The sun was in attendance by the time the premier class came out to challenge the lap record around the Red Bull Ring. Maverick Viñales fired the first shot, the Spaniard getting straight into the 1:23s but his time in the limelight was cut short as Marc Marquez promptly retrieved his favourite position at the top. Unusually, it was Viñales who thought about a Marquez style 2-stopper while Marquez himself was confident in the classic recipe and it served him well, the Spaniard setting a new lap record on his way to yet another pole position, overtaking Mick Doohan for most premier class poles. Pole position number 59 came with four tenths of a second advantage over the only other man who managed to keep close to him on Saturdays this season: Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman ended up as the top Yamaha, half a tenth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.
Viñales’s strategy did not work out quite as well as he might have wished, the Spaniard missing out on the front row by only eight thousandths of a second. In all the awe for the poleman’s performance, Pecco Bagnaia’s excellent top five was a little overshadowed, after the Italian came through Q1 and placed himself in the middle of the second row, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami.
Alex Rins did not spend much time in the limelight and finished the session seventh, six tenths off pole and marginally ahead of Jack Miller. After some palpitations in Q1, Cal Crutchlow survived the challenge and placed at the end of row three. Valentino Rossi faded to tenth despite being fastest in sector 4 and will share fourth row with Pol Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci - the Ducati man would have hoped for more before slipping off at turn four on his final flying lap. Meanwhile, Miguel Oliveira missed out on Q2 but still achieved his best qualifying in MotoGP, the Tech 3 rider starting the Austrian GP from 13th grid position.