SPIELBERG, Austria – Andrea Dovizioso escaped a chaotic afternoon at the Red Bull Ring wit his first victory of the MotoGP season for the Ducati marquee.
Jack Miller got a great start from second, taking the lead with Maverick Vinales slotting into second. Dovizioso went from fourth to third in the opening moments. Shortly thereafter Pol Espargaro barnstormed his way to the front, leading Dovizioso, Joan Mir, Miller and Miguel Oliveira.
However, disaster soon struck for Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco, who were battling each other through the high speed second towards turn three. The two riders made contact and crashed, sending both bikes careening out of control at high speed as the riders tumbled through a gravel trap.
The bikes of Morbidelli and Zarco continued on without them, nearly taking out Vinales and Valentino Rossi. Morbidelli’s bike actually split Vinales and Rossi by inches while Zarco’s bike nearly struck Vinales.
Morbidelli and Zarco managed to escape harm during the harrowing crash, with both men checked and declared fit to compete.
After a lengthy cleanup and a fence repair, racing resumed with Espargaro on the pole with the starting grid set based on the last completed lap. Espargaro and Miller ended up in a battle for the lead following the restart, with Miller emerging with the race lead.
Miller stretched his lead out to one second over the fight for the runner-up position, with Dovizioso eventually dispatching Espargaro to take the position. Next on his hit list was Miller as Espargaro found himself fighting for the last place on the podium.
Soon Espargaro had faded into a battle with Mir and Oliveira while Dovizioso and Alex Rins were chasing down Miller for the lead. Shortly thereafter Espargaro’s day was done after an incident with Oliveira saw both men out of the race, with Oliveira clearly unhappy with Espargaro.
At the front Miller suddenly had his mirrors full of Dovizioso and Rins. With the pressure on, Miller couldn’t hang on as Dovizioso slipped past Miller going into turn one. Rins followed suit later in the lap in turn nine, dropping Miller from first to third in one circuit.
Rins tried to challenge for the race lead, but a mistake at turn six while battling Dovizioso brought his race to a premature end. That left Dovizioso in the lead ahead of Miller, Mir and rookie star Brad Binder.
Dovizioso did everything right, inching ahead of the race for second on each lap. He held on and took the victory, with Mir managing to dispatch Miller to take the runner-up place during the final lap. Miller settled for third, the final place on the podium.
Binder took home fourth, with Rossi taking fifth after nearly being collected in the massive crash earlier in the race. Takaaki Nakagami, Danilo Petrucci, Fabio Quartararo, Iker Lecuona and Vinales completed the top-10.