Spielberg, 13 Aug 2017: AndreaDovizioso of Ducati produced his best to win a thrilling MotoGP race that produced seat-edged excitement for the 90,400-odd fans at the Red Bull ring for the 11 round of the Motorcycle World Championship here on Sunday.
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 as Marquez finished second and Pedrosa followed in third. Valentino Rossi, who was fourth at one point of time, had to settle for 7th as he made a costly mistake and went wide on one of the laps. Rossi’s teammate Maverick Vinales finished ahead of him in sixth.
With pole-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) slow off the blocks, 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.
After an epic battle with 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 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.
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.
eom/Team press releases with inputs from Miche