Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) keeps up Ducati’s 100% Red Bull Ring win record thanks to a stunning last corner pass on Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as two MotoGP titans treat us to a breathless myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completes the podium.
Polesitter Marquez was lightning off the start, and so was Dovizioso. The two race favourites headed into Turn 1 in first and second as Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) got in slightly hot, almost clipping Dovizioso. Marquez and Dovizioso were incredibly close heading down the straight into Turn 3 as the two made slight contact at around 300km/h. Marquez had the inside line, Dovi on the outside as the two fought for first. Marquez was in hot though and ran wide, with Dovi having to sit his GP19 up. This allowed Quartararo to sweep through to the lead, with Miller and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins getting by Marquez and Dovizioso on the exit, with the Repsol Honda rider lucky to stay on as tried to control his wheelie.
Dovi then got by Marquez into Turn 4 on the opening lap as the polesitter was demoted to P5. Meanwhile, Quartararo was getting the hammer down as the rookie took a 0.5 lead onto Lap 2, but Dovizioso and Marquez started to make up ground as they recovered from a frantic opening lap. Dovi was back up to second, with Miller holding off Marquez for the time being in third and fourth. Just behind was the fast-starting Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), ‘The Doctor’ climbing his way up to fifth in the opening exchanges to be in the battle for the podium.
It wasn’t long before Marquez had dispatched Miller as the top three started to edge away from Miller, Rossi and Rins. On Lap 7, Quartararo was like a sitting duck heading into Turn 1 as Dovizioso used the Ducati grunt to blast into the lead. Moments later, Marquez did the same on his Honda. There was nothing Quartararo could do about the Yamaha’s lack of acceleration as he slipped down to third. Now, Dovizioso and Marquez were sitting first and second.
Was Dovizioso slowing the pace down? It was hard to tell but the top five found themselves split by just 1.3 seconds, but the race would end prematurely for fourth-placed Miller. The Australian slid out at Turn 9 on Lap 8 and just ahead of him, Marquez was through at the final corner. Then the duo started to pull clear. Not by a massive amount each lap, but Quartararo couldn’t match the pace of the Ducati and Honda as we set ourselves up for another almighty Austrian battle between the two leading contenders in the MotoGP World Championship.
Marquez threatened to stretch but the gap didn’t rise about 0.4 seconds. It was clear the first half of the lap belonged to Marquez, but Dovizioso was the stronger man in the second part. The laps ticked by and there was nothing between them, Dovizioso attached to the back of Marquez coattails. With nine to go: a move was made. Dovizioso powered alongside Marquez as the number 93 had a quick glare at the Italian heading into Turn 1. The Ducati man made the pass stick and it was now the 2017 Austrian GP winner who had control.
Tensions were bubbling to boiling point as for the next five laps, Marquez trailed Dovi by 0.1, 0.2. Shadowing his great rival, where would Marquez choose to pounce? With three to go, we found out. Turn 7 was the unlikely location as Marquez stuck it underneath Dovizioso to regain the baton, was it the race-winning move? Serious questions were being asked of Dovizioso, but he was answering them. Marquez wasn’t pulling clear and heading into Turn 1 on the penultimate lap, Dovi went for it. Would he make it stick? Not quite, Dovi ran wide to allow Marquez to power back past.
Into the last lap and there was nothing separating the leaders. Marquez had a half a bike lengths lead as the duo got so close heading into Turn 1. Again, Dovi went for it but ran wide, so it was Marquez who led going down into Turn 3. Dovi was close but not close enough as Marquez led the Ducati around the final lap, was the Ducati stranglehold on the Red Bull Ring about to be broken?
A breathless battle came down to the last sector. Dovi powered up the hill out of Turn 8 – he was close. No pass came at Turn 9 but then, Dovi pulled out from behind Marquez heading into the last corner. It was roles reversed from 2017 as Dovi lunged down the inside, and he got it stopped! Dovi stood the Ducati up and there was nothing Marquez could do, Ducati and Dovi were in dreamland as Marquez’s quest to win the Austrian GP ended.
