These just in:
Polesitter Marquez took the holeshot, before a stunning move from Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) saw him cut inside second-placed Dovizioso and then take Marquez on the exit – an incredible second ahead over the line at the end of Lap 1. Marquez slotted into second as Dovizioso threatened, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) a big mover – into fourth past teammate Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).
There was early heartbreak for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who was forced to retire as his rear brake was damaged in an early incident – before Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was then also forced in. Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), who suffered a big wheelie off the line, was next to enter pitlane after a warning light on the dash.
Back in the battle, Viñales had run wide into Turn 1 to lose some ground and come back on track from the run off, with Lorenzo at the head of the race then being reeled in by Marquez. Soon, Marquez was the man to misjudge an apex – Turn 3 – with Dovizioso quickly pouncing to take over in second. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had moved up to tag onto the front four, with Pedrosa the next man to join the party – making a train of five behind Lorenzo in the lead. Marquez then struck back against Dovizioso, with 18 laps to go and everything still in the air.
Some stunning action then shook up the lead as Lorenzo headed deep, Marquez cut inside – and Dovizioso then blasted past both as the three machines were almost neck-and-neck. But Marquez struck back, before an almost replica replay of the earlier trio saw Zarco run deep, Rossi pounce – and Pedrosa take both. Then it was Rossi’s time to run wide – off at Turn 1 and dropping back into seventh as he made his way back on track.
At the front, Marquez and Dovizioso had begun to pull away, and everything settled into what felt increasingly like the calm before the storm – and was proved exactly that.
Swapping places whilst keeping the pace searing, the two men fought it out until the end. Dovizioso, ahead as they crossed the line for the final lap, kept everything inch perfect as he waited for the move he knew would come. Marquez, for his part, couldn’t make a much-used Turn 7 move this time around, and the corners were counting down.
Almost a flash of unified colour around the penultimate corner, breath was held as the moment arrived – and so did Marquez. Lunging for the inside on the final corner and then sliding out just wide, the reigning Champion was spectacular – but it wasn’t quite enough, with his Italian rival cutting back inside to cross the line for his third win of the year.
Pedrosa completed the podium after some solid pace, taking Lorenzo and at one point in striking distance of the lead. The number 26 also moved to within only two points of Rossi in the standings. Zarco took fifth after holding off Viñales and coming home top Yamaha, with Rossi crossing the line in P7.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) had a stunning Sunday comeback to take eighth, able to pull clear of another impressive performance from Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) in ninth after the Frenchman also made it through directly into Q2.
Despite early heartbreak for Pol Espargaro, there remained something impressive to cheer for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing at their first home GP – with wildcard test rider Mika Kallio riding a superb race into tenth. The second consecutive top ten finish for the Austrian marque, the Finn was also only a tenth off Baz in ninth.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was P11, ahead of Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) in P14. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) completed the points scorers after a tough race.
After the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, Marquez remains ahead on the road to Silverstone, but it’s now Dovizioso hot on his tail – 16 points adrift. Viñales, after Austria, moves out the top two in the Championship for the first time this season – and Pedrosa is now within two points of Rossi. The British GP will not disappoint.
LCR Honda Cal Crutchlow endured a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix as he finished down in 15th spot in Spielberg on Sunday. After being hindered at the start, the Briton could never find good rhythm and eventually had to settle for just a single point as his weekend ended in frustration.
Starting from ninth on the grid, Crutchlow was always struggling after being impeded by the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci at the beginning of the race. With the selection of a hard front tyre seemingly not helping his cause, the 31-year-old could not make any impact towards the front of the field and eventually came home nearly half a minute behind race winner Andrea Dovizioso.
Crutchlow admitted afterwards that it had been a difficult few days and is now looking to make amends at his home round at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.
Cal Crutchlow – 15th
“I think it (the hard front tyre) was the right choice for me, even though we had some problems throughout the race, but 15th was a disappointing result. I rode through the pit lane last year, for a jump start, and still finished with more points. We didn’t find a great setting all weekend and the problem was I lost 12 seconds in six laps and that was it really.
“I got run off the track three times and got hindered at the start. Once I was riding alone at the end of the race I felt really good, I had good pace, but we had a problem up until lap 18 as well which didn’t help. But no excuses, I didn’t ride great all weekend either, but I could have finished in the top eight today I felt. My aim was to finish in the top six, but I was nine places off that so we’ll just have to look forward to the next one and try our best again.
