SPIELBERG, Austria — Racing from the pole, Pramac Racing rookie Jorge Martin held off the challenges of world champion Joan Mir to earn his maiden MotoGP victory in Sunday’s Michelin Grand Prix of Styria at the Red Bull Ring.
It was a sensational performance from the poleman, who was able to keep his nerve despite a dramatic backdrop to a thrilling race. A pulsating start to the grand prix was brought to a premature end on the second lap when the red flag was waved after Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) high-sided and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crashed into his loose bike.
The Italian was sent flying from his RS-GP, which exploded into flames on-track. Both riders walked away from the incident relatively unscathed, with Pedrosa able to take his place on the grid upon the restart.
After the red flag, racing resumed for a 27-lap race with Martin taking command. Jack Miller rode second on a Ducati, but eventually lost the battle for the spot to Mir.
Just outside the podium places, Quartararo and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) were engaging in their own championship top-two battle.
The Yamaha man won this one before setting his sights on the top three, with the Frenchman moving past Miller next.
It went from bad to worse for the Aussie, who crashed out of the race with less than 10 laps remaining, handing Quartararo a podium on a plate and all but ending his title hopes.
Back at the front, Martin was showing experience beyond his years to keep Mir at arm’s length, with the Suzuki man waiting for his chance to pounce. However, against the odds, it was the number 36 who made the mistake, getting it wrong at turn three allowing the race leader to widen the gap to over a second, and that was that.
Perhaps with the bigger picture in mind, the world champion called off the chase, settling for second and making some inroads into the championship lead, and handing rookie Martin a sensational maiden premier class victory.
Quartararo finished third, his seventh podium in 10 outings.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completed the top five.