MotoGP Austria: Jorge Martin secures second consecutive pole with new lap record

Jorge Martin clinched his second pole position in a week at the Red Bull Ring after smashing the lap record ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Martin, who converted pole position into victory at the Grand Prix of Styria last weekend, posted a 1:22.643 in the closing moments of Q2 to pip championship leader Fabio Quartararo by 0.034s. 

Friday: Johann Zarco tops day one at the Red Bull Ring

It wasn’t an easy route to top spot for the Pramac Racing Ducati rider though. Martin crashed during FP3 and had to therefore go through Q1. The Spaniard duly topped Q1 with a 1:23.197. It’s Martin’s second pole position from seven MotoGP qualifying sessions and, after winning at the Red Bull Ring last Sunday, he’ll be tough to beat come race day. 

Quartararo had initially set the new lap record with a lap-time of 1:22.677 before losing out to Martin. Still, on a circuit where the Yamaha M1 is deemed inferior to the Ducatis, the Frenchman will be more than happy with second on the grid. 

Francesco Bagnaia completed the front row on the factory Ducati, narrowly beating Johann Zarco. Marc Marquez was the leading Honda rider in fifth, ahead of Jack Miller, who made it four Ducatis inside the top six. 

Reigning champion Joan Mir heads row three, ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira. Brad Binder completed the top 10 on the second Red Bull KTM RC16, a vast on improvement on last weekend’s 16th. The South African finished fourth from that grid position, so he’ll be hopeful of another top five tomorrow afternoon.

Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami completed the Q2 positions on their respective Honda RC213V machines. Alex Rins failed to make it out of Q1 for the second consecutive weekend, and for the third time this season. 

Rins is joined on the fifth row by Alex Marquez and leading rookie Enea Bastianini. Iker Lecouna and Luca Marini were 16th and 17th respectively, ahead of Valentino Rossi who continues to struggle on the Petronas Yamaha. Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow complete the grid. 

Tomorrow’s MotoGP race is due to begin at 13:00 (UK time).

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MotoGP Austria - Qualifying Result

MotoGP Austria: Johann Zarco breaks the lap record to end day one fastest

First published: 13 August 2021 by Josh Close

Johann Zarco Austria Friday

Johann Zarco set a new all-time lap record at the Red Bull Ring to end the opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix on top.

The Pramac Racing Ducati rider posted a best lap-time of 1:22.827, which was faster than Jorge Martin’s pole position lap at the same circuit last weekend. Such is Zarco’s dominance, he ended the day 0.798s quicker than Joan Mir in second.

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To be fair to the rest of the field, this afternoon’s FP2 session was held in mixed conditions. Most of the session was wet, with a draw line only appearing in the closing stages. Iker Lecouna was the first rider to head out on slicks and duly set the fastest time of 1:27.520, ending that particular session with a 3.397s advantage over the field.

Back on the combined standings, Alex Rins ensured that both Suzuki riders ended the day inside the top three. Takaaki Nakagami was the final rider to get to within 0.5s of Zarco in fourth spot, whilst Aleix Espargaro completed the top five for Aprilia.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was sixth overall, ahead of Alex Marquez on the LCR Honda. Francesco Bagnaia was eighth, whilst Marc Marquez ended day on in ninth. Marquez was seen struggling slightly with his right arm/shoulder during this morning’s dry session. Last week’s winner Martin completed the top 10.

Outside of the current automatic Q2 qualifiers, Pol Espargaro leads the charge for Repsol Honda. Espargaro currently sits just 0.053s off a top 10 position, whilst Enea Bastianini is the leading rookie in 12th ahead of Luca Marini.

Valentino Rossi and Miguel Oliveira are 14th and 15th respectively, with Brad Binder just behind in 16th on the second Red Bull KTM RC16. Jack Miller has work to do in 17th, with Danilo Petrucci, Iker Lecouna and Cal Crutchlow completing the classification.

Tomorrow’s FP3 session is due to begin at 08:55 (UK time), and will be followed by FP4 at 12:30. Q1 and Q2 are scheduled for 13:10 and 13:35.

MotoGP Austria - Combined Friday Standings