“I look forward to Silverstone now, it’s always great to go home and especially after two frustrating races.”
MICHELIN HELP THE TOP-TWO PROTAGONISTS PRODUCE A GREAT BATTLE AS RECORDS TUMBLE
2017 11 GP Austria 00327
Michelin witnessed its full range of MotoGP™ slick compound tyres used today during the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and a straight fight at the end between two great rivals before Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) came out the victor.
All six MICHELIN Power Slick race tyres were chosen by the 24-racers that lined up on today’s grid, with different pairings being used as the riders looked for the optimum performance from a range of tyres that gave many options over the weekend. Pole-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went with the medium front and hard rear pairing, whilst the early race leader Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) chose the medium front and soft rear option. Lorenzo got the hole-shot and led for the first 11-circulations of the 28-lap race around the 4,318m Austrian circuit, before Marquez took the lead on lap-12. The reigning champion tried to make a break, but was followed closely by Dovizioso, who was using the medium front and soft rear combination on his Ducati.
Watched at trackside by 90,411 fans, the two combatants then produced an incredible last few laps as they changed places numerous times. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) briefly joined in the fight at the front, but was unable to stay with Dovizioso and Marquez as the race continued, leaving the championship contenders to battle it out at the front. The two had different tyre compound choices from either end of the spectrum on the rear of their respective bikes, but grip, performance and durability never looked an issue for either man as they started the last-lap. Dovizioso led as the race approached the last corner, but Marquez made an audacious and exciting attempt to pass, using all the grip he could find and as much of the track as he could use, but he just couldn’t get the better of the Italian and Dovizioso crossed the line a mere one-tenth-of-a-second ahead of his rival – setting a new race duration record in the process. Marquez’s second place strengthened his championship lead, with Dovizioso now his closest rival, just 16-points behind.
Pedrosa, using the medium front and hard rear compound pairing crossed the line in third, with Lorenzo taking fourth. Fifth position and the title of First Independent Rider was taken by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Frenchman used a soft front and rear MICHELIN Power Slick and this union also led to him setting the fastest lap and a new record on the sixth circulation with a time of 1’24.312, at an average speed of 184.3km/h around the 4.3km circuit. Sixth was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), just ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in seventh. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Racing) was eighth and had the honour of setting a new outright speed record for the circuit of 316.5km/h. Ninth went to Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) with wild-card Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Racing) rounding out the top-ten.
Today’s race was held in warmer conditions than had been experienced all weekend so tyre choice was an important factor and the selection given to all riders by Michelin was certainly an important factor. The available selection again highlighted Michelin’s continued dedication to supply all bikes, riders and manufacturers with tyres that work at all tracks and give them the best opportunity to match the correct rubber to their machinery and riding styles.
Michelin and the MotoGP Paddock now head across Europe and over the sea to England for the British Grand Prix which will be staged at Silverstone on Sunday 27th August.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team:
“It was quite difficult this weekend to make the right decision about the tyres, because with a different temperature every day it made it complicated. At the end, we understood the tyres and we made the right decision. I was able to save the tyre and finish the race in a good shape. I couldn’t start and push 100%, as well as finish 100% because you need to save tyres on this track, so I saved them for the end, but overall the feeling was really, really good during the race from the tyres.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We are very pleased with the way the whole weekend has gone. There were many challenges with the track temperatures, so the riders never really had an opportunity to get a rhythm with the tyres they wanted to use, but this also meant they were able to try all the compounds, as that proved in today’s race. Again, we saw all six compounds chosen and a race at the end between one guy on a soft rear and one on a hard, which was a good advert for what we are trying to achieve and it produced a great show and one that we are pleased to have played a part in. It was also very pleasing to see the lap and race duration records broken today and for the top speed record to be set this weekend, this shows the tyres have durability, grip and can push to the limits. Just because we have had a good result here though we will not pat ourselves on the back, but we will see where we can continue to improve. We know that the next race is a particularly demanding track and on top of that there will probably be some unpredictable English weather to cope with, but that will be nothing new this season as we have had some unusual conditions to endure.”
RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING AND KALLIO TOP 10 IN AUSTRIA AS MOTOGP PROJECT SPEEDS AHEAD
RACE 11th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg (AUT)
In front of just over 90,400 people the Austrian Grand Prix weekend again wowed the crowds at the Red Bull Ring, Spielberg today as they witnessed another great result for the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team as Mika Kallio stamped his authority on another top ten finish for the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike in only its first season. Miguel Oliveira in Moto2 was scything through the field with record lap after record lap to be within touching distance of yet another podium only to fall five laps from home. KTM started from pole position in Moto3 and came home with a second position as German Philipp Oettl headed a huge group over the line. The Spielberg weekend once more did not disappoint for the fans as over the Home Grand Prix weekend 201,589 people came to see their heroes, the second highest number of fans attending a race so far in 2017.
