expected for tomorrow’s race the MotoGP riders were ready to get themselves out there to push for the best possible lap to get them up the grid for the start.
At the start of Q1, the riders were led out by Valentino Rossi, who announced this weekend that he is retiring at the end of the year. He was looking for a good result. The depth of the field was demonstrated with the quality of the riders that were in Q1. Pol Espargaro, wildcard Dani Pedrosa, Alex Rins and both Red Bull KTMs were amongst the riders in the session.
Alex Rins set the early quick lap with a 1m24s lap, but that didn’t feel like it’d be good enough. He improved and dropped into the 1m23s bracket. Brad Binder was in second place after the first run with Pol Espargaro closely behind. Binder tipped into Turn seven, up on Rins’ time but ran wide to the edge of the track, so his lap was gone.
The other Red Bull KTM of Miguel Oliveira trumped Rins on his first run and looked a lot faster than he did this morning. He won here last year in a battle with Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller, so he will be looking to repeat that this weekend. As they came out for their second attempt, eighth placed Valentino Rossi led them out, followed by yesterday’s star, Lorenzo Savadori. Dani Pedrosa started his second with Rossi in his wheel tracks. Rossi improved to fifth, knocking Pedrosa down to seventh.
Dani Pedrosa was flying on his next lap, looking to top the session but his lap was cancelled due to exceeding track limits. His team-mate Miguel Oliveira opened the gap wider ahead of Alex Rins, until Avintia Esposnsorama rider and the 2020 Moto2 World Champion, Enea Bastianini topped the session ahead of Alex Marquez.
As the chequered flag went out and the riders lined up for their practice start, Bastianini’s lap was cancelled for a track limits infringement at Turn eighth, thus promoting Alex Marquez to first and Miguel Oliveira to second. Alex Rins was third so will line up 13th on the grid with Dani Pedrosa in a valiant fourth (14th on the grid) just behind. Cal Crutchlow will start at the back just behind Danilo Petrucci and Lorenzo Savadori who crashed right at the end of the Q1 session. Valentino Rossi will start 17th.
Q2 started with a bit more wind than in Q1 so the conditions were something else the riders had to worry about. The top riders fighting for the ultimate lap time on this incredible circuit was an exciting prospect and the session didn’t disappoint. The riders trundled down pitlane behind Joan Mir who had a spill in FP4. Mir looks strong this weekend, not really dropping out of the Top five at any point.
Jorge Martin was the first to have a lap time cancelled on the first attempt at going fast and Jack Miller set the early pace before the Monster Energy Yamaha pairing crossed the line. Maverick Vinales was the first one to go top and was evacuated by his team-mate Fabio Quartararo. Jorge Martin went third on his second attempt at a lap on his first run with Joan Mir in fourth
Quartararo went faster again just outside the lap record. Jack Miller went second on his Factory Ducati. Jorge Martin was pushing incredibly hard, on the absolute limit, up on Quartararo’s time, but dropped off the edge of the kerbing and lost his lap. Pecco Bagnaia was the first back out on track with a new, shiny tyre on for his second run sat in a disappointing ninth after being fastest in FP3. His first two sectors were very quick but he lost time in the third sector. He managed to nail the final sector though to go into provisional pole position.
Jorge Martin smashed the lap record with a 1:22.944. The all-action Spaniard was pushing so hard, hanging of the bike and became the first MotoGP rider ever to get into the 1m22s bracket. Joan Mir went into fifth with his second lap on his second run. Fabio Quartararo went top by 0.036 seconds, until his lap was scratched off for exceeding track limits. He was definitely on the green paint but by a tiny margin.
The chequered flag was out and nobody was on an active lap apart from Marc Marquez went down at Turn three. He tucked the front while all out of shape and gracefully slipped off the side of the bike.So, Jorge Martin took his second pole position of the season with Pecco Bagnaia in second, after Ducati looked a little bit lost earlier in the weekend. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was placed on the outside of the front row in third with Aussie Jack Miller heading Row two in fourth place. Reigning World Champion Joan Mir was in the middle of the second row in fifth with the other Pramac Ducati of Johann Zarco in sixth. Aleix Espargaro was in a very solid seventh followed by the still recovering Marc Marquez. Maverick Vinales has looked very fast all weekend but could only manage ninth in qualifying and he was sat in front of Takaaki Nakagami, Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliviera, who looks in a little bit of discomfort with his hand or wrist after yesterday’s high-side.
A thrilling session sets us up nicely for an almost guaranteed wet race tomorrow. Can Jorge Martin get a win in his rookie MotoGP season or will the championship leader assert his dominance? It’s going to be a corker!
The MotoGP Race is tomorrow at 14:00 GMT+2
Featured Image: MotoGP.com