Red Bull KTM factory racing take first pole in MotoGP

Pol Espargaró goes fastest in thrilling qualifying session at Spielberg

Espargaró – Nakagami – Zarco. KTM, then Honda and Ducati – that’s how qualifying sensationally finished for the Styrian Grand Prix. While Pol Espargaró and Takaaki Nakagami  will line up on the front row on Sunday, Frenchman Johann Zarco will have to start the race from the pit lane after causing the accident last Sunday. Zarco’s spot on the front row will instead be taken by Spain’s Joan Mir, who put in another strong performance with his Suzuki and took the fourth fastest time in qualifying.

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What the top 3 say:

Pol Espargaró (ESP/KTM):

“I am extremely happy with this after not being able to finish the race last weekend. I was hoping to make the front or second row, but I hadn’t imagined I would take pole. We hadn’t put in a really fast lap beforehand this weekend. We kept on making mistakes. I am pleased for the whole team, as they all deserve this! Nakagami won’t make things easy for me, and we will miss our fans, the Orange Army, in the race!”

Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda):

“The feeling is good and the performances have been consistent. Sometimes I am still a bit too far out, but the lap time was really good. Races and qualifying are two different things but we still have something in store for tomorrow! I hope that I can stay with the leading group. If I get the chance to win, I’ll take it!”

Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati):

“It feels really good. I am very happy. I expected it to rain, but it still worked out. I used the Friday without practice to watch the others. My aim was to just do a few laps today, but to make them as good as possible. I expected to have more pain in my wrist actually, but it was okay. Even if I have to start from the pit lane, Q2 was very valuable. I learned a lot!”

First for KTM

By getting KTM’s first pole position in MotoGP, Espargaró holds all the trumps for race day as he seeks to end Ducati’s dominance at Spielberg. With Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), a second KTM rider will go into their home Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in the top ten.

Numerous producers with chance of winning after thrilling qualifying

Proof of just how close the pack were over the 4.318 kilometres of the Red Bull Ring on Saturday was shown by the 0.286-second gap between the winner of qualifying and the tenth-placed rider, Fabio Quartararo.. In the top six in qualifying were no less than five different producers with KTM, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha. The race on Sunday is certain to be exciting!

Anyone who wants to be back in Spielberg next year as the MotoGP stars return for more thrilling battles at the Red Bull Ring from 13 to 15 August 2021 (subject to confirmation by FIM) at the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich should get tickets soon!

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