MotoGP Austrian GP: Bagnaia holds off late Quartararo charge for victory

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia held onto a third-successive victory at the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo took a damage-limiting second at the Red Bull Ring.

MotoGP Austrian GP: Bagnaia holds off late Quartararo charge for victory

Having been 91 points down on Quartararo in the championship after a fourth DNF of the season in Germany, victories at Assen, Silverstone and now Red Bull Ring have put Bagnaia just 44 points behind in the standings.

Bagnaia, who only lost the lead briefly in a fight with team-mate Jack Miller before controlling from the front, becomes the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2008 to win three-successive grands prix.

Bagnaia snatched the holeshot off the line from second on the grid as poleman Enea Bastianini slotted into second on his Gresini Ducati ahead of the sister factory team Desmosedici of Miller.

Miller would come through on Bastianini into Turn 3 on the fourth lap of 28, with Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati in fourth engaging with the Gresini rider through Turns 5 and 7.

Both vying for Miller’s seat at the factory team, Bastianini held firm into Turn 1 at the start of the fifth lap but would lose out again at the final corner.

Bastianini’s race came off the rails at this point as he struggled to stop his 2021-spec Ducati into Turn 3, which forced the trailing Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati to check up.

A second braking issue into Turn 4 forced Bastianini off into the gravel before he pulled into pitlane on lap six with suspected damage to his front wheel rim.

The battling between Martin and Bastianini put 1.3s between third place and Miller in second, who was shadowing Bagnaia by around four tenths at the start of lap six.

Miller launched a raid on the lead into Turn 9 on the following tour, but ran slightly wide and allowed Bagnaia to come back through into the lead.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

A surge in pace put Martin onto the back of the leading duo come lap 11, but on lap 17 he would run off at the Turn 2 chicane.

Between laps 11 and his moment on lap 17, championship leader Fabio Quartararo had closed in having remained in sixth at the start and initially lost touch with the leading Ducati quartet.

When Martin ran off at the chicane, Quartararo drew alongside when he re-joined and took third away from the Pramac rider into Turn 3.

Then at Turn 4 Martin raised his arm as if to signal he had an issue, though he carried on – albeit dropping out of touch of the podium battle.

At the front, Bagnaia extended his lead over Miller to over a second in the latter stages as Quartararo ate into Miller’s lead over the Yamaha rider.

Martin rallied in the closing laps of the race and was right on the back of Quartararo at the start of lap 25 when the reigning world champion took second with a stunning pass at the chicane.

Quartararo threw his Yamaha to the outside of Miller in the first part of the chicane, which gave him the inside line for the second part.

The Yamaha rider resisted retaliation into Turn 3 as Martin failed to also find a way through on Miller.

Martin’s opportunity would come into Turn 1 on the final lap, but he crashed as he went up the inside of Miller battling for third.

Quartararo, meanwhile, ripped half a second out of Bagnaia’s lead, but could do nothing to overhaul the Ducati rider as the pair crossed the finish line split by 0.492s.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Miller was left in a comfortable third following Martin’s crash, the Pramac rider remounting to finish 10th.

Luca Marini charged through from 13th on the grid to fourth on his VR46 Ducati for his best MotoGP result ahead of Zarco, with Aleix Espargaro recovering to sixth after a bad start on his Aprilia caused by a failure to engage his front holeshot device.

Espargaro is now 32 points behind Quartararo in the standings following the Yamaha rider’s run to second at the Red Bull Ring.

Last year’s Austrian GP winner Brad Binder was seventh on his KTM ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins, with Marco Bezzecchi ninth on the sister VR46 bike.

Behind Martin was Gresini rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio, with Miguel Oliveira (KTM), Maverick Vinales (Aprilia), LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez and the RNF Yamaha of Andrea Dovizioso completed the top 15.

Both factory Honda team riders Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl missed out on points in 16th and 17th, with Tech3’s Raul Fernandez, Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori and Remy Gardner on the sister Tech3 KTM the last of the classified runners down to 20th.

Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli was a late crasher at Turn 2, with Darryn Binder (RNF), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR) and Suzuki’s Joan Mir also falling out of the race.

Mir was taken to the medical centre for checks, where initial scans have revealed a fracture in his right ankle.

MotoGP Austrian GP - Race Results

Cla Rider Bike Laps Gap Interval
1 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 28    
2 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 28 0.492 0.492
3 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 28 2.163 1.671
4 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 28 8.348 6.185
5 France Johann Zarco Ducati 28 8.821 0.473
6 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 28 11.287 2.466
7 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 28 11.642 0.355
8 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 28 11.780 0.138
9 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 28 16.987 5.207
10 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 28 17.144 0.157
11 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 28 17.471 0.327
12 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 28 18.035 0.564
13 Spain Maverick Viales Aprilia 28 20.012 1.977
14 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 28 26.880 6.868
15 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 28 29.744 2.864
16 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 28 30.994 1.250
17 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 28 37.960 6.966
18 Spain Ral Fernndez KTM 28 42.082 4.122
19 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 28 46.666 4.584
20 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 27 1 Lap 1 Lap
21 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 25    
22 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 12    
23 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 9    
24 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 6    
25 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 0    
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