Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) narrowly missed out on setting an outright lap record at the Red Bull Ring, with his 1:23.114 less than a tenth shy of Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) 2019 effort. The Italian will be more than satisfied with his morning’s work, which sees him lead Fabio Quartararo, by 0.028 seconds, and Maverick Viñales (both Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in the timesheets at the Michelin® Grand Prix of Styria.
How did the session play out?
The dry conditions permitted a fast and frantic start to the session, with a number of riders immediately improving their times, in particular, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ectsar) who looked sharp while on circuit. The Mallorcan debuted a new ride height device on his GSX-RR during FP3, as he sat around the top of the timesheets for a large part of the session, eventually finishing fifth.
Both factory Yamahas recorded top three finishes, but for a large part of the session, the two experienced contrasting fortunes. Viñales showed some excellent and consistent pace throughout and was deserving of his P3 finish, whereas Quartararo struggled. The Championship leader found himself in difficulty on multiple occasions at turn three, running it wide on at least four occasions, and it seemed his Q2 ambitions were under threat. However, he showed his mental strength in the closing stages to recover from those setbacks to move top of the leaderboard as he took the chequered flag, but eventually losing out to Bagnaia's late effort.
Missing out on a top three place by a shade was Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), with the rookie rider looking a strong candidate for pole. In fact, Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) ensured all four GP21s made the Q2 cut and all look realistic contenders for pole this afternoon.
Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) will also be in the mix when the battle for pole begins this afternoon, as will Friday’s fastest man Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) who squeezed himself into the top 10.
KTM's woes continue
It’s been a less than ideal return home for KTM as none of their three riders could break into the top 10. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira trail wildcard entry Dani Pedrosa on the timesheets, and they will all have to fight it out in a tough Q1 this afternoon at 2.10pm (CET). Make sure you tune in then.
Top 10 combined:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:23.114
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.028
3. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.148
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.180
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.273
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.373
7. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.399
8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.480
9. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.617
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.626