These PR just in:
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) blasted out the blocks to pole position at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, carrying forward his earlier pace on Saturday to stake a claim on victory at the Red Bull Ring. Expected key frontrunners Ducati were in close company, however, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) taking second on his final lap and teammate Jorge Lorenzo completing the front row as Spielberg once again proved a happy hunting ground for the Borgo Panigale factory.
Despite fears about the weather, there was no rain on Saturday and good conditions for heading round the track with the highest average speed of the year and some of the most beautiful scenery – meaning there was plenty of track time to make use of throughout the day as the grid get ready for 28 laps on Sunday.
Staring down those 28 laps from the head of the second row is Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), as he hopes to take an important podium finish for the Championship fight. The rider from Roses lines up ahead of a late charge from Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) to take fifth after the Italian moved through from Q1, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the second row as the French rookie looks to get back in the fight at the front.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) moved back up the order after a tough Friday to take seventh, just 0.003 ahead of Q1 graduate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) on a high-profile Row 3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), after having a fast lap disallowed for exceeding track limits, completes that third row.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone, winner of his first ever premier class race at the Red Bull Ring last season, is P10 on the grid after finding some pace on Saturday morning and bouncing back from a mechanical problem – with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) completing the top twelve after Q2.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is thirteenth on the grid after just missing out on graduation to Q2, ahead of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), who locks out the fastest fifteen.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was impressive once again for KTM, taking P16 at their first ever home race and only a few tenths off moving through to Q2 as the Bulls continue their charge.
Sunday is race day, and after Warm Up in the morning, the engines fire up at 14:00 (GMT +2) for the Austrian GP.
1 – Marc Márquez (SPA – Honda) 1’23.235
2 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA – Ducati) + 0.144
3 – Jorge Lorenzo (SPA – Ducati) + 0.386
1st Independent Team Rider:
P5 – Danilo Petrucci (ITA – Ducati ) +0.545
Superb front row starts for Ducati Team riders in Austrian GP: Andrea Dovizioso second and Jorge Lorenzo third in qualifying at Red Bull Ring
The two Ducati Team riders will start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix, round 11 of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship, from the front row of the grid after today’s qualifying session. The 28-lap race at the Red Bull Ring circuit near Zeltweg, will get underway at 14.00 CET.
At the end of this afternoon’s Q2 session, Andrea Dovizioso was second quickest with a time of 1’23.379 while Jorge Lorenzo was classified in third place with a best lap of 1’23.621.
This morning the factory Ducati men were both inside the top ten of the combined standings after FP3 and as a result went directly through into Q2. Lorenzo finished the session in fourth place with a time of 1’23.968 while Dovizioso was unable to improve on his time of 1’24.046 from FP2 yesterday, but in any case he finished sixth in the aggregate standings for the three free practice sessions.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’23.379 (2nd)
“Today was quite a strange day because the temperature was different from yesterday and things didn’t exactly go the way we had expected, but in the end we were able to interpret the situation and do a good qualifying session. We used a different strategy to the other riders, fitting a medium rear tyre which worked well and I’m very happy about the job me and the team did together. We still don’t have a clear idea about the choice of tyres for the race because today they behaved differently from yesterday and tomorrow the temperature should be a bit warmer so it won’t be easy to make the right decision, but qualifying today confirmed that we are competitive enough to be able to fight at the front tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1’23.621 (3rd)
“Q2 was pretty hard work today. With the first tyre I didn’t ride very well, maybe I was too aggressive, but on my second run I stayed calm and, even though I didn’t do a perfect lap, I managed to get onto the front row, which is very important for tomorrow. So far it hasn’t been an easy weekend for us but we have gradually managed to improve the bike and my sensations on the track. In Ducati Corse they’ve done a great job to improve my feeling: we could already see this at Brno, also during the test, and we can see it here as well, even though we still have to improve the braking to get in amongst the leading positions at every circuit. I’m very pleased because it’s the first time this year that both Ducati Team riders are on the front row, which demonstrates our excellent potential on this track. As for the race Marquez is looking really strong, but tomorrow many things can happen and the choice of the rear tyre will be fundamental.”
Marc Marquez clinches breath-taking pole at the Red Bull Ring circuit, extending his record to 70 in career
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez scored his fifth pole position of the year (and third successive), extending his record of most pole positions in Grand Prix history across all classes to an amazing tally of 70, at only 24 years of age.
Marc has been happy with his RC213V’s behaviour since Friday morning and improved his feeling with the bike over the weekend by continuing the good work with his crew and engineers. Today he set the fastest times in FP3, FP4, and QP2, showing a good race pace and dazzling speed.
Dani Pedrosa’s day was partly spoiled by a disappointing 15th place in FP3, which did not reflect the competitive pace he had been able to show over the session and also in FP4 (where he was third). He was obliged to participate in QP1, advancing to QP2 and qualifying eighth despite having to run that session on used tyres.
Tomorrow’s race will start at 2:00 p.m. local time.
