A red-letter day for Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team with a new lap record at the Red Bull Ring as the 21-year old record for most premier class poles falls.
The pace was high from the off on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring as MotoGP riders fought for a place in the top ten during Free Practice 3’s ideal weather conditions. Predicted rain stayed well away and the MotoGP World Championship grid enjoyed uninterrupted running all day on Saturday, able to push lap times further.
Marc Marquez continued his assault on the time sheets immediately on Saturday, dropping into the low 1’23s within just a handful of laps in FP3. His metronomic pace continued throughout and into Free Practice 4 where he ultimately finished third but with formidable consistency.
Again in the low 1’23s, Marquez set the bar throughout Q2 as he targeted a 1’22s around the 4.3km long Austrian circuit. A mistake in the final sector meant the reigning MotoGP World Champion was unable to set a 1’22, but his 1’23.027 did achieve a new all time lap record at the Red Bull Ring. As in Brno, Marquez had a significant advantage over second place – 0.434s faster than Quartararo. With his seventh pole of the 2019 season, Marquez establishes a new record for premier class poles as he took his 59th since joining the MotoGP class in 2013 and overtakes fellow Honda rider Mick Doohan as the most prolific pole setter in the premier class.
A productive FP3 and FP4 session saw Stefan Bradl and the Repsol Honda Team improve the setup of his RC213V but narrowly miss a top ten spot. Heading to Q1, Bradl and the team were confident of challenging for a spot in the top 15 but an issue during Bradl’s second run meant he was unable to show his full potential. Recovering well and finishing in the points will be Bradl’s objective for Sunday.
Sunday’s 28-lap Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich is scheduled to start at 14:00 local time.
“It was a really good lap but I was looking for the 1’22! But I did a mistake in the last sector and I went too wide in Turn 10. Apart from that we did a great job and during FP4 we had a great rhythm, which is the most important thing. Today was a great day, everything and everyone in the team was working so well. We just need to understand the best tyre for tomorrow and let’s do it! We will try to fight until the end and see what happens.”
“It was a tough day today, we were able to try many things but got unlucky in Qualifying and weren’t able to improve. We are working very hard with and for HRC to try things for the future and they are pleased with how we are going. We had to change our plan a little in FP4 and this hurt our overall speed. Tomorrow it can only get better!”