2020 Styria MotoGP Race Result: A Thrilling Page Of History Written At The Final Corner

Menacing clouds over pitlane and an oddly intense rendition of the Styrian anthem made for a dramatic build-up to the premier class race but nothing could have prepared us for what unfolded over the 28-lap race played in two acts. Ultimately, Ducati had to admit defeat on their favourite playground and the milestone 900th premier class victory was a historic achievement in more ways than one, as the Portuguese anthem played for Miguel Oliveira for the first time in MotoGP and Tech 3 scored their maiden win on KTM’s home soil. At the end of an exhausting final lap, Oliveira gets to drive out of Austria in a brand new BMW, while Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro picked up podium scraps despite grabbing most of the airtime in the second part of the race. 

Joan Mir was the main protagonist at the start of proceedings, when he got the holeshot to lead into turn one but went exuberantly wide and had to drop one position. Before the Spaniard even got a glance at his pit board, Miller had made his way into the lead, closely followed by Mir and fellow front row starter Takaaki Nakagami. Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins were in the mix as well, while Andrea Dovizioso, having started on the third row, was leading the charge eight tenths down the road, in a group with the likes of Maverick Vinales, Oliveira, Valentino Rossi and Brad Binder. Last week’s victor promptly brought down that gap and the lead group was of Moto3-like proportions for the next couple of laps.

With Miller pushing at the front, Mir and Nakagami could not decide who to reel him in but Mir settled that by lap four, when he took over the lead at the final turn. Miller and Nakagami did not allow the Spaniard to gain a gap but Espargaro and Rins had lost over a second on the podium battle and were getting chased by the sizeable group led by Dovizioso. While the leaders were keeping calm, most of the action came from the chasing pack, where Binder and Oliveira were swapping paint and teammate Iker Lecuona found himself ahead of the factory Yamahas. The man on a mission was Fabio Quartararo, who overcame some early off track excursions and was soon attacking Rossi and Vinales for a top 10 position.

By lap 10, Mir, Miller and Nakagami had a two second gap at the front, with Espargaro and Rins making little noise behind them, but there was not much threat from behind either. Eventually, Binder had enough of Dovizioso and picked up the chase with one and a half seconds to find on the Spaniards ahead. Dovizioso kept slipping back and lost another place to Oliveira, with Lecuona also waiting to pounce. Almost two seconds down the road, Quartararo showed the way to Rossi and Petrucci, but Vinales seemed to struggle to get his machine to do what it should and dropped to a lonely 13th position. The loneliness did not last very long as the Spaniard was forced to jump off his Yamaha while doing about 200km/h heading into turn 1 and his bike caught fire as it flew into the air fence, prompting a red flag with 12 laps to go.

The restart wiped out Mir’s two second advantage and gave Miller’s achy arm a bit of a rest and the two lined up again on the front row of the grid, with Nakagami in between them. Pol Espargaro, Rins and Binder made up row two ahead of Oliveira, Dovizioso and Lecuona, with Quartararo and Rossi on the fourth row but at least still part of the action, while a lucky Vinales watched unharmed from the garage.

Mir got the holeshot for the 12 lap sprint but Miller was keen to stop his march early on, attacking at turn four to grab the lead. Espargaro was happy to be back in contention ahead of teammates Binder and Oliveira, while Dovizioso was waiting to pounce a couple tenths behind, ahead of a slow starting Nakagami. Meanwhile, Quartararo had dropped to 15th by lap two and found himself behind compatriot Zarco.

Similarly to last weekend, Miller used some fresh soft rubber to attempt an escape at the front, while Mir was on an 18 lap old front tyre but the Spaniard’s real problem soon became KTM, with Pol Espargaro finding a way past on lap five and Oliveira following his colleague’s example one lap later. Dovizioso, Binder and Nakagami were next in line in the lead group, while Rins and Rossi were in the unexpected company of Lecuona another second down the road. If Miller felt any pain in his shoulder, Espargaro did not give him much time to think about it, attacking for the lead at turn 9 with five laps remaining. Miller bided his time to fight back but had Oliveira, Dovizioso, Mir, Nakagami and a resurgent Rins on his tail, while Binder lost touch with the lead group after an off track excursion.