POLE POSITION 1’23.235
“I’m very, very happy with his pole because here it’s very important for the first corner, and because so far we’ve done much better than last year. We’ve really taken a good step forward with the bike; we already had a good engine, but we were struggling with some wheelying. We worked a lot on this aspect and now I feel much more comfortable with my bike. We also prepared very well for this race. During the Monday post-race test in Brno, we tried many different configurations focused on this track, and that allowed us to start with a good base even on Friday morning. So at the moment it looks like our pace is very good, but as always, it’s the race that counts. We’ll try to give everything again, but it will be very important to choose the right rear tyre. Today we worked with the soft and hard rears, so we’ll probably try the medium in tomorrow’s warm-up and then make our choice.”
“The key today for us was FP3 and the fact that for some reasons we weren’t able to set a good lap time when we fit a soft rear tyre in the final minutes of the session. I suffered a lot of spinning and wasn’t able to be fast enough. FP4 went better; we had a good pace, and also in Q1 I was able to do a fast lap time, but on a medium rear. I made it to Q2, but at that point I didn’t have enough new tyres left to make both runs on a new set of tyres. I ran on a bit of a mix and although we were able to recover some places, it wasn’t enough to get a good grid position. Getting off well at the start will be important in order to make it through the first three corners in a good position. We don’t know yet which rear tyre we’ll use in the race. We have to wait to see what weather and temperatures we’ll have. For now, the tyre choice is still open.”
CRUTCHLOW ON THE THIRD ROW IN SPIELBERG
PRESS RELEASE: 12 August 2017 | Austrian GP Qualifying
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow has qualified on the third row of the grid for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg. The Briton suffered a fall in Saturday morning’s session, but then demonstrated his fighting qualities to battle his way through to Q2 and eventually claimed ninth position on the final timesheets.
Crutchlow went down at turn three in FP3 but would recover to post a fast lap right at the very end of the session that would secure his place in Q2 at the expense of compatriot Scott Redding. In qualifying the 31-year-old finished just behind factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa who came through Q1 to take eighth spot on the grid for Sunday’s race. Meanwhile, Pedrosa’s HRC team-mate Marc Marquez took pole.
While not totally satisfied with the weekend thus far, Crutchlow believes Sunday’s race could prove unpredictable with the chance to secure a positive result.
Cal Crutchlow –9th
(1’24.024 – lap 8 of 10)
“It’s not been a fantastic weekend so far. Obviously you saw that I crashed in FP3 this morning, we were struggling a little bit and I needed a harder front tyre, but the harder tyre doesn’t work as there are only two left-hand corners. We were struggling yesterday in the first sector with the speed of the bike and were again today, but it seems we have improved a little bit and we’ve improved in some other areas as well.
“We need to just keep working tonight. I think you’re going to see a strange race tomorrow as there will be a lot of different rear tyres choices and probably the track temperature will be slightly different from the last two days practices”.
Spielberg (Austria), 12th August 2017
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team barrelled their way into the Q2 session in this morning’s FP3 and followed it up with a hard fight in the afternoon for front row at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Ostrich. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were serious contenders for a top-3 finish until the times dropped at the end of the session, and they secured fourth and seventh place respectively.
The afternoon in Austria presented good weather conditions today for a high octane shoot-out at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit. Viñales was the third to last rider to exit pit lane in a dry qualifying, waiting for the majority of the pack to go out. Despite a small mistake on his first hot lap, he set a 1’25.067s to take second in the provisional standings. With his next attempt he temporarily took over the top spot, but was pushed back to fourth place when the pace quickened. His fourth lap shot him back up to third before he entered the pits with more than six minutes remaining.
The youngster was quickly back on track to have another crack at challenging the competition. Now in fourth place again, he put his head down and jumped to third in the charts, with a 1’23.754s. He was unable to improve on his last lap, but his best time was fast enough to secure fourth place on the grid, on the second row, 0.519s from first.
Rossi took his time to leave the pits for the qualifying session. He got straight down to business, scoring a temporary pole position on his first flying lap with a 1’24.558s, before being pushed back one place. The next minutes saw various riders claim the top spot in the rankings. The Doctor responded by improving his time on his second and third attempt, but was in fourth position when he entered the pits with seven minutes on the clock.
The Italian rushed back out a little more than a minute later, and found himself in seventh place. He broke into the 1’23’s with a 1’23.982s to move up to fifth. There was time for one more attack, but he didn‘t improve on his best lap. He was pushed back by a late charge from a rival after the chequered flag went out, leaving him seventh in the results, 0.747s from the front.
We made good progress with the settings in the practice sessions and both riders are comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, this didn‘t fully translate in this afternoon‘s Q2 results, though both our riders were fighting for the front row. Maverick gave a really good performance and only just missed out on a third place in the final stages of Q2. Vale was also a strong contender for most of the session, but couldn‘t quite set the fast lap he had in mind on his second run, because the rear tyre didn‘t perform perfectly. The free practice results show that the race pace of our riders is good, but it should be higher. We will prepare some solutions this evening for the riders to try in tomorrow‘s warm-up, when we will also decide on the tyre spec for the race.
