“It was a very peculiar race given the interruption due to the bad crash of Zarco and Morbidelli. Today my feeling with the bike was not particularly good, but in some areas, I felt strong, and I could make a difference. The weekend started well, but I was not sure if we could win the race: we managed to be immediately competitive, and I found good sensations, but we still lack something compared to the previous years. This track suits the characteristics of our Desmosedici GP bike, but we will still have to work to take another step forward and put ourselves in a position to fight for the victory in all the upcoming races.”
Joan Mir – P2
“It’s been an amazing day. I knew a couple of races ago that I had the pace to be on the podium but various things happened to prevent it. I got my first career victory at this track in Moto3, and for me this result is also like a win! I’m so happy to get second. I want to say a big thank you to all the team members who are here and working so hard to give me the best bike possible, and also to the crew who are at home and helping me. We’ve been through bad moments together and this great result is for all of them.”
Jack Miller – P3
“It’s about time I finally scored some points in Austria – I’d never managed it before Sunday, so to finish on the podium was a really strong race for us. Good for Ducati with ‘Dovi’ winning too, after both of us were nowhere last time in Brno. Third was a bit of a shame because it looked like I’d get second, but I made a slight error on the second-last corner and Mir punished me for it. But back on the podium (third again, just like last year five times …), first time this year, and after I took a gamble with the tyres – I’ll take that.
“When we had the re-started race after of the crash for Johann (Zarco) and Franky (Franco Morbidelli), I made the decision to go with the soft tyres even if it looked a bit dodgy that I’d be able to stretch them for 20 laps. I figured I could do six laps on them flat-out in qualifying, so six laps, 20 laps … could I stretch it? As it was, we didn’t have any new medium tyres left for the restarted race, and I hadn’t tried the hard all weekend so I wasn’t going to go there. Had to try something, right? It definitely worked for the first 10 laps when I was leading, but after ‘Dovi’ passed me I knew I’d be defending from behind than being able to run with him at the front, and I nearly made it.
“I didn’t really want to be leading, but I was doing my best just to manage it the best I could and try not to spin the tyres too much. Nearly made it too. Hats off to Mir though, he did a really good job, and it’s good to see him get a first podium. It was good to see the old dog ‘Dovi’ back on top too … I was ninth and ‘Dovi’ was 11th in Brno so it’s a great turnaround for both of us. I would have loved to have rewarded Ducati with a 1-2, but I fluffed that one.
“The two biggest talking points out of the weekend were ‘Dovi’ announcing he’d be leaving Ducati at the end of the year, and then the crash at Turn 3 that caused the race to get red-flagged. This track isn’t the safest on the calendar, by far, and the braking at Turn 3 is very similar to the last corner at Suzuka, the issue they had there before MotoGP stopped going there. You’re basically braking towards a wall, so if you lose the front, you’re going straight to the wall on the left, and it wouldn’t be pretty. They moved it once, but I think it still needs to be further. Seeing the crash – it was a scary moment for all of us and it’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you see something like that happen, so I’m glad the guys seem to be OK.
“I have to admit I was concerning myself more with my tyre choice while we were waiting for the race to re-start, so I didn’t think too much about the crash other than seeing that the guys were OK – Johann was walking and Franco was on a stretcher but gesturing that he was alright. You never want to see crashes like this, but once you see the guys moving, the instant reaction is to get back on the bike. They would do the same if the crash was for someone else. It’s a part of racing. I mean, if you think rationally, you don’t get on a MotoGP bike and do 350km/h and touch elbows in the first place, do you?
“The biggest news all weekend was when it came out that ‘Dovi’ would be leaving Ducati at the end of the season. I was hoping to be his team-mate next year when I come up to the factory team, so I’m disappointed on a personal level, definitely. But he’s made the decision, so you’ve got to back it. The guy has been here a long time and he knows what he’s doing. I want to say thank you to him for eight years he’s put into the Ducati – this competitive package we have now, I think a big part of that is because of him.
“Whoever my team-mate is next year, it is what it is. I’m a pretty friendly guy to get on with, I think. There’s a lot of media hype about it, so you always read something. Some of it might even be true! For me, the logical choice would be my current team-mate, Pecco (Bagnaia). He’s been there, done the junior academy. He’s a young rider and he’s hungry. If I have to be completely honest, I think he’s the most logical one for the job at the minute. But I’m not the one making the call, thank god for that!
