MotoGP 2019 – Round 11
Red Bull Ring – Austria – Race Report
Almost perfect conditions on Friday and Saturday at the Red Bull Ring had seen the riders produce fast and consistent lap-times, and led to the outright lap-record being broken on Saturday afternoon, as Marquez set a new zenith in qualifying by recording a time of 1m23.027s.
It was a breathtaking lap that also saw Marquez rise to the top-spot in all-time premier class pole positions chart, as he took the 59th of his career, surpassing Mick Doohan in the process. It also looked likely that come Sunday nobody would have an answer for the speed and consistency Marquez had displayed during the practice and qualifying sessions, as the reigning champion reinforced his dominance at every opportunity. The script on Sunday though did not quite work out as clear cut as that form suggested…
Polesitter Marquez shot off the line but so did Dovizioso as the two pre-race favourites headed into Turn 1 already locked together, despite Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) heading in slightly hot and almost clipping Dovi on the way in.
Marquez and Dovizioso then made slight contact on the run into Turn 3 at 300 km/h. Marquez was on the inside and Dovi on the outside, but the number 93 went in hot and ran wide, the Ducati then also forced to sit up.
That let Quartararo sweep through to lead, with Miller and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins then also pouncing on the exit and Marquez having another wobble as he gassed it to try and slot back into the pack.
Dovizioso was behind Marquez after the shuffle, but he was back past into Turn 4 as Quartararo started putting the hammer down in the lead. The Frenchman was 0.5 ahead onto Lap 2, but Dovizioso and Marquez started to make up ground as they recovered from a frantic opening lap.
Dovi was soon back up to second, with Miller holding off Marquez – for the time being – and fast-starting Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) not far off, ‘The Doctor’ climbing his way up to fifth from P10 in the opening exchanges and initially in the battle for the podium.
Before long, Marquez had dispatched Miller and the top three started to edge away from the number 43, Rossi and Rins. Then on Lap 7, Quartararo was under serious attack: Dovizioso blasted past into the lead, before Marquez shot past the Yamaha moments later. The two were back in front, and the duel was just getting started.
The pin wasn’t yet pulled, however, with the top five remaining within a second-and-a-half before heartbreak struck for Miller as the Australian slid out at Turn 9. Just metres ahead on track, Marquez struck for the lead at the final corner, too, and then the duo started to pull clear. Not by a massive margin each lap, but Quartararo couldn’t match the pace of the Ducati and Honda as another almighty Austrian battle started to take shape.
Marquez threatened to stretch away but the gap didn’t rise above 0.4 seconds, with the number 93 strong in the first half of the lap and Dovizioso the stronger in the second part. The laps ticked by and there was nothing between them, Dovizioso shadowing the reigning Champion.
Then, out of nowhere, a move was made with nine to go. Dovizioso powered alongside Marquez, and the number 93 even looked across at the Italian heading into Turn 1. But the Ducati made the pass stick and it was now the 2017 Austrian GP winner in control.
Tensions were bubbling to boiling point for the next five laps, with Marquez trailing Dovi by 0.1, 0.2. The question was not if, but when and where. Then, with three to go, we found out. Turn 7 was the unlikely location as Marquez stuck it underneath Dovizioso to take back the lead, and it settled back into strategic chess until Turn 1 on the penultimate lap as the number 04 went for it. Could he make it stick? Not quite, Dovizioso running wide and Marquez straight back through.
Onto the last lap, there was nothing separating the leaders and again, Dovi went for it at Turn 1 but ran wide, so it was Marquez who led going down into Turn 3. The Italian was close but not close enough around the final lap, and it started to look like the Borgo Panigale factory’s stranglehold on the Red Bull Ring could be under threat. But it was far from over as down to the last sector, with the two glued together once again as the Ducati powered up the hill out of Turn 8. He was close, but no pass came at Turn 9. It was going down to the wire.
Heading into the last corner, the Ducati pulled out from behind the Honda as Dovizioso pulled a Marquez – pushing his machine into the gap and on the verge of creating space rather than using it. It was roles reversed from 2017 as the Italian lunged down the inside, keeping it perfectly pinned to deny Marquez and power towards the line ahead for his second win of the season. With no chance to strike back, Marquez was forced to settle for second in what was one of the most thrilling last lap battles ever witnessed in racing.
The Ducati pit garage exploded as their man crossed the line.
In the overall Riders’ championship standings, Andrea Dovizioso is still in second place but he has reduced the gap to leader Marquez to 58-points.
