Jorge Lorenzo brought it home for Ducati in Austria, following a breathtaking close fight against Marc Marquez. It was a full-on pleasure to watch the two Spaniards lock horns for the victory at the Red Bull Ring, where the championship leader was the underdog. Flashbacks from 2017 kick in for Marquez, as he ends up in P2 after chasing down the race leader until the very last corner, but this time Jorge Lorenzo was the better man inside the Borgo Panigale-based team.
Andrea Dovizioso gained the lead on Marquez at the start, with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo wrestling his way to the top while crossing lines in the second sector. All riders were close throughout the intense first lap of the Austrian GP, in which Alex Rins found himself in the mix jockeying for position with Crutchlow and Dovizioso. As the second lap began, Marc Marquez did not waste any time and reclaimed the lead of the race on the Ducati duo. In the meantime, Valentino Rossi, on his quest to recover from the back, started carving through the field and climbed up to P10 during the first 4 laps.
Race leader Marquez made his intentions crystal clear since the beginning, as he tried to open up a gap on Lorenzo and Dovizioso, in order to reduce their advantage on Austrian turf. The Spaniard took full advantage of his strategy, as he picked the Hard tyre for the rear, whereas Lorenzo and Dovizioso were respectively on the Soft and the Medium one. The lead group managed to detach itself from the rest by over 2 seconds in 6 laps: Cal Crutchlow cruised to P4 ahead of Alma Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci and Alex Rins’ Suzuki.
Tension mounted up as Andrea Dovizioso attacked his teammate for P2, but the Spaniard would not let him through. In terms of competitiveness Ducati duo came alive in the second half of the race, with both Lorenzo and Dovizioso getting glued to Marquez. Lorenzo bolted to the race lead, while Dovizioso ran wide in his attempt to catch Marquez’s tail. The Honda rider regained the leadership, but the Majorcan went round the outside and aggressively took his rightful spot back. The two race leaders clocked matching laptimes, whereas Andrea Dovizioso did not seem to keep up until the end.
Danilo Petrucci received multiple warnings for exceeding the track limits. The Italian raced in 5th ahead of Rossi, who managed to go up to P6. With just 3 laps to go, Lorenzo made a costly mistake while braking, which coerced him to run wide, but he swiftly bounced back and bolted on Marquez to reclaim the lead. The two exchanged positions until the checkered flag, in a poignant hand-to-hand, up to the point that bikes did not count anymore. The fight turned into a pure strength contest, which consisted in taming the bike while accelerating and studying each other around the sinuous Red Bull Ring.