A dramatic Styria GP saw Portugal get its first premier class race winner as Miguel Oliveira flipped the cards in his favour at the very last corner in the final lap. With this, Oliveira grabbed himself and his team (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) their first MotoGP race win, in his 150th Grand Prix. The red-flagged BMW M Grand Prix of Styria has Oliveira get the better of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) at the famous final corner in the historic 900th premier class contest.
After a downpour scare, the race did kick off in the dry. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) got a great launch from P3 along with polesitter Pol Espargaro and Miller who got away well from fourth on the grid. The Australian got past Espargaro as Miller dove inside at Turn 2, before Miller was leading the race.
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) didn’t get a good start and dropped to P14 after as he ran wide at Turn 1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) had a solid start climbing up to sixth on Lap 2 as another Ducati led. Miller held the baton with Mir and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in hot pursuit.
Mir led the race in Lap 5 with the Suzuki man, Miller and Nakagami half a second clear of Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). A gap that kept climbing. On Lap 8 the leading trio were 1.4 clear, with the Yamahas dropping down the field. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was looking pretty good in seventh but the number 12, Quartararo and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) were P9, P10 and P11.
A few laps prior, Viñales slowed up and held his hand up to suggest something was wrong with his YZR-M1. Down in P13, Viñales continued but then, with 12 laps to go, the Spaniard had to bail. Viñales jumped off his Yamaha at Turn 1 in what looked like a brake failure. His machine rocketed into the air-fence at Turn 1, deflating it, with his bike going up in flames. Thankfully, Viñales was able to walk away relatively unharmed in a scary incident. This brought the red flags out as the race came to a halt, with a 12-lap dash to follow.
Just like they were in the opening race, KTM’s Oliveira and Binder were scrapping away in the fight for P4, with Dovizioso up with the leading group. Leading the race, Miller slammed in a 1:23.928 as the pace in the restarted contest was electric. Mir was second but the Spaniard had to tackle the second race on the same front tyre he’d use to pull clear of the field before the red flags.
Heading onto the last lap, this was between two KTMs and a Ducati. Pol Espargaro vs Miller vs Oliveira. Two riders chasing their first win, one chasing their first dry race win. A hard-earned two-week break now awaits for the paddock, before Misano awaits.
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