Andrea Dovizioso beats the reigning World Champion Marc Marquez in a sensational race-long battle for honours at the Austrian Grand Prix as he claimed his third victory of a pulsating season.
Dovizioso grabbed the lead from Marquez when the Repsol Honda rider made a mistake just over halfway through proceedings, and the pair swapped places several times across the remaining laps.
The duo entered the final lap separated by less than a tenth of a second, with Dovizioso in front, and Marquez attempted to wrestle the lead away from his rival through the final two corners. Marquez was left on the outside line exiting the penultimate turn but lunged up the inside into the final right-hander, attempting to complete a block pass, but the Ducati rider was wise to Márquez’s advances.
Dovizioso used the cutback to out-accelerate his compromised rival and crossed the line ahead to capture his third victory of the campaign, to the delight of his jubilant team. Marquez initially maintained his advantage from pole position. But he was overhauled on the run to Turn 3 by Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, running the Soft-rear tyres, as opposed to the Hard-rears on Marquez’s Honda.
Lorenzo led the opening 10 laps. But he was unable to escape. His advantage peaking at just over a second, and was shadowed by Marquez and Dovizioso, as the trio gradually broke clear of their rivals. Márquez’s path to the lead was eventually aided by errors for both Ducati riders. Lorenzo went deep into Turn 3, enabling the Honda rider to use the cutback, the pair coming close to contact.
Dovizioso in third blasted past both Lorenzo and Márquez along the next straight to take the lead. But he ran wide into Turn 4, allowing Marquez to move clear. Marquez attempted to pull the pin but was not able to put a gap back to Dovizioso, and a few laps later braked too late into Turn 3, ceding the advantage to the Ducati rider.
Márquez snatched the lead through Turn 7, and a few laps later the position changed hands numerous times in the space of a minute.
Dovizioso dived up the inside of Márquez into Turn 1. Marquez fought back at Turn 3, before Dovizioso grabbed the initiative once more into Turn 4.
Marquez utilised his superior speed through the left-hander of Turn 7 to capture the advantage. But seconds later Dovizioso was ahead once more. Dovizioso ultimately preserved his advantage, leading to their last-lap battle. He settled in favour of the experienced Italian by 0.176s, as Márquez followed behind in second spot.
Dani Pedrosa started only eighth but moved up the order and emerged onto the rear of the lead pair. As soon as Pedrosa was a factor in the lead battle, Dovizioso and Márquez eased clear. They left the elder Spaniard to round out the podium positions.
Erstwhile leader Lorenzo slipped away from Pedrosa and finished in fourth place. While Johann Zarco was the lead Yamaha rider in fifth spot. Sealing another strong result for Tech 3. Factory Yamaha riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi both made errors at Turn 1 on separate laps. They trailed home in sixth and seventh respectively.
Álvaro Bautista took a fine eighth for Aspar. While Avintia’s Loris Baz concluded a strong weekend by racing to ninth position. KTM test rider Mika Kallio put in an accomplished performance to record a top 10 finish on home ground.
Andrea Iannone was the lead Suzuki rider in 11th position. While Scott Redding and Aleix Espargaró both made gains to take 12th and 13th respectively for Pramac and Aprilia. Karel Abraham and Cal Crutchlow rounded out the points finishers. The LCR Honda rider having been the only rider to take Hard tyres on both front and rear.
Álex Rins finished in 16th position for Suzuki. Héctor Barberá (Avintia), Bradley Smith (KTM), Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia) completed the finishers. Jack Miller crashed out at Turn 9 during the closing stages. While Pol Espargaró retired early on after contact at the start, leading to suspected brake damage.