“It was a hectic race and a hectic weekend, and I think we’ll need to find some more speed for next week when we’re back here again. Austria has been a bogey race for me, so it was good to get a healthy haul of points and I got the monkey off my back. These back-to-backs are always hard and everyone seems to lift their games, so hopefully we can do that too. One place more next week would be good, two places would be better – I’d take that.”
“Today was much better than we expected. I was happy with 4th position, I have to say. It was tough at the beginning because I was able to make up places and it was a shame about the red flag but it did give me an opportunity to restart from higher up on the grid. I didn’t pass too many riders after the restart but there were a lot of crashes. On one hand I’m quite satisfied but then I was also pretty lucky. Things turned out well but let’s work again for next week.”
Valentino Rossi – P5
“It was very scary. All four riders, but especially me and also Maverick, were very lucky. We have to pray to somebody tonight, because the situation was very dangerous. I think it is good to be aggressive, for sure, because everybody tries to do the maximum, but for me we don‘t have to exaggerate, because we need to remember that this sport is very dangerous. You need to have respect for your rivals, especially at a track where you‘re always going at 300km/h. I have already spoken with Zarco, he promised me that he didn‘t do it on purpose. He went very wide in braking and he slammed the door in the face of Franco, and with this bike when you ride 300km/h you have the slipstream, so Franco didn‘t have any chance to brake. I was with Maverick when we entered Turn 3, and I felt something coming towards me. I thought it was the shadow of the helicopter, because sometimes it crosses the race track, but then Franco‘s bike passed me at an incredible speed, and also the bike of Zarco jumped over Maverick. So, we were very lucky, but we hope this type of incident is a lesson for riders to improve their behaviour in the future. I spoke with Franco, he is okay, he is trying not to think, but when he thinks, he too feels scared. What makes the difference on this occasion is that nobody got hurt, all riders are okay, so this changes the situation. If something bad had happened, it would have been completely different. It was difficult to restart, sincerely, but I didn‘t have a lot of choice. So I restarted, and in the race I was good. I did a good race. For us, with the Yamaha, it‘s not easy here. We suffer in top speed, so it‘s very difficult to fight with the other bikes, but I had a good pace. Unfortunately, I had a very aggressive overtake from Binder in Turn 9 that pushed me out of the track, and we lost a lot of time and lost contact with the first group. But anyway, from that moment on I still had a good rhythm, and I could arrive in fifth place. We can do better, but it was a good race.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P6
“I’m quite happy with P6 and another top-six finish. It was a really great race, especially race two. Unfortunately in race one there was a big accident and I’m just glad nobody was injured. It was not easy, after they stopped the race and restarted with 20 laps, it was really difficult to switch off and then switch on again, but the team did a really great job. They gave me a lot of positive energy and our race pace was quite good. It was shame I made one mistake in the race at turn three when I went out of position, but I’m really happy to end up with a good result. We have another race here next weekend and we’ll try to prepare for another great race and hopefully we can fight for the podium.”
Danilo Petrucci – P7
“Starting so far back, I knew that today would be a difficult race, and in the confusion of the first laps, I lost some positions. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel completely comfortable: I still have problems with braking, and I don’t ride as I would like. Today in the race, I had a good pace, but the front guys were too far away to reach them. We bring home important points for the championship, but for the next races it will be important to make a good qualification to be able to stay with the riders at the front from the beginning”.
Fabio Quartararo – P8
“I lost some positions at the start and I could feel that my brakes were quite soft in the opening laps, and then I lost them going into Turn 4. Between the two races we decided to change the calipers and we had the same issue. It was a really difficult race for me because this track is normally all about hard and late braking. Fortunately we still managed to finish in eighth, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We need to look and see what was causing the problem as the next race is also here, and I want to make sure we finish higher up then. We know we had the pace to finish in the top-five this weekend, so hopefully we will be able to achieve that next weekend. After the two scary crashes today I am glad everyone is okay and I send my best to all of the riders involved, especially Franco.”
