2020 Austrian MotoGP Results and News

Rennie Scaysbrook | August 16, 2020

Sunday News

Zarco’s riding comes into focus

Valentino Rossi wasn’t alone in accusing Johann Zarco of being responsible for the horrific crash that so nearly claimed his life. “In Italian we say to brake in the face [brake check]. Zarco is very wide, and he braked in the face of Franco, maybe to not let Franco overtake him back in braking. But he’s too close, and when you are at 190mph you have a lot of slipstream, and Franco didn’t have any chance to brake. At the end, there is a lot of risk, we risk a lot, especially me and Maverick. So it could have been a disaster.”

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results Zarco
Zarco was clearly distressed at the incident which could have had incredibly serious consequences.

Zarco stood his ground, however. “The bad things they were thinking I did it on purpose, that I wanted to stop Morbidelli or avoid Morbidelli overtaking me, but this was not my thought. I was braking, for sure I could expect that maybe he would try to overtake, but I didn’t cut the line to stop him. It’s too crazy to do it and too dangerous and I’m conscious enough to manage it.”

Espargaro should ‘question racing approach’  

The lap nine collision between Pol Espargaro and Miguel Olveira on the exit of turn four was hugely frustrating for both riders. For the Catalan, it was the second time in two races he crashed out when cutting back from having run wide. And the Portuguese rider was spitting feathers after being hit by another KTM machine for the second time in three races.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Espargaro
Two similar crashes in two weeks for Pol Espargaro has Oliveira questioning the Spaniard’s approach.

Espargaro, who had run wide into turn four before cutting back to where Oliveira was, maintained it was a racing incident. “I was opening the throttle outside and so was he on the inside. He couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see him so we collided. This is exactly what we call a race incident.”

Oliveira saw it slightly differently. “He went wide and I saw a gap. It’s in every rider’s mind to understand what they could have done differently. I’m not blaming him but If I was Pol already with two incidents of the same character, I would start to think if I am approaching racing in general in the right way because at the moment it seems questionable.”

Turn three change needed?

The Zarco-Morbidelli crash brought the long-held fears regarding turn three, and the kink that precedes it, back into focus. The issue is how exposed riders flicking into turn three are when someone behind may crash when touching the brakes. “It’s so easy for something to happen there,” said Takaaki Nakagami. “We have to discuss about this layout. It’s quite tricky and quite a dangerous area.”

2020 Austrian MotoGP Turn Three
Espargaro rips through the turn three kink.

Danilo Petrucci concurred. “The bikes are so powerful, and in that part, we arrive at maybe 45, 50 degrees of lean angle, in sixth gear, and then take the front brake there. And there are many lines there, every bike stops in a different way. So I think the only way is to change a bit the track, to make it more straight in that part so we brake a little bit more straight.”

At Braking Point

The Red Bull Ring places huge demands on MotoGP machines’ braking systems, particularly turns one, three and four. Turn four in particular sees riders braking from 185mph to just 52mph in 5.4 seconds. The load on the lever is 6.4kg and the system pressure is 13.8 bar.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results braking
Brake pressures are seriously high at the Red Bull Ring.

This can lead to the front discs overheating. Two riders – Nakagami and Quartararo – found their front brakes compromised, with the Frenchman citing a lack of pressure on his brake lever the reason why he ran off track at turn four before the race was stopped.

“We started to feel a soft brake. And I braked in the same place as normal during all the weekend, and my brake was actually like a clutch. Two problems: first of all you have no brakes, and when you brake, you lose a lot the feeling because you never know when you will have them, when you will not have, when you will have. Secondly it’s dangerous.”

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) played his cards and his race to perfection in the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, overhauling an early lead for Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) to take over at the front and then pull the pin for Ducati’s 50th premier class win—keeping the marque’s 100% record at the Red Bull Ring intact. Miller looked set to take second until the last two corners, with the Australian then heading ever-so-slightly wide and having his pocket picked by Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir. The Spaniard, therefore, took second and was on the premier class podium for the first time.

