Marc Marquez stunned the factory Ducatis on Saturday to claim pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg. The reigning champion took Honda to the top of the timesheets on a circuit expected to completely favour Ducati with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo forced to settle for second and third respectively.
The early stages of Q2 saw Marquez preoccupied with other riders attempting to use his Honda for a helpful slipstream. First, Loris Baz latched onto the back of the no.93 before Andrea Iannone positioned his Suzuki for a tow, a tactic which appeared to irritate Marquez. While he searched for some clear track, Maverick Vinales clocked a 1:24.208 to go fastest.
Once Marquez had got his head down, pole position only looked to be heading one way with Marc setting a 1:23.473 on his first representative lap, opening up a comfortable advantage over the rest. It soon became apparent that Ducati were the only team capable of mounting a challenge and Lorenzo gave the Bologna squad hope, closing to within 0.148s two minutes from the end.
Marquez still had pace in hand though, improving to a 1:23.235 on his final effort and that improvement proved crucial with Dovizioso snatching second late on with a time that would’ve stolen pole had Marc not gone out again. Lorenzo slipped to third with Vinales heading the second row while Danilo Petrucci and Johann Zarco completed the top six.
Valentino Rossi could only manage seventh with Dani Pedrosa taking eighth despite having to negotiate his way through Q1 while Cal Crutchlow and 2016 winner Andrea Iannone rounded out the top ten.
2017 NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich: Qualifying
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