Iker Lecuona – P9
“I have to admit, that I’m quite surprised about today. In the Warm Up this morning, I did quite a lot of mistakes. The race was truly difficult as well, but honestly, I’m very happy, because it’s the first race, I could finish in the MotoGP. I lost a bit of ground in the beginning, but after the first two laps, I improved. I had a good pace, I went to overtake some riders and was close to the points. After the restart, I just focused on not losing positions, so I kept my place and even improved it as my pace was very good. I was fighting all race long with many riders and managed the gap to Fabio Quartararo. In the end, I’m really, really happy, because I finished inside the top 9! For me it was perfect!”
Maverick Vinales – P10
“Today we were very lucky, this is the most important. We’re good. These things can happen in races, there’s always that risk. And this corner, Turn 3, we say every time that it’s really dangerous. They need to do something, because it’s really easy to crash there. This morning I nearly crashed in the warm-up. I locked the front and went a bit towards the walls, and that was scary. But on the bike, during the incident in the first race, I didn’t see anything, honestly. I just heard the scratching sound of crashed bikes and then I felt the impact of Johann’s bike hitting the wall. Then, when I looked, I saw one bike coming towards me and I covered my head and the bike jumped up. For sure we were very lucky today, someone saved us, and this is the most important. We are here and the championship is not over, because Fabio finished only two places in front of us. In Race 2, we had a big problem with the clutch. It’s a shame that we lost two really good opportunities to be at the top of the championship, because I felt really strong from the beginning. It’s true that in the first race our bike was quite slow, but I was waiting for lap 15 to start to push really hard. Then in the second race, after discovering the problem, I just thought my race was over. But then I stayed on the track for three-four laps, and the clutch was okay again. I just tried to be patient and overtake to get to the front. It is what it is.”
Aleix Espargaro – P11
“I cannot be entirely satisfied. In the first race I felt very good, managing to maintain the pace of the best, but in the second, I did not find the same sensations. I didn’t want to switch to the medium tyre, so I had to use one soft with a few laps on it. Evidently, with a shortened race, our rivals were able to use a bit of extra grip that kept us from battling like we had during the first eight laps. In any case, I gave 100% and I’ll continue to do so. Maybe we just need to use our heads and not our hearts, getting the most out of the technical package.”
“It was a tough race because I was starting behind, but in the end I finished 12th and we took 4 points, Ducati won and Jack finished on the podium. Next week we will try to do even better!”
Bradley Smith – P13
“I had two great starts and I am very pleased about that. The second race definitely went better, although towards the end I had to manage tyre wear and fuel a bit and that kept me from holding onto my advantage over Pirro and Márquez. In any case, overall it was a solid weekend, where we took some steps in the right direction, including during the race. It was a pity not to be able to use a new tyre for the second start like other riders did. I wanted to stay with the soft, but I didn’t have any others available. We need to keep working hard because in warm-up, the bike gave me the right feeling. It would be a step forward if we could manage to maintain that feeling in the afternoon with the higher temperatures too.”
Alex Marquez – P14
“More points from the weekend is good, but the race wasn’t what we wanted. In the first race I had a good feeling and we made a good start so I was able to make up some positions but then the red flag came out. For the restart of the second race, I was strong on the start again, but the feeling wasn’t the same and I struggled to keep up because the feeling with the new tyres wasn’t the same. Again, I had a lot of front pushing with the new tyres. I’m looking forward to coming back again next week, in Jerez we improved a lot for the second race. It was a big crash between Zarco and Morbidelli, I hope everyone who fell today is OK. Whenever you see a crash like that you get very worried.”
Cal Crutchlow – P15
“Today I felt quite good in the first eight-lap race – I was able to push in a good way. Then we had the red-flag situation, so we had to start again. Again I made not a great start but I was able to make up some positions until I was in eighth. But then I made a mistake with the gear change and I thought I had a problem with the bike. I was one gear too high and I felt a big reduction in power, so I pulled off the circuit. But evidently there wasn’t a problem, so I have to say sorry to my team and to Honda for the mistake I made, because we could have had a good result today, better than what we’ve had recently. We haven’t been in great shape but today I could’ve got a good result, so I’m sorry for that. We will look at the data and try to improve for next weekend.”
Tito Rabat – P16
“I had a pretty good start and was able to move up two positions. After that it was difficult to keep up with the pace, however, the front group wasn’t far away and we were able to finish the race, although without points. We are going through a little bit of a bump, but next week we will have a new opportunity.”
