MotoGP 2019 – Round 11 – Red Bull Ring – Austria

Boris reports on the awesome race that was the Austrian Grand Prix

You know, each time I start to think of Andrea Dovizioso as one of those sad-eyed lambs in a petting zoo, he reminds me what a ruthless murderer he actually is.

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Presser Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

As they lined up in Spielburg, Austria, on a track Ducati rules – and which is notoriously hard to pass at – lots of people felt that reign was going to be over.

I was among them.

Marquez had been pretty dominant in Practice, and here he was lining up on pole, his 59th actually. It all looked quite obvious over the pile of corn chips and salsa I was munching.

MotoGP Rnd Austria QP Marquez
Marc Marquez was electrifying during practice and qualifying at Red Bull Ring

Next to him, Fabulous was once again annoying the Yamaha Factory team by being 20-years-old and utterly without compromise. Does he care he’s riding a hand-me-down? Not so’s you’d notice.

On third spot sat Dovi. Quiet Dovi. Likeable Dovi. Really Good Dovi, but you know, Not Marquez Dovi…so not Winning Dovi.

Sure, Dovi had been the only rider to really take it to Marquez Version 2018, but that was last year. This year, Honda has either done something to its bike to make the Ducati power advantage seem less, or Marquez has spent the off-season injecting himself with snake venom and kerosene. So Dovi, like everyone else on the grid, spends his time wondering how it will be possible to beat Marquez.

I guess he worked it out in Austria.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Start
Was a frantic turn one on lap one

Marquez was the first to get to Turn One. But Andrea Dovizioso made sure it came at a price. He monstered the World Champion into running wide (Ducati’s holeshot device certainly worked for him on Sunday) in Turn Three, and Fabulous was suddenly leading the MotoGP.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Start Quartararo Dovizioso Marquez
Fabio Quartararo took the lead early on

Miller was hard upon him, having made a brilliant start, but had run wide in Turn One, and he was joined by Rins, who also capitalised on the Marquez/Dovizioso pitfight ahead.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Miller Marquez Rossi
Jack Miller was on it from the start in Austria

By Lap Two, Marquez had been relegated to third, with Dovi belting past Miller and setting off after the young Frenchman.

Back in the pack, Asparagus P’s bike stopped mid-corner. And once again, Cal Crutchlow was shaving his face with gravel – so his consistency is high.

Marquez finally managed to get past Miller and the Old Great One himself, Rossi, suddenly began to loom into the picture at the front.

Syahrin fell off. No-one can blame him. He appears to be unemployed for next year – though that may change quickly since the post-race news of Zarco parting company with KTM emerged – so maybe his heart wasn’t in it.

Marquez passed Miller, and the frenetic opening laps appeared to pull back to an angry simmer – Fabulous, Dovi, Marquez, Miller and Rossi.

But the leading three were starting to gap the old fellow. Rossi fans (ie. Me) will say Miller was actually holding The Doctor up – and they were vindicated in this view when Jack joined his mate, Cal, in the change-rooms after examining the surface of Turn Nine with his arse.

But that was all behind Dovi, who gave Fabulous a schooling in Ducati power, finally hosing him down one of the endless Red Bull Ring straights, which prompted Marquez to do so as well. But Fabulous did not go quietly unto third. He passed Marquez back under brakes, but it was futile. Marquez knew he had to catch Dovizioso. So he passed Fabulous in short order and set off after the Ducati.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Dovizioso Marquez Quartararo Rossi
Dovizioso, Marquez, Quartararo, Rossi

And after a very brief simmer, we were back to full boil again.

Marquez and Dovi, were side by side, then Marquez was in front.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Marquez Dovizioso
Marquez and Dovizioso

Behind them, and behind Fabulous, Rossi hammered away, while behind him, Vinales and Rins were possibly considering what their options would be at the age of 41.

At the front, Ducatis former power advantage over everything was ominously gone. Marquez was leading, but he could not shake Dovi…but nor could Dovi slam past him in a straight line. So he passed him under brakes.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Marquez Dovizioso
Marquez and Dovizioso

Rabat fell off about this time. No-one noticed. I’m not even sure his team looked up from their card-game.

The great Marquez stalking of Dovizioso began. With five laps remaining, Marquez began positioning himself for the pass. With three laps left to go, Marquez passed Dovi under brakes coming into Turn Seven. Dovizioso slapped him back in Turn Nine.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race DSC UC High
Dovizioso and Marquez battled hard in Austria

The last lap was epic. Marquez was leading, his Honda squirming and sliding. Behind him, like right behind him, Dovi’s Ducati looked more stable. Or maybe it was being ridden that afternoon by a bloke whose blood had turned to ice, and who was determined not to surrender, no matter the cost.

The final lap and indeed, the final corner was so close and vicious, Dovi’s swingarm smashed Marquez’s brake protector off. Marquez Version 2017 and Version 2106 would have crashed on the bend. His bike was sideways, both tyres sliding as Dovi came underneath him on the last corner.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Dovizioso Marquez
Marquez and Dovizioso

And then it was over.

Dovzioso had slain the unslayable dragon. And he did it clean and hard, and gave the world a staggeringly engaging and exciting race.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Dovizioso Marquez ParcFerme
Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez

The way Davide Tardozzi was jumping around in the pits you’d think he’d been the rider. But of course, that celebration in the Ducati garage was totally justified. Ducati continues its Austrian reign. Marquez remains without a victory at the Red Bull Ring.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Dovizioso Celebrate
Ducati ecstatic with victory in Austria

I hope Dovizioso remains the ruthless murderer he has once again shown himself to be.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Dovizioso Ducati Celebrate
Ducati ecstatic with victory in Austria

And I hope he slaps Marquez hard in Silverstone for being cheeky enough to state after the race that no-one remembers the races you have lost when you’re the world champion.

You’re not there yet, Toothboy.

MotoGP Rnd RedBullRing Race Marquez ParcFerme
Marc Marquez

2019 Red Bull Ring MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 39m34.771
2 Marc Marquez Honda +0.213
3 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +6.117
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +7.719
5 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +8.674
6 Alex Rins Suzuki +8.695
7 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati +16.021
8 Miguel Oliveira KTM +16.206
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +17.350
10 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +20.510
11 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +22.273
12 Johann Zarco KTM +25.503
13 Stefan Bradl Honda +31.962
14 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +34.741
15 Karel Abraham Ducati +48.109
16 Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1 Lap
Not Classified
DNF Fito Rabat Ducati 8 Laps
DNF Jack Miller Ducati 21 Laps
DNF Hafizh Syahrin KTM 26 Laps
DNF Pol Espargaro KTM 27 Laps
DNF Cal Crutchlow Honda 27 Laps
Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Marc Marquez Honda SPA 230
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 172
3 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 136
4 Alex Rins Suzuki SPA 124
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 103
6 Maverick Viñales Yamaha SPA 102
7 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 92
8 Jack Miller Ducati AUS 86
9 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 78
10 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 62
11 Pol Espargaro KTM SPA 61
12 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 58
13 Joan Mir Suzuki SPA 39
14 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia SPA 33
15 Miguel Oliveira KTM POR 26
16 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 24
17 Johann Zarco KTM FRA 22
18 Andrea Iannone Aprilia ITA 21
19 Jorge Lorenzo Honda SPA 19
20 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 16
21 Tito Rabat Ducati SPA 14
22 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 9
23 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 4
24 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki FRA 3
25 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MAL 3
26 Bradley Smith Aprilia GBR 0
Boris Mihailovic
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.