2020 Styria MotoGP Qualifying Result: Home Sweet Home

The clouds decided that the premier class had enough to contend with in the short qualifying burst and did not make an appearance throughout proceedings, but that did not make the two sessions short on drama. Many riders placed their bid for pole early on, starting with the predictable Fabio Quartararo and the impressive Takaaki Nakagami, but it was a jubilant Pol Espargaro who had the last laugh, scoring his very first pole position at KTM’s home GP.

Despite missing out on pole by only two hundredths of a second, Takaaki Nakagami was happy to secure his first front row start in the premier class. After sitting out FP4, flying through Q1 and placing his Ducati on the front row of the grid, Johann Zarco’s penalty for last weekend’s events sends him back to pitlane for tomorrow’s start and promotes Joan Mir to the last slot on the front row. Having shined throughout practice, Mir took his time to get going in Q2 but was less than a tenth slower than the poleman in the end.

Jack Miller seemed to be troubled by shoulder issues following his FP3 crash but put together a lap good enough for the second row of the grid, where he will be joined by Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins. Another of the consistently fast men opens row three, Miguel Oliveira two tenths off pole and narrowly ahead of a surprisingly subdued Andrea Dovizioso. Last weekend’s victor will have to battle through from eighth grid spot, while Quartararo not only stepped off the front row for the first time in a year, but also scored his worst qualifying position in the premier class, down in 10th spot, before being promoted by Zarco’s penalty.

The Tech 3 squad went from applause to dismay in the closing stages of Q1, when Iker Lecuona got pushed out of Q2 places, but the Spaniard demonstrated fine speed to qualify 13th and join Franco Morbidelli and Danilo Petrucci on the fourth row of the grid. Brad Binder could not do any better than 15th, one place ahead of Valentino Rossi, whose Q2 chances slipped away when he crashed out at turn 9 on his final flying lap in Q1.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 44 Pol Espargaro KTM 1'23.580    
2 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'23.602 0.022 0.022
3 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'23.632 0.052 0.030
4 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'23.678 0.098 0.046
5 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'23.700 0.120 0.022
6 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'23.778 0.198 0.078
7 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'23.782 0.202 0.004
8 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'23.797 0.217 0.015
9 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'23.849 0.269 0.052
10 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'23.866 0.286 0.017
11 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'24.021 0.441 0.155
12 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'24.174 0.594 0.153
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'23.609    
Q2 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'23.772 0.163 0.163
13 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'23.928 0.319 0.156
14 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'23.932 0.323 0.004
15 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'24.127 0.518 0.195
16 51 Michele Pirro Ducati 1'24.273 0.664 0.146
17 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'24.370 0.761 0.097
18 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'24.401 0.792 0.031
19 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia 1'24.416 0.807 0.015
20 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'24.429 0.820 0.013
21 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 1'24.667 1.058 0.238
22 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'24.916 1.307 0.249
Round Number: 
6
2020
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Comments

Can someone explain why Zarco is even allowed in qualifying if he's starting from pit lane?  Impressive times, but he was just in the way of everyone else.  Seems weird.

He is allowed to use his track time in these sessions, and if he had finished first he would have been awarded pole. Penalty only applies for the start on Sunday.

yeah i may have worded it badly. Was really just wondering why it got him into Q2 if he's starting from pit.  Who knows what Lecuona could have done in Q2?  If nothing else it kind of robbed him of the excitement of just being in Q2.  Is there some other rationale behind it other that allowing track time?

3rd fastest, isn't getting in anyone's way.

Isn't that an interesting top 5? If you would have predicted that before the season started you would have been nuts. 

Glad to see Morbidelli out and about. Vale, Binder and Aleix are an unpleasant surprise. We have to give a tip of the hat to a few riders. Taka Nakagami has responded to being the only one left soldiering on at Honda with better than his best. Honorable sublimation. Mir is on a rise that could be swelling somewhere relevant for the future. The way that a battered Zarco hit the track at full tilt pace is really impressive. 

But the big kudos? KTM and Pol Espargaro. He is taming his egoic struggles in tandem with Orange taming a wild bike. It was his brother's bike that looked like a KTM, waggling around on the brakes. The KTM is GORGEOUS right now. And Pol has settled in to himself. Crystal ball says he just got cured of blowing corners. You can see it on his face and by his comparative rails. Oliviera too, cat amongst the pigeons. 

