MotoGP 2020: Pol Espargaro secures maiden pole position for KTM at Styrian Grand Prix

In an ultra-competitive session, provisional pole changed ownership numerous times before Espargaro nailed it in the dying seconds for KTM, the performance all the sweeter coming on home soil for the Austrian outfit.

Agence France-Presse August 22, 2020 21:21:01 IST
MotoGP 2020: Pol Espargaro secures maiden pole position for KTM at Styrian Grand Prix

Spielberg: Pol Espargaro powered his KTM to a first-ever elite pole position in Styrian MotoGP qualifying on Saturday.

Japan's Takaaki Nakagami sprang a surprise to set the second fastest time for Honda's satellite LCR team to join the Spaniard in what will be his first top-tier front row appearance.

Placed third was Johann Zarco but rather than joining Espargaro and Nakagami at the head of the grid the Frenchman will be starting Sunday's race from the pitlane.

Zarco was penalised for "irresponsible riding" in a crash with Franco Morbidelli last week. He was back on his bike after sitting out Friday's practice due to surgery on the wrist he injured in the collision.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo failed to fire and sets off 10th for this fifth leg of the coronavirus -disrupted season.

This was the first time the Frenchman who won the opening two races in Jerez has finished off the front row since the British MotoGP last year.

In an ultra-competitive session, provisional pole changed ownership numerous times before Espargaro nailed it in the dying seconds for KTM, the performance all the sweeter coming on home soil for the Austrian outfit.

"I felt really pleased with it," beamed the maiden pole-sitter.

"I didn't imagine we could do the pole, I was thinking for first or maybe second row it would be amazing for us.

"I was making mistakes in practice, so I'm super happy, and all the guys at KTM deserve this so much."

In fourth came Joan Mirs and the Spaniard got an added bonus for his best ever qualifying performance by filling Zarco's place on the front row.

Italian legend Valentino Rossi had to settle for 15th after crashing in his final lap in Q1.

The 41-year-old nine-time world champion was badly shaken by last Sunday's accident when Morbidelli's stray bike flew across the track centimetres in front of him which "almost killed" him.

Watch the Grand Prix of Styria live on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD from 14:15 Hrs (02:15 pm IST) onwards on Sunday, 23rd August, 2020.

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