Jorge Lorenzo scored a splendid victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship, which was held at the Red Bull Ring circuit near Zeltweg in Styria. The rider from Mallorca, who started from the front row of the grid following yesterday’s third place in qualifying, opted to begin the race with ‘soft’ tyres both front and rear, and after leading over the line at the end of the opening lap, he was then passed by Marquez, whom he followed until lap 18 together with Dovizioso. After taking back the lead of the race on the next lap, Jorge battled it out with the Honda rider until the end, crossing the line with an advantage of just 130 thousandths of a second. Thanks to today’s win, Jorge Lorenzo moves into third place in the Riders’ standings with 130 points, followed by his team-mate Dovizioso (129 points). Ducati also took its third successive win at the Red Bull Ring since MotoGP returned to the Austrian circuit (2016 Iannone, 2017 Dovizioso and 2018 Lorenzo).
A good start allowed Marc Márquez to take the lead after a couple of overtaking moves, and ride the first half of the race alone. The two Ducati riders hunted down the reigning World Champion on the eighteenth lap, although it was with Lorenzo whom the victory was contested on a spectacular final lap. With this result, Márquez moves level with Max Biaggi on 111 World Championship podiums and increases his advantage in the overall standings to 59 points.
It was a good race for Andrea Dovizioso, who took the chequered flag in third place. The Ducati Team’s rider from Romagna, who yesterday qualified second on the front row of the grid, chose both ‘medium’ front and rear tyres for the race. Dovi remained in the leading group for 18 laps but, after making a small mistake at Turn 1, he had to slow his pace slightly to finish the Austrian GP in third place, 1.656s away from his team-mate. Thanks to this third place today, Dovizioso is the second rider in Ducati’s MotoGP history with the most podiums (24), behind Casey Stoner.
The next round of the championship will be the British Grand Prix, scheduled for the Silverstone circuit from 24th to 26th August.
“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 Marquez, 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 Marquez 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. 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.”
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.
“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.”