Styrian MotoGP Qualifying Results: Pol on pole, first for him and KTM

Pol Espargaro lands a maiden pole position for both himself and his team on KTM's home soil at the Styrian MotoGP as Nakagami shines in second

Pol Espargaro - KTM Factory Racing

Pol Espargaro has qualified on pole position for a MotoGP race for the first time in 110 attempts after finally breaking his and KTM’s duck in perfect surrounds at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

A second event – dubbed the Styrian MotoGP this time - to be held in the Spielberg mountains, the session was a breathless affair as riders yo-yo’d up and down the order right up to the chequered flag.

However, it was Espargaro that would shake out on top to confirm the huge strides made by KTM this season, one that has already seen it top the podium with Brad Binder in Brno. This time though it was the more experience pilot that’d notch up the company landmark on home soil amid what initially looks like a mixed up grid.

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Coming into this weekend with a best starting position of sixth place – achieved at the Red Bull Ring last year – Takaaki Nakagami came to within thousandths of a shock pole position aboard the LCR Honda, a year-old one no less.

Moreover, he should have been joined by another rider on a ‘used’ machine after Johann Zarco produced a stunning effort to land third on the grid… even if he won’t be able to start there on Sunday.

The Frenchman underwent surgery on his fractured wrist on Wednesday, a recovery hard enough even without the sharp focus brought about by last weekend’s unfortunate series of events. Nevertheless, though he missed FP1, FP2 and FP4, Zarco first made it into Q2 via Q1 before placing it on the front row – which becomes a pit-lane start tomorrow following his penalty.

His misfortune plays into the hands of Joan Mir, who lands his first front row start aboard the Suzuki, ahead of a revised second row comprising Jack Miller – struggling with a shoulder complaint after a crash in FP3 – Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins.

Behind them Miguel Oliveira will have to two title favourites for company with last weekend’s winner Andrea Dovizioso left with work to do from eighth, while Fabio Quartararo again appeared at a loss for his usual scintillating single lap form as he faded to ninth.

Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi scuppered his hopes of a Q2 passage with a fall at Turn 9 during the closing stages of Q1, while Cal Crutchlow – already outclassed by LCR team-mate Nakagami – starts 16th, just behind Honda stablemate and rookie Alex Marquez.

2020 Styrian MotoGP, Red Bull Ring – Qualifying Results & Grid

2020 Styrian MotoGP, Red Bull Ring - Qualifying Results
1Pol EspargaroESPRed Bull KTM Factory1m 23.580
2Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda1m 23.602
3Johann Zarco ***FRAAvintia Ducati1m 23.632
4Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki Ecstar1m 23.678
5Jack MillerAUSPramac Ducati1m 23.700
6Maverick VinalesESPYamaha Factory Racing1m 23.778
7Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki Ecstar1m 23.782
8Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Tech 31m 23.797
9Andrea DoviziosoITADucati Team1m 23.849
10Fabio QuartararoFRAPetronas SRT Yamaha1m 23.866
11Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas SRT Yamaha1m 24.021
12Danilo PetrucciITADucati Team1m 24.174
13Iker LecuonaESPRed Bull KTM Tech 31m 23.928
14Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory1m 23.932
15Valentino RossiITAYamaha Factory Racing1m 24.127
16Michele PirroITAPramac Ducati1m 24.273
17Alex MarquezESPRepsol Honda Team1m 24.370
18Cal CrutchlowGBRLCR Honda1m 24.401
19Bradley SmithGBRAprilia Racing Gresini1m 24.416
20Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Gresini1m 24.429
21Stefan BradlESPRepsol Honda Team1m 24.667
22Tito RabatESPAvintia Ducati1m 24.916
*** Johann Zarco to start from the pit-lane as part of a penalty