Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich

12 August 2018
Spielberg Circuit in Austria

Amazing Austrian race as Lorenzo takes victory from Márquez and Dovizioso.

Jorge Lorenzo pulled off the win over Marc Márquez by 0.130 seconds in the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix. Márquez extends his Championship lead to 59 points.

Free Practice and Qualifying

MotoGP Free Practice 1

On Friday the weather was good, dry with a little wind. So conditions were ideal for the first sessions of MotoGP. So the action started at Spielberg Circuit in Austria with Free Practice 1.

Three Ducatis at the top of the time sheets. The Factory Ducatis one-two, with Lorenzo and Dovizioso fighting it out for the top spot. In the last minutes it was Dovi who won with a time of 1 minute 23.830 seconds. Márquez was up there too with Suzuki's Iannone in fifth.

Rossi had problems in this session, he was delayed by 15 minutes in FP1, when his rear wheel locked up caused by a broken sprocket, then back on track Rossi couldn't get up to speed and was pushed out of the top ten in FP1 half a tenth behind Viñales and out of the top 10 on combined times, go in Q1 for the first time since Phillip Island last year.

Rossi was out of the top ten. With rain forecast for Friday afternoon and Saturday, he could be in Q1.

MotoGP Free Practice 1 Classification

Spielberg, Friday, August 10, 2018

MotoGP Free Practice 2

The Free Practice 2 was very wet at Spielberg Circuit in Austria.

The rain came as forecast and after a downpour that held up FP2 for 15 minutes riders began trickling out on track. Johann Zarco the first out followed by Scott Redding.

They were cruising round getting the feel of the wet circuit. Then other riders joined them. It was Scott Redding who went fastest in the awful conditions.

All the riders were out, most taking it slow and not risking anything. As the time ticked down it was Márquez and Redding at the top of the time sheets. The rain abated and Márquez went top.

MotoGP Free Practice 2 Classification

Spielberg, Friday, August 10, 2018

MotoGP Free Practice 3

Austrian MotoGP Free Practice Three Márquez Fastest. Márquez goes quickest in FP3 Dovizioso fastest overall. Valentino Rossi has to go through to Qualifying One for the first time this year

The Free Practice 3 started very wet at Spielberg Circuit in Austria.

With mixed conditions for FP3, Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Team, persevered to go faster and set a 1:26.496 on a drying track.

Bradley Smith did his KTM Team proud and put in a great lap to go second. The conditions suited the British contingency as Scott Redding Aprilia and Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda Castrol, went very well on the changing track finishing third and fourth.

Rossi was hoping for better conditions in Saturday morning session, despite pushing hard Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team but he couldn't improve his on his FP1 time therefore he goes into Q1.

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Factory Team, was seventh, the Italian remained the fastest overall on the combined timesheets after two wet Free Practice sessions, and teammate Jorge Lorenzo stays second and fellow Ducati GP18 man Danilo Petrucci, Alma Pramac Racing, are the top three on combined times.

The session started wet and rain just finishing failing, so full wet tyres for all the riders was necessary. After 15 minutes the rain stopped and the track started to dry. Jack Miller, Alma Pramac Ducati Racing, went out on slicks and topped the time sheets. Rossi seeing Miller on slicks also went out on slicks to try and improve his lap times. Alas he couldn't. So he will go into Q1, however, that could be an advantage for Rossi if in Saturday afternoon the circuit is similar to the morning.

Jorge Lorenzo put in a fast time early in the session on his Ducati setting a 1minute 33.938seconds this was soon overtaken by Rossi who went with a 1:33.382s.

Rossi improved to a 1:33.289s to increase his advantage at the top of the standings, but a succession of session-best laps from Dani Pedrosa, Xavier Simeon and Álex Rins demoted the Italian.

Lorenzo half way through the session went top going 1.5 of a second clear of the rest field with a 1:30.687s, which stayed until the last seven minutes.

With 15 minutes to go, Pramac's Jack Miller was the first to gamble on slick tyres as a clear dry line appeared, with Rossi doing the same.

Miller went up to second behind Lorenzo. Márquez's first flying lap put him a second behind Miller. Then Márquez went faster to go a second clear at the top, he went even quicker to go a second in front with a time of 1:26.496s.

A bit of rain in the last few minutes stopped anyone else bettering Márquez's time, leaving Márquez on top ahead of Smith and Scott Redding.

Cal Crutchlow was fourth fastest with Honda team rider Tom Lüthi, Marc VDS, in fifth. Miller dropped down to sixth but will still go into Q1 with Rossi.