2020-Austrian-MotoGP-Results-and-News-dovi
After announcing he’ll be leaving Ducati after the 2020 season, Andrea Dovizioso went out and won the Austrian Grand Prix. Photos: Gold & Goose

The headlines were dominated, however, by an earlier incident that brought out the Red Flag. On the initial start, Miller got a great launch from P2 and it was the Ducati rider who grabbed the holeshot, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) also getting away well to slot into P2 from pole. Dovizioso was a fast starter from P4, with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) dropping back. Then Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) chipped away and got himself to the front before Quartararo then ran off the track at Turn 4 to drop to the back of the pack on Lap 6. Espargaro, Dovizioso, Mir, Miller, and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) were leaving the rest behind, but the incident for which the race will also likely be remembered then unfolded at the Turn 3 braking zone, bringing out the red flags.

2020-Austrian-MotoGP-Results-and-News-dovi
Franco Morbidelli’s crashing motorcycle nearly takes out Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi. Photo: Gold & Goose

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) were almost side by side on the straight, and as they got on the anchors into Turn 3, the duo came into contact and both went down. What unfolded next was terrible luck followed by incredible luck. Zarco and Morbidelli’s bikes careered towards Turn 4 and both bikes hit the air-fence, thankfully slowing them down, but the speed of the crash was such that the machines headed into the path of the riders that were coming into and out of Turn 3. Viñales and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) were the two in the firing line and somehow, the two errant bikes missed the two factory Yamaha riders. Morbidelli’s bike shot through the gap between Viñales and Rossi, missing the nine-time World Champion by a matter of inches, with Zarco’s bike narrowly avoiding Viñales.

The debris and aftermath brought out the Red Flag, with Zarco on his feet immediately and going to check on the stricken Morbidelli. The Italian was up initially but then taken away on a stretcher to be checked over. Ultimately, both headed for the Medical Centre, and incredibly, both were declared fit and were not injured. A crash the scale of which will ensure it’s remembered forever, and thankfully everyone walking away unscathed.

As the dust settled, the track was cleared and race restart prepared. This time it would be Pol Espargaro on pole, leading as he had been just before the Red Flag incident happened. As the lights went out, the KTM rider got a very good getaway but Miller came flying up the inside from P3, the Aussie running wide but was able to use the drive down the long straight to hold his advantage. Pol Espargaro was back through at T3 but Miller was trying to pull the pin from the off, and the Australian took the lead at Turn 6 and immediately got the hammer down.

Meanwhile, the opening lap on the restart was a nightmare for Viñales, who slipped to last place, with pitlane reporter Simon Crafar confirming after the race that the number 12 did have some sort of issue on his YZR-M1. And what about Quartararo? Starting from the back of the grid but at least on the pack after his earlier runoff in the abandoned race, the Frenchman had started making up places but for the top two in the Championship, this was now all about damaged limitation – P16 and P20 was the situation for Quartararo and Viñales on Lap 1.

By Lap 3, Miller was nearly a second up the road from Pol Espargaro, Dovizioso, the two Suzukis, and Oliveira. Mir and Alex Rins were looking very strong after making great starts on their GSX-RRs, and the duo – along with Dovizioso – were swarming Pol Espargaro. Lap 4 saw then Miller’s lead creep up to over a second but on the next lap, Dovizioso set the fastest lap and it appeared a pin was about to be pulled. Just behind the Italian, Espargaro had his hands full with the two Suzukis too, the trio exchanging positions like there was no tomorrow and losing time on Dovizioso. Rins eventually made a move stick though, and the 42 bolted off to chase the Ducati Team machine.

Further back, Quartararo had made it into P13 and Viñales was still out the points, but back at the front, Miller’s lead was down to just 0.4 as Dovizioso and Rins reeled in the Pramac. That left Pol Espargaro, Mir, and Oliveira over a second off the podium scrap, and Espargaro looked like he was getting impatient as a potential race win was slowly slipping from his grasp. Then, on Lap 9, catastrophe struck for KTM at their home race. At Turn 4, Espargaro and Oliveira were both down, Oliveira heading up the inside and Espargaro cutting back across, contact ensuing.

