Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying round-up: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In MotoGP, News


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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

The first race at the Red Bull Ring in two decades sees lights go out at 14:00 local time on Sunday (GMT +2), as the Ducati Team try an take their first victory since 2010.


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.

Moto2™ will be out to turn promise into points on Sunday at 12:20 local time (GMT +2), as the Red Bull Ring gets ready to rumble.



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™ take to the track on Sunday at 11:00 local time (GMT +2) for their first ever Red Bull Ring showdown.



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