Andrea Dovizioso – P1
“Today I’m so happy, because this victory was really important for me. Towards the end of the race I had good right-side grip on the tyre and this allowed me to successfully attempt that incredible overtaking move at the final corner. My strategy for the race was to be aggressive right from the opening lap, but Marquez was more aggressive than me. He immediately tried to impose his rhythm but I was always able to respond and in the final stages I think he had more wear on his tyres than me so I could stay right on his tail until the end, and attempt that crazy passing move on him at the final corner. I want to thank Ducati and my team because today we did everything just perfectly.”
Marc Marquez – P2
“I’m happy because today we made a mistake with the rear tyre, immediately I saw all the soft tyres had better grip and even their consistency at the end was better than us. Even like this I tried because I’m Marc and I need to try! The second place is good, we missed in the last corner with a lot of sliding but Dovi did an incredible job. Still we are able to leave here with a 58-point lead so we will keep continuing like this. Even when we are not in the best shape, we are able to finish like this which is positive overall.”
Quartararo best of the rest
Behind the headline duel, Quartararo took the chequered flag in a lonely third to claim his third MotoGP rostrum and bank another huge haul of points in his impressive 2019, coming home top rookie, top Independent Team rider and top Yamaha – equalling the Iwata factory’s best result at the track from 2016.
Just behind him, Rossi had been caught by team-mate Maverick Viñales and Suzuki rider Rins as the trio battled for fourth, with Rossi ultimately able to pull a tenth or two clear of Viñales as three Yamahas sat in the top five at a tougher track for them. Rins, meanwhile, was only 0.021 off the number 12, the number 42 running it close and only just fended off.
Behind the Yamaha train, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) took P7 and a big haul of points after a much more positive weekend, finishing just ahead of fellow rookie Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). The Portuguese rider finished as the best KTM on the Austrian factory’s home turf, taking a sensational P8 and some serious scalps.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) will be disappointed with P9 on a Ducati-friendly circuit, with compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completing the top 10 ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and the second KTM of Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, crashed out of contention on Lap 2 at Turn 3, the British rider hitting the back of Tito Rabat’s Reale Avinita Racing Ducati after the Spaniard had to take avoiding action after a problem for Pol Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) bike.
2019 Red Bull Ring MotoGP Race Results
|16||Andrea Iannone||Aprilia||1 Lap|
|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|
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder battled to his first Moto2 win of 2019 in the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, getting the job done in style on home turf for both KTM and team sponsor Red Bull…and on his birthday no less. The South African held off a hard-charging Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) as the Championship leader sliced through from P11 on the grid, with Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) completing the podium.
Binder took the holeshot from second on the grid and quickly began to bolt and break clear, settling into an early lead of just under a second. Behind, poleman Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) dropped down slightly into third behind Xavi Vierge (Marc VDS EG 0,0), who made a great start from the third row, before the Japanese rider then hit back for second. The first bout of drama then hit as Vierge tried to retaliate into Turn 3 but went down, collecting Nagashima to make it an early heartbreaker for the polesitter.
That left an almighty scrap for second place and by Lap 8 it was heating up. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) were battling it out like a last lap showdown and it was the Australian who was able to emerge ahead, then setting after Binder and closing him down.
Gardner’s first attempt to grab the lead failed after he ran wide at Turn 1, the Australian then trying again but again running wide. With seven to go Gardner again got his front wheel in front, but Binder forced him the long way round into Turn 3, with the inside line seeing Binder hold on.
Meanwhile, Bastianini and Marquez were closing in and Gardner ran wide for a third time at Turn 1. This time, as he rejoined, the Aussie clipped the rear wheel of Marquez and crashed out as Marini managed to tag onto the back of the fight at the front. Sadly for the Italian, he also went down not long after…collecting compatriot Bastianini and leaving a duel for the win out front.
It came down to Binder vs Marquez and the Championship leader pushed the South African to the limit, shadowing him round a close final lap. But Binder held firm, taking his first win of the season on a perfect day for it. Marquez took second but extended his Championship leader out to beyond 40 points, with Navarro putting in another solid ride to complete the podium in third having avoided the carnage.
FlexBox HP 40 teammates Lorenzo Baldassarri and Augusto Fernandez came home fourth and fifth respectively, with second in the Championship Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) having a tough day at the races in sixth.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin created more home glory at the Red Bull Ring after he took his best rookie result yet in seventh, a quarter of a second ahead of American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona. Rounding out the top ten were Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) after a solid comeback from P16 on the grid for the German, and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who started P15.
Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who started third, had a tougher Sunday but impressed to take P12, just behind Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team).