Ahead of that, Miller’s advantage was no more. Dovizioso and Rins were right on the tail of the GP20, with Mir clawing back the gap after the two KTMs crashed as well. At Turn 6, Rins was almost down as the front of his machine tucked, but the Spaniard saved it. Then we had a change for the lead. Dovizioso carved past Miller into Turn 1 and then, at Turn 9, Rins followed the Bologna bullet through. It wouldn’t last long though, as the Suzuki rider’s race then prematurely ended at Turn 6. A repeat slip of the front tire couldn’t be saved this time as Rins swept up the inside of Dovizioso, but then slid out. A four-way battle for the race win became three: Dovizioso vs Miller vs Mir, with Brno winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) over two seconds back in fourth but the South African producing another fine Sunday ride.

With seven laps to go in Spielberg, there was nothing between the leading three, and Rossi and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) were chasing Binder, as Championship leaders Quartararo and Viñales remained down in 8th and 13th, although Viñales was the fastest man on track. With five to go, Dovi then really started edging clear of Miller, and with four to go, the Italian had pulled almost a second out. The Australian held firm in second, but Mir was climbing all over the back of the Desmosedici.

Coming onto the last lap, barring a mistake, the race was Dovi’s. But who would take second? Miller was defending as hard as he could to make it a Ducati 1-2 and it looked like he was going to be able to do it. Heading into the penultimate Turn 9 though, Miller’s defensive line took him wide on the exit and Mir swept through to steal that second place, denying the Australian as he took his first MotoGP podium on the second step. Dovi took the chequered flag just ahead of them to claim his third Red Bull Ring victory, and Ducati’s 50th MotoGP win.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results and News
Andrea Dovizioso leads Jack Miller and Joan Mir.

Binder, after qualifying 17th, finishes P4 at KTM’s home race on his first visit to the Red Bull Ring on a MotoGP machine, the South African putting in a performance of pure class once again. Fifth went the way of Rossi, who came out after the scare of his life like nothing had happened – a true testament to just how superhuman the riders are – and ‘The Doctor’ finished as the lead Yamaha rider. Nakagami picked up a solid P6 just behind as the leading Honda.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) crossed the line seventh to finish just 0.036 ahead of Championship leader Quartararo, but it was a great damage limitation job done by the 21-year-old who salvages eighth. 1.5 seconds behind Quartararo was Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) who secures his best premier class result in P9; a top job by the rookie who will have a significant boost of confidence heading into the Styrian GP next weekend.

Viñales also did well to recover to P10 after his issues in the restarted race, and it’s not what either Viñales or Quartararo would have been looking for from the front row but considering what unfolded, it was the best they could do. Quartararo’s gap has been closed down to 11 points in the title fight though, with Dovizioso now overtaking Viñales in the Championship. The Frenchman and the Spaniard will both be hoping for better fortunes in seven days’ time.

Completing the points were Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Michele Pirro (Pramac Racing), Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Repsol Honda Team’s Alex Marquez and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

After a little history is made, the title fight gets another shake and some serious drama in Spielberg, it’s now time to reset and reload to attack the Red Bull Ring once again next weekend in the Styrian GP. Thankfully and most importantly, with everyone ok after that huge crash, and thoughts all with those who were involved in the scary incident.

“It was very scary,” Rossi said of the crash.  “All four riders, but especially me and also Maverick, were very lucky. We have to pray to somebody tonight because the situation was very dangerous. I think it is good to be aggressive, for sure, because everybody tries to do the maximum, but for me, we don‘t have to exaggerate, because we need to remember that this sport is very dangerous. You need to have respect for your rivals, especially at a track where you‘re always going at 300km/h. I have already spoken with Zarco, he promised me that he didn‘t do it on purpose. He went very wide in braking and he slammed the door in the face of Franco, and with this bike when you ride 300km/h you have the slipstream, so Franco didn‘t have any chance to brake. I was with Maverick when we entered Turn 3, and I felt something coming towards me. I thought it was the shadow of the helicopter, because sometimes it crosses the race track, but then Franco‘s bike passed me at an incredible speed, and also the bike of Zarco jumped over Maverick. So, we were very lucky, but we hope this type of incident is a lesson for riders to improve their behavior in the future. I spoke with Franco, he is okay, he is trying not to think, but when he thinks, he too feels scared. What makes the difference on this occasion is that nobody got hurt, all riders are okay, so this changes the situation. If something bad had happened, it would have been completely different. It was difficult to restart, sincerely, but I didn‘t have a lot of choices.”

