2020 Austria MotoGP Race Result: A Drama In Two Acts

Lies, lies and more lies from the weather radar as the premier class lined up to beautiful sunshine for the first Austrian race, but the weather was quickly forgotten with all the drama that unfolded in the following hour. A red flag, several crashes and major mistakes later, Andrea Dovizioso showed Ducati what they’ll be missing next year, as the Italian scored the factory's 50th victory in the premier class and kept their perfect score at the Red Bull Ring. Joan Mir gave us some last lap entertainment to rob Jack Miller of second position and score his much awaited first podium in the class. Miller had to settle for third and stepped onto the podium for the first time this season.

Holeshot masters Ducati had aided Miller take the lead heading into turn 1 ahead of poleman Maverick Vinales, while Dovizioso made a fine start from the second row. In a familiar sight, Vinales was struggling early on, losing places to Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro and Mir by the end of the first lap. The Yamaha man found himself at the back of the lead group and getting reeled in by Fabio Quartararo, who was the big loser at the start, having to fight his way back into contention from 8th position.

Back at the front, Dovizioso took his time to find a way past Miller and the slow pace allowed the second group led by Quartararo to merge with the leaders. That added Franco Morbidelli, Miguel Oliveira, Valentino Rossi, Johann Zarco, Alex Rins and Brad Binder to the mix. Having started 17th, Binder was knocking on the doors of the top ten barely four laps into the race.

With Miller still at the front, Pol Espargaro picked up the chase on lap five and was demoting the Australian by the end of that same lap, while Dovizioso was left to contend with a feisty Mir in the battle for third. As the pace was hotting up at the front, Oliveira was the only other rider just about hanging onto the back of the leaders, with Vinales over a second and a half down. Meanwhile, Quartararo suddenly dropped to 22nd spot, after a trip through the gravel trap and leaving himself a lot of work to do to keep the title lead. That work had to be paused before completing lap nine however, when a terrifying incident at turn three between Zarco and Morbidelli sent their machines flying over an extremely lucky factory Yamaha duo and prompted a red flag.

Once Morbidelli and Zarco walked away largely unharmed and the track was cleared, the race was restarted for 20 laps. An unhappy Pol Espargaro headed the grid but got robbed by Miller at the start and the duo started exchanging top spot ahead of Dovizioso, the Suzuki duo and Oliveira. Only three laps in, the six man group had stretched a one second gap over the chasers led by Binder. Having restarted last, Quartararo was quickly inside the points positions, but Vinales took his place as the unluckiest Yamaha, dropping to the very last in the pack on the first lap, for no obvious reason.

Miller’s decision to restart on soft rubber paid off early on, as the Pramac rider got a one second gap on Dovizioso, with a presumably frustrated Espargaro getting hounded by Rins and not getting a proper shot at attacking the Ducatis ahead. The KTM’s speed on the start-finish straight kept him ahead of the Suzukis but several mistakes from the Spaniard allowed the blue bikes back past and one final mistake at turn four put him in Oliveira’s path and put both riders into the gravel trap before completing lap nine.

Back at the front, Miller’s tyres were starting to fade and Dovizioso swiftly got past his colleague at turn one with 11 laps remaining, Rins following his example soon after. The Spaniard fancied a shot at the lead but lasted mere seconds at the front, before rapidly sliding out into the gravel. The depleted leading group left Dovizioso, Miller and Mir in provisional podium spots, with Binder finding himself in a lonely fourth and waiting to pick up any scraps from the podium battle.

The final four laps started with Dovizioso quite firmly in command, nearly a second ahead of Miller and Mir and the Suzuki youngster didn’t feel like finishing third but struggled to keep up with the Ducati’s power. Mir had one solid go on the final lap and the move at the penultimate turn secured him second ahead of the Pramac rider. Binder fended off Rossi and Takaaki Nakagami in the late battle for fourth, with Danilo Petrucci best of the rest in seventh place. Quartararo saved his championship lead by finishing eighth, while Iker Lecuona had a fantastic performance to cross the line ninth and score his first points. Vinales recovered enough positions to round out the top ten but stormed straight out the back of the garage once he brought his presumably stricken machine back.

