There was a hint of cloud cover as intermediate class rider were setting their sights on the red lights above the start line but the weather allowed riders to steal the show and the battle went to the very last lap. Jorge Martin came painfully close to leaving Austria with a perfect score but even though the Spaniard crossed the finish line first, it was Marco Bezzecchi who stepped on the top spot of the podium. Hit with a penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap, Martin was demoted to second, allowing Bezzecchi to take an unexpected maiden victory in the intermediate class. While the drama was unfolding ahead, Remy Gardner joined the podium celebrations after a strong showing throughout the 25 laps.
About 40 minutes earlier, Martin had made a perfect launch from the middle of the front row ahead of poleman Canet and fellow front row starter Tetsuta Nagashima, the trio stretching almost one second’s gap by the end of lap one. Augusto Fernandez led the chase but was the first victim of the final corner without completing even one lap and before the cameras caught up with the replay, Canet also lost it at turn four and abandoned ship from second position. That left Nagashima to chase down Martin, with Gardner and Bezzecchi pushing hard to recover the gap to the two leaders. The duo joined the lead group by lap six, while Tom Luthi and Luca Marini led the chase one second down the road. Meanwhile, Sam Lowes had dropped to 19th by the end of the first lap and only lasted another two laps before going too hot into turn three and taking an innocent Jorge Navarro and Somkiat Chantra out of contention. Lowes remounted but proved that bad things come in threes as he crashed again at turn four while getting black flagged for irresponsible riding.
Having had ten laps to do something about his teammate’s ever increasing lead, Nagashima did not seem to have the answer and got overhauled by both Gardner and Bezzecchi at turn 3 in successive laps. The duo were left to recover over one second on Martin while steadily dropping Nagashima into Luthi’s clutches. Marini seemed to struggle to keep up with the top five men by the halfway mark of proceedings and was fending off Xavi Vierge in the battle for sixth.
With Martin still throwing a red sector in the mix every now and again, the pursuers made little progress and despite Gardner’s protests, Bezzecchi was keen to have a go at doing the chasing and got ahead of Gardner with 10 laps remaining. The Italian seemed to be more productive in reducing the gap to the leader, getting under the one second mark with five laps remaining and cutting that in half just one lap later. Gardner and Nagashima were just a step back, waiting to pick up the pieces of the victory battle, with Luthi keeping a close eye on proceedings as well.
Martin pushed hard at the front and started the final couple of laps with Bezzecchi right on his tail but the Italian was on the limit as well and the attack never came. However, the Spaniard’s fervent defence saw him narrowly exceeding track limits on the final lap and after celebrating on his way back to parc ferme, he found out that he was demoted one position and the win went to Bezzecchi. Gardner stepped onto the final podium position, with Nagashima crossing the line fourth and Luthi in a lonely but welcome fifth. Vierge got the best of Marini in the battle for sixth, while Jake Dixon, Hector Garzo and Enea Bastianini completed the top ten.
Despite somewhat underwhelming performances from Marini and Bastianini, Martin’s demotion keeps them at the forefront of the championship standings, Marini 8 points ahead of both Bastianini and Martin, who are equal on points. After a challenging few weeks, Nagashima climbs into fourth, 19 points down on the leader and both him and Bezzecchi jump ahead of Lowes.
|2||88||Jorge Martin||Kalex||0 Lap|
|14||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+20.956|
|17||19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||+26.471|
|18||21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||+26.952|
|20||24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||+30.859|
|22||5||Alejandro Medina||Speed Up||+55.353|
|23||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+1'00.005|
|77||Dominique Aegerter||NTS||6 Laps|
|37||Augusto Fernandez||Kalex||11 Laps|
|9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||23 Laps|
|35||Somkiat Chantra||Kalex||23 Laps|
|44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||24 Laps|
|22||Sam Lowes||Kalex||0 Lap|