Friday's fastest Andrea Dovizioso seventh, Álex Rins eight, Hafizh Syahrin ninth and Maverick Viñales completed the top ten.

Always at the top end of the timesheets for much of FP3, the switch to slicks saw Zarco drop down to 13th, Lorenzo 14th and Rossi way down in 15th.

Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Iannone, Aleix Espargaró and Tito Rabat did not set a lap time in FP3, with Rabat safely into Q2 along with Petrucci and Iannone not even completing a lap.

So Márquez was able to master the mixed conditions, setting a time 1.7 seconds ahead of the rest and goes to Q2 fourth on combined times. Next quickest is Suzuki Ecstar rider Andrea Iannone in fifth. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, Cal Crutchlow, Tito Rabat, Reale Avintia Ducati Racing, Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, complete the top ten and will go into Q2. With their Free Practice times on the Spielberg circuit in Austria.

So far the weather has played a major part of the Austrian GP Free Practices.

MotoGP Free Practice 3 Classification

Spielberg, Saturday, August 11, 2018

In-between the sessions the Red Bull Spielberg Circuit had lots of entertainment for the fans, like stunt riders, here Luc Ackermann performs one of his breath-taking stunts.

As well as all that's going on track side, there are lots to see and do around the circuit.

With special thanks to Susi Goetze, on Twitter @cyclinginside.

As it's KTM's home event, they put on special shows throughout the weekend, had all the current KTM machines on display, test rides and met the KTM riders, both from MotoGP and their off-road stars.

MotoGP Qualifying One

In Q1 Bautista and Rins were first and second in the first part of qualifying, while Valentino Rossi was trying to find some clear track he could only manage fourth as the flag waved.

A disappointed Rossi was struggling with his Yamaha's acceleration, he was fifth mid way through the session. He could only temporarily improve to second before he dropped down again, his last flying lap was not good enough to move into the top two.

Rossi's 14th grid position is his worst since the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, when he was 15th.

Alvaro Bautista led Bradley Smith at the halfway point, and the Spaniard improved twice late on to end up first with a time of 1minute 24.195 seconds.

KTM's sole rider Bradley Smith however was overtaken and dropped down to 13th on the grid as he was edged out by Rins by 0.015s, the Brit missing out on a final lap by pitting before the chequered flag.

Behind Rossi, Aprilia's Aleix Espargaró will complete the fifth row in 15th on with Franco Morbidelli ending Q1 sixth but only starting the race 19th due to a three row grid penalty for impeding Espargaró in practice.

Jack Miller's first run was ruined by a gearbox problem and couldn't improve so he will start 16th, ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha's Hafizh Syahrin and Avintia Ducati's Xavier Simeon.

The Qualifying Two was fast and furious!

Marc Márquez takes pole in the Austrian Grand Prix, beating Andrea Dovizioso by 0.002 of a second at Spielberg Circuit in Austria

Valentino Rossi was not happy down in 14th. Márquez led the way for most of Q2, with Dovizioso missing out at the end.

Márquez led the way for most of Q2, with Dovizioso missing out at the end.

Dovi was only 0.03 of a second behind Márquez mid-way through the session. Then Dovizioso's teammate Lorenzo took the top spot temporarily.

Márquez fought back, setting a time 0.02s faster than Lorenzo before going one-and-a-half tenths ahead with a time of 1m23.241s.

Márquez couldn't improve that time, he'd set with three minutes to go, he took pole as Dovizioso's last attempt was two thousandths of a second behind.

Lorenzo will start third on the grid, only 0.135 seconds behind his team mate, Danilo Petrucci took fourth on the third Ducati GP18.

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Castrol Honda, managed to work his way up to fifth, only nearly six tenths adrift of Márquez.

Top Yamaha once again was Monster Tech3 man Johann Zarco on his two year old Yamaha M1 in sixth. Next was Tito Rabat, Avintia Ducati's, who seems to have found his form again.

Dani Pedrosa was the Honda filling in a Ecstar Suzuki sandwich, team mates Andrea Iannone and Álex Rins finished eighth and 10th respectively,.

Maverick Viñales had a below par FP4 and he could only take 11th in qualifying, more than a second, only beating Alvaro Bautista on his last year's Angel Nieto Ducati.

Rossi always managed to pull something out the bag on race day. He said they will try something in warm up.

MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification

Spielberg, Saturday, August 11, 2018

EYETIME MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX VON OSTERREICH

The lights went out and Andrea Dovizioso shot into the lead on the run into the first corner, Lorenzo also made a good start and chased after the leader, Dovizioso and Márquez chased after them in third. Teammate Lorenzo got passed Dovizioso after the Italian was forced slightly wide by an attacking Márquez at Turn 3. Lorenzo who opted for the soft rear tyre, the only one of the top three to do so, while Dovizioso and Márquez ran the medium and hard.

