The Madrilenian gets his second pole of the season ahead of Bagnaia and Quartararo
Jorge Martín (Ducati-Pramac) excels in qualifying and he demonstrated it again this Saturday at the Styrian Grand Prix: the Spaniard got his second pole position in MotoGP, ahead of Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (3rd), current leader of the World Cup, before maybe the rain turns the race upside down.
After the good weather on Saturday, a lot of rain is expected on Sunday, something that would disrupt Quartararo’s plans, uncomfortable in wet conditions on the back of his Yamaha.
In fact, the Frenchman was faster than Martín, but his mark was annulled for exceeding the limits of the track.
“It’s a shame,” lamented the Gaul. “Today I really did the maximum with what I had, but top speed (weak point of his bike) is so important here … It is the first time that I attack so much.”
On his side, Martín accompanied his ‘pole’ with a new record on the Austrian track (1: 22.994), being ahead of Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) and Quartararo.
Between small errors and his fight against the wind not to exceed the limits of the track, “it was not the perfect lap,” said the 23-year-old Spaniard, “astonished” when he found out his place on the grid.
After a serious crash in Portugal in April, which caused him seven fractures and missed four GPs, Martín can only be “very happy” with this result, although he wants more.
“The points are awarded tomorrow (Sunday) and I will try to fight for the podium,” warned the Spaniard, third at the Doha GP at the beginning of the season.
It was there that the Spanish ‘rookie’ achieved his first ‘pole’ in MotoGP, in his second Grand Prix in the category, faithful to the fame that was created thanks to his record of ‘poles’ in Moto3 (19 in 2017 and 2018) .
Behind, the second row will be dominated by the Australian Jack Miller (Ducati), the Spanish Joan Mir (Suzuki) and the French Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac), second in the drivers’ standings.
The omnipresence of the Ducati in the front positions of the tenth round of the season is not a surprise: in six races at this circuit since 2016, the Italian brand has won five times one from KTM.
Among the other big names, Spaniard Marc Márquez (Honda) will start 8th on Sunday, between two of his compatriots, Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia) and Maverick Viñales (Yamaha).
Italian Valentino Rossi (Yamaha-SRT), who announced his retirement at the end of 2021 on Thursday, was 17th.
Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who came out of retirement to compete with KTM this GP with an invitation, set the 14th fastest time, while Briton Cal Crutchlow, who replaces Italian Franco Morbidelli on Yamaha-SRT, finished 23rd and last.
In Moto2 the ‘pole’ went to World Championship leader, Australian Remy Gardner. His teammate Raúl Fernández, who will race in MotoGP next year with a KTM-Tech3, will escort him on Sunday on the grid.
Finally in Moto3 Turkish Deniz Öncü dominated qualifying for the first time in his career. The stands of the circuit were open “to full capacity” for spectators “vaccinated, tested or cured of covid-19”, but they were not very crowded.