Following KTM’s first top ten finish in MotoGP last weekend, Mika Kallio rode one of the races of his life today at the Spielberg track to be tenth in only the eleventh race for the KTM RC16 motorcycle. The Finn, a winner for KTM in 125cc and 250cc was only 19.7 seconds off the winner of the race – his best ever in the top class of prototype GP racing. Without doubt Pol Espargaro was up for a top ten finish too but was sideswiped by another rider as he accelerated off the line but then had a brake sensor failure on the first lap, a one-in-a-thousand chance failure. Bradley Smith was unfortunately unable to score points as the warmer weather didn’t suit his set up in the gruelling race. He now looks forward to his home race at Silverstone in the U.K.
Kallio: “That was a super, super race, something that was the absolute maximum that we could do from our side as I thought before the race I have a realistic chance to get some points. I managed to make a great start and got some places early on in the first corners. I could stay with guys around me giving me more boost to push and push even though this track looks on paper not so difficult it is very hard physically, particularly on the brakes and that makes a difference as I haven’t raced so much recently so if I’m racing more often I could be even closer. Today was however one of the best races I’ve done in MotoGP as when you look at the gap, this was the closest I’ve ever been to the winner in MotoGP at just 19.7 seconds back, so after 28 laps this is a huge step forward for the KTM MotoGP project and I’m very proud to be part of it.”
Smith: “This has certainly been a busy race and one that I won’t forget in terms of the huge support from the orange family. It was very cool to see the KTM Grandstand packed full of 8,200 people on the warm up lap was pretty cool, I’m not going to lie. The race didn’t didn’t quite turn out how I necessarily thought it would as I made a good start and was hanging in there holding low 1m 25s like I did in warm up but the warmer weather took its toll and however much I changed my style I couldn’t quite hold onto that pace. I was pleased as I was holding off some good guys but I had a big moment at turn 9 and ran off the track and then I had to get it home.To see KTM get another top ten was great.”
Espargaro: “I’m so disappointed for what has happened today as we just had simple bad luck. We had the opportunity to show the world what KTM is doing with this great project after 7th in the warm up this morning. I had the speed and pace but a sensor on the rear brake wasn’t working so I had no rear brake from the first lap. Such a shame as it’s out biggest race in front of this huge crowd but now we have a test in Misano and then Silverstone for the next MotoGP.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “Everybody is so happy we’ve had another top ten position, this time at our first Home Grand Prix. We had three riders on the grid but at the flag Mika and the team did a fantastic job. This was a strong result with KTM there all race. No one dropped out in front of us so we are very happy, but we’ve been very very unlucky with Pol because I’m 100% sure it was going to be his day today to even get a better result than last week in Brno. He showed his potential this morning and had a great feeling on the bike but that clash with another bike off the start damaged the rear brake. He’s so so disappointed but he will have his days when he will make us really happy. Bradley is still struggling on the bike so he could not achieve what he wanted and we wanted but in general we have had two races with a top ten result so that shows the project is going in the right direction.”
In a thrilling Moto2 race, Red Bull Ajo KTM’s Miguel Oliveira fought through with some stunning outright lap record times o nthe KTM Moto2 bike, but with a podium position in sight he fell just five laps from home. It was a nasty high speed crash but he was up on his feet after a few moments. Team mate Brad Binder continues to build his speed in his debut Moto2 as he made up ten places in the first lap to be seventh from seventeenth on the grid. He took a great seventh at the line to log his best ever finish in Moto2 as he returns to full fitness after an arm injury. The Red Bull Ajo team look forward to a day of testing at the Spielberg track tomorrow before moving on to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks time.
Binder: “The race went pretty well. I was fortunate to be on the inside of the first corner, so I found myself up in seventh after only one lap. That compensated for the fact that we did not have a good qualifying session, since we started very well. I pushed very hard in the beginning, although later the rear tyre dropped off a little and I made a mistake, so I found it hard to be able to fight with my group again. Overall I’m happy, it’s been a positive weekend and I want to thank my team setting up the bike so well after a crash this morning in the warmup. I’m looking forward to the next race.”