The final couple of laps started with a seven-man group still in contention for the win but no one showed a wheel to the leading KTM until the final lap. Espargaro closing the door at turn three encouraged Miller to attack at turn four, but the KTM fought back at turn nine and it all came down to a thrilling final corner, where Miller’s attempt at a block pass ran both of them wide and like a real predator, Oliveira swept past to take a historic win on his 150th grand prix. Miller had to make do with second, while a somewhat disappointed Espargaro crossed the finish line third. An even more heartbroken Mir was fourth but even on well worn tyres he still found a way past Dovizioso on the final lap. Rins finished a somewhat underwhelming sixth, ahead of Nakagami and Rossi, with Lecuona rounding out the top ten on a fantastic day for KTM.

An anonymous Quartararo took the checkered flag 13th, pouring gas on the championship battle, only 3 points ahead of Dovizioso and bringing a whole bunch of rivals back into contention, beginning with Miller 13 points down. Binder stays fourth, with a deficit of 21 points, while Vinales’ nightmare trip to Austria ends with him fifth, another point down on the KTM man.

Results of Race 2:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 16'56.025
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati +0.316
3 44 Pol Espargaro KTM +0.540
4 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +0.641
5 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +1.414
6 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +1.450
7 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +1.864
8 33 Brad Binder KTM +4.150
9 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +4.517
10 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +5.068
11 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +5.918
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +6.411
13 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +7.406
14 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +7.454
15 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +10.191
16 73 Alex Marquez Honda +10.524
17 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +11.447
18 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +11.943
19 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia +12.732
20 51 Michele Pirro Ducati +14.349
21 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +14.548
  12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 0 Lap
Round Number: 
6
2020
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Comments

Shows how important it is to be used to racing at the " sharp end " Pol's ( and Miller's ) lack of race craft showed big time in that last lap battle , congratulations to Olivera for getting it right and stealing out from under their noses . 

Kudos 

How exciting is MotoGP without Marc Marquez around to win 3/4 of the races? smiley

Trouble is MM had a red mist moment in that first race and fell off...then tried to be super human and come back when his body was not ready for it. Not to mention the 'window' incident.

Although MM93 is missed, the variety of winners is refreshing as is the appearance of new talent. Fabio who looked unbeatable in first 2 races looks rather ordinary now. 

 

I think the window incident was the straw that broke the camels back, ie it was the last thing to happen before it broke, it was going to break anyway as titanium work hardens. The plate is only meant to keep the bone(s) in place until they fuse, not to do 2g braking.

I had a plate fitted to my femur not so long ago and was told apart from resting my leg i could not put any weight through my leg for 6 weeks, the Doc was very particular about that point.

..might be just as exciting, and the numbers of winners may be just as large, 5 races and three 1st time winners ! I do get the feeling that this was a season custom built for Marquez, any rider who can podium at almost every race this season is champion. However, it is still early days.

Bad luck for Mir and Taka Naka. I'd love Taka Naka to take a win, not sure how much of a difference any extra support from Honda is making but fair play to him he is starting to produce.

Maverick Vinales' well documented and logged heart rate whilst pushing the limits on a GP bike surely was something to behold. Respect ! How cool and calculated was his abandonment of that bike in the correct millisecond ?. Its a pity that the race was forced into a kind of reverse two part race circa last week. Short to long, long to short.

Congrats to Miguel and KTM. KTM get all 4 riders in top ten. I guess Binder will be buying Miguel whatever his persuasion is tonight in Austria. KTM are in great shape for 2021. I guess their concessions are just about done. Hey ! Dovi quietly closes in that Quattararo title lead by another huge bite.

This season is the best one in years and today's race was unbelievable. However, Pol Espargaro has crashed out of the last 2 races and then threw away an almost sure victory today. The question that was raised is, I wonder if Honda is beginning to regret signing a rider who can't close the deal?

