A thrilling race decided at the last turn.
NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich.
Experienced Italian Andrea Dovizioso made history at the Austrian MotoGP with his and Ducati's third win of the season.
In a thrilling battle with Honda's Marc Márquez that went down to the very last corner, they fought it out for the victory throughout the race, Dovizioso winning by just 0.176s despite a desperate last-corner "do or die" manoeuvre by Marc Márquez.
The race started with Marc Márquez from pole taking full advantage into the first corner only to have Jorge Lorenzo come past him on the first lap on the approach to turn 3 with the straight line speed of the Ducati.
This year's Ducati signing, Lorenzo took his team mate Dovizioso at turn 1 and surged passed Marquez on the next straight, to take the lead of the race.
Both Ducati riders, Dovizioso and Lorenzo, were using the new fairing, which helps with stability on the fast straights, acceleration and braking.
He pulled out a lead from the chasing pack. As Marquez fought off Dovizioso in the opening laps, Lorenzo escaped the chasing riders by over a second.
Lorenzo led for the first 10 laps but he was not able to extend his lead, and was soon caught by Marquez and Dovizioso, as the leading three left their rivals behind. On lap eight, Marquez was right on the back wheel of Lorenzo, but then he ran wide on turn 3 and Dovizioso got by him. Having passed Dovi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on lap 12 of 28, the leading pair were not separated by more than a few bike lengths, the pair exchanged the lead five times on a single lap!
Wheel to wheel battle every lap!
Then Marc Márquez capitalised on the Ducati pair mistake; Lorenzo went deep into turn 3 pushing Dovi wide with him, letting Honda man cut back inside them. The Factory Ducati pair almost hit each other.
Then, from third Dovizioso shot past Lorenzo and Marquez along the next straight, as the three went side by side into the next turn, to take the lead, but Dovi ran wide in turn 4, allowing Marquez to get past him.
Marquez tried to pull away, but he wasn't able to keep the lead from Dovizioso for long, and a few laps later braked too late into turn 3, letting Dovi go out in front again.
Into turn one, Dovizioso dived up the inside of Marquez, who fought back at turn 3, before Dovizioso grabbed the lead again at the very next turn.
This enabled Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa to catch the leading pair, but he couldn't stay with their electrifying pace. Pedrosa, who started eighth, had steadily passed rider after rider and soon was up to third and on the tail of the leaders as they tripped over each other. But as soon as Dani Pedrosa was with the leaders, Dovizioso and Marquez took off again, leaving the Spaniard to come home in third place.
Marquez utilised his superior race craft speed through the left-handers of turns 6 and 7 to retake the lead, but seconds later Dovizioso was ahead once more, having carried greater speed in the fast right-hander of turn 8 making a heroic pass. Positions changed hands numerous times on that lap alone, as they continued to push each other to the limit.
Marquez tried to pull away but was not able to gap Dovizioso, and a few laps later he braked too late into turn 3, letting Dovizioso through.
The battle raged on, Dovizioso again dived up the inside of Marquez into turn 1, Marquez fought back at turn 3, before Dovizioso grabbed the lead again into turn 4.
This was an all out epic fight to the end with Marquez and Dovizioso swapping the lead five times on a single lap!
Dramatic final lap!
With three laps to go a mistake by Marquez in turn 1 threatened to hand victory to Dovizioso who was using a medium front and a hard rear tyre. He caught the Ducati rider back up to create a nail biting finish to the race.
The pair went into the last lap less than a tenth of a second apart, with Dovi out in front, and Marquez tried to take the lead away from him in the final two corners.
Marquez was on Dovi's back tyre for the last lap, a challenging move at the penultimate corner was followed by a "do or die" assault on the final turn. Dovizioso heard it coming and turned back inside the Honda RCV to out-accelerate him, casually waving his hand to Marquez as he rode to victory. Dovizioso used the cutback to his compromised rival and crossed the line ahead to capture his third victory of the campaign by 0.176s, to the delight of his jubilant team. Marquez was second.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa came home third, four seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Lorenzo chose the same tyres as Dovizioso and looked back to his old self whilst in the lead, but he couldn't match the leaders' pace. Early race leader Lorenzo dropped away from Pedrosa and finished fourth.
Factory Yamaha struggles
Behind the leading frantic battle the Factory Yamaha pair struggled to keep up with the leaders. At the start of the race, the Yamaha riders, Vinales and Rossi, were both in contention but both lost ground with going off track and with tyre troubles. They had to settle to finish behind Frenchman Johann Zarco.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco was the top finishing Yamaha rider, in fifth place. Zarco got ahead of the Yamaha riders, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, who dropped their pace after the opening ten laps.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso now moves ahead of Maverick Viñales, to second in the championship, only 16 points from Marquez. Vinales is 24 points behind Marquez, and Valentino Rossi a further 33 points adrift with Dani Pedrosa only 2 points behind him.
Spain's, Aspar Ducati rider, Alvaro Bautista finished in eighth. Completing the top ten were Loris Baz, on his Avintia Ducati and local team Factory KTM wild-card rider, Finn Mika Kallio, who had a great day, finishing as the top KTM rider in only his second MotoGP outing for KTM.
Spain's Andrea Iannone was the top Suzuki rider in 11th. Britain's Scott Redding riding a Pramac Ducati, returning to his form, came 12th, and Spaniard Aleix Espargaró 13th for the Factory Aprilia team.
Final point scorers were Karel Abraham, Ducati, and Englishman, Cal Crutchlow on his LCR Honda. He was the only rider to use hard tyres front and rear.
Suzuki's Álex Rins came 16th, Hector Barbera, Avintia Ducati, Englishman Bradley Smith, KTM, Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Honda and Englishman Sam Lowes riding the Aprilia were the final finishers.
Regular KTM rider Pol Espargaró had to retire when he hit another rider at the start and suffered lever damage. Zarco's Tech 3 team-mate, Jonas Folger and Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci both retired due to machine problems after a collision at the start of the race.
Australian Jack Miller crashed out at turn 9 on lap 9 of the race.
What the Yamaha team mates had to say about their race.
After the race the Yamaha riders both complained about their tyres.
Maverick Viñales said "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. "
Rossi felt that Yamaha suffered the same tyre problems that severely compromised his performance at Jerez and Barcelona earlier in the year.
"The problems started after 10 or 12 laps," stated Rossi.
"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."
Yamaha will carry out a private test at Misano on Sunday in an effort to find out what causes their rear tyre issues.
Austrian MotoGP race result.
NEROGIARDINI MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX VON OSTERREICH
Spielberg, Austria, Sunday, August 13, 2017
MotoGP World Championship Standing.
Race results and championship standing from motogp.com
- Roland Potter