Vinales said, “Today we were very lucky, this is the most important. We’re good. These things can happen in races, there’s always that risk. And this corner, Turn 3, we say every time that it’s really dangerous. They need to do something because it’s really easy to crash there. This morning I nearly crashed in the warm-up. I locked the front and went a bit towards the walls, and that was scary. But on the bike, during the incident in the first race, I didn’t see anything, honestly. I just heard the scratching sound of crashed bikes and then I felt the impact of Johann’s bike hitting the wall. Then, when I looked, I saw one bike coming towards me and I covered my head and the bike jumped up. For sure we were very lucky today, someone saved us, and this is the most important.” CN

2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship Results

myWorld MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX VON ÖSTERREICH

Red Bull Ring

Spielberg, Austria

RESULTS (August 16, 2020)

MotoGP

1. Andrea Dovizioso (Duc) 28:20.853
2. Joan Mir (Suz) +1.377
3 Jack Miller (Kaw) +1.549
4. Brad Binder (KTM) +5.526
5. Valentino Rossi (Yam) +5.837
6. Takaaki Nakagami (Hon) +6.403
7. Danilo Petrucci (Duc) +12.498
8. Fabio Quartararo (Yam) +12.534
9. Iker Lecuona (KTM) +14.117
10. Maverick Vinales (Yam) +15.276

Moto2

1. Jorge Martin (Kal) 19:24.723
2. Luca Marini (Kal) +2.195
3 Marcel Schrotter (Kal) +4.782
4. Sam Lowes (Kal) +7.249
5. Xavi Vierge (Kal) +7.325
6. Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) +7.771
7. Thomas Luthi (Kal) +9.405
8. Augusto Fernandez (Kal) +9.598
9. Aron Canet (S-U) +10.023
10. Joe Roberts (Kal) +10.890

Moto3

1. Albert Arenas (KTM) 37:25.323
2. Jaume Masia (Hon) +0.049
3 John McPhee (Hon) +0.447
4. Ai Ogura (Hon) +0.121
5. Celestino Vietti (KTM) +0.292
6. Darryn Binder (KTM) +0.275
7. Tony Arbolino (Hon) +0.487
8. Deniz Oncu (KTM) +1.083
9. Raul Fernandez (KTM) +1.136
10. Tatsuki Suzuki (Hon) +1.177

Saturday News

Dovi to depart!

The tension had been building. But still you wonder how it came to this. The shock news of the weekend arrived as Andrea Dovizioso confirmed he will be leaving Ducati at the end of 2020 after months of stalled contract talks and simmering tensions.

2020 Austrian MotoGP news Dovi
Desmo Dovi is no more! Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati will split at the end of 2020.

The two parties have been miles apart in terms of salary demands. After Ducati management said they would decide whether they would continue with the three-time Championship runner up after the Austrian double header, Dovizioso beat them to it. On Saturday morning personal manager Simone Battistella informed Ducati bosses the eight-year relationship will be over in November.

Dovizioso confirmed: “When you’re thinking about how to be fast, how to be strong, and you have to take a decision about the future and the relation with the engineers, with your boss…  you don’t live in a perfect way when the speed is like it was in the first three rounds.” Not only that. Tensions over development direction have been building for well over a year now. As the Italian said, “It’s like when you are with a girlfriend and you have to take a decision. It doesn’t happen one day. It’s eight years together so happen a lot of things positive and negative.”

‘No plan B’

Dovizioso’s decision was so shocking partly because he has no back-up plan in place. “In this moment I don’t have any plan B,” he said. And Battistella confirmed he intends to find a place in MotoGP next year. “He is determined to race in the future for sure. He’s willing to race, he’s motivated, he’s fit. But at the moment there are no discussions.”

