Franco Morbidelli bounced back from a disappointing result in Brno by winning the Austrian Grand Prix after a tense three-way battle with Alex Marquez and Thomas Luthi at the Red Bull Ring. The Italian led for much of the race before heading an Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1-2 to extend his championship lead over Luthi to 26 points.
Both championship contenders had qualified strongly and the value of starting on the front two rows was demonstrated by two separate pile-ups at the start. Xavi Vierge, who had started tenth, was guilty of an over-ambitious dive up the inside into turn one, skittling out Fabio Quartararo and the two Forward riders, while a similarly ill-judged manoeuvre from Andrea Locatelli further back delayed several others.
The leading trio had managed to edge away from the rest of the field although Miguel Oliveira began to emerge as a real threat around half-distance, setting a succession of fastest laps in fourth place. Unfortunately, just as KTM were starting to dream of a memorable success on home soil, Oliveira high-sided on the exit of turn eight and any hopes of a rostrum finish evaporated.
Morbidelli made no such errors out in front and once Luthi had outbraked himself into turn three with a handful of laps remaining, the two Marc VDS riders had enough breathing space to secure the team’s first 1-2 of the season. Luthi maintained third despite late pressure from Francesco Bagnaia and polesitter Mattia Pasini while Takaaki Nakagami grabbed sixth ahead of the sole remaining KTM of Brad Binder.
Jorge Navarro’s strong run of form continued in eighth with Dominique Aegerter the only Suter rider to score points in ninth, just in front of Hafizh Syahrin’s Petronas Raceline Kalex.
Moto2 NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich: Result
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