Michelin’s MotoGP™ debut at the Red Bull Ring in Austria produced a thrilling race during the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich which saw Ducati’s Andrea Iannone take his first premier class win at the Spielberg track.
Starting from pole position, Iannone was the only rider to choose the new medium compound rear MICHELIN Power Slick, which had been especially developed for the Austrian circuit following a recent test held there. The Italian got the holeshot and led for most of the first-lap until Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) passed him just before they crossed the stripe for the first time. An incredible battle then ensued at the front, as those two were joined by four more riders in the shape of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Maverick Viñales (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR). With all the riders battling for positions it wasn’t long before the lead changed hands as Dovizioso reeled in his team-mate on lap-10. The Italian – who today became the youngest rider to make 250 Grand Prix starts – held the lead for 10 more laps until he was hunted down by Iannone and passed on lap-21. Despite Dovizioso’s best efforts, Iannone used his Michelin tyres to great effect in the closing stages as he recorded the race’s fastest lap on the 24th circulation and almost bettered it on the final lap to further confirm the durability of the latest compounds. He brought his Ducati home in front of Dovizioso to give Ducati its first MotoGP victory since 2010 and the Italian marque’s first one-two since 2007. Iannone’s victory also made him the fifth different MotoGP winner this season, a feat that hasn’t happened since 2009.
Behind the front two the battle was just as intriguing as the Yamaha’s of Lorenzo and Rossi stayed in close contention throughout the 28-lap race. Lorenzo just got the better of his team-mate to secure the final podium position, with current championship leader Marquez taking fifth, just in front of Viñales. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) took seventh, with Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich) racing to eighth and the position of First Independent Team Rider. The top-10 was rounded out by Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3). Michelin’s new tyres also saw the race completed without a single rider crashing, as the only incident that saw a faller was due to one rider hitting another.
Today’s event was held in clear and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 46°C, a statistic that further underlines the tyres’ all-round performance on this technical and abrasive circuit. A crowd of 95,000 packed the circuit, taking the total of spectators to almost 216,000, making this the biggest race weekend of the season so far.
Michelin and the rest of the MotoGP field now makes the short trip to the neighbouring Czech Republic as it heads to Brno for the second race in this double-header and round 11 of the championship on Sunday 21stAugust.
Andrea Iannone – Ducati Team:
“Michelin has worked very well from the test that we had here and they changed the tyres to give us ones that are very strong and had competitive grip, so I am very happy with that. Always this year, race-by-race, test-by-test and step-by-step Michelin has improved and they are coming better all the time, which is good for everybody.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We are very pleased with the weekend here in Spielberg, it has been very positive and showed that our tyres work well in many different conditions. At the start of the weekend on Friday it was very cold with track temperatures of 15°C, but for today’s race it was almost 50°C and our tyres reacted very well. Today’s race was always believed to be a dual between the Ducatis – and so it proved – but the two Yamaha’s closed the gap over the weekend, so it made for a very competitive and interesting afternoon. To see the fastest laps recorded towards the end is testament to what we are doing and to have a 28-lap race in those conditions without a single crash due to tyres, is also an extremely positive indication of the direction we are going in. We now move to Brno where we have some new tyres which we will be using for the first time since the test at Barcelona and we hope that these will give yet another step in performance and provide the riders with even better traction.”