2020 Austrian MotoGP news Dovi two
Could Dovi end up at Aprilia?

The only other factory team with a possible free seat in 2021 is Aprilia. If he were to go there, he’d be welcomed with open arms by Aleix Espargaro. “I don’t understand it. It looks like some teams are not giving enough credit to their riders. I think what Andrea gave to Ducati is unbelievable. as a rider I know it’s not easy for the Aprilia management but as a rider I would love to have Andrea, for me the 2nd best rider in the world in the last five years, as a team-mate. It would help the team to grow up a lot and it would help me to be a better rider. He would be more than welcome at Aprilia from my side.”

Petrucci v Aleix

Saturday’s on-track flash point came in Q1 when Aleix Espargaro was cruising for a two as Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci approached. The Aprilia man slotted in behind Rossi after turn nine, just ahead of the Ducati man, who was on his fastest lap of the session.

2020 Austrian MotoGP news Petrucci
Petrucci was irate with Espargaro at the end of Q1.

In Petrucci’s eyes, Espargaro forced him to lose time accelerating out of the final turn. That proved costly as he lost a spot in Q2 by just 0.024s. He vented his frustrations soon after by waving at the Aprilia and then showing him his raised middle finger in pit lane.

It continued soon after, with Espargaro posting an incendiary tweet with sector times. “He’s just stupid what he did, all the show he did. If you analyse the timing his best sector 4 of all weekend has been set in that lap,” said the Catalan. “Then he closed the gas in middle of straight, he destroyed also my next lap, he started to do stupid things when he arrived in pit lane… he was just trying to justify he’s in P12 with the winning bike of the last four years. But it’s not my fault.”

Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) pulled a rabbit out of the hat at a track that’s never favored his YZR-M1 when he took pole for the 2020 Austrian MotoGP.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Vinales
Vinales pulled a surprise by taking the pole position in Austria.

The Spaniard posted a 1:23.450 to beat Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) by 0.068, with championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) 0.087 off as the entire top 12 were covered by half a second, the closest we’ve seen since 2007.

It was a frantic Q2 at the Red Bull Ring, as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) held top spot early on, before Vinales put in a series of fast laps to put the pole position out of reach.

Miller and Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro were both looking to challenge Vinales’ time in the dying moments of the session, with Miller eventually going P2 and Espargaro P5.

Fourth went to 2019 Austrian MotoGP winner Dovizioso, who sent the paddock into shock with the announcement he’ll split from Ducati at the end of this season and with no real possibility of a competitive ride, looks like he’ll be out of MotoGP altogether in 2021.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results and News—Q2

1 Maverick Vinales (Yam) 1:23.450
2 Jack Miller (Duc) + 0.068
3 Fabio Quartararo (Yam) + 0.087
4 Andrea Dovizioso (Duc) + 0.156
5 Pol Espargaro (KTM) + 0.162
6 Joan Mir (Suz) + 0.223
7 Franco Morbidelli (Yam) + 0.269
8 Alex Rins (Suz) + 0.281
9 Johann Zarco (Duc) + 0.378
10 Takaaki Nakagami (Hon) + 0.422

Moto2

Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team Kalex) secured his second Grand Prix pole position thanks to a 1:28.681 in Moto2 Q2. It’s the Australian’s first front row start since his 2019 Assen pole position, as Gardner edged out Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by just 0.036, with Liqui Moly Intact GP’s Marcel Schrötter picking up his first front-row since the 2019 German GP in P3.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Gardner
Gardner claimed a second career Moto2 pole in Austria.

2020 Austrian Moto2 Results—Q2

1 Remy Gardner (Kal) 1:28.681
2 Jorge Martin (Kal) + 0.036
3 Marcel Schrotter (Kal) + 0.064
4 Enea Bastianini (Kal) + 0.127
5 Aron Canet (Spe) + 0.133
6 Sam Lowes (Kal) + 0.213
7 Jorge Navarro (Spe) + 0.224
8 Luca Marini (Kal) + 0.232
9 Thomas Luthi (Kal) + 0.238
10 Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) + 0.250

Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez clinched his second pole in seven days after backing up his debut Moto3 pole in Brno by taking another pole at the Austrian Grand Prix. In doing so, the Spaniard took a home pole position for KTM at the Red Bull Ring and headed championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing).

