Marquez Increases Title Lead with Thrilling Second Place

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) increased his World Championship lead with a never-say-give-up ride to second place in today’s Austrian Grand Prix at the sun-blessed Red Bull Ring.

The hard-riding 24-year-old Spaniard and race-winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) spent much of the race fighting over every millimeter of the mountainside circuit, each of them finding an advantage in one corner only to lose it in another. The final few laps were breath-taking, with the pair separated by mere tenths of a second, Marquez’s tire choice spoiled somewhat by today’s warmer track conditions.

The finish was the best of the year so far: Dovizioso led by a meter or two into the final double right, only for Marquez to try a fearless move around the outside. He was ahead for a moment but Dovizioso had the better line through the final corner. But still Marquez didn’t give up; he was so hard on the throttle accelerating onto the final straight that he had his RC213V sideways on the curb. However, Dovizioso had the best drive and won the sprint to the finish line by just 0.176 seconds.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

Pole-starter Marquez was smiling afterwards, having enjoyed the contest, and having increased his championship advantage to 16 points over newly second-overall Dovizioso, whose win took him past today’s sixth-place finisher Maverick Vinales (Yamaha). Three-times MotoGP World Champion Marquez has good reason to be happy – in a season during which many riders are struggling to record consistent results he has so far achieved three race victories and four further podiums.

The Marquez/Dovizioso duel over the final laps was super-thrilling, but Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) deserves similar plaudits for his excellent ride to third place from eighth on the grid. The 31-year-old took time getting heat into his tires, but once confident he charged through the pack and during the final stages of the race caught the leading pair at an astonishing rate. For a while it seemed like he might have enough speed to win the race.

With five laps to go Pedrosa was right with the leaders, but at the crucial moment he ran short of the grip he needed to challenge for victory. At the flag he was just over two seconds behind Marquez to achieve his seventh podium in nine races and give Repsol Honda another double podium, its sixth from the first 11 races, which increases the team’s advantage at the top of the teams championship. Marquez’s second place also makes Honda equal leaders of the constructors’ world championship, alongside Yamaha.

Pedrosa passed Vinales, fellow factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, independent Yamaha rider Johann Zarco and early leader Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) during his impressive comeback

Today’s MotoGP race was an altogether more complex challenge for Honda’s three independent-team riders. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) had high hopes of racing with the lead pack after qualifying a close ninth fastest. The Briton was run off the track by other riders on several occasions. He was also the only rider to choose Michelin’s hard-compound front, for his aggressive corner-entry style. Thus he had his work cut out to score the final championship point in 15th place.

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was inside the points when he slid off with nine laps to go. Team-mate Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) finished 19th.

Today’s Moto2 race was a Honda CBR600-powered thriller, with high-tension excitement fizzing throughout the 25 laps. The battle at the front was a three-way affair, with World Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) resisting huge pressure from his title rivals Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten Kalex). Both men took turns in front but only for a matter of moments before cool-headed Morbidelli moved back in front.

Morbidelli’s resistance to pressure was remarkable – he never panicked or put a wheel wrong, always maintaining his composure while Marquez and Luthi did everything in their power to make their attacks stick. For much of the race Morbidelli was only a couple of tenths ahead, all three of the front-runners taking turns at riding the fastest lap. Finally the intense rivalry between Marquez and Luthi gave Morbidelli the break he needed, the 22-year-old Italian extending his advantage to a full second for the last three laps.

Morbidelli took the checkered flag 1.3 seconds ahead of his team-mate, with Luthi a further 1.2 seconds down. Morbidelli’s seventh victory of the year – compared to Marquez’s two wins and Luthi’s single success – extended his championship lead to 26 points over Luthi with seven races remaining. Next year Morbidelli will be promoted to MotoGP, riding an RC213V with his current team.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) rode a heroic race, coming through to challenge for a podium finish until he fell heavily with five laps to go. Thus fourth place went to rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who got the better of pole-sitter Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) also had a strong ride; the Japanese ace fighting through from 12th on the grid to beat reigning Moto3 champ Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) for sixth place.