Márquez passed Lorenzo early on and controlled the first part of the race with the Ducati rider dropping as far back as a second as he worked hard to keep teammate Andrea Dovizioso behind.

The Italian Dovizioso lost another place as Suzuki's Álex Rins battled for third sport from 10th on the grid, Dovizioso trying to hold off Rins's attacks but losing more crucial time to the leading pair who were getting further away from him.

Márquez snatched the lead from Lorenzo once again, on the run into Turn 3 on the second lap, which was the start of his time at the front of the pack.

The Honda rider was able to open up a gap nearly a second at one stage, while Dovizioso shook off Rin's attacks and chased after Lorenzo.

The Ducati team mates began to claw back the gap to Márquez with 17 laps to go. They were back in striking distance, the top three now only three tenths apart six laps later.

Lorenzo made a mistake at Turn 3, but held second and launched a successful attack on Márquez to take the lead going into the first corner on the next lap, while Dovizioso ran wide after out braking himself. A mistake he didn't really recover from.

Márquez took revenge on Turn 3, but Lorenzo again nipped past into Turn 9. Dovizioso regrouped after his error, but his pace quickly faded and he was left in third.

Márquez and Lorenzo swapped the lead several times over the closing few laps, with the Ducati rider hitting the front at the start of the last lap, holding off advances from Márquez at Turn 3.

Eventually Márquez found a way past the Spaniard as their battle for the lead started the final lap, however Lorenzo dashed past once more Márquez on the main straight but couldn't shake off Márquez. The Honda man retook the lead in a thrilling battle.

But Lorenzo wasn't finished yet, he passed Márquez again on the brakes at the sharp Turn 3 right-hander the lap before. Márquez tried another pass, diving down the inside and putting his Honda on the racing line to block Lorenzo.

Lorenzo kept his Ducati on the outside line and he got better acceleration to go back in front of Márquez and he kept the lead until the finish line.

Lorenzo jubilantly took the chequered flag for the third time this year. Now Márquez has a 59 point lead in the Championship, third place man Dovizioso has been overtaken by his teammate Lorenzo and drops to fourth by a point.

Top independent rider once again was Cal Crutchlow finishing a lonely fourth on his LCR Honda, with Danilo Petrucci almost four seconds behind him in fifth on his Alma Pramac Ducati GP18.

Valentino Rossi had a great start from 14th on the grid passing four riders into turn one. He then set about chasing after those ahead of him. He soon caught up Alvaro Bautista and got by him. Next was Johann Zarco a good pass on him into turn 7 with a bit of the track up to Dani Pedrosa and Álex Rins. One by one he got by them and took sixth place to keep his second place in the Championship. Not having such a good ride was his Yamaha teammate, Maverick Viñales. Struggling on his Yamaha and try as he might, he could only finish 12th in a difficult race for him.

Dani Pedrosa followed Rossi to the flag in seventh, with Rins 8th, Johann Zarco 9th, Alvaro Bautista 10th and Tito Rabat 11th between the factory Yamaha pair.

Suzuki's Andrea Iannone came 13th after he made an early mistake, while Bradley Smith brought home the lone KTM to 14th in KTM's home race. Best rookie was Takaaki Nakagami finished in the points on his LCR Honda Idemitsu.

Xavier Simeon was the only faller in the 28 lap race, the Avintia Ducati rider crashing out on Turn 9 in the opening half of the race.

Lorenzo wins the race to take the top step on the podium with team-mate Dovizioso in third, Ducati were very happy to have another Winner and double podium.

MotoGP Race Classification

Spielberg, Sunday, August 12, 2018

MotoGP World Standing 12 August 2018

Post Race Rider Interviews and Reactions

Race Winner Jorge Lorenzo Spanish Ducati Team #99 Race Points 25, Championship Position 3rd, 130 points

Race winner Jorge Lorenzo said "It was an incredible race, maybe one of the best of my career, quite simply spectacular! Winning with Ducati on this circuit, where I had never won before, after a close quarters battle with Márquez, has a really special taste.

"Before the race I had thought about which strategy to use, and I decided to do like Brno, administering the tyre wear well and then attacking in the final part of the race, especially because I was one of the few riders who had chosen 'soft' tyres and my riding style allowed me to conserve them until the end.

"When I found myself fighting against Márquez I knew that it was going to be difficult to pass him, so I decided to improvise by making the best use of the Desmosedici GP's acceleration and it worked perfectly.

