With so many competitive machines around the Red Bull Ring and a sketchy forecast for Sunday, pole position was going to be a valuable feather in one’s cap, but while all eyes were on Fabio Quartararo, Jorge Martin stole that fancy cap and was back to pole winning ways. The rookie also picked up the all time lap record with the first 1:22 time around the Ring, on his first proper outing on Ducati’s favourite playground. Pecco Bagnaia added another red machine to the front row, while Quartararo tried to fight back but a cancelled lap due to track limits left him third and with quite a bit of work finding a way past two rapid Ducatis tomorrow.
Having two more of them right behind won’t help much either, with Jack Miller and Johann Zarco bookending the second row of the grid and sandwiching the lone Suzuki of Joan Mir. Aleix Espargaro opens the way on row three, closely followed by compatriots Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales. Both will have something to prove after the Honda man tumbled out at turn three on his final flying lap and the still-Yamaha rider had an underwhelming qualifying despite a solid performance in practice.
Row four is LCR territory, with Takaaki Nakagami ahead of Q1 leader Alex Marquez, while KTM’s sole representative in Q2 in their home GP was Miguel Oliveira in 12th position, almost a full second off the leader. The Portuguese rider was spared his blushes in Q1 by Enea Bastianini seeing his top time cancelled, but Alex Rins had no such luck and will start the race from 13th on the grid, sharing fifth row with some fairly familiar faces in Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro.