Round 11 Austria

  • Marquez Takes Pole In Alpine Thriller by 0.002 Seconds

    Marc Marquez will start the Austrian Grand Prix from pole position, after a thrilling qualifying session during which he battled with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, the three of them trading pole by hundredths and thousands of a second.


Marquez Takes Pole In Alpine Thriller by 0.002 Seconds

RED BULL RING, Austria, August 11, 2018

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) will start tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix from pole position, after a thrilling qualifying session during which he battled with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, the three of them trading pole by hundredths and thousands of a second.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Marquez went into the session following a dominant performance in free practice in all conditions. Yesterday the reigning World Champion led FP1 in the dry and FP2 in heavy rain, then today he topped a damp FP3 and FP4 in the dry.

During the 15-minute Q2 qualifier the 25-year old led the way, then lost pole to Lorenzo by 0.096 seconds, regained it by 0.020 seconds and finally ended the outing 0.002 seconds ahead of Dovizioso. This was his 49th MotoGP pole. Tomorrow he will chase his 41st premier-class victory as he chases a fifth MotoGP crown in six years.

Last year here Marquez and Dovizioso fought for victory throughout the race, the Spaniard finally losing out to the Italian by just 0.176 seconds. This year Honda have engineered a much-improved engine for the RC213V that gives better acceleration out of corners, which is crucial everywhere but especially here at the Red Bull Ring, where the circuit layout is dominated by three very slow corners followed by long straights.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) also rode a great session, securing fifth-fastest time, which puts him in the middle of the second row of the grid. The 32-year-old British independent-team rider is enjoying excellent form at the moment with four top-six results from the last five races, including fifth place at Brno last weekend, when he finished just 2.59 seconds off the podium.

Crutchlow was seventh fastest during the first three practice sessions and fifth again in FP4, so he knows he can run a consistent pace tomorrow. Challenging for the podium will be difficult, with Marquez, Dovizioso and Lorenzo all showing lightning-fast pace. He has spent the dry sessions working to fix a mid-corner grip issue – which also hampered him at Brno. His main goal tomorrow will be to get a good result here that will take him into his home Grand Prix, where he has scored both pole positions and a podium result.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) start from the third row tomorrow, after placing ninth. The 32-year-old Spaniard has had a challenging time at the last few races and will be looking forward to the race, which looks likely to be run in warmer conditions, which are good for the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion. Pedrosa struggles to generate enough heat in his tires when track temperatures are low.

This weekend has been particularly challenging for Honda’s three MotoGP rookies. Not only have they had to learn this very unusual circuit for the first time on their 250-plus horsepower MotoGP bikes, but they’ve lost a lot of dry-track time due to the changeable weather, which included a monsoon-like downpour yesterday afternoon.

Last year’s Austrian GP Moto2 winner and the reigning Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) was the best of the trio, qualifying 16th fastest between the much more experienced Aleix Espargaro and Jack Miller. He was happy enough with his performance, considering that he lost two vital practice sessions to the rain.

Like all his rivals, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) hadn’t ridden a MotoGP bike in the rain for several months, so he used the wet sessions to improve his feeling in the wet. The 26-year Japanese from Chiba worked hard with his team to adjust machine set-up to the changing weather conditions, from yesterday’s rain-lashed FP2 to dry qualifying. However, he ended the day 21st quickest and will be looking to find some extra pace during the morning warm-up session.

Morbidelli’s team-mate Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) placed 22nd, around half a second slower than the Italian. The Swiss rider spent FP4, today’s first properly dry outing, using old tires to prepare for the race. in qualifying he increased his pace by an impressive six tenths. Tomorrow he will vie for his first MotoGP points.

The battle for the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 World Championship continued in full force this afternoon, with Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) taking pole position from Portuguese ace Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who last weekend took the title lead from the Italian.

Bagnaia better his great rival by three tenths of a second, with Catalan Grand Prix winner Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) completing the front row, two tenths slower than Oliveira, who was lucky to escape injury when he was knocked down by a rival in FP3.

Qualifying in the intermediate category – in which all riders use identically prepared CBR600 engines – was typically close, with the top 18 riders separated by exactly one second.

Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) leads the second row in fourth, his best qualifying performance since the Spanish Grand Prix in May. He will start the race alongside Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), who is still chasing his first race victory of the year, and veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), winner of April’s Argentine Moto2 race.

Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) was seventh quickest, less than seven tenths of a second off pole, and will share the third row with German GP winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) and Spanish GP winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex). The top ten is completed by Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) who finished second last Sunday, between Oliveira and team-mate Bagnaia.

Injured Moto3 star Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) rode a hero’s qualifying session, securing a place on the front row of the grid despite breaking his left radius bone during practice for last weekend’s Czech GP.

The 20-year-old Spaniard had the fracture pinned and plated at home last weekend and was cleared to ride here. He sat out some of practice, saving himself for the crucial qualifying session. Incredibly, he briefly led the way on the drying track, only for title leader Marco Bezzecchi to better him by 0.078 seconds. Martin had led the championship until his accident and now trails Bezzecchi by just three points. During practice and qualifying he was attended in his garage by a Clinica Mobile therapist, who iced his injury to reduce pain and swelling. Tomorrow’s race will be tough for the youngster, who will need to conserve as much strength as he can over the 23 laps.

Fellow Spaniard Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) is still in the hunt for the title, going into this race 18 points behind Martin, and this afternoon he boosted his hopes by qualifying a close fourth quickest, after twice leading the session. The18-year-old will lead the second row tomorrow, next to fifth-fastest Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW). This is the 18-year-old Italian’s best grid position since he qualified on pole at April’s Argentine Grand Prix and his performance makes it three NSF250RWs in the top five. Arbolino is still chasing his first podium finish of the year.

Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), currently fifth overall, 15 points down on Canet, was ninth this afternoon, just ahead of Adam Norrodin (Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW).

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) came into this weekend fresh from his first Grand Prix win, achieved at Brno last Sunday, but he didn’t fare so well today, ending qualifying in 16th, two places behind Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and immediately ahead of 20-year-old Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), from Chiba, and 17-year-old Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), from Yokosuka.

Tomorrow’s Austrian GP is the last of seven consecutive races on the Continent, with the next race taking place at Silverstone in Britain on August 26.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow



Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st, 1m 23.241s

“We’re on pole but it was all so very tight today. The plan was to make three runs, but I was comfortable during my second exit and decided not to stop. My last lap wasn’t perfect as I made a little mistake in the last corner and had to close the gas a little bit, but we got it anyway. I’ve felt good on the bike for the entire weekend, and today I was able to be fast during every practice, especially FP4, and that’s the most important thing. Anyway, we must keep pushing, keep working, and remain totally concentrated because Dovizioso and Lorenzo have a very good pace, consistent and fast. It looks like tomorrow will be dry and the warm-up will be crucial for choosing the best tire for the race; I’ve tested the soft and the medium, but it will be important to also understand the level of the hard spec. Of course I would like to win here and tomorrow I’ll start with that objective, but if it’s not possible, I’ll take points for the championship.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 5th, 1m 23.812s

“We have to be happy with the second row, but I made a really scrappy lap to be honest. I pushed hard, but it wasn’t good enough unfortunately. I had the speed and should have gone faster, but I was just not clean enough really. I don’t know how much farther we would have been up the grid, maybe only fourth, but we tried our best. The LCR Honda CASTROL team have worked well with the bike, and I’m pleased to qualify where we have. I think we have good pace for the race. We are in between set-ups at the moment, going back and forth between what we have used up to now and a quite radical change with the bike. I have set the same lap times with both settings, so we are a bit confused which way to go, but we look forward to the race to see what we can do.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 9th, 1m 24.124s

“After yesterday and today’s rain, the track didn’t have much grip, and I didn’t have a good feeling with the rear. Basically, that was the issue today, and it’s why our performance wasn’t what we were looking for. I hope the track conditions will improve tomorrow and that I’ll be able to start well and be fast from the beginning.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 16th, 1m 24.767s

 “I am quite happy about qualifying, I did a decent time considering that we have had only two dry sessions, FP1 and FP4. This means I had limited time to get used riding a MotoGP bike on this track for the first time. But I’m looking forward to race, hopefully in dry conditions.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 21st, 1m 25.178s