Oliveira: “It was a very positive race. We had been able to close the gap to the front group after they escaped on the opening laps, and five laps from the end I could see that we had victory within reach. It was very important to take this step forward after having had difficulties in practice. It’s a shame about the crash; I lost the rear wheel and was thrown off the bike. Luckily nothing is broken, although my whole body is very sore. Tomorrow we have a day of testing, but I don’t know if I’m going to be fit in time.”
Germany’s Philipp Oettl was overjoyed as he clinched his best even Grand Prix finish today in second, his KTM heading a titanic gaggle of riders in yet another closely fought Moto3 race. Gabriel Rodrigo on his KTM RC250 GP started from pole position and was the second KTM over the line in seventh as six KTMs finished inside the top 14. After strongly leading the race for some laps, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Bo Bendsneyder unfortunately fell as did his team mate Niccolo Antonelli who was caught up with another rider.
Aki Ajo: (Team Manager Moto3): “The final result is a shame because it had been a very good weekend in Moto3. Especially for Bo (Bendsneyder), who has proven to be very fast all the time and very consistent. Even at the start of the race he was incredibly fast. It’s a shame that he crashed, as in Moto3 you make a mistake and you pay dearly for it. It has also been a positive Grand Prix for Niccolo (Antonelli). His fitness is better and he has been able to fight more. We have to be positive and think that last year we had a great race at Silverstone, so we have to try to repeat that.”
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Kazuki Masaki took his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victory with a brilliant last lap on his KTM RC250 RB, holding off Can Öncü and Saturday’s winner Ai Ogura. 16-year-old Japanese Masaki closed the points gap on cup leader Öncü to just five as the pair pull away from Spanish 16-year-old Aleix Viu who crossed the line 11th and is now 28 points off the lead.
Next Race: August 27, 2017 – Silverstone Circuit (GBR)
Results Race MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 39:43.323 (28 laps)
2. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, +0.176 sec
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +2.661
4. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, +6.663
5. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +7.262
10. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, +19.766
18. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +36.423
DNF Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +26 laps
Standings MotoGP 2017 after 11 of 18 races
1. Marquez, 174 points
2. Dovizioso, 158
3. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha, 150
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 141
5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, 139
19. Espargaro, 21
22. Smith, 8
24. Kallio, 6
Results Race Moto2 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, 37:39.370 min (25 laps)
2. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +1.312
3. Tom Luethi (SUI), Kalex, +2.544
4. Franceso Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +3.070
5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +3.745
7. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +9.018
DNF Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +5 laps
Standings Moto2 2017 after 11 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 207 points
2. Luethi, 181
3. Marquez, 153
4. Oliveira, 133
5. Bagnaia, 100
16. Binder, 38
Sixth double podium finish of the season for Repsol Honda Team at Red Bull Ring
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa scored the third consecutive double podium finish and the sixth of the season out of 11 races, in one of the most exciting races this year and in front of more than 90,000 thrilled spectators at the Red Bull Ring Circuit.
After an epic battle with Andrea Dovizioso that lasted until the last corner, Marc was edged by the Italian at the finish line by just 0.176”. Teammate Pedrosa completed the podium, recovering from eighth on the grid to gain 16 valuable points in the standings.
The next appointment for the Repsol Honda team will be a one-day test in Misano on August 20. After that, the team will head to the Silverstone race with Marc leading the Championship by 16 points over Dovizioso, while Dani remains in fifth place having reduced his deficit to Rossi in fourth to just two points.
“I wouldn’t have slept well tonight if I didn’t try to go for the win in the last corner! But it wasn’t possible. Today Dovi had just a little bit more than us and it was difficult to overtake him. I tried my best all race, really gave it my all, and I lost the rear many times. It was a great battle, and Dovi deserved this victory as he rode very well. We got this second place and it’s good. I’m very happy with these 20 points at this track where I had struggled a lot last year. It’s an important result for the Championship. We’re working well; step-by-step, we found a good base that allowed us to be there, and to be consistent in every situation. Today I was able to try that move at the end because I was feeling good with the bike. It will be important to continue like this and to try and be on the podium at every race.”
