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MotoGP Austria: Iannone pole as Rossi splits the Ducatis

Andrea Iannone takes pole position for the Austrian MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring.
Andrea Iannone has taken his second MotoGP pole to keep pre-race favourites Ducati on top of the timesheets during the first Austria round since 1997.

However Yamaha's Valentino Rossi caused a stir by splitting the factory Desmosedicis, with a best lap 0.159s from pole.

The Doctor edged Iannone's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso into third by just 0.009s at the end of a frantic 15-minute shootout, in which his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also took on the dominant red machines.

The Spaniard also enjoyed by far his best session of the weekend and, like Rossi, briefly held pole in the closing minutes on his way to fourth (+0.219s).

The M1s still face a massive challenge to overcome the straight-line advantage of the Ducatis at the stop-go circuit, but both Lorenzo and Rossi will have plenty of incentive following an injury for title rival Marc Marquez.

The Honda star is currently a massive 48-points ahead of Lorenzo and 59 clear of Rossi, but dislocated his shoulder on Saturday morning. The double world champion put in a typically brave performance to claim fifth on the grid, but doubts remain over how long he will be able to push at 100% in the 28-lap race.

Completing the second row alongside Lorenzo and Marquez will be Suzuki's Maverick Vinales, with LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow beating countryman Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati) to top satellite honours in seventh.

The injured Aleix Espargaro took eighth for Suzuki ahead of Avintia's Hector Barbera, Aspar's Eugene Laverty and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa - whose miserable weekend continued with last of the pole participants.

Laverty was making his first ever appearance in Q2, having caused a stir by leading Qualifying 1. By contrast the likes of Danilo Petrucci, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were unable to progress through the session and will start 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.

Ducati has not won a MotoGP race since 2010, will that change on Sunday?

Qualifying 2:
1 Andrea Iannone
2 Valentino Rossi
3 Andrea Dovizioso
4 Jorge Lorenzo
5 Marc Marquez
6 Maverick ViƱales
7 Cal Crutchlow
8 Scott Redding
9 Aleix Espargaro
10 Hector Barbera
11 Eugene Laverty
12 Dani Pedrosa

CLICK HERE for full results.

Tagged as: Ducati , Iannone

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