"I was stronger in some areas of the track, especially in the uphill on the main straight in fifth gear, but he was very strong in the second corner, Turn 3 in this braking so he always overtook me,"

Lorenzo continued "I didn't expect Marc so quick at the beginning, he really wanted to push to open the gap, so I needed to push but at the same time save a little bit the tyres and the benzene, and then 10 laps to the end I decided to attack, but Marc was there, was always there, and I knew he wanted to try.

"But in the last lap he didn't expect myself by the outside, on the acceleration, so was a little bit surprise for him.

"And then when I overtook him, I pushed on the limit, risking so much on the braking, but I did it and I finished this unbelievable victory, one of my best in MotoGP."

"Now we're third in the championship standings, but above all I'm proud and very pleased with the way we're working because the feeling with the bike is better and better all the time and I believe we can fight for the win in many other races. Now let's just enjoy this moment with all the team and I'm also very happy for them."

Second Márquez Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93 Race Points 20, Championship Position First, 201 points

After the race Márquez had this to say

"Today I enjoyed the race a lot because I finished second but really gave it everything. In Brno I didn't have enough confidence, while here, I tried. I started to push hard from the beginning as I had chosen the hard rear tyre with the target of trying to open a gap early on, because I knew that Dovi and Lorenzo would be very fast at the end of the race, when the tyres dropped.

"That was our strategy today and for a short while I believed I would be able to carry it out, but soon they caught me again. It was a great battle. I tried to defend, to change my lines, but it was impossible.

"This is a track where they're very strong, especially on the straights. In these situations we try to manage at our best, and we also have our very competitive points; we were very strong on braking and entering the corners. For sure we will use those strengths and have our say at other tracks.

"So far we've always been right there, always on the podium, and that's the most important thing. We lost only five points on Lorenzo and gained more on Valentino, who's second in the standings. We're happy with this result; we've done a great job here."

Márquez said that his unsuccessful attempt at a breakaway at the beginning was because he had the hard rear tyre, as opposed to Lorenzo's soft and Dovizioso's medium.

Márquez explained "I start from the beginning I push hard because I had the rear hard tyre, to open a gap in one moment I thought I was able,

"But then they start to catch me because like I expected, when the tyre drops, the difference is on the straight.

"And on the straight you can see. I was trying to defend my position but Lorenzo was able to overtake me on the straight."

However, Márquez is not disheartened by the defeat, he has extended his championship lead now to 59 points over Valentino Rossi, who finished in sixth after a great battle from 14th."

Márquez concluded "This race I enjoyed, Second position, but I gave everything. I tried my best to win, but today it was not possible but we increased the advantage in the championship, so I'm very happy."

Third Andrea Dovizioso Italian Ducati Team #04 Race Points 16 Championship Position Fourth, 129 points

"At the start of the race unfortunately I was never able to get in amongst the battle for first place, because I couldn't pass Jorge even though at that moment I was quicker than him, but to do that I used up the rear tyre too much, it dropped off a lot ten laps from the end, and this affected my race a bit.

"From that point onwards, I wasn't able to do much because I couldn't link up the corners very well. Pity, because we were pretty good under braking, but every race has its own story and we must always try and interpret the tyres in the best possible way."

Fourth Crutchlow British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35 Race Points 13 Championship Position 8th 103 points

"We weren't able to compete for the podium here today, but before the weekend I said we'd be happy with a top six finish and that's what we have come away with.

"I rode well, but I couldn't go away with the front guys at the start. It was impossible with the hard front tyre as I needed to build heat into it, as I almost found out at turn four on the first lap when I nearly went down.

"I am obviously happy with the result today. I finished 15th here over the last couple of years, so to finish fourth today is a big step forward. To go away from here with valuable points and a couple of races of strong finishes it means that I can throw the chips all in at Silverstone in two weeks. A top-five finish won't be out of the question, and I will aim to get onto that podium in front of the home fans."

Fifth Danilo Petrucci Italian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #9 Race Points 11 Championship Position 6th, 105 points

"It was a good weekend. I come back home very happy because we did a great job. I knew that it would be difficult to fight for the podium.

"I tried to attack Crutchlow for fourth but that's okay. We have taken important points".

Sixth Valentino Rossi Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46 Race Points 10 Championship Position Second, 132 points

"I was able to enjoy the race, because I could recover a lot of positions and do some good overtaking, and nobody overtook me. This morning we tried something different that I liked.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't faster, but I was able to keep my pace more consistent and use the rear tyre less. I started well, but I was in the rider pack. I had some hard battles at the beginning, but after I could recover.