I'm sure KTM is wanting Pol to win a race since he put so much time into helping develop the bike but I don't think KTM is really sad to see him go to Honda next year. Any thoughts to the contrary? 

All four KTMs in the top 10! Nice to see Herve finally get a win.

Just so,so happy to see him finally get a win. He seems to be one of the most decent guys in the paddock and truly deserves this.

martin penalized. espargaro not.

i don't get it.

...he approached the corner in 1st, left the corner in 3rd. Martin won.

according to stewards, if you go onto the green on the last lap, you get docked a place. again, why martin and not espargaro?

Very simple, Martin ran over the track limit to maintain his momentum and win the race, he pushed his luck justa tiny, tiny bit too far. Espargaro got forced over the track limits by an opportunistic Australian. He also lost time and two places in the process, so no argument can be made that he gained from his avoiding action.

bezza does not get the same punishment as martin? Pretty sure he crossed the same line...

without being pushed there.

I just want things to be equal. 

 

NVM, that was several hundred words dedicated to my ineptitude, sorry about that.

It certainly does look from the camera shots like Bezecchi followed Martin along the same line and over the green bit.

You could make a case for either call, but not doing it both ways on the same day. Race Control has its head up its collective backside, as far as I'm concerned.

He ran wide trying to get in front of Miller. Their battle took them both off of the top step of the podium. 

Again, tires played an important role in the outcome. Mir had only a new rear for the restart and Nakagami had to restart on used tires. I wonder if Ducati will win another race this season. Oliveira said once Marquez was injured, the vibe in the paddock felt like everyone started to believe they could win races. Just before Viñales' off, Nakagami started to think he could win the race. With everything going on, Dovizioso could win the championship with only one race win for the season. He'd steal the record held by Hayden in the modern era.

I gotta think it has to be a little demoralizing for these guys to give their all and have to listen to all the MM love and everyone wondering how much he will win by. Best riders in the world and the talk is usually whether they can podium, not win.

I really respect MM and he's given some amazing shows, but I'm also looking forward to this new generation and a little less total domination.   

Apparently running less cooling aero to make up for loss of power, thus putting the brakes under higher temperatures.

I'm certainly wondering, but have no real info. I'm sure that David will be all over it. :)

To make up for the acceleration deficit, the Yamaha riders must make up time in the braking zones in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, this track is one of the tracks on the calendar where the brakes are on the limit. Motegi being another. According to Peter Bom, bikes spend more time on the brakes than at full throttle per lap. Like Dovizioso says, it all starts with the braking point.

...AND valvetrain issues?!

Uh oh at Blue QC. At least Brembo can solve that one w them this week. 

Great job Orange and wounded Miller. A Tech3 Satellite KTM dry win. Weeeird. Coooool!

Poor Mir had a win in hand until his gap AND tires left him. Great riding. Next round shows a few more cards.

Any update on Bagnaia?

Yes, Darryl Beattie mentioned this. Perhaps running less engine braking, hence FQ's repeated (and uncharacteristic) run off's, particularly if he keeps the the rear planted a lot to assist with braking. All struggled. That was proper scary though for MV and very lucky he was not following a pack when it happened.

Yes, Darryl Beattie mentioned this. Perhaps running less engine braking, hence FQ's repeated (and uncharacteristic) run off's, particularly if he keeps the the rear planted a lot to assist with braking. All struggled. That was proper scary though for MV and very lucky he was not following a pack when it happened.

We have spent a thousand lines of comment on "just racing" vs. unsafe riding the past few weeks. What about irresponsible engineering?

When they offer me a factory gp ride after Rossi retires, I won't care about the money, but I will certainly demand that I be provided engines that do not blow up, and brakes that stop the bike. Which would be a clear performance advantage over the current Yamahas.

Guess the Tech 3 move to KTM will be seen over time as one of the best team moves in gp history.

 

Seems Suzuki are hedging all their bets. Good team, good bike, good engine, two fine riders, objections against Pol, objections against Maverick but it didn't rain so they left god out of the equation this time.