Stefan Bradl – P17
“It was a tough weekend for us, we didn’t have the speed we needed, we were hurt by the sessions that were wet or damp because we still needed to test a lot of parts. This limited our time to prepare for the race, so our situation was not as competitive as it could have been. Either way, we learned a lot from the weekend, and we’ll see what happens next weekend when I again get to ride for the Repsol Honda Team. Now it’s time to sit down and analyse the data. I hope that Morbidelli and those who had crashes today are OK. I arrived at the crash soon after and there were many parts flying everywhere, it was a scary moment. I didn’t see the crash itself, but seeing bikes destroyed like that is always a worry.”
Alex Rins – DNF
“I started the first race well but I then I couldn’t keep the rhythm because I felt some locking, then I was behind the big crash and it was so scary – I want to send best wishes to the riders involved. In the restart I felt really good with the bike and the rear tyre, and when I was behind Dovizioso I knew I had the pace to lead, so I overtook him where I felt most confident in corner 6. But then I lost the front and crashed, which was a real shame. But everything is so close in this championship and I’m ready to put today behind me and focus on next weekend.”
Pol Espargaro – DNF
“In the first race we were so strong and I was even able to go away and take a gap over Dovi but then we stopped. We didn’t have the proper tyre for the second race and I paid for that. I knew I would have only three laps before the rear tyre would drop. I was wide – because I was going wide in all the corners – and Miguel in that place was a little bit wide as well. I was opening the throttle outside and so was he on the inside, he couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see him so we collided. This is exactly what we call a race incident. It is what it is. I felt I had the best bike, an amazing bike in the first race. So, I’m looking forward to racing here again next week.”
Miguel Oliveira – DNF
“This is a tough result. We showed a lot of speed today and I think we would have been able to get a very good outcome for the team. Unfortunately, Pol was struggling to stop the bike and I saw he was going wide in a few corners, so in turn four I saw he went really, really wide, therefore I just went on the inside. Normally, when a rider goes out, you try to take advantage of it and somehow, he returned very quick and we both collided. There is no way I could have avoided the crash. It’s a shame but we have another chance next week, so we start to focus on that.”
Franco Morbidelli – DNF
“I’m a little bit sore, but everything is fine. Looking at footage of the crash it is good to be able to walk away like this. I consider myself to be very lucky. It was a strange crash because Johann [Zarco] overtook me on the straight and then changed his line under braking to go very wide. With the changed line and the slipstream there was just nowhere for me to go, it was impossible for me to avoid him. Thankfully we are both alright. It was important to get good points at this race, as it’s not a strong one for the Yamaha bike, so I’m sorry to my team that we couldn’t do that. I was trying my best to do my race but we were not able to this time. Now we try again next Sunday.”
Johann Zarco – DNF
“A pity Sunday because I got a big crash in the race with Franco Morbidelli. On the brake he touched me, and we flew away, he has been surprised because we were so close and with the speed it was not easy to slow down. Then we have been scared because our bikes really could hit somebody but finally no one was really injured, so that is the most important thing. It is a pity because I got a good weekend, I was competitive, and I could expect a great result in the race. It was maybe the race where I can have the best pace during the 28 laps, but it finished before. It is very important to have next race in the same place and next week. I need to improve to have the chance to fight for the podium, so I will rest the maximum during the three days and work well next week.”
Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager
“After such a difficult start to the season, this victory has an important weight. It was a bizarre race given the interruption. Dovi has proven to be strong and that our bike is competitive. After the restart, the situation on the track changed, but we reconfirmed some aspects and changed the front tyre. I want to congratulate Dovi and the whole team for their work this weekend. I hope that we will be able to be so competitive in the next races until the end of the season.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
“This was a very dramatic race. We‘d watched a very serious accident happen in Moto2 earlier today, and the incident in Turn 3 in the MotoGP race rivalled it. These were both heart-in-the-mouth moments for all spectators, but especially for the riders. We are so thankful that all riders involved are relatively okay. Restarts are always quite tough. As a rider and as a team you have to stay focused, as if it is the first time going out on track to race. Valentino didn‘t let any of it faze him, and he got down to business as usual during Race 2. Normally, fifth is a decent result, but under these circumstances it‘s an incredible achievement that only top riders can manage. Viñales was both incredibly lucky and unlucky today. He was riding in sixth place, ahead of Vale, when the big crash happened, and he narrowly avoided being hit. Then in the restart he soon encountered a technical issue with the clutch that held him back, especially in the opening laps. Once he found out how to ride around the issue, he was okay and able to salvage six points for tenth place, but it was far from the race he had hoped for. It‘s been a very eventful day, but we‘ll take a deep breath and keep pushing. We need to have a good look at all the data, because next week we‘ll have a rematch here in Spielberg.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“This GP was like a rollercoaster. Pol had the first race under control. He had the right tire, the lead and the right plan. So, the crash destroyed that rhythm but we are really lucky that nobody was seriously hurt and that was a very positive thing. Pol did not have his race tire for the restart so he was not as strong and we don’t quite know what happened with him and Miguel but is was very unlucky. Brad finished the weekend in a great way after his starting position. 4th was a decent result for a rookie in his first time out at the Red Bull Ring and the same can be said for Iker. We are super-happy for him. We have always seen his potential and he just needed to bring the bike home. Overall KTM had a great weekend, especially through the other classes as well.”
