SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD - After Ducati's dominant display at the Czech Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo arrive in Austria hoping to further trim the huge advantage of runaway MotoGP leader Marc Marquez.
Ducati's Italian rider Dovizioso won in Brno with Spanish teammate Lorenzo second and Marquez only third for Honda. The Spaniard's five victories and eight total podium finishes in 10 races this season mean he is still comfortably in first place in the rider standings, 49 points clear of Italian Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who was fourth in Brno, and 68 ahead of Dovizioso. Lorenzo is fifth, another eight points behind.
Brno was a circuit where Ducati had struggled and were without a victory since 2007, but Spielberg has been a happier hunting ground since the track returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2016. That year, Ducati swept the top places as Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso finished first and second. Last season, the lead changed hands twice on the final bend as Dovizioso edged Marquez to win. "For us the Red Bull Ring is a very favourable track," the Italian said. "I'm expecting to see Marc and our other rivals stronger than last year," added Dovizioso, who also said he hoped the aerodynamic choices made in the Czech Republic will work as well in Austria. Lorenzo, who is switching to Honda after this season, was also looking forward to Spielberg "For us to arrive in Austria after the 1-2 in Brno is fantastic and there couldn't be a better scenario for Ducati, if I had to indicate an ideal circuit for us," the Spaniard said.
Honda and Marquez responded after the Czech race by setting the fastest time in a test day on Monday at the Brno circuit. "Austria is another track where Dovizioso and Lorenzo are strong, but we were also strong there last year so we'll see if it comes down to the last corner again!" Marquez said.
Even though Marquez has a comfortable lead in the driver standings, Honda is only second in the constructors table behind Yamaha because Dani Pedrosa is struggling in 12th. "A day of testing after the Czech Grand Prix gave us the chance to work on our bike setup, to try and sort out the issues we've experienced in the recent races, " Pedrosa said.
In Moto2, Portugal's Miguel Oliveira (KTM) and Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) are duelling at the top of the standings with Marc's younger brother Alez Marquez (Kalex) a distant third. Victory in Brno gave Oliveira the momentum and a two-point lead. Italian Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) took a three point lead in the Moto3 standings when he finished sixth in Brno while Jorge Martin (Honda) was back in Barcelona after a breaking a hand in practice. On Thursday, the Spaniard was passed fit to ride in Austria.