Jorge Martin takes a fantastic first MotoGP win in his career at a red-flagged Styrian Grand Prix.
It was Sunday and race day for MotoGP. There was weather in the air, but the start would be dry. Pramac’s Jorge Martin started on pole from fellow Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia. Title leader Fabio Quartararo was third.
In the pre-race celebrations, Styria was awarded the “Best race of 2020” trophy, and fans would be hoping for a repeat of last years’ thriller, where Miguel Oliveira won from being third until the last 100 meters.
The bikes gridded up, the lights went out, and Bagnaia led away for a few turns, before being passed by Martin at turn 3. Joan Mir went from the third row to third place on lap 1, with Quartararo being passed by Marquez to land fifth. Mir took second from Martin at the start of lap 2 but lost it at turn 3.
Mir then ran wide at turn 4, and Quartararo picked him off. Then a red flag. Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Salvadori crashed, with a big fire stopping the race. After a long pause to clean up the track, the quick restart procedure was used, with the original grid from qualifying.
On the formation lap, Maverick Vinales’ bike did not start, so he would be relegated to the pit lane. The lights went out again, and it was Jack Miller who led. Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro hit each other, but it was a mostly clean restart.
On lap 4, Martin passed Miller for the lear, with Mir back in third. The French title rivals Quartararo and Zarco were battling for fourth. Mir passed Miller for second, and Espargaro retired, meaning no Aprilia left in the race.
Miller was falling down the order, being passed by Quartararo with Zarco being interested too. Even at an early stage in the race, track limits warnings were beginning to pop up, and Vinales got a long lap penalty on lap 13. There was daylight between Mir and Quartararo, but he was very close to Martin ahead.
Miguel Oliveira had some form of issue and was out, while Enea Bastiani got a long lap penalty for track limits. The next with a track limits warning was race leader Martin. Then, a sight we have become far too accustomed to seeing, Miller was on the floor and out of the race.
Then Pol Espargaro got a long lap penalty. Both Marc and Alex Marquez had warnings, and the penalty loop was quickly becoming more rubbered in than the racing line. With just four laps to go, it seemed nobody could top Martin, as the gap widened to 1.8 seconds.
Indeed it was Martin who took his first MotoGP win in just his sixth start. Mir finished second, with Quartararo extending his points lead in third. On the cooldown lap, Mir and Martin collided, but all were ok. Bagnaia had a horror race, and got a 3-second penalty at the flag, promoting Dani Pedrosa into the top 10.
The top 10 of the MotoGP Styrian GP:
|1||Jorge Martin||Pramac Racing||Winner|
|2||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+1.548|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||+9.632|
|4||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+12.771|
|5||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda Idemitsu||+12.923|
|6||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||+13.031|
|7||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki Ecstar||+14.839|
|8||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||+18.068|
|9||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Idemitsu||+19.042|
|10||Dani Pedrosa||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+19.528|