Marquez now heads to Silverstone more than 40 points clear.
“Today has been an incredible day, I knew we had decent pace, I didn’t know if we could win or not but I knew we could give it a good try. To get the job done in front of all the fans of KTM and Red Bull is an insane feeling, I’ve never seen so much orange in my life! I’m super happy, a huge thank you to Red Bull, KTM and my team…they’ve worked incredibly hard and we’ve tried so many different thing this year…it was good to finally give them a good result.”
Moto2 Race Results
|3||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||+1.839|
|14||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||+13.886|
|16||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+20.714|
|17||Dominique Aegerter||MV Agusta||+25.000|
|DNF||Enea Bastianini||Kalex||5 Laps|
|DNF||Luca Marini||Kalex||5 Laps|
|DNF||Remy Gardner||Kalex||6 Laps|
|DNF||Tetsuta Nagashima||Kalex||18 Laps|
|DNF||Xavi Vierge||Kalex||22 Laps|
|3||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||SPA||126|
|10||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||ITA||59|
|20||Dominique Aegerter||MV Agusta||SWI||12|
|22||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||ITA||10|
|29||Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||MAL||3|
|35||Dimas Ekky Pratama||Kalex||INA||0|
|36||Gabriele Ruiu||MV Agusta||ITA||0|
Romano Fenati’s (VNE Snipers) 2019 reboot is complete after the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, with the Italian veteran producing a sensational ride to claim his first win since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. The number 55 was pitch perfect to finish just over a second clear of teammate Tony Arbolino for a VNE Snipers 1-2, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) locking out the final place on the podium.
Despite plenty of rainfall in the morning, the track had mostly dried for the Moto3 race as every rider went for slicks. There remained plenty of wet patches on the grid, however, and off the line it was Fenati who got the better of polesitter McPhee, with 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 over in the lead and the trio of Arbolino, Fenati and McPhee started to pull the pin and create a gap to the chasing pack.
On Lap 2 the front three were well clear of fourth place Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), with the gap up to 2.7 seconds despite Fenati and Arbolino exchanging the lead of the race as McPhee looked on. On Lap 7, Arbolino told Fenati to stick behind him, but the number 55 was soon back through and with the gap to the chasers up to over four seconds, it seemed set to remain a three-way fight for the win.
The lead had changed again but on Lap 9 Fenati took over again, then setting a 1:38.4 to stretch his lead to over half a second. It seemed the veteran was in the groove in the tricky conditions, and Arbolino and McPhee were also starting to come under pressure from those behind as Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) started to close in.
By then, 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, with the latter two getting closed down half a second a lap.
With four to go, it was game on for the podium battle. A lap later Vietti set the fastest lap and Masia stuck with him, with Fenati still over 1.5 seconds up the road. Masia then made a move stick on Vietti at Turn 3 as the Spaniard eyed a first podium since Mugello but after attempting a move up the inside of McPhee on the penultimate lap, the number 5 went down. And then there were three.
Fenati crossed the line with just over a second of breathing space for his first win since 2017 and Italy’s 250th win in the lightweight class, keeping incredible composure throughout despite the tough conditions – and a lot of pressure. Behind him, it was Arbolino from Vietti from McPhee on the last lap, with the trio line astern into the final corner and everything coming down to the drag to the line, but Arbolino was just able to keep second by a handful of thousandths. He took second, with McPhee able to pip Vietti to P3 by just by 0.015.
Five and half seconds back, Marcos Ramirez got the better of Leopard Racing teammate Dalla Porta as the two finished fifth and sixth respectively, meaning Dalla Porta retakes the Championship lead after title rival Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) finished P10. Seventh went the way of Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), the Kazakh 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.
“It feels like a Championship win! It’s nice to come back and win after two years, and in Austria where I’ve never been on the podium. For us it was a perfect weekend. This weekend we changed the job in the box, it was really perfect this weekend and I think it’ll be difficult to repeat but we have to stay focused. For sure it’s been difficult, but it’s our story. We always have to go on, we write our own lives. Now, here we are, I won and I’m happy…tomorrow, I don’t know. We’ll see!”
Moto3 Race Results
|6||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Honda||+7.559|
|27||Sergio Garcia||Honda||1 Lap|
|DNF||Jaume Masia||KTM||2 Laps|
|DNF||Can Oncu||KTM||12 Laps|
|DNF||Raul Fernandez||KTM||15 Laps|
|DNF||Tatsuki Suzuki||Honda||19 Laps|
|1||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Honda||ITA||155|
Mike Di Meglio (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took an impressive victory in Round 2 of the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, with the grid going racing in wet conditions for the first time ever and the Frenchman perfectly composed to come home for 25 points and the Championship lead. Xavier Simeon (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) took second after a big squabble to decide the podium, with Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) crossing the line in third.
