MotoGP Red Bull Ring Results 2018


For the third year in a row, MotoGP riders have tried to dislodge Ducati Corse from the pronounced advantage they enjoy here in Austria. In 2016, it was Yamaha icon Jorge Lorenzo who failed to flag down Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso. Last year, it was Honda’s Marc Marquez trying valiantly and ultimately failing to overtake winner Dovizioso. Today, it was Marquez losing again by a tenth, this time to Lorenzo, in a last lap duel that was entertaining, if not riveting.

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Ducati continues to enjoy visiting Austria’s Red Bull Ring, a circuit that suits the Desmosedici’s strengths.

Practice and Qualifying

The weather gods had themselves a few laughs this weekend. In order to complete the picture postcard surroundings, they summoned bright sunshine, big old rain, and cloud formations worthy of National Geographic. The results were, in a word, havoc. A dry FP1 turned out, as feared by many, to be the determinant of the Q1/Q2 splits, as FP2 was hard rain and FP3 was run on a drying track. The results, as is customary in these rain god kneeslappers, found Q1 comprised of the usual suspects, with the addition of Tito Rabat and the deletion of Valentino Rossi, who got aced out 10th place by teammate Maverick Viñaless and 49/1000ths of a second. Marquez, running fourth, found himself surrounded by Ducatis and Italians, not for the last time.

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With Pol Espargaro injured, it was up to Bradley Smith to represent KTM in its home MotoGP race.

Q1: I would have bet my house on Valentino going through. Instead, he put up a rather submissive 4th place finish after getting punked late in the session by Álex Rins and the new improved version of Alvaro Bautista. Bradley Smith made a valiant effort to put his KTM into Q2 in front of the Austrian fans but missed by 15/1000ths of a second.

Q2: My boy Danilo Petrucci, who had been sniffing around the top three all weekend, kept things interesting for the eventual front row, but finished looking quick and dangerous sitting fourth. Marquez put down the fastest lap of the session (.099 off the track record ☹) and withstood a late scorcher by Dovizioso to hold onto pole by 2/1000ths of a second. More Ducatis, more Italians. Lorenzo kind of backed into third, unable to improve on a quick mid-session lap. Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco, sitting fifth and sixth respectively, looked happy just to be within striking distance.

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Valentino Rossi and the Yamaha team failed to find the right solution to tackle the Red Bull Ring.

Per announcers Matt and Steve, the consensus amongst the paddock was that Marquez, Dovi and Lorenzo would fight for the podium, with Petrucci, Crutchlow and perhaps Zarco or Rins lurking. Meanwhile, with the same two, and a suit from Yamaha corporate, pronouncing the Yamaha program “embarrassing” it may be that a familiar name, a Jarvis or a Maragalli, may be shown the door in the foreseeable future. Having the two factory Yamaha riders starting the Austrian Grand Prix in 11th and 14th places is unacceptable. And since it’s both of them, it pretty much has to be the bike which, at this point, would have trouble beating the 2016 iteration of itself.

If the Standings were Closer, the Race Would Have Been Better

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As expected, Marc Marquez and the two factory Ducatis fought it out the entire race.

Going into the race holding a 49-point advantage over a struggling Valentino Rossi, everyone knew Marquez could crash out of the race and still enjoy a meaningful lead. At the same time, Marquez had been nursing some hurt feelings since he got punked at the flag last year by Dovizioso. Not to mention that Red Bull Ring is one of increasingly few venues where #93 hasn’t won in the premier class. So, we found ourselves at the start watching the expected lead group of Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Marquez take shape and remain largely intact all day.

Most of the day was spent watching Marquez deal with the Ducati double-team. As per usual, Marquez was faster in the tighter sectors of the track, while Dovi and JLo had a major advantage in the straights. By Lap 19, while Lorenzo and Marquez were taking turns going through on one another, Dovizioso ran hot and wide into Turn 1 and lost touch with the two Spaniards. For the two riders who will wear Repsol Honda colors together for the next two seasons, it was suddenly High Noon, Mittag to the locals, with ten laps to go. And away they went.

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Marc Marquez put in a strong effort but Jorge Lorenzo once again put Ducati on the top step of the Red Bull Ring podium.

Finally, with three laps left, both riders rolled up their sleeves, exposing their matching Multiple World Champion tattoos. Lorenzo, with soft tires front and rear, saved enough of them to have plenty of grip late in the day. Marquez, who had gone medium/hard, had plenty of grip but not enough grunt. He tried one last block pass in Turn 10 of the last lap, but Lorenzo anticipated the move, skirted it, and kept enough drive to beat Marquez to the line. A sweet win for Lorenzo. Marquez’ small disappointment at having missed the top step of the podium today was tempered by his adding another 10 points to his 2018 championship lead, which now stands at 59.

