2021 Austria MotoGP Race Result: Introducing The Uphill Slalom

After a sunny start to Sunday morning, all eyes were back on the sky with clouds ambushing the Red Bull Ring ahead of the premier class race and spots of rain started appearing on visors while riders were sat on the grid. The calm before the storm was exceedingly lengthy but chaos was eventually unleashed and Brad Binder crossed the soaking wet finish line on well-worn slick tyres to claim victory on KTM’s home playground. Pecco Bagnaia led the charge for Ducati and was 15 seconds quicker than the winner on the final lap but had to settle for second, with poleman Jorge Martin claiming the final podium spot after a remarkable red-flag-free race around the Ring.

There were plenty of other flags being waved though and quite a bit of confusion due to the conditions but the race started dry and Martin made a dream start from pole. After some quick-fire exchanges behind him, Bagnaia became his main rival and took the lead at turn four, ahead of Martin, Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez, with Fabio Quartararo demoted to fifth. Jack Miller, Joan Mir and Binder followed them closely to the end of lap one.

With Bagnaia attempting an early escape and Zarco on a charge at the front, Marquez had to pick up the pace and make good on his soft rear tyre gamble, so he demoted Martin for third on the second lap and then Zarco for second position one lap later. However, the Pramac Ducatis were in no mood to let the Honda man escape and Martin found turn 4 ahead of the Spaniard on lap 5. Despite the shenanigans behind him, Bagnaia was not given much wiggle room at the front, only a couple tenths or so keeping him ahead of the Spanish duo. Meanwhile, Quartararo was starting to recover positions and got past Zarco to pick up the chase with a half second to find on the leading trio.

Bagnaia continued to lead proceedings into lap 6 as the sharks kept each other entertained behind him and the exchanges between Marquez and Martin allowed Quartararo to join the podium party. A mistake at turn 1 from Marquez allowed the Frenchman to take two positions in one go and climb into second ahead of the Spaniards. Right behind the action, Zarco led the charge ahead of a sizeable group.

Rain flags first started waving on lap 8, just as an outstanding Quartararo picked up the lead but Bagnaia quickly reclaimed prime position, with Quartararo, Marquez, Martin and Zarco close behind and Miller eight tenths back on the leaders’ group. Despite the still threatening cloud cover, the associated flags were soon withdrawn and the rain kept away for longer that Marquez might have preferred but the leading group were setting a red hot pace. Miller was also hoping for some more moisture, as he had dropped over a second back on the leaders and was under attack from Mir and the factory KTMs.

Status quo was maintained towards the halfway point of the race, but Bagnaia put a couple more tenths on his opponents, aided by some mistakes from Quartararo and Marquez being unable to get past the Frenchman. However, the trio were dropping Martin one second back by lap 15, with Zarco a step behind his teammate and being reeled in by Mir, Miller and Binder.

Bagnaia continued untroubled at the front while Marquez kept looking for a way past the Yamaha, but the Spaniard seemed to be in no particular rush given that Bagnaia was not really edging ahead. The first significant event did not come from that battle though, and it came with 11 laps left, when Zarco tumbled out of fifth place – a costly mistake for the championship battle – allowing Mir to inherit 5th.

Back at the front, Marquez eventually got his way at turn 3, helped by a mistake from Quartararo with 9 laps to go and went in pursuit of yet another Ducati around the Ring. The Spaniard was less patient with Bagnaia and took the lead briefly at turn 3 with 7 laps remaining but the Italian retaliated immediately, while rain flags were waving in their faces once more. Marquez bided his time for another try and Quartararo kept close but the gaps were quickly closing with five laps remaining and it became a six-horse race with Mir and Binder joining in.

As the rain intensified, Miller was the first rider to enter pitlane for a swap to rain tyres with five laps to go but the leaders had a different plan. Marquez took the lead into the first corner with 4 laps left and things got hectic behind him, with Quartararo challenging Bagnaia and Mir. Things got even crazier when Marquez and most of the leading group hit the pits at the end of that lap, leaving Binder out as the new leader of the race, ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Once the bike swap lot exited pitlane led predictably by Marquez, they were 32 seconds behind Binder.