Quartararo did just enough to protect his championship lead but Dovizioso’s victory brings him within 11 points of the Frenchman. Vinales drops to third, 19 points down, with Binder leading the charge for KTM, 26 points behind the leader.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 28'20.853
2 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +1.377
3 43 Jack Miller Ducati +1.549
4 33 Brad Binder KTM +5.526
5 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +5.837
6 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +6.403
7 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +12.498
8 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +12.534
9 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +14.117
10 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +15.276
11 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +17.772
12 51 Michele Pirro Ducati +23.271
13 73 Alex Marquez Honda +24.943
14 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia +24.868
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +27.435
16 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +28.502
17 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +28.609
Not Classified
  42 Alex Rins Suzuki 10 Laps
  44 Pol Espargaro KTM 12 Laps
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 12 Laps
  21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 0 Lap
  5 Johann Zarco Ducati 0 Lap
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Any ideas what happened to MV? Unlucky? Heard suggestions it might have been the clutch but I thought it happened after the start? I hope he can pick it up and keep the championship interesting.

Stoner mentioned it. And when listening to Viñales' onboard at the beginning of the second race, one can hear the revs waver a bit during acceleration.

So, let's pretend either Rossi was 1m ahead in that curve or Viñales 2m behind their actual place. Chances of survival slim as hell. Who's going to continue to watch MotoGP if any of those get hit like that? Is it worth to jeopardize years of MotoGP for the current RB money?!

He passes Franco on the inside just before the bend, so he naturally went a bit wide. He's in front. He can take whatever line he wants. The slipstream caught Franco out when he cut across to get the inside line for the upcoming braking zone. Many, MANY riders took the exact same line Zarco took over the course of the race. Pretty much every lap there were at least a couple of riders who took that wide defensive line. Everyone is blaming Zarco because of last week.

Thousand yard stare for Rossi there. Realisation is. ..... Dovi for petronas

I would love to see Dovi on a Yamaha, I think it could fit his style very well.

What else can ya say? Obviously, David, you're looking into ALL the stories, but...

1) Pol-Oli crash: it looked similar to last week, but....Oli was VERY upset. Pol will NEVER have succes in MGP if he rides in 'red mist' constantly. How many mistakes did he make before going down?
2) THE CRASH: by the camera angle, it looked like Zarco just moved over on Frankie, but his line almost looked like the bike moved that way.....

3) Vinales: the way he was passed by 10 bikes, it looked like something was definitely wrong with his bike.

4) Marc must be kicking himself, but....it's entertaining for us!

Yep. Pol did basically the same mistake two weeks in a row.  I've only done some club racing myself, but I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of racers realize that if you run wide in a race, unless you're positive that you're out on your own, you have to look before you go back to the racing line. 

I think Zarco was going for almost the exact same line a Miller, who was a second or so ahead. Morbidelli was behind, Zarco had no way of knowing he was so close. See the dark black line in this screen capture, just as Mobidelling hit the back of Zarco? That's from Jack. It's really hard to say it was Zarco's fault.

Thankfully all riders caught up in the carnage of M2 and MGP seem to have come through it all reasonably intact. Vale must have seen his 9th life pass in front of his eyes. Credit to him for getting it back together s quickly for round #2. Binder had the best view of the whole incident other than cameras. Good on ya Dovi !!! I loved it. KTM should offer him a 5th factory bike if he can come up with private partners for next year. Seriously. Why not? Ducati run 6 bikes. KTM can easily run a 5th and Dovi surely has huge Austrian support.... the Red Bull of the Red Bull circuit. Pol threw the race away as he did last weekend. I felt sorry for Miguel. He was really on it. Meanwhile back at the ranch Brad Binder figured out how to ride the track for the first time on a GP bike and as usual pitched up for the races on Sunday. HRC are in deep sh1t with their bike and their riders. Maverick? Joan Mir, Rins and Suzuki were superb as a team. Glad Alex seemed none the worse for wear after his off. Who is going to join Jack Miller at Ducati factory. I would suggest to Ducati that they throw big money at Jorge, Jorge Martin that is. Best poach him before KTM get him alongside Binder, Oliviera and Lecuona circa 2022.

The trap didn't (visibly) alter the speed or trajectory of the bike that almost gave Rossi a close shave. Is it poorly designed (too firm, too shallow, too small) or was this a unique situation of bike speed, angle and direction?

Zarco's bike was upright,  going through the gravel, it then hit the barrier and broke into several pieces.