Sunday a few riders are storming through on the first laps. Dovi, Binder and Rins. And, Zarco.

Single most fun and confidence inspiring experience ever had on two wheels was running the field from pitlane. Lots of action. Double passes. Seeing new lines. A front row seat to your possible. I think a 7th was the result, and if I was on my grid spot a 5th was my expectation. Watch Zarco come through strong and clean. 

David, readers and Co: Bagnaia update please and thank you? I can't find anything.      :)

Put him on the factory team.

He has some of the same magic as MM. Impressive ride from him today.

On the social media i'm reading 'rules rules rules rule book rules'. It seems to have gone a little mad. I think the stewards do a good job, not the job of lawyers, but the job that keeps the racing alive when we are talking about the on-track action.

I think they tend to keep their arms crossed when it comes to rider behaviour and let it happen, mostly. Think of Phillip Island 2018, a hundred moves as aggressive as Zarcos in Brno or Spielberg 1, they let it all happen and we, i think, enjoyed the spectacle. It was an insanely entertaining race where nobody got penalised. There are many examples examples.

Occasionally i think they observe the playground behaviour getting a little out of hand and then they do something. Think Marc Marquez Valencia 2012 being sent to the back of the grid (didn't make much difference to the result) and the introduction of the points system. Think of the moto3 riders waiting for a tow and they started dishing out penalties left and right because it was getting out of hand. Eventually they relax again and the show continues.

In my opinion, a problem longer term is to produce a rigid and tight system of sanctions based on an ever increasing list of precedents surrounding every possible infraction. The rules regarding rider behaviour are there, they are broad and deliberately lackiing specifics so they can be applied flexibly. More structure, less flexibility + Moto3 = Not knowing who won for an hour.

Masia was a good one today. 'He hasn't broken a rule!', maybe but he could have at least stayed off the racing line as much as possible (that is in the book). We could have seen a rider being flexible and sensible despite there being no rule to stop him riding a damaged bike on the racing line. Instead we got the stewards being flexible and giving him some feedback about his behaviour.

Perhaps the right things are happening within basic parameters? What remains is the Red Bull Ring needing a repave AND configuration/run off update. They just got a look at a Suzuka future, the ball is in their court.

Re Race Dir, curious what Oliviera thinks since he has been getting the brunt of the punt for a bit. If BMW is giving away a M3 to the winner Sunday, perhaps a crash truck can go to he or Morbidelli. Or at the end of the year, along with the most poles award? Instead of watches, they could give out an Osteopath visit and pain meds each event. Or a fresh helmet signed by Dr Costa, his face covering the back to remind potential overtake divers?     ;)

Appreciate you Davey, great attitude mate.

I hate the track, yet it has produced some good race finishes in years of late. I'd love to see some actual flow injected into the layout instead of downhill off camber. However, they will have to consider the 4 wheeled crew, shame.

Race direction is mother, 'Life isn't fair sweetie' angel

I think they could expand the year end awards quite a bit, some motocross awards for the best dirt riding at each venue. I think MM still has it from his save at Jerez 1. Obviously there would be two rewards, one for quality and one for quantity.

Could be a facinating first few laps at the back. This will be the test for JZ, with much better pace than the 15 or 20 guys he will feel he has to pass. If there is another incident he will be crushed by paddock opinion, but if he finishes 14th he might feel his Ducati opportunities are diminished.

I am reminded of another racer who, a few weeks ago, had much better pace, but found himself at the back.

 

Two time moto2 champ. The guy shines bright. He can remind one of Marquez a bit. Both light horse and the dark. Factory ride next year? Results may help determine that. He's great to watch, just don't want to see any accidents.

Hard to argue with that. If the bikes had both stopped in the gravel there would have been no questions about Zarcos' move on Morbidelli. Both of whom, I might add, I wish the best.

Congrats to Pol for taking pole. Is this going to be the last piece of the mental jigsaw giving him the smarts to go with his riding talent on the bike? Zarco qualifing third? Thats a statement of intent if ever I saw one. Having had time to reflect on the events of last weekend and digest the views of others, the pit lane start seems a fair response overall. I can see  how a pattern was forming around Zarcos on track moves, this gives him a wake up call without compromising the show. Hondas woes though, is this MM93's hubris not only hurting him but the whole team? Has he created something he thought he could tame, only for it to prove too much for anyone? So many questions, and no answers until the lights go out.....