Round Ten – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg
MotoGP Friday Practice
Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi now boasts the Red Bull Ring all-time lap record. The Italian’s blistering 1:28.533 only gave him an advantage of 0.044s ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing). The two just edging away from World Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in P3.
The times tumbled early in the Practice session as dark clouds loomed at the Red Bull Ring, with the threat of rain seeing some time attacks come in earlier than we’re accustomed to seeing on a Friday afternoon.
Viñales set the early pace with a 1:29.075, a lap slammed home on soft rubber, with Bezzecchi and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) then joining him inside the top three early on.
With 24 minutes left, the rain flags started to be waved. It wasn’t enough to disrupt the fast lap times, however, as British GP winner Aleix Espargaro then made it an Aprilia 1-2 at the summit – the Spaniard going 0.281s off teammate Viñales.
Despite the very light rain still proving a factor, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) was able to find time and jump up to P6, which in turn shoved Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) down to P11. But personal best sectors were being set – including by the latter. Quartararo responded and went P5 with 14 minutes to go, with FP1 pacesetter Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) also climbing into the top 10.
After sitting outside the top 15, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was then the rider on a charge. Having just gone P13, the eight-time World Champion then briefly sat P2 before Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) made second place his.
The goalposts were then moved by a familiar name. Bagnaia was the first rider to dip into the 1:28s, his 1:28.821 two and a half tenths quicker than Viñales’ time. Pecco’s advantage was slashed to 0.042s as Binder set his best time of the day, with Quartararo going to P4 as plenty of hot laps began coming in.
None more so than Bezzecchi. The Italian’s new lap record was now the time to beat as the fight for the top 10 really it up with three minutes to go. Viñales improved to go back to P2, splitting Bezzecchi and Bagnaia, before the Aprilia star went quicker to go just 0.044s off Bezzecchi’s effort.
Bezzecchi then also encountered a late issue, his GP22 running out of fuel which saw him pull over right in front of… the boss. Valentino Rossi gave the number 72 a ride back to the paddock, but Marco only gave the boss a one star review for the service as they got lost on the way back to the pits!
Meanwhile, there was a frisson of drama after an incident between Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) and Marc Marquez was assessed by the Stewards after the number 44 held up the number 93 at Turn 4 in the closing stages of Practice. Pol Espargaro was handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, and MM93 heads for Q1.
Behind the leading trio of Bezzecchi, Viñales and Bagnaia, Binder sails into the pole position shootout in P4 ahead of Zarco and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing).
A late attack from Aleix Espargaro made sure the Silverstone winner claimed P7, with Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) ending Practice in P8. They’re joined in Q2 by both Quartararo and Oliveira.
With some huge names in Q1, the stage is set for Qualifying and then the Tissot Sprint at the Red Bull Ring. Make sure you tune in!
MotoGP Friday FP1 Resuts
|6||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||DUCATI||+0.469|
MotoGP Friday Practice Results
|12||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||DUCATI||+0.777|
Marco Bezzecchi – P1
“I’m very happy with today’s sensations, we were fast especially with the rear medium and the front hard which suits well on my riding style on this track. We have taken many small steps forward and tried different solutions to be able to be competitive. The track record is a good feeling, but let’s keep working for tomorrow, we need a good result to leave behind Silverstone. In the last run I had an alarm signal on the bike, I went back to the garage and then immediately onto the track for one last attempt. In order not to waste more time, we ran out of fuel. I saw Vale a few meters from me on the scooter and it was a great ride up back to the garage.”
Maverick Vinales – P2
“It was an excellent day. From the first lap, I felt immediately at ease on the bike. We worked very well on the setup and that allowed me to be precise and more incisive in my riding, especially in braking, which has always been one of my strong points. I did an extremely fast lap, below the track record and a full 7 tenths below the time I did qualifying last year, plus the pace in race configuration was also very good straight away. It is truly incredible, but the truth is that it is the result of our constant efforts. The team understands more and more what I need to ride better and I feel better in the saddle. Tomorrow we’ll try to shave of another tenth in preparation for the race, after which I’ll give it my all in qualifying because staring from the front will be fundamental, as always.”
Francesco Bagnaia – P3
“It has not happened often the last weekends to be in the top 3 on Friday. In FP2, we improved my feeling from the morning, and I felt better from the start with the front tyre. The pace was quite fast, but we only had one time attack because, in the second attempt, the traffic on the track was too much. But overall, I’m happy, we tested the new fairing, and what we were searching for from the fairing is better, we have improved the wheelieing. Let’s see tomorrow, it will be important to be in the top 3 for sure for qualifying; it’s true that it’s easier in this track to overtake, but the front pressure right now can be a problem.”