Binder’s gamble seemed to work out better than Marquez’s with two laps to go, as the Spaniard slid out of contention at turn 1, conceding 10th place and rejoining at the back of the field. Binder started the final lap with a 14-second advantage on Aleix Espargaro and with Iker Leucona, Luca Marini and Valentino Rossi in with a shout at the final podium position at that stage – all opting to brave it out on slicks. Despite Binder’s gap at the front, the conditions were a big rival to contend with, the South African sliding away all the way to the finish line. The advantage served him well, as the men on rain tyres were on a charge on the final lap and cruised past the rest of the riders on slicks.

Despite a 3-second penalty for exceeding track limits on that last lap of ice skating, Binder claimed victory for the home team, with Bagnaia and Martin joining him on the podium with their last lap charge. Mir missed out by one second and demoted Marini and Lecuona, who could not pull off the same trick on slicks. Quartararo did not look particularly happy with seventh place after a brilliant performance in the dry bit of the race, while Rossi, Alex Marquez and Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top 10 positions. It was not a happy ending for the rain specialists, with Miller down in 11th position and Marquez rejoining to take one point.

Despite missing out on the podium, Quartararo happily extended his lead in the championship to 47 points over Bagnaia and Mir, with Zarco dropping to fourth by 49 points.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 33 Brad Binder KTM 40'46.928
2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati +9.991
3 89 Jorge Martin Ducati +11.570
4 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +12.623
5 10 Luca Marini Ducati +14.831
6 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +14.952
7 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +16.650
8 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +17.150
9 73 Alex Marquez Honda +17.692
10 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +18.270
11 43 Jack Miller Ducati +25.144
12 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM +25.193
13 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +25.603
14 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +30.642
15 93 Marc Marquez Honda +35.459
16 44 Pol Espargaro Honda +40.384
17 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha +52.950
Not Classified
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 6 Laps
  5 Johann Zarco Ducati 10 Laps
  23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 22 Laps
Round Number: 
11
2021
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Comments

Many South African and Rhodesian bike racer's of yore will remember the old song...'Go for the gap my china'. Without elaboration, that is what Binder did and did it very well. Salute !!

was a rider, not the pit crew or manager on the radio, making the crucial decision to stay out and take the risk.

also agree with larry that the penalty was silly/pathetic.  I've raced in the rain on slicks in club racing ... the bike will simply go where it needs to ... it's effectively being on ice.  Idiots.

So you think Mike Webb and his team aren't aware that it's slippery riding in the wet on slicks? Those are the rules, you don't just reinterpret them because you deem someone to be 'brave' otherwise you might just as well have no rules. For someone who has raced that's a very 'armchair' response.

They have to be as consistent with penalties, otherwise it leaves the door open to challenges.

In all my many years watching two wheeled action (starting with the Sheene years), that is most animated and enthralled I think I have been while watching MotoGP. This race goes to the top of my list of all time favourites. Well done BB.

Martin/Marquez early in the race feels like a preview of things to come. Bagnaia and Martin bring the new Red riding style in full view. The Ducati can turn and is fastest for race distance being ridden in a less rearward biased manner. Multiple riders making contact in tense early laps, really exciting. 

Mir and Binder coming through together, the pair share much in common right now. Looks more like comaraderie than contest. Their tires, riders and bikes are all about finishing races strong.

There is a reason Aleix and the Aprilia get bumped out wide so often, nearly every other bike is up on power, bringing moment after moment of faster bikes arriving with him into corners. Imagine if you will a Vinales experiencing that? He will HAVE to get patient, centered, AND fierce. More like a Mir. (Poor Maverick, watching the race - although not English 1st language nor of poorer extrapolatory reading vision - seeing a track peppered with "Bitci.l" must really be rubbing salt in the wound?). 

You could see glimpses of Zarco having "moments," and wonder who's luck he may change. Just his own today. Like Miller recently, he looks to be bumping against his performance ceiling. Right when another Ducati's dress flew off, exposing her vulnerable interesting bits. Dramatic moment...which highlights the potential of Martin and Bagnaia.

Contrast Marc Marquez, looking patient and settled tucked in behind Quartararo, stalking. Wheels in line, tidy as an inline 4. Zarco had been asking a bit more than he had, whilst Marc had some in pocket.

The new front symmetrical Hard tire and KTM is interesting, eh? Will want to hear from riders about how the bike felt on the brakes relative to last week. Wishing we could hear clearer info about the carcass sturdiness as well as just compound. This foreshadows 2022 and the new Front. 

