Defending World Champion Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia took a dominant victory in Sunday’s MotoGP World Championship race at Red Bull Ring, in Spielberg, Austria. It was the Italian rider’s fifth full-distance race win of the season, extending his Championship point lead.
South African Brad Binder challenged Bagnaia in the early going bet slipped back to a lonely second-place finish on his Red Bull KTM RC16.
Marco Bezzecchi bounced back from a disappointing crash in Saturday’s Sprint race to score third on his Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati.
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Unstoppable: Bagnaia escapes Binder as the podium battle lights up in Spielberg
The #1 was in a league of his own on Sunday as Binder and Bezzecchi complete the Red Bull Ring podium
Sunday, 20 August 2023
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) capped off a perfect weekend at the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich with an unbeatable performance in Sunday’s MotoGP™ race to bring it up to a half-century of Grand Prix podiums for the reigning World Champion. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) hung in there early on as he chased KTM home glory but was forced to settle for second – still, plenty to cheer about for the Mattighofen factory. After bad luck on Saturday, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) rebounded from Tissot Sprint disappointment to climb onto the rostrum in third.
Just like he did in the Tissot Sprint, Bagnaia launched incredibly to grab the holeshot ahead of Binder. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was away well as well – and as usual – to propel himself up to P3, as Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) went backwards again. It wasn’t a terrible getaway from ‘Top Gun’ but Viñales then got swarmed at Turn 1, as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) gained places.
Bagnaia and Binder quickly pulled a second clear of the chasers, with the #33 shadowing the World Champion. It got close. Lap 4 saw Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) take his Long Lap penalty, which dropped the title hopeful to P13, as Binder hounded Pecco at the front. Alex Marquez then passed Miller for P3 at the end of Lap 4 but faced a 1.7s gap to Pecco and Binder, with Bezzecchi and Mooney VR46 teammate Marini quickly dispatching the Australian too.
As the race settled, Binder dropped to half a second adrift of Bagnaia’s rear wheel as ‘Mapping 2’ popped up on the South African’s dashboard. In the fight for P3, meanwhile, Alex Marquez was holding off Bezzecchi as we entered Lap 11, with the double World Champions still 1.7s shy of Binder in P2.
With 15 laps to go, Pecco’s lead crept up to a second for the first time. That went up to 1.2s on Lap 17 of 28, as Bezzecchi continued to pursue Alex Marquez. Marini was a safe P5 with Viñales two seconds down the road in P6, while Martin’s recovery found him in a commendable P7 with 12 laps to go.
Could Binder get the gap down? Two crucial laps were slammed in by the race-leading #1 to give us our answer. With 10 laps left, Pecco’s advantage was up to 2.5s. A battle was raging for the final podium spot though as Bezzecchi attempted to make a pass stick at Turn 1, however the Spaniard was able to get back past on the cutback. Meanwhile, Marini had reeled the Ducati duo in to join the rostrum battle.
Bezzecchi made a move stick at Turn 9 with seven laps to go, and the Italian immediately began to open up a gap to make his podium chase a lot more comfortable. Marini made his way past Alex Marquez with three laps to go, but by that point, Bezzecchi had 1.7s in his back pocket.
At the front, Bagnaia was in a league of his own. The #1 proving just why he wears that special number on the front of his red Bologna bullet, as Bagnaia claimed victory to make it a pole, Tissot Sprint and Grand Prix race triple at the Red Bull Ring. That’s 50 career podiums for the Italian, as Binder brings his KTM home in P2 to cap off a very strong weekend on the Austrian manufacturer’s home turf. Bezzecchi bounced back very well to stand on the rostrum after his Saturday disappointment.
The points scorers
Marini’s late race pace was superb as the Italian crossed the line in P4 after getting the better of Alex Marquez, who rounded out the top five. Viñales ended P6 after a disappointing start and Martin made up ground but will leave Styria disappointed with P7.
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) made a late attack to get past Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) for eighth, and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) completed the top 10.
Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) eventually got the better of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) for P11, and the latter took P12 but takes points and finishes a GP race for the first time in 301 days. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) was next up after a tough weekend but one with some headlines, with Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) and Miller, after dropping back throughout, taking home the final points. Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) was also in contention but got a late Long Lap for track limits.
Next stop: Barcelona
After a perfect weekend in Austria, Bagnaia’s Championship lead sits at a healthy 62 points over Martin heading to the Catalan GP. Can the chasing pack stop the World Champion’s charge in Barcelona? We’ll find out in two weeks!