"If I could have taken part in Q2 and started a little more towards the front, maybe then I could have fought with Petrucci, but from Crutchlow on there was no way because they were faster than us. We'll try to improve for the next race."

Seventh Dani Pedrosa 15th Spanish Repsol Honda Team #26 Race Points 9 Championship Position 11th, 66 points

"After the start, turn one was a bit messy but okay, but after a couple of corners, something happened with Smith, Rossi, Zarco, and I don't know who else, and I went off the track, losing five or six positions.

"I found myself very far back in the pack. As usual, in the beginning I also struggled with the feeling and grip, so it took me some time before I was able to get into a good enough rhythm. When I felt more comfortable, I started making some passes, and the situation became better and better.

"This is something we need to solve because by the time I start to be fast, the race is gone."

Eighth Álex Rins 11th Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar #42 Race Points 8 Championship Position 10th, 66 points

"We needed a very, very good start and I was proud of what I did. Also in the first few laps I was able to hold my position, then lap by lap and during the last part of the race when the tyre dropped off it was impossible for me to keep the rhythm and Rossi and Pedrosa passed me.

"I tried to stay with them but it was not possible. It's something that usually, with my riding style, I don't suffer with as much and I can even gain positions late in the race. But in the last two rounds it's been the opposite.

"We need to continue to work on the last part of races because the team and bike have a lot of potential. Anyway, I'm excited to ride at Silverstone, I like it a lot, and I hope to do a good job there."

Ninth Johann Zarco French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5 Race Points 7 Championship Position 7th, 104 points

"It has been a difficult race today. I expected to have a better pace, to be honest. I chose the soft tyre because it was the one I had the best feeling with, but it wasn't easy.

"In the first corner I lost too many positions and then I was not able to catch back up, so I was struggling. I tried to do the best, but I was too slow. Even when Valentino overtook me, I thought I could find a better pace, but it was not possible. So I had to finish the race and in the end it was kind of funny. It was maybe my best moment in the race when Bautista passed me and we were catching up on Tito.

"On the last lap we had a great fight, overtook each other a few times. In the last corner I took advantage and finally was able to finish ninth. It's not a great result, but not the end of the world, even on a track I like."

Tenth Alvaro Bautista Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19 Race Points 6 Championship Position 13th, 57 points

"Top ten finishes are always important but I was hoping for more from this race because of the feeling I had with the bike in practice.

"I made a good start and moved up a couple of positions but a few riders ran wide into turn three and one of them ran into me. Luckily, I didn't crash but I did lose several positions. I had to spend the rest of the race recovering ground and the feeling wasn't the same as in practice. I was struggling to get the bike stopped but I could see that I had the pace to catch the guys in front of me.

"I was able to catch Zarco and Rabat and even moved up to ninth in the final corner but Zarco came in a little aggressive and passed us both. It is a good result but I think it could have been better without the incident on the first lap - maybe the top six or seven, which was our true potential today. Hopefully we can keep this up in England."

Best of British, the other British Riders

Bradley Smith 14th Smith British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38 Race Points 2 Championship Position 19th, 15 points

"The nice thing is that we are learning more and more about the bike and made more improvements in the morning. The warm-up was a lot of fun and in cool track conditions the grip level was high and I could get the maximum out of the bike, and in Qualifying we have been able to extract better performance; which is something I have been focussing on.

"I knew the race would be a bit of a struggle because the bike has its strengths but when the track gets greasy then this is where we see some weaknesses. I qualified 13th and finished 14th and this is where we expected to be. We finished ahead of some good riders on good bikes and I don't think we can ask for much more. We pretty much defeated nearly all the satellite riders.

"I felt I made a perfect race and there was not much else I could have done. The team did a great job setting up the bike and 14th was our position today."

Scott Redding 20th British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45 Championship Position 20th, 12 points

"This was an extremely difficult weekend. I was only able to demonstrate my potential in the wet, whereas on the dry track a series of factors kept us from doing any better than a result that is quite frankly disappointing.

"It's frustrating because the final position does not reflect my efforts. Now we have a test in Misano ahead of my home race at Silverstone, so I hope it will help us to come out of this negative period."

So another great MotoGP race.

The next round of this MotoGP season is at Silverstone Great Britain.

Just down the road from us in Leicester. Who's going?

It's going to be an excellent weekend. Starting on the Thursday with the Day of Champions. Free Practice starts on the Friday 24th August and Race Day is Sunday 26th.

My Race Report will be here soon after the champagne has been sprayed.

- Roland Potter