until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Dovizioso wins wild and crash-interrupted Austrian GP

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Andrea Dovizioso preserved Ducati’s MotoGP winning streak at the Red Bull Ring in a madcap race that was interrupted by a terrifying crash involving Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli.

The duo collided on the ninth lap, and triggered a lengthy red flag stoppage, and further drama followed after the restart as victory contenders Pol Espargaro (KTM) and Alex Rins (Suzuki) both crashed out.

This aided Dovizioso’s run to a third win in four Red Bull Ring MotoGP races, on the weekend when he dramatically decided to halt negotiations with Ducati over a 2021 deal.

Maverick Vinales had begun the race on pole, but the works Yamaha rider’s challenge for victory unravelled swiftly over the course of the opening lap.

He was bested by Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller off the line, surrendered second to Dovizioso at the third corner, was passed by Espargaro at Turn 4 and then yielded fourth to Mir at Turn 6.

Ducati’s 1-2 out front was shortlived, too, with Espargaro picking off Dovizioso exiting Turn 8 on lap four and dealing with Miller at the final corner two laps later.

Entering the eighth lap, Dovizioso had slipped down to fourth, but he would make his way past Mir and Miller by the end of the lap – which would prove crucial as the classification at the finish line would form the grid for the restart.

This was necessitated by a red flag period, triggered by Morbidelli and Zarco coming together on the straight leading to Turn 3.

Their bikes, now out of control, flew across the track through the corner apex at speed, with both Morbidelli’s Yamaha and Zarco’s Ducati – the latter already shredded by the inside airfence – just narrowly avoiding a terrifying impact with the works Yamahas of Vinales and Valentino Rossi.

With the accident requiring substantial clean-up and Morbidelli heading to the medical centre, the grid for a 20-lap race (compared to the initial 28) was reassembled 20 minutes later, Espargaro lining up on pole.

But he was passed by Miller off the line, and though he lunged down the inside of Turn 3 to retake the spot, Miller returned the favour at Turn 6.

Espargaro was then passed by Dovizioso too and was overtaken by the two Suzukis of Alex Rins and Mir a few laps later.

Chasing after Mir, Espargaro ran wide at Turn 4, and as he attempted to retake the racing line, he was swiped by a fast-approaching Tech3 KTM of Miguel Oliveira, with both ending up in the gravel and both absolutely livid.

Out front, Miller – who had gambled on a soft-soft tyre selection for the restart – had attempted a breakaway and was around a second clear by the time Dovizioso had dealt with Espargaro, but by lap 10 he was reeled in by both Dovizioso and Rins.

The latter, having been 10th at the restart, then attempted to pass Dovizioso down the inside of Turn 6, but went in too deep and crashed out, restoring a Ducati 1-2 but with Mir in hot pursuit.

Miller’s push to retake the lead from Dovizioso faded after a few laps, and while he kept Mir at bay through Ducati’s superior top speed, Dovizioso established a lead of over a second, which he would maintain until the chequered flag.

Mir, however, did finally pick off Miller when the Pramac man ran wide at the penultimate corner and invited Mir – celebrating his maiden podium in MotoGP – through.

Czech Grand Prix winner Brad Binder had lined up only 17th on the grid, but moved up to fourth by the finish, the KTM rookie fending off Rossi by three tenths of a second.

Takaaki Nakagami was the highest-placed Honda in sixth, ahead of the second works Ducati of Danilo Petrucci and Quartararo.

The latter had made a huge error at Turn 4 before the restart, going through the gravel and slipping to 22nd and last, but recovered to eighth by the finish to retain an 11-point lead over Dovizioso.

Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM) recorded his first MotoGP finish in ninth, ahead of Vinales, who swiftly faded to the back of the pack after the restart before making his way back up the order.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 20 11 28m20.853s 1m24.332s 0 25
2 Joan Mir Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 20 0 +1.377s 1m24.494s 0 20
3 Jack Miller Pramac Racing Ducati 20 9 +1.549s 1m24.368s 0 16
4 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 20 0 +5.526s 1m24.591s 0 13
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 20 0 +5.837s 1m24.601s 0 11
6 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 20 0 +6.403s 1m24.637s 0 10
7 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Team Ducati 20 0 +12.498s 1m24.871s 0 9
8 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 20 0 +12.534s 1m24.764s 0 8
9 Iker Lecuona Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 20 0 +14.117s 1m24.792s 0 7
10 Maverick Viñales Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 20 0 +15.276s 1m24.849s 0 6
11 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 20 0 +17.772s 1m25.022s 0 5
12 Michele Pirro Pramac Racing Ducati 20 0 +23.271s 1m25.472s 0 4
13 Alex Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 20 0 +24.943s 1m25.25s 0 3
14 Bradley Smith Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 20 0 +24.868s 1m25.522s 0 2
15 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 20 0 +27.435s 1m24.916s 0 1
16 Tito Rabat Avintia Racing Ducati 20 0 +28.502s 1m25.515s 0 0
17 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 20 0 +28.609s 1m25.682s 0 0
Alex Rins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 10 0 DNF 1m24.007s 0 0
Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 8 0 DNF 1m24.565s 0 0
Pol Espargaró Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 8 0 DNF 1m24.534s 0 0
Johann Zarco Avintia Racing Ducati 0 0 DNF 1m25.043s 0 0
Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0 0 DNF 1m25.037s 0 0
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