Vietti defeats Acosta in tense Moto2™ contest in Austria
The Italian arrives and conquers for his first win in more than a year as Acosta is forced to settle for second and Ogura completes the rostrum
The CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich delivered blockbuster action as Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) picked off rider by rider in a superb chargeto victory. The Italian wasn’t settling for anything other than the top step as he denied Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and KTM the victory in Austria. The Spaniard put in a clever ride, however, to strengthen his Championship position as Ai Ogura (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) continued his podium form in P3.
It was Acosta who took the holeshot down into turn 1 as Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) shot up into P2, with Ogura keeping himself in the mix. Acosta got into his groove and began to pull away from the rest of the field, meanwhile, Dixon was coming under pressure from Ogura who eventually got the better of the Brit to put himself into P2.
Dixon then fell into the clutches of Vietti, who was on an absolute charge. The Italian pushed his way past the GASGAS man and then had Ogura locked in his sights. Acosta led the way by a second and a half at the front, but Vietti was the man on the move as he pounced on Ogura with eleven laps to go.
The Japanese rider had no response for the Italian as he proceeded to put down a scintillating pace and started to reel in the race leader. With six laps remaining Vietti was all over the rear wheel of Acosta and wasted no time at all in pushing his way past the Championship leader, arriving and immediately making a move. Acosta tried all he could to cling onto Vietti but had no answer for Italian who put in an inch-perfect performance to take the victory by 1.435s.
Acosta took a crucial 20 points towards his title tilt with Ogura taking a second podium in three races. Jake Dixon missed out on the podium one second back from the Japanese rider, with Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) rounding out the top five.
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) took sixth place and lost some key points to his title rival Acosta.
Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) was one of the crashers as well as Alonso Lopez (CAG SpeedUp) and Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Team). Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Darryn Binder (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) crashed out early on as they fell victim to the Turn 2a-2b chicane, Binder crashing and Lowes collecting the South African. Binder was declared unfit due to fractured vertebrae.
He’ll need to rest up as attention now turns to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain where Acosta will be looking to further extend his Championship lead. Can he get the job done on home turf? Find out in two weeks!
Photo finish! Öncü pulls a fast one at the final corner
Just 0.005 sees the Turkish rider take his second Grand Prix win, slicing past a Holgado-Sasaki duel at the final corner
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took a stunning win at the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand PRix von Österreich, just coming out on top in a photo finish against Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3). Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna IntactGP) completed the podium, losing out in a spectacular final corner shuffle that saw Öncü play his cards to perfection.
Holgado took the early lead ahead of Öncü, but polesitter Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) didn’t take long to take back over in second. He stuck in with the lead group, comprising that trio plus Silverstone winner David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team), Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) looking for some redemption, 2022 Austria winner Sasaki and Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse).
With 17 laps still on the clock, drama hit for Masia. A technical problem saw the Spaniard forced to pull over and out of the fight, leaving him with an increased deficit in the title fight once again, this time through no fault of his own.
That left a small gap between Holgado, Öncü and Veijer in the lead and the chasing trio of Sasaki, Alonso and Rossi. By 10 to go though, it was a leading quintet: Holgado, Öncü, Alonso, Veijer and Sasaki. But then came some more drama for a frontrunner as Alonso, having made his way into the lead, then suddenly slid out at the chicane – leaving four riders fighting for three places on the podium.
Onto the last lap, Holgado led Sasaki but the Japanese rider took over at Turn 1. At Turn 3, Holgado launched it – and Öncü capitalised to attack as well. But Sasaki once again hit back, and it all went down to that final corner. Holgado went for it on Sasaki, and both headed a little wide… leaving Öncü just enough room to slice through on both. That became a drag to the line between the Turkish rider and the Championship leader, with Sasaki left dragging it out against teammate Veijer.
It was one of the closest finishes ever, and Öncü took it, winning his second ever Grand Prix on Red Bull KTM home turf – and gaining a valuable five points on Holgado. Sasaki just pipped his rookie teammate to complete the podium, continuing his best ever run of rostrum finishes but just missing out on the top step once more.
Veijer takes fourth, his best finish yet, ahead of Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) as he caught and passed Rossi for fifth. Ryusei Yamanaka (GASGAS Aspar Team) headed the second bigger group in seventh, ahead of Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), who pipped Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) to the final place in the top ten.
As we head back west to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, it’s now a 26-point lead for Holgado ahead of Sasaki, but Öncu is now within 37 of the top and in third. Join us for more twists and turns in Barcelona!