2020 Austrian MotoGP Fernandez
Fernandez is starting to become the man for Saturday, taking his second pole of the year.

2020 Austrian Moto3 Results—Q2

1 Raul Fernandez (KTM) 1:36.277
2 Albert Arenas (KTM) + 0.011
3 John McPhee (Hon) + 0.029
4 Jaume Masia (Hon) + 0.094
5 Celestino Vietti (Hon) + 0.185
6 Tatsuki Suzuki (Hon) + 0.218
7 Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) + 0.294
8 Tony Arbolino (Hon) + 0.367
9 Riccardo Rossi (KTM) + 0.453
10 Deniz Öncü (KTM) + 0.479

2020 Austrian MotoGP Friday News

Pol Riding Angry

Considering KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa and Pol Espargaro tested here at the end of May, it was unsurprising to see the #44 top the timesheets on Friday with impressive pace to boot. All KTM’s MotoGP riders enjoyed a useful test at Brno on the Monday after the Czech Grand Prix, while Pedrosa stayed on to try out new parts and settings on the Tuesday.

2020 Austria MotoGP Results and News Espargaro
Pol was pi**ed after Brno, but he’s putting it behind him rather well.

But along with extensive testing, a big factor in Espargaro’s early speed was the anger he feels toward the cruel end to his Czech Grand Prix. “I just wanted to perform well, and I couldn’t in the last race,” he said. “After so much in this project and to be so close to achieve something and not be able is painful and that is why I am trying to make it now. I’m just trying. I had this angry feeling because I felt I had the speed to be where Brad was in the Czech Republic and I couldn’t show it. To not be able to show anything is super-super painful and for me. I will try to keep angry for the rest of the weekend because it looks like it works.”

Yamaha lowers revs

A Yamaha down on speed is nothing new to the MotoGP class. Top speed was the M1’s Achilles’ Heel a year ago and its four riders are facing similar challenges at the Red Bull Ring, the calendar’s fastest layout. On Friday morning the fastest Yamaha in terms of speed (Fabio Quartararo) was 4.4mph down on Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati. The slowest (Valentino Rossi) was a full 7 mph slower on the straight.

2020 Austria MotoGP Results and News Rossi
“Ah… say again? Less revs?” Rossi as perplexed as any with the reduced revs of his Yamaha.

Part of this disadvantage stems from Yamaha engineers lowering the revs of the M1 engines due to the reliability concerns that affected its riders at the two race weekends at Jerez. Both Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli are already using the fifth engine (from five) in their allocation. And to avoid further issues at this demanding track,

On whether turning down the revs had affected Yamaha’s overall speed, Rossi said, “A little bit yes, but the top speed for us is always a weak point, from a long time. And on paper this track is difficult because all the straights are very long. In all the top speed sheets we are in a very low position! So it looks like our bike has other strong points but we suffer in top speed.”

Rain a concern

Situated high in the Austrian mountains, rain is a regular factor at the Red Bull Ring, even in the middle of August. Friday’s running was partially disrupted by a localized afternoon shower of rain that soaked the approach to and exit of turn three. But there are serious concerns among riders here regarding the track’s safety in fully wet conditions.

2020 Austria MotoGP Results and News Crutchlow
Crutchlow ain’t calm about a wet Red Bull Ring.

“Honestly, it’s like ice,” said Cal Crutchlow on Thursday. “And it’s not as if there is a lot of run-off. We’re all pretty concerned about that. Especially when I was here on Tuesday afternoon and it rained for a couple of hours and the water was ankle deep on the track. Because there’s a lot of undulations here, it sits from turn 1 to turn 2, this kink, right at the bottom where we start to shut the throttle. There was a lot of standing water. I watched a van go around actually and the spray coming off it was incredible. So I think we have to be sensible, look at the situation and see from there.”

With more showers forecast for the rest of the weekend, Miguel Oliveira concurred. “If we have a really, really wet race, I don’t think it’s possible to go out. Because we have a lot of standing water here, we get a lot of spray, so we it makes it hard to see. So I think it’s something we need to look into.”

