MotoGP Austria: Marquez takes pole, Dovizioso second

Claudine Rigal
Août 12, 2017

Acceleration has always been viewed as a major weakness of the Honda bike, and the Red Bull Ring was not expected to be a strong venue for the Japanese marque.

Marc Marquez claimed a third straight pole position as he topped the timing screens on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, beating the Ducatis to record a fastest lap time of 1:23.235, pipping Andrea Dovizioso by 0.144s.

Despite fears about the weather, there was no rain on Saturday and good conditions for the track with the highest average speed of the year - meaning there was plenty of track time to make use of throughout the day as the grid get ready for 28 laps on Sunday.

Asked whether his pole indicated that Honda's acceleration problems were solved, Marquez said: "Looks like in this race weekend, honestly, we are not losing on acceleration". "We are like our competitors".

"Of course, I'm losing in other points and I'm struggling a little bit, but I try to adapt my riding style to the bike".

However, since July's German GP, Marquez has been in a league of his own.

"Last year I was losing much more but I was riding without winglets, with a completely different balance of the bike".

"We prepared really well for this race weekend - in the Monday test in Brno, we tried many different configurations to just focus on this race track", he added.

While Marquez excelled in qualifying, his performance overshadowed a largely muted showing from the rest of the Honda contingent.

Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) will start the race in fourth while team-mate Valentino Rossi is back in seventh and Britain's LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow finished qualifying in ninth.

"Since I went out in FP1 the bike was much better than previous year".

"He is riding fantastic in that area, really really well, getting the bike stopped, turned and getting out [of the corner]".

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