It was a flaming return after the 2020 MotoGP summer break at Red Bull Ring, Austria, with a collision between Dani Pedrosa of Red Bull KTM Racing and Aprilia Gresini Racing’s Lorenzo Savadori forcing a red flag on the first lap. The incident occurred when Pedrosa dropped his KTM GP16 and Savadori unable to avoid the fallen bike, causing the Aprilia to burst into flames.
Both riders were safe, walking from the incident but Salvadori was found to have fractured his right ankle and a track cleanup forced the 2020 Styrian MotoGP, the first in this year’s MotoGP calendar to have a full audience, to be restarted. At the restart, more drama ensued when Maverick Vinales of Yamaha Factory Racing stalled on the grid at the start of the warm up lap, requiring him to start from pit lane as per racing regulations.
The hole shot on race restart was taken by rookie Jorge Martin of Pramac Ducati, dubbed “The Martinator”, followed closely by Jack Miller on the factory Ducati Desmosedici. 2020 world champion Joan Mir of Suzuki Ecstar Racing followed closely behind, tailed by current world championship leader Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha Factory and Johann Zarco of Pramac racing in a five-man train chasing for the lead.
Miller quickly took the lead at turn 3, but lost the lead to Martin, then dropping back to third after being overtaken by Mir. Quartararo, eyes set on his first ever world championship after settling for second last year, then passed Miller.
Trying to give chase, Miller lost his Ducati to a low side, placing a heavy cost on his championship hopes for this season. Out in front, Martin and Mir slowly pulled a lead on Quartararo, while Zarco, despite his best efforts, was unable to use the Ducati Desmosedici’s straight line speed to trump the Yamaha YZR-M1’s better cornering capability.
At the chequered flag, it was the Martinator taking his maiden MotoGP win at Styria followed by Mir and Quartararo in second and third. Mir wisely decided to ride a safe race, preferring to gain championship points as did Quartararo while Brad Binder of KTM Red Bull Factory Racing rode an astounding race to finish fourth after starting in 14th place.
For Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, a dismal season after the previous year’s outstanding start saw Valentino Rossi, who recently accounced his retirement, finishing in 13th position while Cal Crutchlow, riding in place of the injured Franco Morbidelli, managed a 17th place finish.
MotoGP championship standings now has Quartararo at the top with 172 points, followed by Marco with 132 points and Mir with 121. The action stays at Red Bull Ring Spielberg for next weekend for the Bitci Motorrad Austrian Grand Prix.
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