The top ten was completed by Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex), Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing Suter) and Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex).

Moto3 star Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) performed another fabulous disappearing act today, fighting through from tenth on the grid to take the lead on lap six and then leave the rest of the Moto3 pack way behind. While a gang of up to 14 riders disputed second place Mir maintained an astonishingly fast pace on his NSF250RW, at one point stretching his lead to more than four seconds.

Finally the 19-year-old Spaniard crossed the finish line three-tenths ahead of Philipp Oettl (KTM), who was three seconds in front of the remarkable Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), who was contesting his first race since returning to injury and had qualified 13th. Just 1.6 seconds covering second place to 14th, with seven Hondas in the top ten.

Livio Loi (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) lost the last podium place to Martin in the final moments of the race, passing the checkered flag a fraction behind the Spaniard. There were five more Hondas in the midst of the battle for second place. Front-row starter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) finished fifth, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was sixth, Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) was eighth, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) ninth and Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW) 13th.

Mir’s amazing record of seven victories puts him 64 points ahead in the championship chase, with Fenati second, Canet third, Martin fourth, Di Giannantonio fifth and John McPhee (British Team Honda NSF250RW) sixth; making it a Honda lock-out of the first half-dozen championship positions.

Grand Prix racing now heads north west to Silverstone in Britain, the country that hosted the first World Championship Grand Prix, on the Isle of Man, in June 1949.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Cal Crutchlowzoom
Cal Crutchlow