Morbidelli's bike didn't go through the gravel, it just missed it, sliding on a thin grass strip between the track and gravel.

Luck of the draw i guess.

... so an upright bike flies through the gravel like it's back on the track? I (falsely I guess) assumed gravel was intended to "grab" a bike and keep it from continuing (or at least significantly slow it down.) This reminded me of (my) riding on hard-packed dirt roads.

They have a lovely habit of staying upright at those speeds, then wheels do as they do...roll...preferably with as least rolling resistance as possible. At those speeds it's going to go a long way, regardless of the surface. If you managed to use a 'trap' that grabbed even a bike flying a long on it's wheels, you have to stop and ask what will happen to the rider when he is grabbed. 

Seen a few ghost bikes during races over the years. Forces due to rotating mass makes them continue on, riderless. Was contemplating that corner and have not come up with a solution. The riders say that it's more important that the wall should be moved further back.

Not sure even moving the wall back makes the corner safe enough. The way the kink in the straight is shaped, any crash leading into T3 is virtually guaranteed to spill across the track after T3. It's just an unfortunate track design that doesn't lend itself to bike racing.

T1 is bad but in a different way. The way the corner pinches off at the exit the riders are all pulling hard right to avoid the pinch zone. I get that it's there to keep the corner speed down, but as seen in Moto2, if a bike highsides on the exit it's pointed at the middle of the track thanks to the shape of the corner exit.

Riders have been saying the wall on the left is too close and more dangerous than the gravel area on the right across the track. The concern is losing it heading towards the left kink and crashing into the wall. Podium finishers all spoke about it in the post race presser. Probably a common topic it the rider safety meetings.

After last year's race at RBR, while Dovi and Marc were in the car, Dovi commented at the strange effect the aerodynamic wings had on the movement of the bikes when they were approaching the same exact spot on track as the Zarco/Morbidelli crash. Somehow, as Dovi and Marc rocketed down that straight snaking left side by side, the inputs one rider made on his bike affected the movement of the other bike. It's like they were a bit siamesed. They even talked about how they had tried to separate and when one guy created a gap between the bikes, it pulled the other bike closer. Really strange.

Zarco is starting to remind me of the moves that the late Marco Simoncelli pulled - taking out someone's front wheel and giving them nowhere to go. That kind of behavior creates accidents and injuries. Not a fan of this Zarco dude.

Well, if Rossi did not retire after the Simoncelli tradegy, will he consider it now? Who knows? He looked decidedly older in the pitbox after the accident.

I saw one riderless bike moving at high velocity until it hit the airfence on the inside of the turn. Never seen such carnage without guys getting seriously hurt.

Well, that's a race weekend I wont be replaying any time soon! When Syahrin went down in the Moto2 race I feared the worst and felt sick to the pit of my stomach. When Morbidelli's bike nearly took Rossi's head off I thought (not for the first time) that this circuit layout really is not suitable for the speeds these machines travel at.

the gods of speed didn't demand scarifice today, but without citing any metaphsyical concepts this reminds me of the F1 race in Estoril '93 - Gerhard Berger is flat out accelerating out of the pits onto the main straight and the active suspension of his Ferrari decides to lower the car to the ground. At this point the Ferrari skids under a 90 degree angle right between the gap of two other cars hammering down the main straight - no one harmed but scary as hell! At this point everyone praised the increased security measures but no one recognized what it was - a big fat flashing warning sign! Half a year later F1 went down in the infamous Imola weekend of '94.

Looking into the KTM performance - I would love to see that Pol gets his reward for the enthusiasm he'd put into the KTM project, but fitted with the wrong tire i'm still wondering what was Pol up to after the restart. Frankly said he was outsmarted by his rookie teammate who just managed to remain seated until the end of the race and got his reward anyway.

Did any notice the first thing Rossi and Vinales did after their near misses ?

Gunned it and continued racing until the red flag came out.

They then had time to digest the entire episode, with the help of the replays and then jumped back on their bikes to restart.

No way did Maverick approach T3 too cautiously to lose all those places. Although, that's a relative statement, maybe he would have if his clutch wasn't slipping, but still quick enough to scare the hell out of me.

If there was ever a time in his career that Rossi could have 'parked it' and the entire world would understand...that was it. But he didn't. His luck was rewarded with being the only fully fit Yamaha left.