Friday

Pol Espargaro put the disappointment of the Czech MotoGP firmly behind him on Friday at the Red Bull Ring for the 2020 Austrian MotoGP.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results Friday Espargaro
Esparagro’s FP1 time was enough to seal the top spot on Friday at the Red Bull Ring. Jack Miller was fastest in FP2, ending the day eighth overall.

On home ground for the KTM factory and sponsor Red Bull, Espargaro went top on the combined timesheets thanks to his FP1 time of 1:24.193, with rain affecting times in the second Free Practice session.

Espargaro led Andrea Dovizioso as the Ducati rider and two-time Austrian MotoGP winner looks to resurrect his season that has been far from his championship potential.

Third was the impressive Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Japanese continues to shine as the leading Honda rider in the absence of Marc Marquez, with the remaining Hondas of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Castrol Honda), Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda) languishing down in 14th, 19th, and 21st, respectively.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins sits fourth on corrected times from Czech MotoGP podium finisher, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Sprinta Yamaha), with Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing Ducati) continuing his good run of form to take sixth overall.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results and News—Friday Combined

1 Pol Espargaro (KTM) 1:24.193
2 Andrea Dovizioso (Duc) + 0.044
3 Takaaki Nakagami (Hon) + 0.185
4 Alex Rins (Suz) + 0.380
5 Franco Morbidelli (Yam) + 0.395
6 Johann Zarco (Duc) + 0.462
7 Miguel Oliveira (KTM) + 0.525
8 Jack Miller (Duc) + 0.531
9 Joan Mir (Suz) + 0.550
10 Fabio Quartararo (Yam) + 0.560

Moto2

Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) remained unbeaten on Day 1 in the intermediate class on combined times, but only just. The British rider battled second-fastest Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the latter stages of FP2 to eventually finish 0.010 seconds ahead of the Spaniard thanks to a 1:28.985. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) claimed P3 in FP2 but sits fifth overall, with Marco Bezzecchi’s (SKY Racing Team VR46) FP1 time keeping the Italian inside the top three.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results Friday Lowes
Lowes went top in Moto2 on Friday.

2020 Austrian Moto2 Results—Friday Combined

1 Sam Lowes (Kal) 1:28.985
2 Jorge Martin (Kal) + 0.010
3 Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) + 0.164
4 Augusto Fernandez (Kal) + 0.192
5 Jake Dixon (Kal) + 0.222
6 Jorge Navarro (Spe) + 0.305
7 Remy Gardner (Kal) + 0.378
8 Aron Canet (Spe) + 0.429
9 Tetsuta Nagashima (Kal) + 0.443
10 Joe Roberts (Kal) + 0.451

Moto3

Rivacold Snipers Team’s Tony Arbolino remains at the top of the Moto3 timesheets on combined times at the close of the opening day of Moto3 action in Austria, thanks to the Italian’s 1:36.550 set in FP1. Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee sits second overall, three tenths adrift of Arbolino, again thanks to his FP1 lap but the Scot also topped the rain-affected FP2 session.

2020 Austrian MotoGP Results Friday Arbolino
Rain stopped anyone going faster than Tony Arbolino on Friday at the Red Bull Ring.

With 15 minutes remaining of the FP2 session, the forecasted rain finally arrived at the Red Bull Ring and consequently prevented anybody from improving. Riders headed back out on track for the closing stages with the rain only quite light at the time but an extremely localized downpour at Turn 3 halted those efforts.

Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) sits third with SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti and SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Niccolo Antonelli both half a second adrift of their compatriot in fourth and fifth place.

2020 Austrian Moto3 Results—Friday Combined

1 Tony Arbolino (Hon) 1:36.550
2 John McPhee (Hon) + 0.291
3 Jaume Masia (Hon) + 0.366
4 Celestino Vietti (KTM) + 0.489
5 Niccolo Antonelli (Hon) + 0.507
6 Raul Fernandez (KTM) + 0.516
7 Kaito Toba (KTM) + 0.517
8 Gabriel Rodrigo (Hon) + 0.529
9 Andrea Migno (Hon) + 0.557
10 Albert Arenas (KTM) + 0.579

Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.