The second of the doubleheader at the Red Bull Ring will take place this weekend, with it there are new things we learned that were not apparent after the Czech round at Brno.
Yamaha will enter the second round of Austrian races still leading the championship with Fabio Quartararo, but he has not inspired confidence so far as he only took 8th at the first race after dropping back to 20th. Maverick Vinales had an even worse time of it, finishing 10th after his clutch was slipping for three consecutive laps after the restart due to having to make a second start. Valentino Rossi did very well to get his head screwed back on after seeing bikes miss him by inches to come home 5th, and you feel he would be happy with the same position this weekend. Franco Morbidelli is utterly furious with Johann Zarco with both being summoned to race direction after their horror smash, calling him a ‘half murderer‘ and will be riding on adrenaline.
Ducati will be on a strange feeling high after Andrea Dovizioso took the win in the first race, but it will be tinged with disappointment due to the Italian announcing he would leave the squad for 2021. Danilo Petrucci will be looking to have a better time in qualifying, being completely furious with Aleix Espargaro baulking him on a hot lap and preventing him from getting out of Q1 and made his feelings clear to the Aprilia man in pit lane, with a one-finger salute. Michele Pirro will once again replace the injured Pecco Bagnaia at the Pramac squad, getting solid points in 12th place. Jack Miller will look to go a couple of places better and win this time around after getting himself on the podium in the first round.
KTM could have had so much more than the 4th and 9th places Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona achieved, with Pol Espargaro leading the race before the restart. He definitely seemed to let the pressure get to him after the restart and ended up in an incident with Miguel Oliviera that has caused both riders to be summoned to race direction. Espargaro will be looking to right the wrongs this weekend and prove he can win on the KTM, Brad Binder will be in a much better position for this race after figuring out setup woes and surged through the field. Lecuona will be thinking he has made headway after finishing his first-ever MotoGP class race and will look to build on a very good 9th.
Suzuki will be floating on air after Joan Mir made his first appearance on the podium in the MotoGP class and Alex Rins seemed to be mostly over his shoulder injury to lead briefly before crashing out but will be confident of being in the mix again. With both Suzuki boys finally getting their act together and the Hamamatsu machine being surprisingly fast in a straight line, it may be a seminal weekend for the team as championship contenders, though they still have a lot of work to do to catch up.
Aprilia will be hoping that the most notable thing they do for the second Austria race will be more than Espargaro getting into a twitter fight, as he did after the Petrucci incident. They have the engine, they have the bike, they just need to knit it all together and it will be a top 5 contending machine. Bradley Smith’s transition to a full-time race rider again is slowly getting there, but a top 10 is probably his peak.
The important part of the first Austria race is that everyone was safe after one of the biggest crashes in recent memory, one will hope that the drama remains on the track.
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