Pol Espargaro has secured both his and KTM’s maiden MotoGP pole position in a dramatic qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix. Here’s how and when you can watch the race.
With the Red Bull Ring hosting the second leg of its double-header, polesitter Espargaro will be hoping to secure his first MotoGP win having seen rookie team-mate Brad Binder achieve the feat two weeks ago at the Czech GP with a stunning performance.
Takaaki Nakagami, who missed out on his own maiden MotoGP pole position by just 0.022s after having a lap time deleted late on for exceeding track limits, starts from second place for LCR Honda while Johann Zarco ended qualifying in third – but he will start the race from the pitlane due to his penalty for his part in the scary crash involving Franco Morbidelli in the Austrian GP.
With Zarco relegated from the starting grid, Suzuki’s Joan Mir completes the front row ahead of Jack Miller who has been taken to hospital for checks on an injured shoulder suffered in a crash in FP3.
Austrian GP polesitter Maverick Vinales will line up in fifth place as the leading Yamaha rider, with MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo qualifying down in 10th place for Petronas SRT Yamaha.
It was also a day to forget for fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, with the nine-times grand prix world champion failing to secure an automatic Q2 spot in practice before crashing in Q1.
While the on-track action remains enthralling, major news on reigning champion Marc Marquez’s recovery was announced immediately after qualifying by Honda, with the Spaniard set to be out of action until at least late October as he recovers from a broken arm.
Andrea Dovizioso says his lowly ninth in MotoGP Styrian Grand Prix qualifying was the result of “something strange that never happened” to the Ducati rider before.
Dovizioso stormed to victory in the Austrian GP last weekend and has been amongst the favourites for the win in this weekend’s second Red Bull Ring race.
The Ducati rider’s long run pace in Saturday’s FP4 on well-worn medium rubber was incredibly strong, but he wasn’t able to carry his form over into qualifying.
Having started from fourth at Red Bull Ring last weekend, Dovizioso could only manage ninth with a lap 0.269 seconds off the pace – though will start eighth as a result of Johann Zarco’s penalty.
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Explaining his qualifying form, Dovizioso said: “Something strange happened that never happened to me [before].
“We worked more in this weekend because we had the chance to work for the race, and especially with the medium, we didn’t work that much with it in the first race.
“We put the maximum laps we were able to put on it, 32, but the way you have to ride with that consumption, in the way you have to brake is very different in the way you have to attack with the new tyre.
“And when I started qualifying I didn’t have the rhythm anymore.
“I didn’t have the braking point and I couldn’t be aggressive and fast.
“The first tyre, I did a 1m24.4s, but I pushed at the maximum because I didn’t have the feeling to use the potential of the bike and tyre.
“On the second tyre I pushed more, but not with a good feeling, so I couldn’t use the potential [of the rubber].
“So in the end I did ninth and this was the bad part because it was very important to start in the first rows.”