“I’m very, very happy with how this weekend turned out and with this podium finish, as we had struggled a lot in the practices, had to go through Q1, and finally qualified just eighth on the grid. But it turned out in the race that I was faster than we were expecting. I still had some issues with the front locking and the rear spinning, but our race strategy worked very well. I wasn’t too aggressive in the beginning; I took my time with a full tank, saving some fuel, and then step-by-step I increased my pace until I closed the gap to the front of the race, also because Marc and Dovi were battling and disturbing each other. Unfortunately, when I caught them I had so much spinning that the rear tyre overheated and I had no more grip and drive. I wanted to stay with them and try to fight with them but even though I couldn’t, I’m happy with this podium and proud of my team and of the work we did here.”
Spielberg (Austria), 13th August 2017
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had the throttle fully open at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, as they contended in a seven-rider fight at the front in the early stages of the race. The teammates lost some time, running wide in turn 1 in separate incidents, but they put their heads down to collect crucial championship points, taking sixth and seventh place respectively.
Viñales had a good start and held on to his fourth place going into the first corner. He briefly made a move on Rossi on lap 3, but couldn‘t make it stick. He was eager to have another go in turn 1 on the next lap, but ran wide and fell back to seventh place.
The young Spaniard didn‘t let the small error upset his rhythm and, with 15 laps to go, he was back behind his teammate, ready to join the seven-rider fight for the lead. As Rossi went wide in turn one, Viñales moved up to sixth. On lap 17 the young gun was ready to take on Johann Zarco. He was looking threatening behind the satellite rider for the remainder of the race, but was not able to squeeze his number 25 bike past the Frenchman, and crossed the line in sixth place, 7.447s from the front.
Starting the race from seventh on the grid, Rossi slotted into fifth place storming towards turn 1, and quickly fought his way to fourth past his teammate. He withstood the pressure Viñales put on him in the opening laps, as he chased the leading trio.
The Doctor reached the back of Marc Marquez‘s bike on lap eight, bringing Zarco with him, but encountered a set-back. A block pass from the fellow Yamaha rider pushed the Italian back to sixth behind the chasing Dani Pedrosa. Running wide in turn 1, with 15 laps to go, Rossi soon fell back behind Viñales to seventh. He was eager to follow his teammate, but was unable to keep up a consistent pace in the high 1‘24s and low 1‘25s, and decided to focus on bringing home his bike in seventh place, 8.995s from first.
Today’s race results see Viñales move back to third in the championship standings, 24 points behind the leader and 9 points ahead of Rossi. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team holds second place in the team rankings, with a 22-point margin to the front. In the Constructor championship, Yamaha holds the top spot. They are on equal points with Honda, each having earned 211 in total and both scored four GP wins, but Yamaha earned one more second place so far this season.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team will have a private test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli next week on Sunday, August 20th. After that the team will be back in action in two weeks‘ time for the Octo British Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit.
We had anticipated that this would be a challenging race, that would be hard on the tyres. We decided to go with the hard rear spec this morning, but in the end this didn‘t pay off as we had hoped. The start of the race went well: both Maverick and Valentino were able to compete at the front of the field, but after 10 laps they started to suffer from a lack of grip from the rear tyre. It was unfortunate that this cost us some valuable points in the championship challenge, but the riders did well to hold on to sixth and seventh place and bring home the best results possible under these circumstances. The team will work hard to find a solution for the issue before the race at Silverstone, at the private test in Misano next weekend.
I suffered from a big drop in grip of the rear tyre for almost the entire race. When I went wide as I was fighting with Valentino, I just tried to calm down, make the tyre work until the end, but it was totally impossible. Not only with other manufacturers, but also with Zarco, it was really difficult to keep following them. We have to work really hard if we want to fight for this championship. I like Silverstone a lot, it is one of the best tracks on the calendar. I always like going there, I really like the lay-out. I will go for the best result possible, trying to be on top.
Today the problems started after ten or twelve laps. Unfortunately, we stressed the rear tyre too much, so the rear tyre dropped a lot and we lost a lot of performance and speed. From that moment on it was very difficult to control the bike and I also made a mistake on the brakes. I didn‘t have the pace in the second half of the race, I suffered too much from a lack of grip. It‘s a shame because we worked a lot, but it looks like it’s the same problem as we had in Jerez and Barcelona. When we use the rear tyre too much, the bike becomes slower and more difficult to ride in the second half of the race. For sure we have to work a lot mechanically and also on the electronics to improve this problem.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ COMES BACK FROM THE TWENTIETH SPOT ON THE GRID FOR A POINTS FINISH IN AUSTRIA
The expected comeback ride arrived and took Aleix Espargaró into the points zone for the Austrian GP, recovering from the twentieth spot on the starting grid and finishing in thirteenth place, which was certainly a positive result on a weekend turned difficult for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini after the qualifiers on Saturday.
