By far one of the oddest races in the past decade, championship crashes and a KTM win.
With five minutes before the race starts, it is declared a dry race. Even so, the teams are ready with the rider’s secondary bikes, if the rain decides to make an appearance.
The front row for the second round in Austria is Jorge Martin, the poleman, Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia. Martin is just off of his maiden win in MotoGP, looking to prove himself further while Quartararo is looking to grow his championship lead. As for Bagnaia, he’s looking to show that he deserves his factory Ducati seat.
We’ve got a lot of players in this race. And it will all come down to the rain.
Martin gets away well from the line, as does Marc Marquez. It’s a Ducati 1-2, Bagnaia leading the race with Martin, Zarco, and Marquez following closely behind. Quartararo is still a part of this race, but after suffering from a big moment on his still too-cold tires, he’s fallen behind.
The white flags have come out ahead of lap 2, indicating that riders can come in and switch their bikes, should they choose.
Joan Mir is also fighting up the pack, right behind Quartararo as he aggressively rides through rider after rider.
As for the home boys, Iker Lecuona is the top KTM on lap 3, taking 8th place ahead of Brad Binder. Miguel Oliveira is down in 11th while Danilo Petrucci is in 19th.
The tires are still too cold, but the competition is heating up. The Pramac Ducati’s of Zarco and Martin are twitching at the front. It’s a clear sign that they are pushing the limits, but Bagnaia is still in the lead.
With M. Marquez still in contention for the win, it’s some serious deja vu. Will we see another Ducati v. M. Marquez, as we witnessed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019? M. Marquez has the years on the two Ducati’s in front of him, but the Ducati’s have the speed.
The battle that is going on between M. Marquez and Martin brought Quartararo and Zarco back into the main pack. We’ve seen mistakes from both the Honda and Pramac Ducati on lap 7, which has dropped them down to 3rd and 4th place.
On lap 8, the rain flags came out. Quartararo needs to gain some ground if he wants a chance against the rain masters.
Jack Miller, who has been missing out on the action, is between Zarco and Mir. He doesn’t seem to have the pace to compete with the guys at the front, and you can tell that Mir is desperately trying to catch up to the Ducati-man. But if Miller believes that it is going to rain, he could be sitting back to see what happens. During flag-to-flag scenarios, there are actually two races: the dry and the wet.
Miller, who has masterclass performances in the rain, could be biding his time.
But on lap 11, the rain flags have been withdrawn, but the wind has picked up. There is a lot of race left- 18 laps for the rain to come back.
Into turn 6 on lap 12, Mir makes his move on Jack Miller. He is looking to catch up and battle with the Pramac Ducati’s, doing his best to get as many world championship points as possible.
Brad Binder has a track limits warning, the top KTM in 8th place.
Jorge Martin, last week’s race winner, has a track limits warning with 14 laps to go.
On lap 18, Johann Zarco has crashed out of the race. It is a massive moment for his championship run, as he is the man in 2nd place. If things stay the same, then he will go down to 3rd. For Quartararo, it has to be a dream come true.
Quartararo goes on too hot at turn 3, giving his 2nd position to Marquez. As we’ve seen before, Quartararo is threatened by Marquez’s presence- and when the Yamaha rider is threatened, he makes mistakes. We’re seeing it now.
The same could be said about Bagnaia, as his team opts out on informing him that Marquez is the rider behind him. They only do so a lap and a half later. And now Marquez is hunting down Bagnaia- but there is still a lot of time for things to change.
The rain flags are back out with 7 laps to go, Bagnaia making a mistake and briefly letting Marquez through. It’s too late to go in and change their bikes, so if the rain comes then everything will be on the line. As for Marquez, he doesn’t have a championship to worry about. The Ducati and Yamaha should be very concerned about a Marquez with nothing to lose.
In the middle of the action, Oliveira has crashed out at turn 1.
Jack Miller and Alex Rins are going into the pits- the rain is falling and the main riders at the front are losing traction. Miller is going to gamble with the wet tires.
The pace has dropped majorly, Quartararo, Martin and Mir right on the back wheel of Marquez. Martin has overtaken Quartararo while Bagnaia and the Yamaha rider overtake him again.
Marquez is in first and Bagnaia has fallen to 4th place.
There’s a KTM in contention! In sector 3, the rain is pouring down. And all the lead riders are going into the pits, with the exception of Brad Binder and Aleix Espargaro!
Will Miller and Rins be the top riders? Is it too late for the top guys to win the race?
Right now we have Binder, Espargaro and Rossi on the podium! And Luca Marini is in 4th.
If they don’t crash and the weather remains the same, then they are going to be fine!
And Marquez has crashed out of the race at the first corner as Quartararo makes a mistake, in 13th place.
With one lap to go, Binder is in the lead with Espargaro in 2nd and Lecuona in 3rd! This is absolutely madness as the riders ride at nearly a stand still. You could run past them- that’s how slow those who are on the dry tires are.
And Brad Binder wins the race- with Bagnaia and Martin right behind him.
This has been, by far, the oddest race in the past decade for MotoGP. There are hardly any words to describe what just happened.
What will happen in two weeks? If it’s anything like today’s race, then it’ll be another masterclass.
Tune in there to find out!