SPIELBERG, Austria – Spanish Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez, who is looking to continue his mid-season surge, captured the pole position on Saturday for the Austrian Grand Prix of MotoGP.
Marquez posted a fastest lap of 1 minute and 23.235 seconds in the second round of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg and will start first on the grid for the third straight race and the fifth time this season.
The Spanish defending MotoGP champion and 2017 riders’ standings leader (154 points) beat out Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso by 15-hundredths of a second and another factory Ducati rider, Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo, by nearly four-tenths of a second in Q2.
Marquez’s closest competitor in the standings, Spanish Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (140 points), will start fourth on the grid in Sunday’s race.
Viñales, who got off to a strong start to the season and had a comfortable lead in the standings after three victories in his first six races, needs to start turning the tide on his countryman.
Marquez leapfrogged Viñales with his victory at last month’s German MotoGP – the ninth race on the 18-race calendar – and increased his lead to 14 points with a win at last week’s Czech Republic MotoGP.