Gresini’s Enea Bastianini claimed his debut MotoGP pole position at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday after beating a pack of Ducatis to head the grid for the Austrian GP.
His first world championship pole position since Barcelona in 2018 - when he was running in Moto3 - Bastianini bettered the factory Ducati pairing of Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller with a 1’28.772 lap in the closing seconds of Q2.
“I'm very happy to be back on pole position after four years,” the Italian confirmed from Spielberg. “We do a great job from yesterday and today in the FP4 we have made another step in the front.
“The pole position is unexpected, but I'm happy about this. For tomorrow's race will be really hard because all the Ducati riders are so competitive.
“I think all the riders want to win but also Fabio Quartararo have a really good pace,” he continued on the potential for Sunday’s 28-lap battle with five Ducati’s and the reigning champion in the top six. “We know there is also a new chicane in sector one and for the start will be really hard because all the riders wants to arrive first in that corner so we will see how is it.
“For tomorrow it is important to start fast, like always,” he said of his first front row since the inaugural race of the season at the Losail International Circuit. “I think this race will be really different compared to Qatar because here is possible to go from the start. It's important to save the tyre but here, for me, I have to manage better the first part of the race to don't lose position and after, we will see the result at the end.
“We have a lot of Ducati on the front and it's important don't attack at the first lap,” he projected of Sunday’s launch into the new chicane. “For me, because we are first, it's important to stay safe, I think, the first lap and after to make a good race. But I know when I'm starting from behind always is difficult. You want to bring the best position possible.”
While the 24-year-old enjoyed an electric start to the season, his midseason dropped off dramatically before a rejuvenated Bastianini returned to Silverstone last time out.
“In the last two or three races before the summer break, I wasn't fast, and I was a little bit tired, a little bit nervous, especially because I have committed a lot of errors during the race weeks,” the three-time premier class winner admitted. “But for me, it's been necessary to reset with this summer break, to come back better and more ready for the second part. The bikes 21/22 are so close, I think very, very, very similar and for the rest of the season, we have to try to do the best possible and to look, race by race and not at the championship.”