Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia won his fifth race of the season when he led the Austrian Grand Prix from start to finish on Sunday, completing the sprint and race double for the third time this year to extend his lead in the riders’ championship.
The Italian’s 50th MotoGP podium put him 62 points ahead of Jorge Martin in the standings. Brad Binder finished second for KTM at their home grand prix at the Red Bull Ring and Marco Bezzecchi was third for VR46 Racing.
Martin made up nine places on Saturday to finish third in the sprint but he was unable to do the same in the race after serving a long-lap penalty for triggering a first corner pile-up in the sprint, eventually finishing seventh.
“I was expecting stronger pace but the conditions were tough. I was struggling with the front, but we managed well,” Bagnaia said after the perfect weekend in which he also took pole position.
“We demonstrated our potential from yesterday and we’re very happy.”
Just as in Saturday’s sprint, Bagnaia and Binder shot off the front row while Maverick Vinales was slow once again and fell down the order as Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez moved up to third with KTM’s Jack Miller on his tail.
Miller lost positions under pressure from the two VR46 Racing riders, Bezzecchi and Luca Marini, as the Australian KTM rider continued to struggle and slip down the order.
Up front, however, it was just Bagnaia and Binder competing for top spot. The South African nearly managed to get past the Ducati by using Bagnaia’s slipstream but the Italian kept him well at bay.
As the race went on, Bagnaia put the hammer down and extended his lead as Binder struggled to match the Ducati’s pace, but at the same time it was enough to widen the gap to Marquez behind him.
“I did everything I could, to push where I could. But there was a moment where the rear grip said goodbye and I had to manage it till the end,” Binder said.
The big battle was for third as Marquez fought tooth and nail to keep the two VR46 Racing riders behind him for several laps. But with six laps to go, Bezzecchi surged ahead and Marini moved up to finish fourth.
Third was just reward for Bezzecchi, who was the unfortunate victim of the first corner pile-up on Saturday, crashing heavily and having to retire from the sprint.
“Yesterday, unfortunately after the crash in the start I was sad, so I was very much motivated today,” he said.
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