AFP Spielberg bei Knittelfeld, Austria
World champion Marc Marquez on a Honda stormed to pole position for today’s Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Ducati pair Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.
Having won the last two GPs, three-time world champion Marquez has a 14-point lead in the standings over Maverick Vinales, who was fourth on Saturday with his Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi seventh.
It is a third straight pole for Marquez who posted a time of 1min 23.235sec to beat Dovizioso by 0.144sec for the 42nd pole of his 70-race career.
Marquez, 24, has taken control of the Moto GP season after struggles earlier in the season had left him fourth following June’s Dutch GP, behind Vinales, Dovizioso and Rossi.
Despite claiming back-to-back wins in Germany and the Czech Republic, the Spaniard was only fifth in Austria 12 months ago in a race where Ducati went 1-2 thanks to Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso.
“I’m feeling much better than last year at this circuit, so this is the most important thing,” said Marquez.
“Last year we were struggling to be in the top five but this year it looks like we have a good rhythm; we tried many things and it looks like we have a good base.
“I have some doubts about the rear tyre because today I tried the medium and it seems like it has good potential — but with used tyres I feel good, I was riding well and that’s the most important. And to be on pole, after the race in Brno, gives me a good feeling and a good mentality. But I know tomorrow we need to finish our job this weekend.”
MotoGP qualifying results (top 10)
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:23.235
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.144
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) +0.386
4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) +0.519
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Pramac) +0.545
6. Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech3) +0.644
7. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.747
8. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.750
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +0.789
10. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) +0.950
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