Martin takes first MotoGP win as Miller crashes out
Sunday 8th August, 2021 - 11:35pm
Jorge Martin has taken his and Pramac Racing’s first ever MotoGP victory as Jack Miller crashed out of the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.
In a race restarted after a frightening crash involving Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Savadori, it was Martin who saw off pressure from 2020 champion Joan Mir to be first to the chequered flag at the Red Bull Ring.
Fabio Quartararo extended his championship lead by riding his Monster Energy Yamaha to the final podium position, with Brad Binder fourth, Takaaki Nakagami fifth, and Johann Zarco sixth after 27 laps.
The factory Ducati Lenovo Team ended up having a nightmare afternoon.
On top of Miller’s crash, Francesco Bagnaia was relegated from an already lacklustre ninth at the chequered flag to 11th due to a three-second penalty for failing to comply with a long lap penalty.
He had been leading when the original race was red flagged due to the fire and debris at Turn 3, caused when Pedrosa crashed his Red Bull KTM and it was cleaned up by Gresini Aprilia’s Savadori.
The full restart was fortuitous for Miller, who had dropped to 10th by the time the red flags were unfurled but was handed back fourth spot on the starting grid.
He made a good getaway when the lights went out for a second time and was able to pass pole-sitter Martin when they braked at the top of the hill, at Turn 3.
Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) took up third, with Quartararo and Zarco (Pramac Ducati) quickly progressing to fourth and fifth, respectively.
They did so at the expense of front row starter Bagnaia, who found himself plummeting down the order in the early stages.
Mir tried to wrest second spot from Martin and while his Suzuki has a rear ride height device for the first time this weekend, Ducati power still allowed the rookie to reclaim the position up the hill on Lap 3.
Martin passed Miller for the lead a lap later at Turn 3, and Mir was soon past #43 to continue the chase.
While it was initially the top five which had broken away from the rest, the top two began to gap Miller, and that may have incentivised Quartararo to attack on Lap 7.
The Frenchman got through at Turn 3 and after Miller took the spot back at Turn 4, Quartararo sent his #20 Yamaha down the inside again at Turn 6.
At that point, the deficit to second placed Mir was a touch over a second, but it had doubled by the time the race reached the halfway mark.
Quartararo had also failed to shake Miller, until disaster struck for the Australian when he pushed too hard and crashed at Turn 7 on Lap 18, promoting Zarco to fourth and Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) to fifth.
Martin had pulled out some breathing space over Mir when the Suzuki pilot made an error on Lap 22 at Turn 3, and the gap between the two jumped to more than a second.
While the rookie had the added pressure of a track limits warning already hanging over his head, Mir seemingly decided to call off the fight and bank the 20 points for second.
Quartararo scored a valuable 16 points on a track not suited to Yamaha by getting home in third and his afternoon was made all the better when Zarco, his nearest championship rival, lost two spots on the last lap.
On the other hand, it was Red Bull KTM’s Binder who finished fourth by passed both Zarco and Nakagami on that final lap.
Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) ended up seventh and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) salvaged eighth.
The latter had run-ins with Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) at the first corner of both ‘Race 1’ and ‘Race 2’, then was in comeback mode after he sprayed wide himself at Turn 1 a few laps later.
Alex Marquez claimed ninth on his Castrol LCR Honda and Pedrosa bagged 10th in his first appearance in over two-and-a-half years, having taken the restart on his spare bike.
Savadori was declared fit after a trip to the medical centre but took no further part in proceedings.
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha) had a shocking day in the end, stalling on the warm up lap before the restart and having to start from pit lane.
He would cop a long lap penalty and get home in 19th, last of the finishers, via pit lane.
Neither Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) nor Aleix Espargaro made the chequered flag, the former reportedly due to a front tyre issue but the latter’s woes unclear.
MotoGP stays at the Red Bull Ring for Round 11, the Austrian Grand Prix, next weekend (August 13-15).
Race results: Styrian MotoGP
|1||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Pramac Racing||Ducati||38:07.879|
|2||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+1.548|
|3||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+9.632|
|4||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+12.771|
|5||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+12.923|
|6||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+13.031|
|7||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+14.839|
|8||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+17.953|
|9||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+19.059|
|10||26||Dani PEDROSA||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+19.389|
|11||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+21.667|
|12||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||+25.267|
|13||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+26.282|
|14||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||SKY VR46 Avintia||Ducati||+27.492|
|15||27||Iker LECUONA||ESP||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+31.076|
|16||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+31.150|
|17||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+40.408|
|18||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+48.114|
|12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+1:03.149|
|DNF||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||9 Laps|
|DNF||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||13 Laps|
|DNF||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||23 Laps|
|DNS||32||Lorenzo SAVADORI||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||0 Lap|
Race winner: 27 laps
Maverick VIÑALES finished through pits