Red Bull Ring MotoGP: Marc Marquez breaks Mick Doohan’s pole record


Honda rider Marc Marquez secured a dominant pole position for MotoGP’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, breaking Mick Doohan’s record for most premier-class poles.

Marquez’s 59th MotoGP pole also came with the new lap record, as he surpassed Andrea Iannone’s previous benchmark from 2016.

Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales took the unusual step of doing his first run with the medium rear tyre, and led after the opening series of flyers – improving by three tenths of a second on his second attempt to end up on 1m23.628s.

Yet Marquez overcame Vinales almost right away with a 1m23.359s, retaining a quarter-second lead as the 15-minute Q2 session passed its halfway point.

By that point Vinales had switched to a soft rear, and after a few attempts he whittled Marquez’s lead down to 0.164s.

The championship leader responded immediately once more, setting a new track record with a 1m23.027s.

Marquez was unable to improve on his two final laps but his pole came under no threat, with nearest rival Fabio Quartararo coming up 0.434s short at the chequered flag.

Quartararo’s late improvement relegated Andrea Dovizioso into third, the Ducati rider having surpassed Vinales by just 0.008s for what turned out to be the final place on the front row.

Two riders on year-old machinery – Pramac Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami – made up the top six, both recording their best-ever qualifying results in MotoGP.

Bagnaia had come through Q1 alongside LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who will ultimately line up ninth, joining Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Bagnaia’s Pramac team-mate Jack Miller on the third row.

Like Vinales, Valentino Rossi ran the medium tyre early in Q2, but the Italian ended up only 10th, ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.

Petrucci crashed at the downhill Turn 4 right-hander and completed a Q2 order split by just 0.937s.

Tech3 KTM rider Miguel Oliveira sat at the top of the Q1 timesheets when the chequered flag flew in the opening segments, but last-gasp improvements from Crutchlow and Bagnaia denied him a spot in the pole shootout so he will start 13th.

Behind Oliveira, Petronas rider Franco Morbidelli was the sole Yamaha out of Q2 in 14th, while Tito Rabat came close to his best qualifying result of the year by taking 15th, 0.003s up on the second works KTM of Johann Zarco.

Former lap record holder Iannone will be the top Aprilia rider on the grid in 18th, having beaten team-mate Aleix Espargaro in qualifying for the first time this season.

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl, standing in for the injured Jorge Lorenzo at the works outfit this weekend, will start 21st and last.

Provisional starting grid

Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda 1m23.027s
2 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha 1m23.461s 0.434s
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m23.515s 0.488s
4 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1m23.523s 0.496s
5 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati 1m23.652s 0.625s
6 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 1m23.669s 0.642s
7 Alex Rins Suzuki 1m23.681s 0.654s
8 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 1m23.688s 0.661s
9 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m23.754s 0.727s
10 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m23.817s 0.790s
11 Pol Espargaro KTM 1m23.866s 0.839s
12 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1m23.964s 0.937s
13 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 1m24.130s
14 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha 1m24.270s
15 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati 1m24.389s
16 Johann Zarco KTM 1m24.392s
17 Karel Abraham Avintia Ducati 1m24.423s
18 Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1m24.526s
19 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1m24.749s
20 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 KTM 1m24.759s
21 Stefan Bradl Honda 1m25.020s

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