Ducati reigns supreme in Austria as Lorenzo beats Marquez in a last-lap thriller at the Red Bull Ring.
As expected, the Austrian Grand Prix did not disappoint. Just like last year, it was yet again a last-lap thriller. In fact, the race result was near identical as well – a Ducati beating Marc Marquez. However, this time around, it was Jorge Lorenzo who pipped the Repsol Honda rider, while his teammate Andrea Dovizioso finished in third.
Having started from pole position, Marquez was, of course, the man to beat. But, it was a given that the Ducati GP18s’ firepower will come in handy at the Red Bull Ring circuit, meaning Dovizioso and Lorenzo wouldn’t let Marquez walk away with a win here – a track that’s touted as ‘the land of Ducati’. What made the race more interesting before the start was the fact that the top three riders opted for different tyre strategies – Marquez went for medium-hard front-rear combination, while Lorenzo opted for soft-soft and Dovizioso was on medium-medium tyres.
At the start, Marquez decided to pull the pin to break away from the Ducatis. The Spaniard reeled in a series of fast laps in low 1:24s and managed to build a gap of about a second over the Ducati duo. Lorenzo and Dovizioso, meanwhile, were battling with each other. In fact, at one point it looked like Lorenzo and Dovizioso would fight for the second place, and Marquez would increase the gap and go on to win.
With 10 laps to go, though, Lorenzo and Dovzioso upped their pace and caught Marquez. And soon, Lorenzo and Marquez were trading punches for the lead. While Dovizioso was in the mix initially, he dropped back, owing to a mistake, and wasn’t able to recover due to tyre wear. The run to the chequered flag was now a two-way fight between the future Repsol Honda teammates.
In the closing laps, Marquez and Lorenzo yet again swapped places, but it was always Lorenzo who’d come out on top, thanks to the Ducati’s superior straight-line speed. Marquez tried to make a block pass at Turn 3 in the last lap, but Lorenzo took him from the outside, yet again putting the GP18’s excellent acceleration to good use on the drive out. Marquez threw everything at it, but he just couldn’t find a way past Lorenzo’s rocket ship. Lorenzo beat Marquez by just by 0.13s at the finish line! Dovizioso was 1.6s adrift and finished third.
Behind the top three, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow ran a lonely race to take fourth place, while Danilo Petrucci of Pramac Ducati was fifth. Valentino Rossi took an impressive sixth, despite starting 14th. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was seventh, ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins (8th) and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco (9th). Angel Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top 10.
While Marquez was outpaced by the Ducatis twice in a row in two weeks, first at Brno and now here, he’s comfortably leading the championship with 201 points and is 59 points clear of Rossi in second place. Lorenzo and Dovizioso, however, are steadily climbing up the points tally, as they are now third and fourth with 130 and 129 points, respectively.