MotoGP: Martin Breaks Lap Record, Captures Pole At Red Bull Ring

MotoGP: Martin Breaks Lap Record, Captures Pole At Red Bull Ring

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP Qual



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Martin smashes Red Bull Ring record for second pole of the season in Spielberg

The rookie denies Bagnaia and Quartararo, with less than a tenth covering the top three in Styria

Saturday, 07 August 2021


Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.


Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) may be a MotoGP™ rookie, but the Spaniard now already has two premier class pole positions to his name. The first was in only his second MotoGP™ appearance, in Doha, and led to his first podium. After some serious injury struggles since then, the Spaniard said he’s reset, reloaded and ready to fight it out again at the Red Bull Ring… and beating Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) previous lap record on Saturday is certainly quite a statement. Martin’s 1:22.994 makes him the first rider below the 1:23 barrier at the Styrian venue, and it was enough to deny Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) by 0.044 and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by just 0.081 as less than a tenth covers the top three for the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria.


Q1 saw the home heroes – this weekend comprising five KTMs – looking for a way through after a more difficult start to their Styrian GP, as well as the likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), despite his Friday highside that’s left him riding through the pain barrier, got the job done under pressure. He spent much of the session leading the way before getting pipped to P1 by Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), but the two moved through as Rins was left in P13 on the grid.

Wildcard and MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) continued to impress on Saturday. He didn’t make it through but will line up 14th as the second Austrian machine, despite not having raced since 2018.


Once Q2 was underway, Quartararo was looking like the man to beat as the Frenchman led the way after the first runs with a 1:23.075. Could Yamaha take a pole position at the Red Bull Ring once again? El Diablo looked strong, but as the final push began, Bagnaia came out the blocks stronger as most remained in pitlane.

The Italian took over on top with a 1:23.038, incredibly close to Marc Marquez’ fastest ever lap of the venue, but the showstopper came not from the factory man but from Martin. The Spaniard stunned to put in the first sub 1:23 lap of the Red Bull Ring, but Quartararo was on a fast one…

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, Turn 9 was more bucking bronco than bull by the horns, and the Championship leader touched the green on the outside of track limits – cancelling his lap and leaving him a best of third on the grid. Bagnaia then also had some red sectors, but he couldn’t topple Martin either… and then drama for Marc Marquez muted the end of the session. A lowside at Turn 3 was no harm done for the eight-time World Champion, but it did put paid to any improvement after he’d been up too.

The Grid 

The incredibly close top three sees Martin, Bagnaia and Quartararo on the front row split by less than a tenth. The rider on pole is a rookie, but Bagnaia’s performance also steals the headlines as it’s his first MotoGP™ weekend at the Red Bull Ring after missing last year with injury.

Behind Quartararo, there’s a more comfortable 0.225 back to Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) in fourth, although the Australian took two podiums at the venue last year and will likely be an immediate threat. Likewise reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as he had a great qualifying at a track that’s seen him enjoy considerable success, taking P5 this time. It’s his best position of the season and his best since the 2020 Europe GP… which he went on to win. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), second in the standings, completes the second row and will be looking to slice forward early.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) heads up Row 3, with Marc Marquez forced to settle for eighth and his first time off the front two rows at the Red Bull Ring. Also off-form was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), who took a pole last year in Austria but completes Row 3 for the 2021 Styrian GP after finding a few engine gremlins in Q2.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completes the top ten, meaning the two Q1-graduates didn’t make big inroads in the second qualifying session. Alex Marquez will start 11th, his best since the Teruel GP last year, with Oliveira looking to move forward from 12th as he rides through the pain barrier.

That’s it from Saturday at the Styrian GP, with a rookie on pole, a venue first timer right behind him and the Championship leader looking play his cards right at what’s traditionally been a tougher venue for Yamaha. With Miller and Mir lurking… KTM wanting to push… Zarco needing a points haul… and a million more stories up and down the grid. Tune in for the Styrian GP at 14:00 (GMT +2) as MotoGP™ takes the Red Bull Ring by the horns.

Jorge Martin: “It wasn’t a perfect lap, I started well in the first sector then in the second corner I blocked the front going uphill, but then I thought the first sector was good so tried to stop the best I could. I kept pushing and saw I was coming in hot, then I made a mistake with the gear at Turns 4 and 5… but anyway, in T3 I was improving and in the last two corners I tried to not go in the green because today with the wind that was difficult… and when I finished I saw 22.9 and I thought ‘woah that’s a good time’… but on the TV I saw maybe Quartararo improved, I don’t know, but maybe touched the green? When I saw I was on pole I was amazed. I want to dedicate it to my grandfather who is in hospital battling a lot, but… yeah I’m really happy, the points are tomorrow but I’ll try and battle for the podium.”


Gardner edges out Ogura with a late heartbreaker in Austria

The Championship leader overcomes the rookie, with 2020 winner Bezzecchi completing the front row

Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) continued his march of impressive form in 2021 on Saturday, the Australian taking pole position for the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria by just over a tenth from rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) as the two duelled for the honour. It goes to the veteran but the rookie makes it his best Saturday yet in the intermediate class, with Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the front row at the venue that saw him take his first Moto2™ win.


Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was certainly one surprise name in the Q1 session in Styria, but the Italian topped it to move through, getting the better of Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) by just 0.014. Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40) joined the two in Q2, leaving a few names out of the running including Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) and Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) as they take P20 and P21, respectively… looking for more on Sunday.


The early pacesetter was the MotoGP™-bound Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) joining him at the top of the timesheets too. But the namesake 1-2 didn’t last long as Gardner struck back, before Bezzecchi took over as the man to beat after the first run.

Ogura soon made a bigger move, up into P3, before then suddenly taking provisional pole with less than two minutes to go. But as the rookie started to dream of a maiden Moto2™ pole, Gardner made his move, the Australian fighting back to go a tenth clear at the top. Ogura was just unable to respond on his final lap, but he still takes away a first-ever intermediate class front row start as a consolation prize. Bezzecchi, meanwhile, bemoaned some technical issues in the aftermath as the reason he could not improve on his earlier time, but it was still enough for P3.

The Grid

Gardner heads Ogura and Bezzecchi, with rookie sensation Raul Fernandez forced to settle for fourth as he aims to cut the gap to his teammate in the Championship. Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) takes fifth by the smallest possible margin of 0.001 ahead of Augusto Fernandez.

Augusto Fernandez pipped teammate Sam Lowes so the Brit heads up Row 3, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) continuing his excellent weekend of Moto2™ form to line up in eighth. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was just 0.003 in further arrears as he completes the third row.

That’s it from Saturday, with Remy Gardner back in the driving seat and looking to do some more damage in the standings. Can he gain again or will the likes of Fernandez (x2) or Bezzecchi fight back? Find out at 12:20 (GMT +2)!

Remy Gardner: “I feel good! After struggling a bit in FP1 with some brake problems we finally got everything sorted out and started to work on the setup. I don’t know if I expected pole or not but happy to bring it home, we’ve been working away and it’s good to be back in parc ferme after the summer break. So super happy and we’ll see what tomorrow brings with all the rain but it should be an interesting weekend.”

Öncü takes maiden pole with a stunner in Styria

The Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider rules the Red Bull Ring to become the first Turkish rider to take a Grand Prix pole position

Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) has taken his maiden pole position at the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria, the Turkish rider pipping Sergio Garcia (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar Team) by just 0.024 to head the Moto3™ grid for the first time on both Red Bull and KTM home turf. Completing the front row is veteran Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), despite the former Austria winner having taken a trip through Q1.


A couple of surprises in Q1 were both Fenati and recent momentum man Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), but when crunch time appeared the two delivered. Foggia topped the session and headed through, just 0.002 ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), with Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) third and Fenati the last man joining them in Q1. The latter did a good few laps alone, too…


Q2 had some early drama, late drama, even later drama, and then even more after the flag. The first was for Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as he took a tumble at Turn 3, but rider ok. The second then came for Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46) as he crashed at Turn 10, and the veteran Italian headed for the Medical Centre. After the flag, it was confirmed he is unfit due to a hand fracture.

The next drama hit later as Garcia crashed out, suffering a highside at Turn 3. Up and ok, heading for a check up and declared fit, the rider currently second in the standings was on for provisional pole but sidelined from the final push… with not long left for the rest to try and leapfrog him, would he tumble down the order?

Not to the extent sometimes seen in the Moto3™ class, but he wouldn’t be keeping pole. On his penultimate lap, Öncü put in a stunner to just get the better of the GASGAS rider, securing his first pole position by just 0.024 and the first for Turkey in motorcycle Grand Prix racing.

Behind that tiny gap in the battle for pole, Fenati was back on the form more expected from the Italian as he leapt up the timesheets to secure third and a front row despite his trip through Q1 – just 0.053 off the number 53 in a close top three.

After the flag, a lap cancelled for Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) saw him drop from the second row to the third, with Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) promoted to fourth place in Q2 and on the grid, making that his second best qualifying so far in Grand Prix racing.

The Grid

Öncü, Garcia and Fenati head the grid, with Acosta spearheading Row 2 at the venue that saw him take four Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victories in a row in 2020. The Championship leader has fellow rookie Izan Guevara (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar) alongside him. Foggia came through from Q1 and completes the second row in sixth.

Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) takes seventh place, ahead of Friday’s fastest Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in eighth. Alcoba’s lap cancellation demotes him to ninth, just ahead of teammate Gabriel Rodrigo.

The fourth row is completed by John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride), with Antonelli 11th quickest but ruled out.

Tech3 have some good memories of the Red Bull Ring in the MotoGP™ class… can Öncü add another for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team in Moto3™? The lights go out for the lightweight class at 11:00 (GMT +2), so make sure to tune in for another stunner in Styria.

Deniz Öncü: “This is very special for me because it’s the first Turkish pole. Honestly this weekend we were not expecting pole position because yesterday we came back from summer break and I was struggling in the morning to get back the feeling on my Moto3 bike, but the team did a great job and amazing setup, especially in FP3, and I’m on pole position… and at the same time I won my first watch haha. But I’m so happy and ready for tomorrow’s race!”

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