I feel OK and positive about today’s result, because I‘ve been struggling in prior qualifying sessions. Tomorrow we have the opportunity to start from the front, on the second row. There’s still a lot of work to do. We need to improve on acceleration in the first and second sector, because that‘s where we lose some time. We’re going to use the new fairing tomorrow in the race, because we think it‘s a little bit better and I look forward to trying something different that the team will prepare for tomorrow‘s warm up.
It was a good Saturday, because we improved the bike a lot and I have a good pace, especially with the race tyres, but also with the soft tyres it was not so bad. I think that my potential was better, that I can try for the front row, or anyway for the top-5, but unfortunately the second tyre was worse. I didn’t have grip, I tried to push a lot, but I had too much spin. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens. I have to start from the third row, which is always difficult, very complicated, but my pace is not so bad, so we can try to fight.
RED BULL KTM FACTORY RIDERS LOOKING FORWARD TO RACE DAY AFTER QUALIFYING AT SPIELBERG
QUALIFYING 11th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg (AUT)
Under the shadow of the Styrian mountains at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team today attacked qualifying for tomorrow’s Austrian MotoGP race with a 16th, and 18th and a 22nd place with all riders taking huge confidence to the race in terms of race pace for all three KTM RC16 bikes entered. Pol Espargaro headed the charge with test rider Mika Kallio – as a wildcard – right on his tail in only his second race weekend of the season. Bradley Smith has found pace with his No.38 bike this weekend, again confident for points in the 28 lap race tomorrow. In Moto2 Miguel Oliveira made it another top ten start with 8th place with team mate Brad Binder a little frustrated to be 18th but less than 0.9 seconds back of pole. Moto3 saw a brilliant KTM pole position with the Austrian motorcycles dominating qualifying with a 1-2. Gabriel Rodrigo took his second pole position in as many races with team mate Juanfran Guevara backing up the speed of the KTM RC250GPs in second place. KTM has an even bigger fan grandstand here this year with over 8,200 people watching tomorrow from inside of the Omega corner as the racing debut of the KTM RC16 takes place on Austrian soil.
Fresh from his 9th place in last Sunday’s Czech MotoGP, Pol Espargaro pushed hard around the Spielberg mountain side circuit to be the leading KTM just under 0.2 ahead of KTM MotoGP test rider Mika Kallio who is making his second race appearance this year. Kallio hasn’t ridden the KTM RC16 as much as the regular team riders this year but was mighty in qualifying. He was held up a little towards the end of his fast lap by another rider causing him to lose time but he was content with his race pace found in free practice. Bradley Smith dug deep today to get onto the frenetic pace of MotoGP in this current era eventually being just 1.6 off the pole position and yet in 22nd position.
Espargaro: “We’ve tried hard today, improving well from this morning so I’m very happy. I felt good on the bike to do one lap, doing three consecutive laps all around the same time, but I couldn’t quite do one perfect lap. However for race pace it’s a much better story so that means we have a good chance for tomorrow’s race. We had some problems with the tyre allocation and getting the tyre to work so we need to go through that quickly in the warm up but to race in front of that huge grandstand with all the KTM employees and fans in, it’s a privilege to ride the KTM here in Austria.”
Kallio: “It’s been a good day as I improved the time and the feeling on the bike from this morning, particularly with my feeling with the front tyre and front fork. We have new things here this weekend; new frame, suspension, rear shock, front fork and other things but we made a decision last night to go back to the front forks I’m used to and I know. This was the right decision for me as it gave me more confidence to brake later and for it to dip into the corner quicker and with that I was able to push harder and take more risk…which improved the time. I’m 0.16secs from Pol so from our (test team) side of the garage we can be happy. On my best lap I was following Pol and Folger but in the last corners I was right on them but Folger made a mistake and I lost 0.2 as a result of that. I wish I could have those 2 tenths back as I may well have gone through to Q2, but we’re very happy with what all of the KTM team have done.”
Smith: “Today was a positive day finding some progress with the front of the bike as through FP4 I tried some different tyre combinations that made me more comfortable resulting in my race pace to be good and consistent towards a low 1m 25sec. If I can do that tomorrow we can have a chance of being in a good position. Qualifying was a little frustrating as on the second run I had a brake problem so the second tyre didn’t quite get the full treatment from me. I’m on a good side of the track off the grid for turns one and two so hopefully I can put on a good show and get a great result for the thousands of KTM fans here in Austria.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “First of all let me say that being here at the home race with so many people here is something very special for the KTM team. Talking technically, this afternoon to get the tyres to work when the conditions have changed after the rain and cooler conditions has been hard, but we did a big learning curve today after we ‘lost’ yesterday with a little rain. However, we dug in and although the qualifying result doesn’t look too bad I think our race pace is much better in relation to the others on the grid.”