Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) put on a show to remember at the Red Bull Ring in the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, with the two dueling down to the wire in an instant classic and Lorenzo coming out on top for his third win of the season. Teammates in 2019, the five years in which Lorenzo and Marquez have shared the track have produced some legendary different battles at different circuits, but the number 93’s search for a win at Spielberg will have to continue. The man who beat him to the honour last season, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), completed the podium in third this time around.
It was Marquez who had the initial advantage as he bolted away into the distance over the first laps, putting the hammer down early and leaving the Ducati duo of Lorenzo and Dovizioso trailing him by half a second, a second, then seven tenths as the gap was a constant concertina but a sizeable one nonetheless. In clear air the number 93’s tactics seemed immediately clear, and the bigger focus over the first laps was on the two Ducati men locked together behind him – almost close enough to look like one bike at a passing glance.
Dovizioso looked threatening and feinted a number of times but the Italian didn’t make a move. With the gap at the front staying constant and Marquez no longer gaining ground, the tide then began to turn as Lorenzo slowly reeled him in. By 11 laps to go the Ducatis were right back on the tail of the Honda but Lorenzo just ran it wide at Turn 3. Using the grunt of the Borgo Panigale machine, however, the number 99 recovered quickly to fire himself back into second and the lead trio remained in line, nothing between them… before Lorenzo decided to make his move.
Right on Marquez’ tail over the line and passing the reigning Champion into Turn 1, Lorenzo pulled the pin and took over at the front as teammate Dovizioso ran wide and dropped off the lead duo. But that lead duo didn’t stay the same way around for long as they dueled it out, heading a bit wide at one point before Lorenzo was back ahead and the two regrouped.
With 3 laps to go Lorenzo went wide at Turn 3 and Marquez went through, but of course the Ducati struck back – with a brutal move at Turn 9. On the penultimate lap Marquez again attacked at Turn 3, but Lorenzo led the two over the line to begin the final lap – and the gloves were most definitely off.
Locked together, the big attack came again at Turn 3 as Marquez dived straight for the inside – but Lorenzo held his line and was able to regain the ground immediately on the exit. Pushing hard and the Repsol Honda in second squiggling around in the braking zones, Marquez looked threatening around the remainder of the final lap but the ‘Spartan’ was not for being caught – taking the victory in style and denying Marquez the chance at a final lunge.
Behind ‘DesmoDovi’ in third, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) put in an impressive performance to take fourth as top Independent Team rider to put his Spielberg demons to bed after two fifteenths over the past two years, with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) also able to bounce back after a tough race at the venue last season to complete the top five. Petrucci now leads the Independent Team standings by a single point from Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with Crutchlow only another point back.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) put in a stunning ride through the field, with the rider from Tavullia moving through from fourteenth on the grid to fight off Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in a high-calibre battle for sixth. Behind the two, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) took eighth after mixing it at the front nearer the start, making for a solid result at a more difficult track for the Hamamatsu factory.
Johann Zarco took ninth as he beat with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) to the line – with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) for close company. The three took P9, P10 and P11 respectively.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), meanwhile, took P12 in a more difficult race after a difficult weekend, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in thirteenth following an early run off for the 2016 winner. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took points for home factory KTM and put in a good race for fourteenth, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completing the points as top rookie – just ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Next up is Silverstone, the stage of the first serious showdown between Lorenzo and Marquez back in 2013. Will we see another repeat? Find out in two weeks as MotoGP™ heads to UK.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) maintained his 100% record of winning when on pole at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich after a brilliant battle with main Championship rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) which went all the way down to the final corner. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) secured third place at the Red Bull Ring in another last lap battle, as Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) crashed out on the final corner.
The start nearly ended in disaster for Bagnaia, the Italian initially getting the better launch but then getting bogged down in the second phase, with Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego – Speed Up Racing) making contact on the inside forcing both wide – Bagnaia slotted into fourth, but Quartararo had to rejoin outside the top 20.