And then at 5 laps to go, rain. Bagnaia, Marc, Quarty, Martin, Mir AND Binder all wheel to wheel! Marc the only one on a soft R tire, surely he is going to finish really well, right? Martin w someone else's rubber on his leathers. Fantastic tension! One of the best moments we hope for. Hoe-lee-shite! That convergence into T1, brilliant. Mir forced to check up or hit someone, Quarty blasts through the inside. Lines change. Contact. A moto knife fight for half a dozen while balancing on grease, RAIN HITS.

3 laps to go, Binder stays out and everyone behind to Aleix comes in for rain tires. Surely not good for Quartararo/Yamaha and limited rear grip, right? 

What the HECK? You know the race has gone bonkers when you know you need several re-watches during the first one. Riders off track. Riders going down. Riders spinning up the rear slicks everywhere. WHO grabbing at a podium!?! Marc, then no (crash). Aleix, Iker, Marini?!? The Saudi Anesthesiologist? No. 

They all tip toe like a C group trackday, while Binder spins it up like Maverick data. Bagnaia and Martin, Ducati power on wets, blast right through everyone for 2nd and 3rd. Mir in tow. Quartararo manages 7th, not bad really. Sheezus, I need a cigarette. Should I get heart medication before a re-watch?

Sorry of course for Brad's 3 sec penalty, and WE all know who did what at the close of this race. However, it must be upheld that one can't just grab a handful of advantage via exceeding track limits early in a race leaving no margin for a few errors. That is why they get quite a few freebies first, the rule makes sense and matters. RD reversed their decision and removed the 3 sec penalty apparently. Huh! There you go.

Addendum re Binder's rear Michelin, he is correct of course about what he is experiencing WITH the tire. This is not synonymous with that being solely down to the tire. Front tire, set up, electronics, track temperature, rubber down on track, time spent alone vs battle vs drafting, what heat is being put into said rear, even riding style...all are factors. It is almost a throwaway trope to just say it must have been a bad tire. The chunking over stressed assymetrical front was quickly replaced with something better. Many options worked here, on many bikes. Do we all wish we got our new more balanced 2021 Front last Winter? Yes. It is going to improve the show in a few months. Not Michelin's fault either. These are good tires! 

Good god, what did we just see? For some it was a Bitc!.l, for others it was Bitc!.lin'. 

2021 Quartararo #1 at 181 pts, Bagnaia/Mir tied for 2nd at 134 pts. 

binders initial comment about his rear being absolutley useless (though he softened his language each time he stated it). is another bit of evidence that michelin can't seem to make two tires the same. label says "hard" but is it really? just a few years ago everybody was talking about how they would bolt on another tire that was supposedly the same compound/stiffness, yet it would be completely different. then they all stopped saying it outright (fines?), but would hint that the situation was the same.

today binder let loose with the reality. 

"momma always said life was like a truck full of michelins..."

amazing work mr. binder.

"once it started raining, the tires got cold and that was scary. then the brakes got cold and, well..."

The rules are the rules.  As far as I know, there's no rain clause in the track limits rule.  Go out of the limits 5 times and you get the penalty, rain or shine. 

Webb late 2020 re during a race: "If there is an advantage gained in position or time, it is immediately a penalty. If there is no advantage gained, then it is not a penalty and not even counted on the number of infringements a rider is allowed during a race."

Binder was on his 4th exceeding track limit infringement on lap 12 and his third was lap 8, he would have received exceeding track limits warning on his dash and from his pit on lap 9.

Therfore when BB exceeded track limits on the final lap, lap28, his 5th infringement, the 3 second penalty should have been applied, regardless of his position in the race.

What if he had exceeded track limits on, and/or laps 25, 26, 27?                                                                                         Would that constitute a double long lap penalty with a 6 seconds penalty applied at the end of the race? The veiwing public would not know if BB had exceeded tracks limits for laps 25, 26, 27, as we do not have access to onboard footage of those final 4 laps!

EDIT: FQ20 and FB63 off at turn3, lap26, no track limit infringements. FQ20, JM36, FB63, JM89 off at turn1 lap27, no track limit infringements, MM93 crashes, takes 30 seconds to rejoin track. BB33 off turn1 and turn10 last lap lap 28

I almost hoped race control had given the 3 second penalty knowing that it wouldn't make a difference to the result just to see what reasoning some people would come up with for making it 10 seconds. Just enough to make somebody (anybody) cry. The green areas did their job well today and saved a large number of riders from crashing. When the rain came, slicks or wets, i don't think a single rider deliberately used the green for an advantage and race control could see that and applied a nice healthy dose of common sense.