It would be interesting to know a little more about the valve problems of Yamaha and the mitigation of the issue with regards to engine braking.

I think jumping off the bike was probably one of the easier decisions Maverick has ever had to make. What was left of the bike confirmed he chose well. After standing up and seeing the bike in flames he suddenly checked his own ass where the sensations must have been similar.

Maybe he was looking to see if any poop was leaking out. It can happen when one gets a glimpse of god (their own mortality, life is never more real than when one believes they are going to die, blah blah blah).

Was it irresponsible for Vinales to carry on riding when he had brake issues from lap 3?

At what point did it go from a minor inconvenience to severe as we know what the point of  brake failure was?

Could Maverick have got on his second bike and competed after the restart, or are you not allowed to be in the second race if you crashed out of the first?

No you have to go into pit lane within 5 minutes to be able to restart the race. 

Fantastic racing to watch this season!

Super glad to see Herve Poncheral finally get a win for his team. He is one of the really good guys in MotoGp. I was one of the naysayers who believed the switch to KTM was a huge mistake (even realizing it was largly necessitated by Yamahas actions). Glad to see I was so wrong.

I thought Pol ran a great 2nd race. The only mistake being the very defensive line into t3 on the last lap which cost him the drive out to maintain his lead. I believe he thought Miller was much closer in t3 than he was (aided by his +0 pit board) and it cost him the win.

Gutted for Mir & Nakagami. Sad to see all the work riders put in in a 2 part race go for naught due to restarts & especially to tire allotment issues for the restart. Same issue last week for Pol obviously. I would like to see either an additional tire allotment for restarts or the riders required to continue with the same tires.

Lastly, Vinales step off was amazing to watch. To have the wherwithall to jump off the bike at that speed in the split second required is unfathomable to me. I can not believe he escaped unscathed.

 

 

 

 

there will be shadowy figures at dusk knocking on WP's door and the KTM chassis builders. 'I mean, this is the stuff man, right? We're done with this Ohlins crap and as for those aluminium beam frames, what were we thinking?'
A speedway pro once told me how, because of how similar the bikes were-development having been largely static forever- if you started doing well and had purple tyre valve caps, next race most of the grid had them. They were, and probably still are, terrified of change unless it appears to be giving an advantage, real or perceived. What a position KTM are in now the investment has brought them to here. Not only do they own many of their technical partners, they can be working on chassis and suspension solutions the Monday morning after a race and bringing it the following Friday, like the old Michelin specials! There was never any doubt in my mind, and many of this sites' clear thinkers, that if the money was there over the appropriate period, KTM had the knowledge, drive and desire to do this. Many didn't though, they don't understand KTM. 
So now the different bike has started winning, what are the rest of you gonna do? Ducati have trellis experience but threw in with the rest, they could've been where KTM are now, surely? A lot of ex-Honda folk are in Austria, along with one of Ohlin's top men, poached last year. Don't forget the very real animosity between KTM and HRC, wherever Honda show up, KTM will be hiding behind a tree with a very good (orange) catapult. 

How, why, where does it manifest itself from? I've only seen it here in the comments section.

Usually, animosity is either created (through personal interpretation) or exaggerated by the one telling the story. Fortunately, if animosity does actually exist between two parties, it is not enduring.

Nakagami might debate that claim. He looked good in the race, said he was comfortable and that following Miller was easy. When Mir started to gap them a bit too much he decided it was time to go. Passed Miller and had the thought he might be able to win the race. Within a lap the red flag appears, so we'll never know if he could have pulled back the gap. He's best Honda and most likely receiving the a lot of HRC support.

But, gotta admit from the couch I'm thinking Binder. Reminds me of Marquez with a more humble approach. Before the red flag, Dovi was about to be passed by Lecuona. Lecuona closed down the .6 second gap to Dovi in one lap then hounded him for a few more. THAT is just as astounding as Oliveira winning the sprint race. At Ducati's home drag circuit. I wonder if the Professor can think his way out of his current rear tire dilemma.

So yes, the KTM looks like the best Honda right now. Cannot see why that would change at Misano.