The Malta Independent on Sunday

Iannone has pole in Austrian MotoGP; Marquez 5th after crash


Andrea Iannone earned his second career MotoGP pole position as Italian riders locked the front grid of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Ducati rider timed 1 minute, 23.142 seconds in yesterday's qualifying to lead seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi on a Yamaha by 0.147 and Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso by 0.156.

"We worked very hard. We improved a lot on the setting of the bike. It's very good for us," said Iannone, who also took pole position at last year's Italian GP but has yet to win a race.

Defending MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo came fourth and championsh­ip leader Marc Marquez posted the fifth time, just hours after being airlifted to hospital following a crash in practice.

Trying to avoid bumping into Honda teammate Dani Pedroso in turn three, Marquez lost balance and slid off the track. The fall dislocated his left shoulder but he escaped serious injuries.

"Medical examinatio­ns made at Leoben Hospital excluded further problems," Honda said.

Marquez tweeted a picture of him making the V-sign with his right hand, and wrote: "It has only been the fright! All is ok!"

The 2013 and 2014 champion Marquez leads two Yamaha riders in the world championsh­ip standings. He's 48 points clear of Lorenzo and 59 ahead of Rossi.

It's the first time in 19 years the marquee event in motorcycle racing is taking place in Austria. The circuit has been slightly adapted since hosting the annual Formula One race six weeks ago.

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