The race was reduced to five laps due to rain falling at the Red Bull Ring, with no practice time in the conditions meaning the grid were given two sighting laps and the race distance was reduced. After that extra lap to judge the conditions before lights out, the scene was set and Round 2 got underway.
As the grid thundered into Turn 1 it was Simeon who braved it out to take the holeshot from second on the grid, but the Belgian was forced to cede the lead soon after as Di Meglio retaliated into Turn 3. The fight for third just behind them was immediately heating up as well, with a gaggle of riders all blasting towards Turn 3 in tandem and Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) coming out on top.
That’s when the first bit of drama hit as previous points leader Niki Tuuli (Ajo MotoE) ran wide into Turn 4, the Finn managing to keep it upright in the gravel trap and rejoin but right at the back, facing an almighty uphill struggle to take points. Smith also had a moment into Turn 4, but the Brit only slipped down to ninth and stayed on.
Ninth was where Granado started, but he’d quickly shot through into the fight at the front and momentarily took second away from teammate Simeon, but a big moment for the Brazilian then saw the Belgian strike back. Granado, of course, repaid the favour once again, and this time the number 51 was able to keep it and start to home in on Di Meglio for the lead.
Once through and at the front, Granado seemed to have an edge in the tough conditions and set about starting to break away from the pack…but then disaster struck. On lap three and on the brakes into Turn 3, the Brazilian suddenly lost the front and slid out of contention, leaving Di Meglio back in the driving seat with a little breathing space included.
However, as comfortable as it looked initially, Tech 3 E-Racing’s Hector Garzo was on a charge. He’d managed to out-duel Simeon after going quite literally elbow to elbow in the fight for second, the Spaniard rolling around the outside into Turn 9, and with just two laps left, Garzo set his sights on Di Meglio a second ahead of him.
The Spaniard was gaining seemingly corner by corner and had cut the gap in half by the final lap, but that’s when disaster struck. After getting so close, Garzo suddenly crashed out at Turn 4as Di Meglio started to turn the screw again, leaving the Frenchman in clear air to take a composed win – his first in this paddock for just over ten years.
That put Simeon in second place for a first MotoE podium, whilst Smith had fought his way through to fourth after his early error, ultimately crossing the line third after the drama ahead of him. That keeps him only five points off the lead with his podium – the same gap he arrived with, just behind a different rider.
Alex De Angelis (Octo Pramac MotoE) took fourth, a tenth clear of compatriot Matteo Ferrari (Trentino Gresini MotoE). A best ride of the season from Sete Gibernau (Join Contracts Pons 40) saw the former MotoGP™ star battle his way through from twelfth on the grid to sixth. Josh Hook (Octo Pramac MotoE) took seventh, ahead of Niccolo Canepa (LCR E-Team). Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) was given a penalty for passing under yellow flags and was demoted a place to ninth, ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Trentino Gresini MotoE), who completed the top ten.
Round 1 winner Niki Tuuli managed to fight his way back to score a point, and every point is crucial in a six-race series. The FIM Enel MotoE World Cup is next in action at the San Marino Grand Prix in Misano, with a double header sure to shake up the fight even further – and 50 points on the table.
Mike Di Meglio
“It was quite a perfect weekend for me, I’m really happy and thanks to my EG 0,0 Marc VDS team, we did great work. Five minutes before going to the grid it was looking like drier conditions and not rain, and on the two sighting laps I saw I had a good feeling on the bike. So I though ‘OK, you try to stay on your pace’. But when Xavier passed me at the first corner I was able to pass him back quickly, then after that Granado arrived and I remember in Jerez he was very fast, like he was riding in dry conditions. So I was quite comfortable behind him, and after he made a mistake and I already had a gap to the other guys. On the last lap I saw Garzo was there and tried to brake as late as possible, hoping he’d make a mistake, and I saw he did, I don’t know if he went straight on or crashed? But I’m very happy about the win and we need to continue like this.”
MotoE Race Results
|1||Mike Di Meglio||Energica||8m41.799|
|4||Alex De Angelis||Energica||+5.071|
|12||Randy De Puniet||Energica||+18.062|
|DNF||Hector Garzo||Energica||1 Lap|
|1||Mike Di Meglio||Energica||FRA||41|
|5||Alex De Angelis||Energica||RSM||23|
|17||Randy De Puniet||Energica||FRA||4|