Racers race.

Also, maybe i'm seeing things, but from Aleix's onboard footage it looked like Zarco's bike passed through the air fence with only a small clip on the end of the barrier. Continued on almost the same trajectory, dug the now damaged front into the rising ground and then sumersaulted over Maverick. 

I think if they are going to keep the same layout of T2/T3 they need to extend that inside barrier to cover more of the corner, and work on stopping bikes and riders heading towards that barrier. Currently the barrier still curves and a 'straight on' like Zarco's can hit at a severe angle. Not sure but if you cover more of T3, you reduce the number of possible trajectories that can then cross over the track at T3. Always possible but, reduced possibilities, especially where the other bikes are perpendicular to the trajectory of the incoming bike.

Gravel traps were designed to stop ground effect F1 cars back in the day  , anything else tends to bounce over it .

Dovizioso only thanked his team in the parc ferme interview. He also pointed to his heart and the bike on the cool down lap. Sending love to the Ducatista and saying he loves the bike and racing? The only fingernails on the chaulkboard in all of this is the management at Ducati Corse. Dovi has maintained a presence of poise and dignity during the entire weekend. And he as perfomed at the top under duress both on and off the track. Well done, Sir.

Two options jump to mind. Is it possible as stated above he gets a shot at the Petronas factory spec bike? Both Razalan and or Rossi obviously have doubts - hence no signature 

or perhaps he and Pecco swap teams and Dovi lands at Pramac?

i like the idea of the latter given how he pointed to his heart and then the bike. And if this decision to leave is about harmony more than money, doesn't Pramac get him out of psychological torture chamberotherwise known as the factory team?

The Rossi/Petronas deal announcement would logically make the most sense at Misano next door to Tavullia, Rossi's home town. Recent news says that a limited number of spectators will be admitted. It would be great for the local morale. If Rossi were to decide to hang up his racing boots, would the older Dovizioso fit with the current youngblood Petronas ideology?

Dovizioso trading places with Miller and staying with Ducati in a satellite team? He made clear in his post race statements that staying with Ducati is a no-go. Why move to Pramac? This is the way he would gain their respect and his salary requirements?

Why did Ducati drag out the contractual negotiations? The acquisition of vast experiential knowledge, which Dovizioso has in spades, is the latest power struggle in the motogp game. Powerful moves have been made in this area. Theer is a certain manufacturer that has a business plan to dominate Motogp. Simone Battistella may have already been in negotiations with this factory team. There has been conjecture in this forum about a certain manufacturer that has acquired a certain vastly experienced test rider from a certain opponent. This manufacturer's relationship philosophy would "dove"tail perfectly with Dovizioso's philosophy. It's the relationships that make the difference. This is what is needed in order to win the championship. And it is the relationships within the system that help foster results. It's the small details that count.

KTM. That's my best guess and that of others on this site. Dovi as a test rider bringing the vast knowledge he has gained in his eight years at Ducati (plus the rest of his career), teaming with the vast knowledge of Dani Pedrosa and others within the KTM family that are contributing, lining up on the grid as a wildcard rider next year. This is the latest conjecture that makes the most sense. It's all about winning the championship. And what better way to do it than as the New Orange.

and this is speculation as well, KTM have shown that they can already compete for the top step with a number of riders on the new machine. With all due respect for AD04 as a multi MotoGP race winner, I don't see a need for him there, and especially not with a $9 mil salary (or thereabouts) requirement. They already have Dani Pedrosa, who by the looks of it, has done, and continues to do, a superlative job.

It's no longer about experience on the front line battlegrounds, it's a young man's game. Moto2 has shown to be adequate training ground for MotoGP.

If anything, I can see Aprilia being the logical destination for AD04, unless Suzuki open up a satellite team? But even then, like their MotoGP squad, I think the Hamamatsu Gang will bring fresh new faces from Moto2 up.

The latest strategies involve acquiring talent that is needed, but also talent that one does not want the competitors to use against one in warfare. This is an all out strategy of those with deep pockets. Hence the top Öhlins engineer for a name-your-price salary and vastly experienced ex-Repsol Honda crew members outfitted in KTM uniforms. Stay completely focussed on the goal and leave no stone unturned. Sounds a bit like the TechnoDovi Bodhizioso (Undaunted) this year. Hope he wins it.