2 unbelievable passes by Fabio, one dry outside 3, one wet inside 3, 34 points ahead after Assen, 40 after Austria 1, 47 after Austria 2. How many more races this year? Could it be as few as 5? Go Fabio, the goofy french farmer.

Fabulous race, gripping (pun intended) from start to finish. Amazing that Bagnaia and co caught the leaders in so few laps. Amazing too that the slicks squad managed to tip toe through to the end.

Glad everyone made it through relatively unscathed.  In those conditions on this track with slicks, someone could have been seriously injured or worse.  Until they make the track changes they have announced, this can be a deadly track, much more so than others on the calendar.  I'm happy everyone is pleased with a dramatic race but I couldn't help but sit there and watch while crossing fingers that nobody loses their life.  I will never get the flying bike out of my head from last season, narrowly missing two riders that could have been deadly.  

I was also confused about that.  Miller has tweeted that he did the right call at the wrong time, so can only assume that those 2 laps on wets riding a still mainly dry track were enough to either stuff the wet tyres already or lose so much time that he couldn't recover.  I was waiting for him to slice back through the pack on warmed up wet tyres.

Seems weird though, maybe taking the fall for the team?  The team almost didn't appear ready for him, I'm wondering if the bike was not properly prepped?  With only 6 to go they figured everyone would stay out?  But big showers hovering around, a very heavy rainfall was certainly on the cards, so bikes should have been ready.  Odd.

Sadly of anyone to stay out on slicks it was Miller who probably could have made it work perhaps better than Binder.  Ifs buts and maybes.

Great ride by Binder, one more lap and he'd have been nowhere but he won it.  Brilliant.

I guess KTM is now building a new seat for Binder's RC16 - one where his balls fit in!

What a gem of a rider Binder is - defying the odds at will! ( ... as is Oliveira with his laserlike perfection on top of his game)!

I had the opportunity to be on the grandstand yesterday and it was breathtaking, at the lap of honor the whole arena was covered in yellow mist and Red Bull sent in their helicopter with a large "Grazie Vale" flag and when 46 reentered the pits the whole grandstand started chanting the ValeVale.

The organizers gave him a proper farewell from austria!

A race for the ages!

 

 

Yes Binder and Wolfer! 

No brakes or tires for the last two laps. Approaching a tighter corner he had his rear wheel locked, front brake to the bar, crossed up to bump the steering block. Then gaaaaas!!!!

Tell us more about what you appreciate from the weekend when you get a moment, eh? Por favor?

...but english isn't my first language, so i struggle to find words...

These days were among the first occasions to do a big sports event at full capacity in austria, so people showed up feeling relieved from restricitions of any kind that took place over the last year or so.
Everyone was looking to have some days off, relax and watch racing, but the austrian summer heat held the whole weekend under firm grip with possible rain or bad weather looming on the horizon - so you felt somehow threatened or pressured of what could possibly happen. So it went into raceday hot and oppressively humid and after Moto2 finished, some clouds appeared and we looked like ... oohm maybe there's rain coming ... or maybe not ... well chances were at par, it was solid 50/50. At racestart the clouds were even darker and winds were picking up speed and it played out like we saw it (fun fact: 20 kilometers away from the track a massive hailstorm broke loose at 14.00 PM...) .

So it was like series finale of "Covid'n'MotoGP" with some serious cliffhanger action but in the end it all fell into the right place at the right time.

Farewell to Vale - I loved watching old westernmovies when i was a little kid and i remember "Shane" - and now that we know that Vale is riding into the sunset - this was kind of a Shane moment with the 46.
His command over the crowd is in a way intimidating but still impressive, it were my personal fanboy moments and i will remember it for a long time.

Regarding the Bitc*i thing, it put a smile on my face everytime we heard on the speakers ... we thank our sponsorbitchi..., it's a turkish cryptoexchange and i think their brandmanager didn't do much of a research on spelling ... ;)

Danke wolf, great use of language number two. That weather was tense eh?! Contrasting Quartararo and Miller, quite dramatic.

Marquez just said that he had to have pain killer injections for his right arm. Down to track layout in the dry basically, he hasn't needed it at the previous two tracks.