Here and There

From Mugello to Red Bull Ring (6 Rounds)
Rider Points
Marc Marquez 106
Valentino Rossi 86
Jorge Lorenzo 114
Andrea Dovizioso 83
Maverick Viñales 54

Cal Crutchlow was happy to break a small personal string today. Having finished 15th here in 2016 and 2017, he improved to a highly respectable fourth place. As Cal will tell you, Red Bull Ring is his least favorite circuit, tied with 17 others not named Silverstone, and so he never really expects to do all that well here.

2019 Promotions

  • Jorge Martín will move up to Moto2 with Red Bull KTM Ajo, filling the spot vacated by Miguel Oliveira, on his way to MotoGP with KTM Tech 3.
  • Pecco Bagnaia will join MotoGP with Pramac Racing in 2019.
  • Joan Mir will move up to join MotoGP Team Suzuki Ecstar as a teammate to Álex Rins in 2019.
  • Marco Bezzecchi and Philipp Öettl will move up to Moto2 with Red Bull KTM Tech3 and MV Augusta bikes, replacing Bo Bendsneyder and Remy Gardner.

KTM is the Ducati of Moto3. High top end, not as nimble as the Honda. And is Marco Bezzecchi not the second coming of Marco Simoncelli? Tall-ish, rockstar haircut, exuberant, aggressive and Italian to the core. Nice win for him today on home turf. Pecco Bagnaia showed again why he’s earned a Pramac Ducati seat for 2019 in a 20-lap showdown with KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, the last five of which were riveting, the last two turns of which were a replay of Marquez and Dovizioso in 2017. Wait a minute. Perhaps Bagnaia is the second coming of Simoncelli…

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Marco Bezzecchi outlasted Enea Bastianini to win the Moto3 race, reminding the author of another Marco.

MV Agusta returns to grand prix racing in 2019 in Moto2 building bikes for Forward Racing. Moto2 will adopt the new Triumph inline triple 765cc which will be, if not faster, sexier-sounding. All throaty. It wouldn’t surprise me if Honda’s 600cc four-banger outperforms the larger Triumph, which may say as much about me as it does the British factory.

Let’s Tranche Again

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Tito Rabat was the lone change in Bruce’s tranches, mixing it up with Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa before settling for an 11th-place finish.

Tranches After Brno

Tranche 1: Marquez
Tranche 2: Rossi, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Petrucci, Crutchlow
Tranche 3: Bautista, Pedrosa, Zarco, Rins, Iannone, P Espargaro, Viñales
Tranche 4: Morbidelli, Syahrin, A Espargaro, Miller, Rabat, Smith
Tranche 5: Redding, Nakagami, Abraham, Luthi and Simeon

Tranches After Red Bull Ring

Tranche 1: Marquez
Tranche 2: Rossi, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Petrucci, Crutchlow
Tranche 3: Bautista, Pedrosa, Zarco, Rins, Iannone, P Espargaro, Viñales, Rabat
Tranche 4: Morbidelli, Syahrin, A Espargaro, Miller, Smith
Tranche 5: Redding, Nakagami, Abraham, Luthi and Simeon

These rankings have more or less coalesced of late. Either that or I’m losing interest in them. Audience participation is welcomed.

Two weeks to Silverstone. The championship may, in fact, have already been decided for 2018. But as today showed, there is still plenty of high quality racing going on at the great tracks of the world. And Red Bull Ring, too.

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While a win would have been nice, Marc Marquez must be happy to increase his championship lead over Valentino Rossi to 59 points.
2018 MotoGP Red Bull Ring Results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Corse 39:40.688
2 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda +0.130
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Corse +1.656
4 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Castrol +9.434
5 Danilo Petrucci Alma Pramac Ducati +13.169
6 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha +14.026
7 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +14.156
8 Álex Rins Suzuki Ecstar +16.644
9 Johann Zarco Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +20.760
10 Alvaro Bautista Angel Nieto Ducati +20.844
11 Tito Rabat Reale Avintia Ducati +21.114
12 Maverick Viñales Movistar Yamaha +22.939
13 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Ecstar +26.523
14 Bradley Smith Red Bull KTM +29.168
15 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Idemitsu +30.072
16 Hafizh Syahrin Monster Yamaha Tech3 +30.343
17 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Gresini +31.775
18 Jack Miller Alma Pramac Ducati +34.375
19 Franco Morbidelli Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +40.171
20 Scott Redding Aprilia Gresini +53.020
21 Karel Abraham Angel Nieto Ducati +53.261
22 Thomas Luthi Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +54.355
Not Classified
DNF Xavier Simeon Reale Avintia Ducati 18 Laps
2018 MotoGP Top 10 Standings After 11 Rounds
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 201
2 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha 142
3 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Corse 130
4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Corse 129
5 Maverick Viñales Movistar Yamaha 113
6 Danilo Petrucci Alma Pramac Ducati 105
7 Johann Zarco Monster Yamaha Tech 3 104
8 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Castrol 103
9 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Ecstar 84
10 Álex Rins Suzuki Ecstar 66

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