Valentino Rossi believes six riders can win MotoGP Austria

Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi believes any of the six riders on the first two rows of the MotoGP grid can win Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, even with Ducati's imposing form

Valentino Rossi believes six riders can win MotoGP Austria

Ducati dominated the pre-event test at the Red Bull Ring last month and other than opening practice, polesitter Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso have led the way in every session.

However, while Ducati's advantage to the next-best manufacturer was eight tenths on Friday afternoon, Rossi was within 0.147 seconds in qualifying to split the pair on the front row, which he said was "a great result".

On the second row, his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, Honda's Marc Marquez and Suzuki's Maverick Vinales are also within 0.442s, and Rossi believes they will be a factor over the 28 laps.

"I'm very happy to start on the front row and also because I was able to split the two Ducatis," he said.

"It's important to start from the front row, but now we have to wait for tomorrow - the conditions, the temperature and especially the tyre choice will be very important, because it's open, especially for the rear, soft or hard.

"We have to put one eye on the front, I hope, to try to stay with [the Ducatis], but also one eye on the second row, because on the second row we have Lorenzo, Marquez and Vinales, all three have the pace to fight for the victory.

"The strongest six riders of the season are all in the first two rows, so it can be a good battle."

Fourth is Lorenzo's best qualifying result since the Catalunya Grand Prix in June, having struggled in wet and then cool conditions at Assen and the Sachsenring before the summer break.

Lorenzo moved to the top of the times with 90 seconds remaining, but was eclipsed after the chequered flag.

"I was very happy with the progression and the laptime," he said.

"I thought I could be on the first row or even in first position, but finally in the last moment they overtook me.

"Still, second row is a good place, better than we expected before starting the grand prix."

DUCATI PAIR AWARE OF DROUGHT

Expectation that Ducati will end a winless run dating back to October 2010 shaped the build-up to the weekend.

Iannone is chasing his maiden grand prix victory and Dovizioso his second - and first since July 2009 - but the polesitter said he was not feeling the pressure.

"We have a very big responsibility because Ducati tomorrow has a very good potential to win our first race after some years," Iannone said.

"It's very important we stay focused for this goal. I'll try my best and I'm sure also Andrea will try his best."

shares
comments
Injured Iannone braced for difficult MotoGP race from pole position

Previous article

Injured Iannone braced for difficult MotoGP race from pole position

Next article

Marc Marquez takes blame for MotoGP crash after near-miss with Pedrosa

Marc Marquez takes blame for MotoGP crash after near-miss with Pedrosa
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Mitchell Adam
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Plus

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Plus

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Plus

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Plus

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Plus

How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021, having stormed to victory at a venue where he last year served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha’s factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend has revealed one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021