Further back, Rossi had been caught by teammate Maverick Viñales and Rins as the trio battled for fourth. Ahead of them, Quartararo took the checkered flag in a lonely third to claim his third MotoGP rostrum, with Rossi holding off Viñales as three Yamahas sat in the top five at a track that has never suited the YZR-M1.
Rins was 0.021 off Viñales in sixth as two rookies picked up their best premier class results behind. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) pocketed P7 to finish as the second-best Ducati, while Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) finished as the best KTM on the Austrian factory’s home turf – a sensational P8 for the Portuguese rider. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) will be disappointed with P9 on a Ducati-friendly circuit, compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completed the top 10.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) crashed out of contention on Lap 2 at Turn 3. The British rider hit the back of Tito Rabat’s Reale Avinita Racing Ducati after the Spaniard had to take avoiding action due to Pol Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) bike cut out. Not the result KTM would have been looking for on home turf.
The 2019 Austrian GP will live long in the memory. Another breathtaking Dovizioso vs Marquez battle goes down to the final corner, and it’s Ducati who emerge victorious again. Sensational scenes as Spielberg delivers again. Classics guaranteed? You bet!
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder battled to his first Moto2 victory of the 2019 season and where better to do it than at KTM’s home round, the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. It would end up being the perfect 24th birthday present for the South African after he held off a late charge from Championship leader Alex Marquez (Marc VDS EG 0,0) on the final lap, in a race that saw a handful of riders crash out of the leading group.
Binder took the holeshot from second on the grid and quickly began to break clear, settling into an early lead of just under a second. Behind, poleman Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) didn’t make the most of his debut pole but began to fight his way back through, eventually settling into third place behind Xavi Vierge (Marc VDS EG 0,0), who made a great start from the third row.
The Japanese rider then made his move for second place, easing past Vierge. However, the Spaniard would try to retaliate into Turn 3 but got it all wrong. The front end folded and it would be heartbreak for Nagashima as Vierge’s Kalex collected him and as a result, a debut podium finish was robbed from the likeable Japanese rider.
That left an almighty scrap for second place, which well and truly ignited on lap eight. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) all began to fight as if was the last lap. First, at Turn 3, Gardner and Marini swapped paint after all four had searched for the same bit of tarmac, but it didn’t end there. As the quartet flicked into Turn 4, Marini, Bastianini and Gardner ran ever so slightly wide allowing the man in fifth, Gardner, to swoop under all three and reclaim second.
Gardner then escaped from the madness behind and in just five laps caught Binder at the front of the race. However, the Australian’s first attempt to grab the lead from Binder failed after he ran wide at Turn 1, allowing Binder to jump back in front straight away.
With ten laps remaining, Gardner tried again to take the lead away from Binder at Turn 1 but he again failed after running wide and losing the drive down towards Turns 2 and 3. Seven laps were left now and Gardner again got his front wheel in front but Binder forced him to go the long way around into Turn 3. The inside line proved to be the winner, Binder held on and Garnder’s search for a debut race win began to get some desperate.
Meanwhile, Bastianini and Marquez, who had started from the fourth row of the grid, closed in and we had ourselves an eight-wheeler. Then, with six remaining, Gardner for a third time ran wide at Turn 1 but this time as he rejoined, the Aussie clipped the rear wheel of Marquez and crashed out.
It was back to four-wheeler before too long though, as Marini joined the hunt for the win after posting the fastest lap of the race. It would end up being a short-lived foray in the leading group, after the Italian tucked the front on the brakes into Turn 9 with just five laps remaining, wiping out his compatriot Bastianini in spectacular style too.
That left just Binder and Marquez to fight it out over the remaining laps but despite pressure from the Championship leader, the birthday boy held on to clinch a first win of the 2019 season and send the Austrian fans delirious, with orange flags and caps waved wildly all the way around the Red Bull Ring.
The final podium place went the way of Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up), a fifth top-three finish of the season, after moving clear of FlexBox HP40 teammates Lorenzo Baldassarri and Augusto Fernandez in the closing stages. Sixth went the way of Lüthi, who now sits 43 points adrift of Marquez ahead of the British GP.
