Iannone takes pole in stunning Spielberg shootout

Andrea Iannone pops a wheelie to celebrate
Andrea Iannone pops a wheelie to celebrate

Andrea Iannone has taken an incredible last dash pole position at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, as the Italian came out top in a four-way shootout at the front. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was just beaten to the top spot and will start from the middle of the front row, ahead of the second Desmosedici of Andrea Dovizioso.

Iannone, who is riding through the pain of an injury sustained during a motocross incident in the summer break, was the last man to cross the line and made it count – taking the honors after the flag had dropped and knocking fellow Italian Valentino Rossi off the top. The Ducati rider, who is set to move to Team Suzuki Ecstar next season, sealed his second pole position of his career after dueling with his teammate for supremacy throughout the weekend.

Rossi, who briefly led the way in the final seconds, leapt up the timesheets in Q2 to get involved in the fight for pole – and the 9-time world champion will surely be satisfied with a front row start and an incredible improvement for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team after struggling for pace during some sessions of the weekend so far.

Andrea Dovizioso, who topped the timesheets ahead of the session, was unable to beat his teammate to the top but has spent much of the weekend focusing on long run pace – something that could play into his hands as the race gets underway on Sunday. With the battle close at the top and the strong points of the Ducati lending the Italian a natural advantage on race day, the front row start could be important.

Early pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) looked set for pole until the final laps of the session, with the reigning world champion pulling some incredible form out of the bag to get involved in the shootout at the front. Points leader Marc Marquez, after dislocating his shoulder in a crash in FP3, put in a valiant qualifying run to start the race from the middle of the front row, ahead of compatriot Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who completed the all-Spanish second row.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed row 3, with Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) beating first time Q2 participant Eugene Laverty (PULL&BEAR Aspar Team) to P10. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) suffered the most in the session, ending up P12 but having made big progress since a Friday morning crash set his weekend off on the wrong foot.

Lineup

POS RIDER TEAM TIME BEHIND
1 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1m23.142s 0.000s
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m23.289s 0.147s
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1m23.298s 0.156s
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m23.361s 0.219s
5 Marc Marquez Honda 1m23.475s 0.333s
6 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1m23.584s 0.442s
7 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 1m23.597s 0.455s
8 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati 1m23.777s 0.635s
9 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1m23.813s 0.671s
10 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati 1m23.822s 0.680s
11 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati 1m24.218s 1.076s
12 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m24.263s 1.121s
13 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati 1m24.123s 0.981s
14 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha 1m24.126s 0.984s
15 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha 1m24.265s 1.123s
16 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati 1m24.472s 1.330s
17 Michele Pirro Ducati 1m24.593s 1.451s
18 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda 1m24.665s 1.523s
19 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 1m24.673s 1.531s
20 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda 1m24.852s 1.710s
21 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 1m24.895s 1.753s
22 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 1m25.192s 2.050s

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