Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso has taken victory in a Spielberg thriller at the Red Bull Ring, fending off a last-corner lunge from reigning world champion Marc Marquez to beat the Repsol Honda man by less than two-tenths after 28 laps.
The pair had traded paint for most of the 28-lap encounter and almost collided as Marquez tried to ride around the outside of the Italian at turn nine and then tried again on the brakes into turn ten but Dovizioso proved to be the king of Austria’s ring as Marquez lit up his rear tyre on the kerb and could do nothing as Dovioso rode away, waving at the same time.
Dovizoso elected to race the soft rear while Marquez chose the hard, and the Ducati man’s Michelin was ripped to bits at the end, making the win even more special.
He takes the full 25 points and leapfrogs Maverick Vinales for second in the title chase as the Yamaha man could only muster sixth after a mistake a turn one on lap three saw a gap emerge that he just couldn’t pull back.
Dani Pedrosa took the final podium spot, making it seven podiums in the last nine races. The Spaniard bridged a two-second gap with seven laps left and looked like he could challenge for the win but used up too much of his rear tyre and drifted backwards.
Jorge Lorenzo took charge of proceedings on lap one, leaping away from Marquez and Pedrosa to open a one second lead the soft rear Michelin which he doubled by the end lap four while Vinales, team-mate Valentino Rossi and Johann Zarco sorted themselves out.
Rossi put in an early challenge, trading places with Dovizoso while Vinales, desperate to get past The Doctor, ran wide at turn one while trying to put a move on the Italian and came back on to the track in seventh place.
Zarco and Pedrosa spent a lap or two sizing each other up before the Frenchman moved past the Repsol Honda man and set a new lap record of 1’24.312 in the process.
Lorenzo’s lead was slowly chipped away by Marquez and Dovizioso, coming down to three-tenths with 22 laps to run and an error by the Honda man at turn three saw Dovizoso able to use Ducati’s grunt to steal second place.
Two laps later, as Lorenzo’s lead stabilised at half a second, Marquez went under Dovizioso at turn seven for the firs time of three but an error at turn three from the Mallorcan saw Dovizioso pick up the pieces and out-accelerate Marquez again for the lead, but Marquez was straight back at turn seven.
Zarco caught and passed Rossi at turn three and he was followed by Pedrosa as the move allowed Pedrosa to sneak past the pair. An error by Rossi at turn one, which mirrored that of Vinales, saw him drop to seventh and he didn’t recover any further places.
At the front, it was now a two-horse race as Lorenzo’s tyre began to give up. Dovizioso snatched back the lead on the brakes into turn three as Marquez got in way too hot and Pedrosa went under Lorenzo at the same corner a second or so later.
But it was Marquez again at turn seven who picked Dovizoso’s pocket for the lead. With seven to run, Dovizioso was under Marquez again at turn one and a tangle at turn three saw Pedrosa, who had been lapping half a second faster, get right into the mix.
Turn seven was again a happy hunting ground for Marquez as he stole back the lead but Dovizoso was straight back this time, pushing past on the exit of turn eight. Pedrosa couldn’t live with the pace and began to slip back.
Marquez tried everything to pass Dovizioso again but he changed his line at turn seven which cut off Marquez’ line of attack. With only 0.054s separating them on the last lap, Marquez threw everything into two passes in the final two corners but ran out of grip on the exit, span his rear and Dovizioso dug in for the line.
Lorenzo ended in a lonely fourth place with Zarco top Yamaha in fifth. Rossi followed Vinales across the line for seventh, the pair split by two seconds with their late switch to the hard tyre not paying off.
Alvaro Bautista picked his way to eighth place with Loris Baz a creditable ninth.
KTM test rider Mika Kallio, who will have done a bajillion laps of the Spielberg circuit, came home in tenth place. Team-mate Pol Espargaro was forced to retire on lap one with a broken rear brake lever after he collided with Baz at the start.
Last year’s winner Andrea Iannone took 11th place and Scott Redding was the first British rider home in 12th. Aleix Espargaro had a disastrous first lap but fought back to 13th place.
Cal Crutchlow had a shocker, finishing behind Karel Abraham in 15th place for a single point. There will have been some issue with the hard front tyre not coming up to temperature for the LCR Honda man. Bradley Smith bagged 18th with Sam Lowes 20th.