That left Oliveira with a 0.8 gap at the front, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) second and Bagnaia recovering to third. It was only a matter of time before the Italian would make his move past Navarro, and that’s exactly what he did on Lap 6 to set his sights on the Portuguese rider out in front. The gap hovered just below the one second barrier, before Bagnaia gained nearly half a second on the KTM rider at the mid stage of the race, with it soon becoming clear the Kalex machine had the better front grip.
There was nothing to choose between the two Championship protagonists until Bagnaia made his first move at the penultimate corner on lap 21, only for Oliveira to snap straight back at the final corner. It was mirror, signal, manoeuvre with two laps to go, after Bagnaia had tried at Turn 1 – only for Oliveira to use the KTM’s superior rear grip to power past on the exit.
And so, it came down to the last lap. Oliveira led until the penultimate corner when Bagnaia made his move. Again, the Portuguese rider lunged back up the inside at the final corner but couldn’t hold the inside line, with Bagania switching back up the inside to force his way past to take the lead in Championship standings again.
There was also drama just behind, with Marquez crashing at the final corner after battling for the final podium place with Marini and the Italian securing his third consecutive rostrum. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was right in the hunt for the podium, the Italian eventually coming home fourth, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto3) securing his best result of the season in fifth – his third consecutive top ten.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was sixth after having to drop a position for exceeding track limits, with Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Quartararo and Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) rounding out the top ten in Austria.
Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) finished just outside the top 10 in 11th, with Danny Kent (+ Ego – Speed Up Racing) equaling his best result of the season in 12th. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completed the top 15.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40), teammate Augusto Fernandez and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) were involved in a crash at Turn 3 on lap 4 – riders ok. Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) and Federico Fuligni (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) all also crashed out – riders ok.
Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) sealed his second race win of the season after leading from start to finish at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, beating a hard charging Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) to second, with the truly heroic Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the podium after a stunning race just over a week after surgery on a broken left wrist.
Bezzecchi was the man to get the holeshot from pole, with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3), Martin and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) tucking in behind the Italian and the four creating an immediate gap to fifth in the opening lap. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) then joined the fray after bridging the one second gap a few laps later, but a mistake from Dalla Porta dropped him back into the clutches of the second group.
Back at the front and it was Bezzecchi holding station, no one able to get close enough to make a move, with Martin, Arenas and Masia interchanging behind. The Championship leader threatened to make the break in the latter stages, creating a gap of 0.6 on two separate occasions, but the miraculous Martin was able to claw his title rival back in, the final two sectors a particular strong point for the Honda rider, setting us up for a classic final couple of laps.
It was time to cue the jaws music, with Bastianini setting the fastest laps of the race in the latter stages to reel in the leading group. Bezzecchi was half a second clear at the front and with Arenas running wide at Turn 1, Bastianini then had Martin and Masia firmly in his sights. Martin was passed at Turn 6, then Masia ran slightly wide at the penultimate corner to allow Bastianini through, with Martin slicing his way up the inside of his fellow Spaniard to claim the final podium place on the final corner – Bezzecchi in the meantime claiming his second win of the season to extend his lead in the Championship to 12 points.
Arenas came home fourth, just ahead of Dalla Porta and Masia in 5th and 6th – some late heartache for the number 5 rider as he missed out on a maiden podium. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) crossed the line in a fantastic seventh, with Rodrigo slipping down to eighth by the time the checkered flag was waved. Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) was ninth at the Red Bull Ring, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) rounding out the top ten.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was just 0.015 behind Canet, with John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) producing a fantastic comeback rider to finish 12th from 30th on the grid. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP), Philipp Oettl (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing) and Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) completed the top 15.
The day belonged to Bezzecchi in terms of Championship standings, but how important will this third place prove for Martin? Simply stunning from the Spanaird, who now gets two weeks rest before the British GP at Silverstone.
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