Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso prevailed in the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, winning a sensational duel against Marc Marquez in the final corner of the race.
Marquez and Dovizioso were in a league of their own in the 28-lap event, and their battle featured several twists and turns before a forceful move down the inside of the Turn 10 right-hander decided it in Dovizioso’s favour.
The Italian’s late lunge means the Red Bull Ring remains the only track on the MotoGP calendar where Marquez is yet to win.
The reigning champion, on pole by more than four tenths, maintained the lead off the line into Turn 1, but Dovizioso got close enough to duck into his slipstream exiting the corner, thus setting up a challenge into Turn 3.
Marquez braked late on the inside to cover off his Ducati rival, running wide and compromising them both, as Fabio Quartararo, Jack Miller and Alex Rins went past the two of them.
As Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo ended the opening lap with a lead of eight tenths, Dovizioso picked off Marquez for fourth, and the pair then made light work of Rins’ Suzuki and Miller’s Pramac-run Ducati ahead.
They reeled in Quartararo by the end of the fifth lap, with Dovizioso easing past the French rookie on the main straight and Marquez’s Honda then overpowering the Yamaha on the run down to Turn 4.
Dovizioso kept Marquez at bay until the start of the ninth lap, but by cutting across from the outside line into Turn 1 the championship leader managed a better exit onto the straight, and finally powered past the Ducati man.
Yet Dovizioso kept his composure and stayed right in Marquez’s wheeltracks for the next few laps, as the pair pulled away from Quartararo and the rest of the chasing pack
They were already 3.5s clear of Quartararo by the end of lap 19, when Dovizioso slipstreamed past Marquez on the start-finish straight.
Likewise, he couldn’t break away, and Marquez gave him no breathing room before making his own move with less than three laps to go.
The Spaniard launched his Honda down the inside of Dovizioso at the Turn 7 right-hander, and while Dovizioso then stayed alongside at Turn 8 and held the inside line into Turn 9, he ran out wide and surrendered the place to Marquez.
He then tried to overtake Marquez down the inside of the Turn 1 right-hander, but Marquez cut in from the outside to keep position through a better launch out of the corner – something he did again next time by, on the final lap.
However, Dovizioso kept him in his sights through the twisty middle portion of the track and lunged at Turn 10, leaving Marquez no room to cut back and taking the win by 0.213s.
Nearly six seconds adrift, rookie Quartararo bagged his third MotoGP podium in what was largely a lonely race for the Frenchman.
His Yamaha works counterpart Valentino Rossi charged from 10th on the grid to fourth early on, and kept the spot until the chequered flag, as his teammate Maverick Vinales held off Rins by 0.021s to take fifth place.
Pramac Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia converted his career-best fifth place on the grid into a career-best seventh place at the finish, beating Tech 3 KTM rider Miguel Oliveira by two tenths.
KTM’s hopes for its home race suffered a big blow when Pol Espargaro’s bike suddenly lost power exiting Turn 3 on the second lap, forcing him into an early retirement and creating a bottleneck that led to LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow crashing out behind him,
But rookie Oliveira picked up the slack, taking a superb eighth place ahead of Dovizioso’s Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci and the fourth Yamaha of Petronas rider Franco Morbidelli.
Takaaki Nakagami ran eighth early on, but ultimately could do no better than 11th.
Three more riders along with Espargaro and Crutchlow failed to see the chequered flag, as Hafizh Syahrin crashed his Tech 3-run KTM on the third lap, Miller fell out of podium contention at Turn 9 five laps after that, and Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat dropped out towards the end while running in the points.
Classification – 28 laps
|3||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||6.117s|
|7||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||16.021s|
|8||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||16.206s|
|10||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||20.510s|
|11||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||22.273s|
|15||Karel Abraham||Avintia Ducati||48.109s|
|16||Andrea Iannone||Aprilia||1 Lap|
|–||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||Retirement|
|–||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||Retirement|
|–||Hafizh Syahrin||Tech3 KTM||Retirement|
|–||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Retirement|