Marquez holds off the Ducatis to take pole by just 0.002!

2018-08-12 10:18
The reigning Champion was able to hold off the charge as Dovi misses out by just 0.002 seconds

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. 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. 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. 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.

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. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), on the podium 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.

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. 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.

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. 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’. Behind Smith in P13 and Rossi in P14, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completes the top 15.

Ready for race day? It’s got some serious potential and is sure to be another classic. Come back on Sunday for the race at 14:00 (GMT +2).
MotoGP™ Qualifying Results
1 - Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA 1'23.241
2- Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +0.002
3 - Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) DUCATI +0.135

First Independent Team Rider:
4 - Danilo Petrucci (ITA) DUCATI +0.262
Bagnaia bolts to pole, but Oliveira starts second


Bagnaia was on fire in qualifying
Moto2 Front Row
The Championship protagonists will start P1 and P2 at the Austrian GP
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.

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.

So, it’s the top two in the Championship who will start P1 and P2 on the grid for Sunday’s intermediate class race at the Red Bull Ring, but who will come out on top? Get ready for another pivotal round in the Moto2™ World Championship live from 12:20 local time (GMT +2).

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