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager
“It could have been a really nice day for KTM in general and for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. After the first interrupted race, we talked to Miguel, who had a really great feeling. He got a better grid position for the restart and a good start and we were in the mix in the front group and just waiting to see how the race was going to develop, but in a really good position. Unfortunately, we didn’t see so well on tv, but when we saw that both, Pol and Miguel were missing on the monitor, we understood there has been a problem between these two. I would say, it’s an unfortunate racing incident. Unluckily, this is the second time, two KTMs colliding into each other after what happened in Jerez and in these two incidents, both times Miguel was involved and both times, it was a DNF for him, which is a shame. Because when you see the championship standings, I think we could be really up there. It’s just a disappointing situation. But anyway, let’s take the positives; we are here for another weekend, we’ve been fast, nobody is injured and we try again next week. On Iker’s side, I want to say congratulations to him and his crew. The first three races of the championship were very tough, it was not easy for him and when you do three races in a row without finishing them, without points, the pressure is high. Iker is the youngest rider on the grid, he’s a rookie and it’s been difficult for him to cope with all these things, but he did it really well this weekend. In all sessions, he was fast, not one single mistake. The whole race he was behind Fabio Quartararo, who is the championship leader, don’t forget. To end up in ninth position for your first ever MotoGP finish, I think is showing the level of Iker. I’m very proud of him. Today I would say, KTM got the best results with their two rookies. Good job for Iker, good job for Miguel. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish the race, but it’s just a few days until we restart, so let’s keep only the positives and forget about the negatives!”
Razlan Razali – Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Principal
“It was certainly a crazy weekend, with a lot of incidents in MotoGP and Moto2. We are so glad that Franco is fine, it could have been a lot worse for him and for everybody else. We wish him all the best and we’re sure he’ll come back strong next week. We know that this track is difficult for the Yamaha, but I think we need to assess and review what happened with Fabio today. That way we can prepare for the race here next weekend and hopefully make some improvements. It was a fantastic effort from Xavi after the race restart; this is what we expect from him. He had a great race and his fifth place finish is what we want. It was a positive and consistent race from Jake to finish 14th. We will now look to do even better and improve on this next weekend. It was also a great effort from John to finish third in Moto3. I’m very happy that he was on the podium again and it’s good to have achieved this with the next race also being at this track. It was a hard decision to take with KIP but we assessed that the best thing would be for him to rest and continue his recovery. We wish KIP the best for his recovery.”
“The weekend never really felt settled with the weather, when we thought we would get some consistent track time it rained or we arrived in the morning and there had been heavy rain overnight, so the riders never had the chance to fully set-up their bikes to exploit the full potential of our tyres around this circuit. The one positive from this was that we were able to get some valuable data as to how the tyres worked in the quickly changing conditions. The track temperatures rose for today’s race and the threat of rain never materialised, so there were lots of changes on the grid with riders and teams making informed decisions as to which tyres to use. It looked like being a close race, but the crash caused a re-start, thankfully no-one was injured and we could begin again with a shortened race. Over the 20-laps the tyres performed very well for all manufacturers, it was good to have five brands in the top-six places as this shows the tyres work for all and it was especially pleasing to have five of the six specifications used, it was difficult at the last two circuits because of the high heat at both and the poor surface in Brno, but this week there was a bigger choice as conditions were more as we expected on race day. We have now had three winners and three different tracks, now let’s see what next week brings when we do it all over again here in Austria.”
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.