Brad Binder – P4
“Closest I’ll get to a home GP this weekend! Red Bull Ring is an awesome place with lots of happy memories for me. We pulled it together this afternoon to wrap it up with a place in tomorrow’s Q2 session. Thanks to my team as always”
Aleix Espargaro – P7
“I’m satisfied because on ‘stop&go’ tracks like this one I have always struggled to stop the bike in the braking and acceleration stages, but today we found a clear improvement with the bike, which appears to be more balanced in that respect. I was also able to use Maverick’s data which really made the difference today, both on the single lap and in terms of pace. It was extremely effective. I know that there is margin for improvement, so I’ll try to do so tomorrow.”
Alex Marquez – P8
“It wasn’t an easy Friday. We had a work plan to carry forward, but the morning’s issue has slowed us down. We did a good job in bouncing back and earn a spot in Q2 which is more and more crucial in MotoGP nowadays. We’ll try to recover some time lost tomorrow and make that step forward that could make us really competitive.”
Fabio Quartararo – P9
“I‘m happy with the day because I think that in the end it‘s great to end the day in Q2, and I had a great pace today, so the goal is achieved. Hopefully tomorrow we can make another step forward. The rhythm in the morning and in the afternoon was great. We know that as soon as we put in new tyres, we struggle a bit more. In the afternoon the competition boosted their lap times, but rather than focusing on the position, I focused on my riding, and my riding was great. We have some margin for tomorrow on the time attack, so that‘s great too. I still have to check the data concerning the new aero because today I was a bit rushed – I really wanted to focus on my riding. My feeling is that it‘s an improvement. I‘m really happy about that. It‘s one of the first steps that we have to make.”
Miguel Oliveira – P10
“Today was a tough day, but finally positive. I didn’t feel like I had the best pace overall but I could make a good time attack, and that helped me to stay inside the top 10. I wished I had a little bit more time to work on the bike, but in the end, it is what it is and we have to be happy with the results. For tomorrow, we will try a couple of things to improve and try to be competitive during Qualifying and the Sprint Race.”
Luca Marini – P11
“Not an easy day, especially a pity for my last attempt because I found a yellow flag. In general, I’m surprised by the gap I have compared to the strongest guys and Marco (Bezzecchi). In the past few years here in Austria the gaps were smaller and we have to analyse the data to understand how to recover. With the front hard, which will probably be the tyre to use, I lose in a couple of points on the track and I struggle in braking. Closing a Friday like this doesn’t help in managing the weekend, but we’ll do our best to hit the Q2 tomorrow.”
Fabio Di Giannantonio – P12
“Unfortunately we set our time in the worse possible condition, and then we had no performing tyre left to respond to the others’ improvements. The pace is good but we know it well: we need to start the races closer to the front and getting the Q2 slot today would have been perfect in order to have less thoughts tomorrow. In any case, we’re in a good place.”
Marc Marquez – P13
“There was a lot of work to do today, it was very mentally demanding as we worked across two different aero packages. Your riding style needs to change quite a lot for the new aero. We will keep using it here because at this type of track it has some improvements that are clear, but we will need to keep trying it at other tracks. I pushed very hard at the end of the afternoon session and we improved our lap time, unfortunately we lost our last fast lap – but this can happen. The target is understanding the aero package and seeing what’s possible tomorrow.”
Jack Miller – P14
“Opening day of KTM Factory Racing home GP in the books… let’s just say no one ever wants to go into Q1 but no excuses we’ll put our head down tomorrow and make the most of it.”
Pol Espargaro – P15
“The day went well, but not as well as I wanted, because you always want more, and I wanted to go to Q2 here in Austria. We had planned to go behind Brad Binder because we knew he would be flying here, but it started to rain and he stayed inside when I went out, so I returned to the garage quickly… It was a bit messy with the weather this afternoon. In the end, I could do a good lap on my own, but these 0.30 seconds that I am missing to be in Q2, I feel like it could have been possible to have them had I been behind another rider. Anyway, we are just coming back, we need to be patient and go step by step.”
Enea Bastianini – P16
“Today could have been better! We started not bad, but when I tried to push more, the same problems emerged, and so at the end of FP1, my feeling was not good. I tried other solutions for FP2, but the difference was too small to be competitive, and then I lost the front at turn 2 and crashed. I’m not happy about this day, but we must stay calm and be more focussed on the set-up and sensations and not think a lot about the result because now we are not competitive. This bike is different from the old one, and my riding style is incorrect. It’s difficult to do something different because I have only done one full race with my shoulder, OK, so we need time.”
Franco Morbidelli – P17
“Unfortunately, today we were not able to get directly into Q2. The gap is not big, but it‘s enough to stay out of the top 10. I was trying to do a better performance on my second time attack, but it wasn’t enough. We‘ve got to dig deep tomorrow to improve in some areas and see what we can do.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P18
“This morning, we finished the first session in a good position, but the reality is that we were not that fast. In the afternoon, we tried to push to secure a Q2 spot, but we couldn’t. We are comparing different packages this weekend that hopefully will help us improve in the future”.
