Marc Marquez was all but untouchable as he took a third straight pole position in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Repsol Honda rider will share the front row of the grid with the two factory Ducatis as Andrea Dovizioso rose to second in the last moments of qualifying and Jorge Lorenzo took third.
Marquez aborted his first timed lap in order to prevent Andrea Iannone from following him around the Red Bull Ring before laying down a quick 1:23.473s next time around to go comfortably clear.
The Spaniard went faster again during his second run, setting the ultimate pole time of a 1:23.235s.
Dovizioso surprised by running with a medium compound rear tyre, in contrast to the more popular soft option, and closed in on Marquez’s benchmark after the chequered flag to qualify second on the grid.
Lorenzo helped to somewhat vindicate the Ducati Team’s favouritism for the race, which they won last year courtesy of Iannone, by achieving his second front row start for the Italian squad.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha) will start fourth, alongside Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) and Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha).
Petrucci jumped up the timing screen after the chequered flag, having had to come through Q1.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) qualified seventh, while Dani Pedrosa just survived Q1 to earn eighth on the grid.
The Repsol Honda rider had been in danger of failing to make the cut in the first session of qualifying but Scott Redding couldn’t finish off his final lap.
Lining up with Rossi and Pedrosa on the third row will be Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).
Row 4 is Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar), Karel Abraham (Aspar Ducati), and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati).
Redding was 15th in the end on his Pramac Ducati.
Jack Miller could only qualify 19th in an extremely uncompetitive weekend so far for both he and Marc VDS Honda team-mate Tito Rabat.
Miller has not finished any session higher than 18th, while Rabat qualified 24th and last.
Sam Lowes, whose dumping from the Gresini Aprilia team at the end of the season was confirmed the day earlier, was 23rd fastest.
Tomorrow night’s grand prix will be 28 laps long, starting at 2200 AEST.
Qualifying: Austrian Grand Prix
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’23.235|
|2||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’23.379||0.144 / 0.144|
|3||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Ducati Team||Ducati||1’23.621||0.386 / 0.242|
|4||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’23.754||0.519 / 0.133|
|5||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’23.780||0.545 / 0.026|
|6||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’23.879||0.644 / 0.099|
|7||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1’23.982||0.747 / 0.103|
|8||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1’23.985||0.750 / 0.003|
|9||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||1’24.024||0.789 / 0.039|
|10||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’24.185||0.950 / 0.161|
|11||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’24.220||0.985 / 0.035|
|12||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’24.483||1.248 / 0.263|
|13||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1’24.015||Q1 / Q1|
|14||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||1’24.036||Q1 / 0.021|
|15||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||1’24.037||Q1 / 0.001|
|16||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’24.101||Q1 / 0.064|
|17||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||1’24.202||Q1 / 0.101|
|18||36||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’24.261||Q1 / 0.059|
|19||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’24.321||Q1 / 0.060|
|20||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’24.447||Q1 / 0.126|
|21||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||1’24.448||Q1 / 0.001|
|22||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1’24.530||Q1 / 0.082|
|23||22||Sam LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1’24.852||Q1 / 0.322|
|24||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||1’24.900||Q1 / 0.048|