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“I wouldn’t have slept well tonight if I didn’t try to go for the win in the last corner! But it wasn’t possible. Today Dovi had just a little bit more than us and it was difficult to overtake him. I tried my best all race, really gave it my all, and I lost the rear many times. It was a great battle, and Dovi deserved this victory as he rode very well. We got this second place and it’s good. I’m very happy with these 20 points at this track where I had struggled a lot last year. It’s an important result for the championship. We’re working well; step-by-step, we found a good base that allowed us to be there, and to be consistent in every situation. Today I was able to try that move at the end because I was feeling good with the bike. It will be important to continue like this and to try and be on the podium at every race.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 3rd
“I’m very, very happy with how this weekend turned out and with this podium finish, as we had struggled a lot in the practices, had to go through Q1, and finally qualified just eighth on the grid. But it turned out in the race that I was faster than we were expecting. I still had some issues with the front locking and the rear spinning, but our race strategy worked very well. I wasn’t too aggressive in the beginning; I took my time with a full tank, saving some fuel, and then step-by-step I increased my pace until I closed the gap to the front of the race, also because Marc and Dovi were battling and disturbing each other. Unfortunately, when I caught them I had so much spinning that the rear tire overheated and I had no more grip and drive. I wanted to stay with them and try to fight with them but even though I couldn’t, I’m happy with this podium and proud of my team and of the work we did here.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 15th
“I think the hard front tire was the right choice for me, even though we had some problems throughout the race, but 15th was a disappointing result. I rode through the pit lane last year, for a jump start, and still finished with more points. We didn’t find a great setting all weekend and the problem was I lost 12 seconds in six laps and that was it. I got run off the track three times and got hindered at the start. Once I was riding alone at the end of the race I felt really good, I had good pace, but we had a problem up until lap 18 as well which didn’t help. But no excuses, I didn’t ride great all weekend either, but I could have finished in the top eight today, I felt. My aim was to finish in the top six, but I was nine places off that so we’ll just have to look forward to the next one and try our best again.”
Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 19th
“I am disappointed because even though I knew it would be difficult to get points in the race that was my target. On the first lap I tried to go around Pol Espargaro but he went long because he had no brakes so I lost time and distance to the group and then rode alone to the finish. Now it is important to keep our heads up in this difficult moment and focus on the remaining races.”
Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: DNF
“The race was going really well when I crashed on lap 20. I had really good pace early in the race but then I started to lose some rear grip, it felt like the tire was overheating in the final sector, I had a couple of warnings that I was losing grip into turn nine. Then it stepped out under braking and then overloaded the front and I tried to hold it up on my elbow but to no avail. A disappointing end but I had a strong race until that small mistake. Now I’m looking forward to Silverstone and being in top form.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 1st
“This is a crucial victory for me in the championship and comes at the perfect moment after my poor result in Brno last weekend. I came here focused to do a good job and although we started slowly on Friday my team worked very well and gave me a great package to go for the victory. I’m very happy for this win and thanks to everyone for their support.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 2nd
“I had a lot of fun in this race especially the fight with Tom, which was very close. Late in the race I thought I had a chance to challenge Franco for the win but I made a small mistake at turn three and lost the gap to him. But I am very happy to be on the podium, it has not been an easy weekend at this track so this is an important result for me.”
Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten: 3rd
“What a battle, what a spectacle! I think it was nice to watch, right? With Alex we just had a misunderstanding: both of us were confident that we were a little faster than the other. We both had the same idea – to catch Frankie for a three-man brawl on the last lap, going for the victory. Everyone could see that many laps I had trouble at turn three. From the beginning of the weekend I had trouble stopping the bike there, and every time I had to take a little more risk to show my front wheel to Marquez. I lost a few points to Morbidelli, but the championship is still long; Franco was able to ride at his own pace, well done to him. It’s hard to beat, everyone knows, but a lot of things can still happen.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Joan Mir, Leopard Racing: 1st
“It was a very hard race, but I wanted to win it! Throughout the weekend we worked very well with the team. In fact on this circuit we knew we had something more than the opponents and we saw that in the race! Starting from tenth I was worried a bit, but after the terrible start I had, I gave my best to recover. I did not want to be in the group because in this category it is always a risk, so I pushed to make the break. When I was in the lead and saw my advantage at 0.5s I said it was time to push more and open the gap more. My strongest point on this circuit was in braking. Sixty-four points is a lot, almost three races! It’s a pity that we still have lots of other races! Seriously, I’m sure I’m looking at the rankings but I do not want to make calculations. We have to keep our feet on the ground and try to always go to points.”
Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3: 3rd
“It’s a podium, but even though I’m yet to know how it is to be on the top step, this one felt very much like a win. I thought I had the pace to go and get Mir, but the group of riders I was with didn’t allow me to. After all, with only six consecutive laps completed during the weekend, I wasn’t even sure I could finish the race. This is, without a doubt, the best podium of my career.”
Livio Loi, Leopard Racing: 4th
“It was a great race, although the start was very difficult, losing positions and finding myself 18th on the first lap. From that moment I began to attack, pushing further and further. On the penultimate lap I was touched by another rider and I lost ground. Even then I recovered, but the last lap was a lottery: I tried to take Oettl, but Martin went in the slipstream. I heartily thank the whole team.”
Franco Morbidellizoom
Franco Morbidelli
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2017
Round 11: Austria Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
2 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
5 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
7 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
9 Loris BAZ (Reale Avintia Racing)
10 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
11 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12 Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Racing)
13 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14 Karel ABRAHAM (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
15 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
2 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
3 Thomas LUTHI (CarXpert Interwetten)
4 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
6 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
7 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
9 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
10 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
11 Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)
12 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (Teluru SAG Team)
13 Axel PONS (RW Racing GP)
14 Edgar PONS (Pons HP40)
15 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
2 Philipp OETTL (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing)
3 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
4 Livio LOI (Leopard Racing)
5 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
7 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Racing Team)
8 Adam NORRODIN (SIC Racing Team)
9 Jaume MASIA (Platinum Bay Real Estate)
10 Enea BASTIANINI (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
11 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Marcos RAMIREZ (Platinum Bay Real Estate)
13 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers)
14 Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA BOE Racing Team)
15 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
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