Raul Fernandez – P19
“We face the same struggle all year so far; we want to do a time attack but we can’t, and this is something we need to improve. Our main issue here is the stop and go character of the track. I can’t go as fast as I want because when I’m on the brake, I tend to go wide. It’s hard to manage and this caused me to lose a lot of time. But there is no excuse, I know I can do it, we also need to understand how to use the soft tyre. Miguel also did a good job today. So for tomorrow, the minimum in my case is, I have to be closer to Miguel, he has the same bike as me, so if he can do it, then I should be able as well.”
Augusto Fernandez – P20
“The rain in the middle of Practice was not that bad to be honest, but I struggled a bit with the pace in both sessions today overall. I did feel well though, so we have to analyse what is going on, and try finding solutions so we can make a step tomorrow.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P21
“We had some tests scheduled today that were particularly useful for the factory team, especially in preparation for the race. Tomorrow, on the other hand, we’ll work more on my performance. In any case, seeing three Aprilias in the top 10 on such a particular track is positive.”
Iker Lecuona – P22
“Overall, I’m happy because we’ve taken small steps and can see some improvements session after session. The track is quite bumpy, which doesn’t help when trying to push. In any case, let’s see what happens. I feel motivated”.
Joan Mir – P23
“Today we were able to try the new fairing that Taka first tried last race. So this meant that we had to change the set-up for it, this took a bit of time. Then in the afternoon session there was some rain that came which interrupted our plan and progress a little. I was going well on my final lap, but there was some rain in the last sector. For sure I know this is not our real potential, which is in the top 15, so hopefully we can make a step tomorrow to finish where we know we can be.”
MotoGP Championship Points
|15||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||34|
Moto2 Friday Practice
Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was a whisker away from the lap-record with a 1:34.050. Just 0.110s back from the Spaniard was Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia), who topped Practice 1 to put himself P2 overall ahead of his teammate Ai Ogura.
The session was red-flagged after five minutes following a crash for Manuel Gonzalez (Corres Prepago Yamaha VR46 Team), who was taken to the medical centre and declared fit, but the air fence needed to be redeployed. Once back underway, the times began to tumble once again.
Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) was looking strong in Practice 2 as he finished the session inside the top three, with his lap time bagging him 4th place on the combined practice times.
Title contender Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) was another who made significant improvements in Practice 2 as he finished behind the Brit and rounded out the top five.
Arbolino’s teammate Sam Lowes wasn’t so fortunate as he hit the deck in the afternoon meaning he was unable to improve and only managed 14th.
Moto2 Friday Practice Results (Combined)
Moto2 Championship Points
Moto3 Friday Practice
Fresh from his debut victory, David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team) put down a 1:41.223 to take the top spot by a sensational 0.629s.
It was a rookie one-two on the combined practice times as Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) was the best of the rest, with the Dutchman beating Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) to 2nd place by just 0.027s.
Whilst the Colombian was in a league of his own, the rest of the grid were locked in usual Moto3 fashion. Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) enjoyed a positive Friday after topping the first practice session. The Spaniard just missed out on the top three by 0.020s to finish the day in 4th place ahead of Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) who rounded out the top five.
After crashing out of the British Grand Prix, Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) needs a solid finish in Austria to keep his title tilt alive. Whilst the Spaniard wasn’t dominating sessions as we’ve seen at the past GPs, he sits in 6th place and has shown decent pace ahead of the weekend’s racing action.
Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) finished in P3 during Practice 1 but slipped down to P7 on combined times to sit ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP).
Rookie Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) enjoyed a positive day in P9 ahead of Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) who rounded out the top 10 despite a crash.
Joel Kelso was the top CFMOTO rider in P17.
Moto3 Friday Practice Results (Combined)
Moto3 Championship Points
|9||RUEDA José Antonio||52|
Kevin Zannoni (Ongetta SIC58 Squadracorse) will start from his first pole position, but the margins were tiny as the Italian went just 0.006s under the previous lap record with a 1:38.567. Joining his compatriot on the front row will be Mattia Casadei (HP Pons Los40). The Italian put it all on the line but just fell short of pole by 0.023s, with Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) only another 0.030s back. That means the top three are separated by just 0.053s!
MotoE Friday Combined Qualifying
|10||Randy KRUMMENACHE SWI||DUCATI||Q2||+1.403|
|11||Andrea MANTOVANI||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.565|
|12||Tito RABAT||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.190|
|13||Oscar GUTIERREZ||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 0.835|
|15||Mika PEREZ||DUCATI||Q1||(*) 2.131|
|16||Alessio FINELLO||DUCATI||Q1||(* )3.439|
Austrian Grand Prix Schedule
Brought to you in AEST by Kayo Sports
2023 MotoGP Calendar
|11||Aug-20||Austria, Red Bull Ring|
|13||Sep-10||San Marino, Misano|
|14||Sep-24||India, Buddh (Subject to homologation)|
|17||Oct-22||Australia, Phillip Island|