In any case, the potential of the RS-GP and the Spanish rider were not affected by the race today. Even in difficult conditions, Aleix was able to demonstrate an absolutely competitive pace after the initial laps, whereas the team skilfully took advantage of the morning warmup to reacquire feeling (something for which the ninth place in that session is a testament). This was a technical response that lets the team leave Austria with a finish in the points, fourth place in the manufacturer standings and motivation to return, as early as at Silverstone, to the levels that have been demonstrated up to now.
Sam Lowes, after a good start, suffered particularly from rear tyre wear which forced him to slow his pace considerably, settling for finishing the race in twentieth place.
“I suffered a lot, especially at the beginning when I found myself basically in last place. We struggled in acceleration from low speed, so I had to make up ground in the braking sections. After a few laps I began to feel better, overtaking a lot of riders and setting a good pace. I am not satisfied with my final position. We have the potential to finish much farther forward, but I think that the real problem was yesterday’s qualifiers. Starting twentieth on a track like this one makes everything more difficult. We earned points, which is obviously not our goal, but an unlucky race can happen along the way as we grow.”
“The first part of the race was the best since I’ve been with Aprilia. Both in terms of position and in terms of pace, I was not far behind my teammate and I was making up ground. Unfortunately, we made the wrong rear tyre choice. I felt good at the start with the soft, but then the grip faded and I basically had to manage the last 12 laps just to make it to the chequered flag. It’s too bad about the result, but for us this is the umpteenth important lesson on managing the weekend. Now I am thinking about my home race at Silverstone, where I will be highly motivated.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“The weekend started well on Friday, whereas on Saturday we went down the wrong technical path in terms of bike settings which did not give us the responses we had hoped for. This conditioned our qualifiers. This morning in warmup we went back to a standard setup that Aleix knows well and performance re-stabilised. In the race we gambled with the hard tyre on the rear and we had never used it during the weekend, so Aleix had to get used to it in the early laps. Our final performance is obviously not in line with our actual level, but we count on resuming our upward trend already in Silverstone.”
Rabat and Miller go unrewarded in Austria
A bold bid to finish in the points ended in disappointment for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat in today’s MotoGP race in Austria.
Miller was an undeserving non-finisher, crashing out on lap 20 of 28, at the fast and spectacular Spielberg track while Rabat rode a lonely race to finish 19th.
After qualifying on the seventh row Miller backed his race day ability to challenge for points. The Australian rider surged through the traffic from 19th to 13th on the opening lap and by lap seven was settled in 11th place behind Finnish rider Mika Kallio who eventually finished tenth.
Despite his forward progress being slowed by rear grip issues Miller was focussed on finishing in the points when his race came to an abrupt end at turn nine.
Miller was unhurt in the tumble but unhappy to go unrewarded in what had been a challenging weekend aboard his Honda RC213V at the demanding Austrian venue.
The heavy braking zones and hard acceleration out of low gear corners proved to be a difficult layout for both Miller and Rabat.
After being delayed on the opening lap and losing touch with a group Rabat was forced to ride alone in a fruitless chase for points having started on the last row of the grid.
After back-to-back races in Brno and Spielberg both Miller and Rabat will now focus on the coming British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks.
Tito Rabat: 19th
“I am disappointed because even though I knew it would be difficult to get points in the race that was my target. On the first lap I tried to go around Pol Espargaro but he went long because he had no brakes so I lost time and distance to the group and then rode alone to the finish. Now it is important to keep our heads up in this difficult moment and focus on the remaining races.”
Jack Miller: DNF
“The race was going really well when I crashed on lap 20. I had really good pace early in the race but then I started to lose some rear grip, it felt like the tyre was overheating in the final sector, I had couple of warnings that I was losing grip into turn nine. Then it stepped out under braking and then overloaded the front and I tried to hold it up on my elbow but to no avail. A disappointing end but I had a strong race until that small mistake. Now I’m looking forward to Silverstone and being in top form.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I was expecting a more difficult race for Jack but he had a really strong pace in the early stages, much better than in practice, so it is a pity about the crash. Jack deserved to be in the points today. For Tito it was difficult weekend and not easy to try to improve today on a track that is not an easy layout for us. To leave Austria with zero points is difficult to accept but it’s like this so now we will work to improve at the coming races.”