“It was a little bit of a difficult day for me, with a result that I didn’t want. The big problem was that the weather kept changing. We were thinking it would be a bit wet all day today but in fact by FP4 it was dry, so qualifying was also dry. We tried to adapt but we couldn’t improve the set-up. We tried changing the gearbox and also the electronics settings, but the lap time didn’t improve, so I think the race will also be difficult. I will talk to the team about fuel consumption because maybe I will have to reduce the torque towards the end of the race.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 22nd, 1m 25.310s

“It was a crazy day with the weather but luckily the sun came out for FP4 and qualifying. I ran with old tires in FP4, so I was really motivated for qualifying with new tires and I went 0.6s than my previous best time here. But I’m a little disappointed with my grid position, still too far back. With the limited dry track running we are still not sure on tire choice for the race, it will depend the temperature tomorrow.”



Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1m 29.409s

“I pushed a lot in the early laps to use the extra grip from the MotoGP rubber and it worked well. My aim is to push very hard from the beginning of the race to open a gap, but I know that Miguel is very strong again, so maybe he won’t give me the opportunity to open a gap. That’s why I think it will be a battle for the win. At the end of the session my bike ran out of fuel! But we worked well and made the right choices. I hope for warm, sunny conditions for the race.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 1m 29.719s

“First of all, I was very lucky to get no injury from the crash this morning. In qualifying we more or less put the bike where it should be setting-wise and we made a nice run at the end of the session, even though I made a few small mistakes here and there. I feel quite good here and I feel like I’m ready to fight for another win tomorrow.”

Fabio Quartararo, Speed Up Racing: 1m 29.930s

“I managed to get some good slipstreams and even though I made a few minor errors I was fast enough to get on the front row for the first time since Catalunya, where of course I won the race. We will try to win again but we will have to see how the race goes, because Bagnaia and Oliveira are very strong. It is difficult to predict because we haven’t had much dry time here.”


Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 2nd, 1m 38.695s

“I was under the knife a week ago, and today I’m in the parc fermé! I feel like it’s something incredible. I even had fun on the bike today: my feeling was good even though I must admit I struggle on left-handed corners. Tomorrow it will be all about resiliency: if it won’t be too painful for the first 15 laps, then I will have to make an extra effort if we want to go home with a good result. The idea is to save energy in warm-up by lapping as little as possible.”

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 4th, 1m 39.500s

“We were fast today in different track conditions. In the wet we had a great pace, with a very good feeling with both the front tire and the rear, as well as with the set-up. This is definitely going to be useful both here and at other circuits in similar situations. When the track dried out we put on slicks and, from that moment on, there was a continuous overall drop in the pole time, putting me fourth. I hope that we have a great race tomorrow.”

Tony Arbolino, Marinelli Snipers Team: 5th, 1m 39.548s

“'Today the qualifying practice was very good – we are competitive again and that is a great feeling. Of course, I really would have liked to make it onto the first row, but the second row is good. We have worked very hard this weekend and I’d like to end the weekend with a nice race result.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 11: Austria Qualifying

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
3 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
4 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
6 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
9 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
11 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
13 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
14 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
15 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
16 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
17 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
18 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
19 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
20 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
22 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
23 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
3 Fabio QUARTARARO ((+)Ego - Speed Up Racing )
4 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
5 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
6 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
7 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
8 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
9 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
10 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
11 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
12 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
13 Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40)
14 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
15 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)
16 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
17 Danny KENT ((+)Ego - Speed Up Racing )
18 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
19 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
20 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
21 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
22 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
23 Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
24 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
25 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
26 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
27 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
28 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
29 Niki TUULI (Petronas Sprinta Racing )
30 Isaac VIÑALES (Forward Racing Team)
31 Alejandro Medina Mayo (SAG Team)
32 Xavi CARDELUS (Team Stylobike)
33 Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
2 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
3 Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
4 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
6 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
7 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
8 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
9 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
10 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
11 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
12 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
13 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
14 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
15 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
16 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
17 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
18 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
19 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
20 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
21 Stefano Nepa (CIP - Green Power)
22 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
23 Maximilian KOFLER (Motosport Kofler)
24 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)
25 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
26 Ai Ogura (Asia Talent Team)
27 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
28 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
29 Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy 77)
RT John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)