Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 113: Austria MotoGP - Off-Track Drama Obscures Classic Duel

The morning after a thrilling and intense battle at the Red Bull Ring, Neil Morrison and David Emmett sat down in a garden in Austria to review the race and the drama which surrounded it. There was a lot to talk about.

The scale of the drama at the race meant we had to tackle the off-track stuff first. The huge news came on Sunday night, that Johann Zarco asked to be released from his contract with KTM for 2020, and will not be riding the bike next season. We talk about how Zarco came to his decision, what changed his mind, what his options are, and what KTM's options are for replacing him.

The Zarco news managed to overshadow what would normally have been a bombshell in its own right, that Jorge Lorenzo was looking for a way out of his contract, and talking to Ducati about a switch to the Pramac team for 2020, or possibly a ride with the factory squad in 2021. There were also rumors linking Lorenzo the Petronas Yamaha team. We delve into that next, and talk about the effect it had on Jack Miller, and how the situation returned to normal by the end of Sunday evening.

There was a race, of course, and we talk about that as well. About how Andrea Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez again, about whether the fact that Marquez still hasn't won at the Red Bull Ring troubles him, and what it all means for the championship. We finish off as always with our winners and losers.

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Interesting to hear about the tension in the Ducati camp. It makes sense that neither wants to admit that they are the reason that Ducati hasn't won a championship in the five plus years together. Being both a mechanic and a rider I have to side with Dovi on that one. There has been a long list of pilots that have complained about the turning issues of the Ducati going all the way back to Stoner. And Stoner was a phenom arguably on the same level as Marquez. Stoner is 1 for 4 at Ducati while Marquez is approaching 6 out of 7 at HRC in the championship tally contest. And Stoner won the championship with Honda at first attempt.

Gigi was draughted into Ducati to refine Fellipe Preziosi's L4 d16 after Rossi's dismal failure with it.  The bike is not Gigi's brainchild. Prezziosi was also tasked with creating an aluminium beam frame for Rossi, an area Gigi new full well from Aprilia. Audi/VW afforded Gigi opportunity never availed to Prezziosi. Quick fix for Zarco replacement at KTM (It probably won't happen). KTM make a huge offer to Dovi to replace Zarco for 2020. Any fool and his dog knows that Dovi generally puts any format of chassis and engine combo on the podium year in and year out and high up in the championship tables to boot.