And it could be argued that it was experience that won the race today. Look at how Miller finished the race. 

To take it a step further, given the resources of a combined KTM and Red Bull is there a possibility of a 3rd factory bike in KTM for him? Are their limitations from a grid perspective that would prevent this? 

Regardless, here is hoping that Dovi let's this recent run-in with Ducati management fuel his aggression and work to stuff that bike where the sun don't shine while he walks out with a WC trophy come the end of 2020

Dovi will go to Aprilia or KTM.  If he goes to KTM, they'll boot Iker down to Moto2 to snatch Andrea.  Andrea has already raced for Tech 3, back in 2012.  

There is a youtube series I have been encouraging others to watch. Episode 9 is all about the development of the rider. And for those that have been paying attention, more and more, Dovizioso has been talking about the importance of relationships. Clearly, as so many have made note of, the relationship ethics at Ducati Corse is toxic. Releasing from this toxic relationship may actually allow Dovizioso to move forward in realizing his dreams. This is the clear understanding of a current situation. Discernment.

KTM places a lot of importance on relationships. They want to foster talent from the Red Bull Rookies Cup through to the Motogp championship. Brad Binder is a prime example of this philosophy. And when the relationship is unhealthy, they cut ties so abruptly that one feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath them. Zarco is an example of this.

Dovizioso is moving forward with clarity. For some reason this browser will not allow me to paste the link to the video. Just search the title of this comment in youtube and learn more about this guy.

I agree with others that KTM is the most sensical landing spot for Dovizioso. And his manager is both well respected amongst the Motogp paddock and also considered to be very shrewd concerning contract negotiations. Plus, I believe the bike would be a perfect fit for Dovizioso's style.


Was Franco's engine damaged in the crash? What does that do to Yamaha's allotment for the season if it is unusable? I'm a Zarco fan, to a point, but why is it he is involved in so many incidents? He did cut in front of and into the front wheel of Franco. Whether it was a slipstream thing or not is unknowable. Bikes that close together at that speed will have a tendency to pull together and push apart as a pass is made. Racing incident I guess. As for Pol, he has to rein it in by about 30%. He is completely out of control and unaware of what's going on around him. I lay the blame for the last 2 incidents, Zarco and Olivera, on Pol. He runs wide multiple times and then just dives down to the racing line time and again with no regard for a rider on the racing line who is  doing nothing wrong. If a racer is not allowed to take an opening when it appears then there is no sport of motorcycle racing and we can just watch concours. IMO, Lorenzo was in the wrong when he did it to Pedrosa and Pol has been in the wrong the past 2 races. 'When moving onto the racing line *FIRST* make sure it is clear' would be a nice thought to keep in mind. And finally we again have some good old-fashioned animosity - Petrucci-Aleix, Pol-Zarco, Oliveira-Pol, Morbidelli-Zarco - for spice. This is so great!

Was having similar thoughts. Odds are Morbidelli's engine is messed up. Don't believe they take too kindly to being catapulted onto tarmac.

The recent JZ discussions have got me thinking about why he seems to be involved in these sorts of situations so often. What I've settled on is something I incorporated into my own riding philosophy long, long ago: Think of the consequences. Always be aware of what could happen, and balance that against the risks that come with disregarding the possibilities and making the more aggressive move.

My impression of the recent crashes is that the rider(s) involved are too focused on the "now" and not adequately thinking of the potential consequences of the move they're planning. To a large extent it means the riders have to play a more thoughtful, strategic game as opposed to a more tactical one focused on aggressive, instant results. Sure, all three incidents involving JZ<->PE, JZ<->FM, and PE<->MO can be charactarized as racing incidents with no clear fault, However, if all the riders involved had approached these situations thinking more about winning the war as opposed winning to the battle, would the incidents still have occurred? You have to leave a little room for who might be along side of you, whether they end up there or not. Because in all honesty, what good does it do to be right yet on the ground as opposed to conceding a little and finishing the race? There's no shame in not placing yourself in a situation where something could happen in the first place. Maybe you sacrifice a place or two sometimes, but on the whole you'll probably finish higher in the championship.

The short version of all this? Always weigh the risks vs. the rewards.

...David doesn't mind me mentioning Max Oxleys latest offerings. The bikes are so close these days that you give a little, you lose a lot. Although personally i agree 100% with your outlook.