Verstappen sees bright outlook for Red Bull after rain-hit qualifying

By Sports Desk July 11, 2020

Max Verstappen is confident Red Bull have a "good shot" if the weather stays fair for the Styrian Grand Prix after taking second place in a wet qualifying session.

It appeared qualifying could even be pushed back until Sunday due to downpours in Austria, though the cars eventually made their way out onto a sodden track following a 46-minute delay.

Lewis Hamilton duly produced a masterclass in treacherous conditions to take pole position, the reigning world champion finishing 1.2 seconds clear of nearest rival Verstappen at the end of Q3.

The Dutchman had hoped to close the gap on his final lap only to suffer a slight spin, though he has high hopes of being able to push for victory with rain forecast to stay away for the race.

"I think in the dry we can have a good shot at it. [We'll] See how it's going to go," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. "I think the car in general is better than last week, so I'm looking forward to it."

Verstappen was happy enough with his overall performance on Saturday, particularly as visibility for drivers was "horrible" due to the conditions.

"I think overall it was a good qualifying," he said.

"In Q3 it was raining a lot more and it seemed we were struggling a bit more in the wet conditions, I was aquaplaning a lot more and couldn't really put the power down. 

"It was not easy, but I think P2 is still good. It's very tricky out there, the last lap could've been better, but I don't think it was enough to beat Lewis.

"Visibility was horrible. With the spray from the tyres, you can't see a thing. Even if you're six seconds behind, it’s already very hard to see the braking zones."

Carlos Sainz claimed P3 and will start on the second row alongside Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.

McLaren will be hoping Sainz, who is heading to Ferrari next year, can claim a second successive podium spot for the team, following Lando Norris' third-place finish a week ago at the same track.

"Very happy to put in P3 for the first time in my career," Sainz told Sky Sports F1. "It feels amazing especially that qualifying was one of the toughest I have done. There was so much aquaplaning it was crazy.

"The car on race trim has been better than we thought so we are kind of confident going into tomorrow. I will have Alex [Albon, who starts sixth] and Valtteri behind, so will be a tough first few laps, but hopefully I can settle into my pace."

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  • MotoGP 2020: Starting grid and preview for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix MotoGP 2020: Starting grid and preview for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix

    Maverick Vinales has another golden opportunity to put himself firmly in the MotoGP title picture when he starts on pole at Misano on Sunday. 

    Vinales was on pole for the San Marino Grand Prix last time out but was unable to convert that position into a victory, finishing down in sixth. 

    The Spaniard is 18 points adrift of Andrea Dovizioso in a wide-open fight to replace the injured Marc Marquez as world champion. 

    However, he is in the prime spot to vault up the standings after an error by Francesco Bagnaia gave him pole for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix. 

    Yet the owner of the lap record at Misano cannot afford to take anything for granted ahead of what looks set to be a fascinating fight for the chequered flag.

    WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

    Bagnaia should have been celebrating a maiden MotoGP pole - and another Misano lap record - having smashed the previous mark in FP3. 

    He crossed the line on his final flying lap in one minute and 30.973 seconds, a time that would have seen him top the timesheets. 

    However, he crucially exceeded the track limits on the final turn, an infraction that saw his lap struck off and both pole position and the record handed to Vinales.

    Vinales will have Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo for company on the front row, with Bagnaia dropping to fifth as a result of his error. 

    Championship leader Dovizioso heads the fourth row, with Franco Morbidelli - winner of the San Marino Grand Prix - sandwiched between Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci on the third row. 

    THE STARTING GRID

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), 12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
    13. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Johann Zarco (Avintia), 15. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
    16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 18. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Avintia)

    EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

    The searing pace displayed by Bagnaia will be a topic of discussion despite his phenomenal last flying lap counting for nothing. 

    He and team-mate Miller will surely pose a significant threat to Vinales, though Quartararo is concerned about some of his title rivals positioned further back on the starting grid. 

    Joan Mir of Suzuki trails Dovizioso by 16 points, but he produced a disappointing display in Q2 and starts 11th. However, with Quartararo branding the Suzuki "a perfect bike", a charge through the field from Mir is not out of the question.

    "Yes, I'm worried because they are fast in the straight, they are fast in acceleration to overtake people, they are so fast," Quartararo said on Thursday.

    WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

    Maverick Vinales (pole): "This weekend I tried to work always with a race setting. We make an improvement. Last weekend the bike always feels good without fuel but with fuel on the race I struggle a lot. This weekend we work a lot and it seems that we make an improvement. We wish it will work for the race."

    Jack Miller (2nd): "When we got to Q2 I only had one tyre, so it was kind of a one-shot wonder. Anyway, we made it, not a bad qualifying, I was lucky to get the two off Pecco [Bagnaia]."

    Fabio Quartararo (3rd): "Feeling great to be on the front row, that is really important. Our race pace is looking good. I'm happy because we have a good base for tomorrow."

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 76
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
    3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 64
    4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 60
    5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 58

    Teams

    1. Petronas Yamaha 127
    2. Monster Energy Yamaha 116
    3. Ducati 101
    4. Suzuki Ecstar 100
    5. Pramac Racing 97

  • Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error

    Maverick Vinales claimed his second successive pole position at Misano as an error from Francesco Bagnaia saw him miss out on the front row in a dramatic qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix.

    Bagnaia, who smashed the Misano lap record in third practice, found searing pace as the Pramac Racing rider attempted to deny Vinales.

    He crossed the line in one minute and 30.973 seconds, which would have seen him take a first career pole and set the first 1:30 lap at the Marco Simoncelli circuit.

    However, his lap was immediately expunged as Bagnaia exceeded the track limits on the final turn, handing pole to Vinales after his lap record of 1:31.077.

    Bagnaia dropped to fifth, with Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo completing the front row behind Vinales.

    The KTMs of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder were fourth and sixth respectively, while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso will have work to do to hold on to his six-point lead over Quartararo.

    Dovizioso was 10th behind Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci, the fourth row completed by Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami.

    LCR Honda's Nakagami went off at turn 15 in FP4 and repeated that error in Q2, wrecking his second bike of the race week and leaving him to settle for 12th on the grid.

    Provisional classification

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.077s
    2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.076s
    3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.145s
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.231s
    5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.236s
    6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.312s
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.359s
    8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.489s
    9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.497s
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.504s
    11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.540s
    12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.207s

     

     

  • MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP

    Repsol Honda rider Stefan Bradl will miss the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix because of an arm injury.

    Bradl has filled in for Marc Marquez - the six-time world champion who broke an arm in the MotoGP season opener at Jerez - but is battling ongoing issues in his own right arm.

    The German competed in the first practice session at Misano but was 1.3 seconds adrift of Fabio Quartararo, who set the pace with a time of one minute and 31.271 seconds.

    Following discussions with Honda, Bradl will sit out the rest of the race weekend.

    "Unfortunately, I am still having problems with my right arm and I am unable to ride in a safe and consistent way," Bradl said.

    "I spoke with my doctor and we performed a small operation to clean the nerve before this weekend, but when they opened the arm they saw the situation was more complicated than they first thought.

    "I came to Misano with the intention of racing because my doctor told me it would be okay to race. But in this situation, I do not feel I can ride safely over a whole race, together with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] we have decided to take the rest of the week to recover before Barcelona."

    FP2 saw Brad Binder of KTM lead the way with a lap of 1:31.628.

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