Romano Fenati’s (VNE Snipers) 2019 reboot is complete after producing a sensational ride to claim his first win since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix at the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, the Italian finished just over a second clear of teammate Tony Arbolino as John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) snatches the final podium spot on the line.
Despite plenty of rainfall in the morning, the track had mostly dried for the Moto3™ race as every rider opted for the slick tyres. However, the start was going to be sketchy with plenty of wet patches on the grid and off the line it was Fenati who got the better of polesitter McPhee, with teammate Arbolino slotting into second at Turn 1 to make it a VNE Snipers 1-2 on the run down to Turn 3. At said corner, Arbolino immediately pounced to take the P1 as the leading trio of Arbolino, Fenati and McPhee started to create a gap to the chasing pack.
On Lap 2 the front three were well clear of fourth place Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), 2.7 seconds was the gap as Fenati, Arbolino and McPhee raced ahead. The two Italians were exchanging the lead of the race with the Scotsman just sitting in behind, while on Lap 7, Arbolino told Fenati to stick behind him – a VNE Snipers breakaway? Not quite, Fenati was soon back through and with the gap to the chasers up to over four seconds, surely it was the three leaders who were going to fight for Austrian GP victory?
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin ended seventh, a quarter of a second ahead of his 2020 teammate, American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona. Rounding out the top ten were Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2).
Well, Fenati had other ideas. On Lap 9 he retook the lead once more and on Lap 10, the number 55 fired in a 1:38.4 to stretch his lead to over half a second. The Moto3 veteran was in the groove in the tricky conditions and it soon became clear Arbolino and McPhee had to do something to stop Fenati from edging away. However, eyes soon turned to what was going on behind, as two KTMs were ramping up their pace: Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai).
Fenati was setting fastest lap after fastest lap and his lead was creeping up to the two-second mark. Vietti and Masia were also on fastest lap pace as the duo started to eat into the 3.3-second advantage McPhee and Arbolino had. The latter two were being closed down half a second a lap and with four laps to go, it was game on for the podium battle. Vietti set the fastest lap of the race with three laps remaining and Masia stuck with him – it was now a four-rider fight for P2 and P3, Fenati was still over 1.5 seconds up the road. Masia then made a move stick at Turn 3 on Vietti as the Spaniard eyed a first podium since Mugello. But, after attempting a move up the inside of McPhee at Turn 9 with one and a bit laps to go, Masia crashed. McPhee closed the door as Masia ran wide on the wet asphalt and, subsequently, the number 5 highsided out of the fight.
Last lap time and it was Arbolino from Vietti and McPhee – would it be an all-Italian rostrum? Vietti thought about making a move on Arbolino but heading into the last corner, the trio were line astern. Fenati took the chequered flag to claim Italy’s 250th lightweight class win, but late drama would unfold behind. Arbolino held third coming out the final corner with Vietti and McPhee in pursuit. However, McPhee got the best run out of Turn 10 and snatched P3 from Vietti by 0.015, the British rider missing out on P2 by just 0.008. Heartbreak for Vietti, jubilation for Arbolino and McPhee – a magnificent ride by all three.
Five and half seconds back, Marcos Ramirez got the better of Leopard Racing teammate Dalla Porta as the two finished fifth and sixth respectively. It’s a result that sees Dalla Porta retake the Championship lead, with title rival Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) only managing to finish P10. Seventh went the way of Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), the Kazakhstan rider picking up his best Moto3™ result as he edged out Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP), Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and the aforementioned Canet to the line.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was an early crasher at Turn 1, with Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashing twice – riders ok. Masia went to the medical centre for a checkup after his crash.
In terms of the Championship race, Dalla Porta now takes a one-point lead over Canet to the British GP. Arbolino’s second means he’s not completely out of the picture in third, the Italian sits 42 off Dalla Porta but Sunday in Austria belonged to one man: Fenati. After an incredibly tough year, ‘FennyFive’ is back on the top step to equal Enea Bastianini’s Moto3™ podium record on 24. Can he produce more of the same at Silverstone in two weeks’ time?