Two all time lap records, Vinales controversy and a Ducati sandwich to shake up the championship.
Ahead of the qualifying session, Maverick Vinales said his apologies to Yamaha for allowing his anger to get the best of him.
If you haven’t heard, Vinales will not be racing this weekend, as Yamaha has decided that his behavior last weekend proved that he was attempting to blow the engine on his Yamaha. For the final five laps of last weekend’s race, Vinales would not shift his gear into 6th despite needing to. This wears on the engine and can cause it to be unstable. To add to that, as he was coming into the pits, he was revving his engine, allegedly to do damage. While only Vinales knows if these accusations are true, or at least his intent was to blow the engine, Yamaha’s relationship with Vinales is clearly in a bad place.
This was caused because his team changed his clutch and tires ahead of the second race. Either way, it’s unprofessional and a clear indicator that he should not be on the track. If that happened in any of the other levels, as we have seen a lot of bad moves made in Moto3 and Moto2, they would have had their license removed, been suspended for the rest of the season and even put down a level in the sport.
The riders in today’s Q1 session are regulars, with the exception of last weekend’s race winner- Jorge Martin. A costly crash in FP3 had him losing his position in Q2.
The favorites to move forward in the session are Martin and Alex Rins. The Suzuki rider tends to be able to get himself out of Q1 and into Q2, but Enea Bastianini and Alex Marquez have had some good times on their timesheets in Austria.
Remember- only the top two riders in MotoGP will go up to the next session.
A rider who has been struggling more than usual at the Red Bull Ring is Miguel Oliveira. From winning the race last year to struggling to move forward into Q2, it’s a clear indicator that the KTM’s are struggling this year.
With eight minutes left of the session, Martin and Rins are in the top two.
It’s a slower session, with the exception of the commentary on Vinales. Unless Bastianini or A. Marquez can improve their times, then the results will stay the same.
With 00:27 seconds left in the session, there are four riders in the reds. Marquez, Rins, Martin and Oliveira are up-
And it is Martin and Oliveira who will move up to Q2!
Who is going to take the MotoGP pole- will it be another Ducati, or the world championship leader take pole?
Oliveira, Binder, Mir, Nakagami and the Honda’s are the leading pack through the first timed lap. They are all looking for a reference, all looking to push the limits better than the guy in front of them.
With the first times coming in, Johann Zarco is topping the timesheets. Binder and Espargaro are following, but the entire front row changes as the next set of times come in. We are seeing Marquez in the front row, nestled with the Ducatis-
And then Quartararo takes pole position, a 1:22:677, which is another all time lap record. Last weekend, Martin broke the record, yesterday Zarco broke the record, and today the Yamaha takes it.
For the race this weekend, the track has been modified to keep the riders safe. Three incidents in three years is indicator enough, so they have added an extra turn between where turn 1 and turn 2 were. Turn 2 is now in the middle of the straight, and knowing how the Yamaha’s work, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turn gave him the extra boost.
A rider that is clearly suffering in the session is Francesco Bagnaia. He has put two lap times in, and both times he has had them cancelled for exceeding track limits. Due to that- he has no time with five minutes remaining in the session.
Even Joan Mir is putting in good times, pushing Zarco out of the top row. And then, just 00:30 seconds later, Bagnaia puts a good time in and pushes Mir out of the front row.
It doesn’t look like anyone is going to threaten Quartararo’s time. Most of the riders have rolled out of the last flying laps, opting out for the positions they already hold. Just the two Pramac riders are pushing to reclaim pole position- and another all time lap record.
Will he do it?-
He will! Jorge Martin takes pole and another all time lap record of 1:22:643!
Our front row tomorrow will be Martin, Quartararo and Bagnaia.
Will he make it two for two, or will the world championship leader stop him?
Tune in tomorrow to find out!