The Ducatis made a big splash in qualifying for the MotoGP Styrian Grand Prix, confirming the predictions of the day before, but Fabio Quartararo made the men in Red sweat the proverbial seven shirts, proving once again to be a great qualifying specialist.
The pole position was conquered by Jorge Martin, who then conceded an encore after that of the Doha Grand Prix. The Pramac Racing driver had his first attempt canceled for going beyond the limits of the track at turn 9, but then he was the only one capable of breaking the 1’23 “wall with his 1’22” 994.
To be fair, Quartararo had managed to do even better than the Spanish driver, but he too went too wide at turn 9, so he had to settle for the 1’23 “075 he had scored earlier, which earned him third position, but not really bad on a track that is very difficult on paper for his Yamaha.
In front of the world leader, one of his pursuers in the title race, Pecco Bagnaia, who with his Ducati bowed to Martin for just 44 thousandths, but also seems equipped with an excellent pace for the race, even if tomorrow there is a risk that they will have to deal with the rain.
For the Desmosedici GPs, however, it was a really good qualifying, because if there are two in the front row, we also find as many in the second, with Jack Miller fourth and Johann Zarco sixth. Joan Mir’s Suzuki joined them, and on the flying lap seems to have taken a decisive step forward with the introduction of the rear lowering device on the GSX-RR. Starting so far, the world champion could be a threat to many tomorrow.
The third row opens with Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia, who pays just over four tenths and precedes a Marc Marquez who crashed in the final minutes, thus unable to improve his Honda’s eighth position on the grid. On the other hand, Maverick Vinales’ qualifying was disappointing, who this morning seemed quite on the ball with his Yamaha, but in Q2 he was unable to go beyond the ninth time.
In the fourth row we find the two Honda of the LCR Team, with Takaaki Nakagami tenth ahead of teammate Alex Marquez, who passed first in Q1. The KTM qualifying, which last year won here with Miguel Oliveira, was definitely below expectations, but he had to settle for the 12th time of the Portuguese, who was his only standard bearer in Q2.
Once again, Q1 immediately gave some surprises, starting with the elimination of Alex Rins, who with his Suzuki found himself fooled by just 33 thousandths and will be forced to start from the 13th box. The Spaniard, however, will have the “honor” of sharing the fifth row with the returning Dani Pedrosa, who after almost three years of absence from a race weekend missed Q2 by less than two tenths with the KTM.
The big disappointment in Q1, however, is undoubtedly Enea Bastianini: the Avintia Esponsorama driver had set the best time, but he saw him canceled for having gone beyond the limits of the track at turn 8 and therefore will have to be content with taking the away from 20th position.
Returning to the fifth row, this is completed with Pol Espargaro’s Honda, while Brad Binder’s KTM will open a sixth row which he will share with Valentino Rossi and his brother Luca Marini. The “Doctor” tried in every way to go hunting for Q2, sticking in Pedrosa’s wake with his Yamaha Petronas, but it wasn’t enough. Just as the rear lowering of the Ducati, obtained for the first time here, did not help Luca to hit the decisive segment of the qualifying.
Said of Bastianini’s 20th place, behind him are Lorenzo Savadori, author of a crash in the final minutes with his Aprilia, and Danilo Petrucci. The rider from Terni, still struggling with his top speed problems, learned during qualifying that KTM decided to replace him with Raul Fernandez in Team Tech3’s 2022 lineup, so it must not have been an easy session for him. .
At the end of the group we find the other returning, or Cal Crutchlow, who this weekend replaces the injured Franco Morbidelli on the second Yamaha of Team Petronas. The Briton also hadn’t raced since the last race in Portimao last year, but especially in recent months he had never had the opportunity to ride a MotoGP, so it’s more than justified.