MotoGP 2020: Pol Espargaro secures first pole position for KTM at the Styrian Grand Prix SPORTS UPDATES

In a hard-fought session, the provisional Pole changed hands several times before Espargaro met her in the final seconds for KTM. The performance was all the sweeter for the Austrian team.

Spielberg: Pol Espargaro brought his KTM to the first pole position of the elite in the Styrian MotoGP qualification on Saturday.

Japanese Takaaki Nakagami caused a surprise, setting the second fastest time for Honda’s satellite LCR team to join the Spaniard in the front row on his first appearance.

Third was Johann Zarco, but instead of joining Espargaro and Nakagami at the top of the grid, the Frenchman will start Sunday’s race from the pit lane.

Zarco was fined for “irresponsible driving” in a crash with Franco Morbidelli last week. He was back on his bike after sitting in training on Friday for a wrist surgery he injured in the collision.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo could not shoot and starts in 10th place for this fifth leg of the coronavirus-disrupted season.

This was the first time since the British MotoGP last year that the Frenchman, who won the first two races at Jerez, has left the front row.

In a hard-fought session, the provisional Pole changed hands several times before Espargaro met her in the final seconds for KTM. The performance was all the sweeter for the Austrian team.

“I was very happy with it,” beamed the first pole sitter.

“I didn’t think we could make pole. I thought for the first or maybe second row it would be great for us.

“I’ve made mistakes in practice, so I’m super happy, and all the guys at KTM deserve it so much.”

In fourth place came Joan Mirs and the Spaniard received an added bonus for his best qualifying performance to date by taking Zarco’s front row spot.

Italian legend Valentino Rossi had to settle for 15th after falling on his last lap in the first quarter.

The 41-year-old nine-time world champion was badly shaken by the accident last Sunday when Morbidelli’s stray bike flew over the centimeters in front of him, which “almost killed” him.

Watch the Styrian Grand Prix live on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD from Sunday, August 23, 2020 from 2:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. IST).

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