In-form Martin feeling Sunday pressure after another record-breaking Red Bull Ring pole

By Sports Desk August 14, 2021

Outstanding rookie Jorge Martin feels under pressure to follow up his first MotoGP victory with another at the Austrian Grand Prix after qualifying on pole.

Martin converted pole into a dramatic victory at last week's Styrian GP at the same Red Bull Ring track.

The Spaniard – the 12th rider from his country to win in MotoGP – had set a circuit record in qualifying with a time of 1:22.994. Remarkably, he went even faster on Saturday.

Poor performance in practice saw Martin enter Q1, but he made it through to the second session and went round in 1:22.643 to lead the way again.

The Pramac Racing sensation has not won back-to-back races since he was in Moto3 in 2018 but has a fine record at the Red Bull Ring, with five podiums and wins in two of his past three outings.

Another triumph for Martin – already with 48 points, three shy of this year's three other rookies combined – would make him the first rider since Marc Marquez in 2013 to celebrate consecutive wins in his first year in MotoGP.

The 23-year-old feels the weight of expectation, saying: "I'm not thinking about winning. I feel maybe some pressure because everybody is talking about it.

"But I'm a rookie, I need to learn. For me, if tomorrow [Sunday] I'm in the top five, it will be fantastic because I need to learn.

"These guys have a lot of experience and they understand better than me how to manage the race.

"For sure, today I did not believe that I was going to make the pole. So, I don't want to be too optimistic for tomorrow but I'm one of the strongest for tomorrow.

"I think there are four or five guys who can fight for the win, so we will enjoy a good battle."

Six-time champion Marquez is one of those in contention, having qualified in fifth, along with runaway 2021 leader Fabio Quartararo, who starts from second.

Quartararo had taken Martin's track record before the rookie pole-sitter responded.

The Frenchman is the only rider to have claimed points in every race this season, including three consecutive podiums – a career best.

Should Quartararo make the podium again in Austria, he would equal Christian Sarron's French record of 18 in this category.

Provisional classification

1. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) 1:22.643
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.034s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.420s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.477s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.584s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.677s
7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.735s
8. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.780s
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.856s
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.925s
11. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.095s
12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.347s

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