Andrea Iannone gave Ducati the pole position many were expecting in Austria but the Italian squad received a much tougher challenge than predicted by Yamaha at the Red Bull Ring. Iannone needed a last-ditch flyer to deny Valentino Rossi who produced a sensational effort to split the factory Ducatis, Andrea Dovizioso taking third on the grid.
The day’s headlines looked to have been made in morning practice when championship leader Marc Marquez crashed heavily at turn three. The Spaniard outbraked himself into the hairpin and was sent tumbling as he tried to avoid teammate Dani Pedrosa, the impact causing a dislocated shoulder. After a short trip to hospital, Marquez was back at the circuit in time for qualifying and would take a full part in the session.
Dovizioso would draw first blood in Q2 with a 1:23.668 but improvements from Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo on their second flying laps would relegate the no.4 rider to third by the halfway stage in proceedings. Starting his second run earlier than his rivals, Dovizioso would regain top spot on a 1:23.598 but Lorenzo struck back shortly afterwards, handing Yamaha the advantage again.
A frantic final minute saw everything change with Dovizioso, who had found time for a third run, clocking a 1:23.298 but his third spell on provisional pole was short-lived as Rossi hit the front for the first time. Following in the Doctor’s slipstream, Iannone had the last word though with a 1:23.142 securing his first pole position of the season.
Lorenzo will head the second row ahead of the brave Marquez and Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales while Cal Crutchlow finished seventh after navigating his way through Q1. Scott Redding starts eighth ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Hector Barbera with Eugene Laverty a superb eleventh after topping Q1.
2016 NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich (Qualifying Classification)
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