Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) maintained his 100% record of winning when on pole at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich after a brilliant battle with main Championship rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) which went all the way down to the final corner. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) secured third place at the Red Bull Ring in another last lap battle, as Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) crashed out on the final corner.
The start nearly ended in disaster for Bagnaia, the Italian initially getting the better launch but then getting bogged down in the second phase, with Fabio Quartararo (+ Ego – Speed Up Racing) making contact on the inside forcing both wide – Bagnaia slotted into fourth, but Quartararo had to rejoin outside the top 20.
That left Oliveira with a 0.8 gap at the front, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) second and Bagnaia recovering to third. It was only a matter of time before the Italian would make his move past Navarro, and that’s exactly what he did on Lap 6 to set his sights on the Portuguese rider out in front. The gap hovered just below the one second barrier, before Bagnaia gained nearly half a second on the KTM rider at the mid stage of the race, with it soon becoming clear the Kalex machine had the better front grip.
There was nothing to choose between the two Championship protagonists until Bagnaia made his first move at the penultimate corner on lap 21, only for Oliveira to snap straight back at the final corner. It was mirror, signal, manoeuvre with two laps to go, after Bagnaia had tried at Turn 1 – only for Oliveira to use the KTM’s superior rear grip to power past on the exit.
And so, it came down to the last lap. Oliveira led until the penultimate corner when Bagnaia made his move. Again, the Portuguese rider lunged back up the inside at the final corner but couldn’t hold the inside line, with Bagania switching back up the inside to force his way past to take the lead in Championship standings again.
There was also drama just behind, with Marquez crashing at the final corner after battling for the final podium place with Marini and the Italian securing his third consecutive rostrum. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was right in the hunt for the podium, the Italian eventually coming home fourth, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto3) securing his best result of the season in fifth – his third consecutive top ten.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was sixth after having to drop a position for exceeding track limits, with Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Quartararo and Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) rounding out the top ten in Austria.
Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) finished just outside the top 10 in 11th, with Danny Kent (+ Ego – Speed Up Racing) equaling his best result of the season in 12th. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completed the top 15.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40), teammate Augusto Fernandez and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) were involved in a crash at Turn 3 on lap 4 – riders ok. Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) and Federico Fuligni (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) all also crashed out – riders ok.
So, the Championship pendulum swings again in the Moto2™ class after a phenomenal battle between Bagnaia and Oliveria. What does the British GP have in store?
Moto2™ Race Results
1 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 37’45.914
2 – Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM +0.264
3 – Luca Marini (ITA) KALEX +5.953