Austrian MotoGP: Binder takes shock win with slick tyre gamble

KTM’s Brad Binder took an extraordinary MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix victory as he stayed on slicks after a late downpour forced most of the grid to pit for wet tyres.

Spots of rain started to fall on the Red Bull Ring as the race got underway having been declared dry, which influenced Marc Marquez’s decision to make a late switch to the soft rear slick in anticipation of a flag-to-flag scenario.

Stryian GP winner Jorge Martin converted pole to the holeshot, while Fabio Quartararo almost highsided out of second at Turn 1.

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia found his way into the lead ahead of Martin, while the Pramac rider and Quartararo touched at Turn 6 fighting for second – the Yamaha rider losing out to Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez and Jack Miller.

The battle behind raged as Bagnaia continued to lead for the first five laps.

Martin went for a move on Bagnaia at Turn 7 on the sixth tour, but ran wide and allowed his factory Ducati counterpart back through as well as Marquez and a regrouped Quartararo.

By lap eight the rain flags were waving, but the track didn’t get wet enough at this stage to warrant a bike swap.

At Turn 6 on the same lap Quartararo found a way up the inside of Bagnaia to take the lead on the Yamaha and resisted as the Ducati rider tried to retaliate at the Turn 7 left-hander.

Bagnaia then used the power of the Ducati to power past Quartararo into Turn 1, with the Yamaha rider running wide and allowing Bagnaia to open up a gap of half a second as Marquez hounded Quartararo for second.

After 15 laps the top three of Bagnaia, Quartararo and Marquez had opened up a gap of over a second to Martin behind, with both Pramac riders struggling to run the pace of the leaders.

Despite being the only rider on the soft rear tyre, Marquez showed no signs of his rubber fading and pressured Quartararo into a mistake on lap 20 – the Yamaha rider braking too deep into Turn 3 trying to keep the Honda behind him.

Marquez then set about closing down Bagnaia as the rain started to intensify on lap 22 of 28 Marquez moving through at Turn 3.

The pace started to drop dramatically as the track got wetter, allowing Martin to close right back into contention along with the Suzuki of Joan Mir, Ducati’s Jack Miller and KTM’s Binder.

Miller and Alex Rins on the sister Suzuki were the first to pit for wets at the end of lap 23, while the leaders all bunched up over the next two laps.

On the 25th tour race leader Marquez, Quartararo, Bagnaia, Mir and Martin all boxed for their wet bikes as Binder elected to stay out on slicks.

The KTM rider was virtually crawling around the Red Bull Ring come the final lap, Binder struggling to keep his RC16 in a straight line as he applied the throttle.

But Binder somehow kept his bike upright to take the chequered flag over 12 seconds clear for a sensational second-career MotoGP victory – though was hit with a three-second penalty post-race for a track limits violation.

Utter chaos ensued over the last lap as the likes of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, Tech 3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona, Avintia’s Luca Marini and his brother Valentino Rossi – who’d all stayed out on slicks – came into podium contention.

But the riders who’d pitted for wets on lap 25 were charging through the field, with Bagnaia and Martin picking their way through the slick runners to claim second and third.

Mir was fourth on his Suzuki ahead of Marini, scoring a career-best fifth on his two-year-old Ducati ahead of Lecuona, while championship leader Quartararo – who ran off track at Turn 3 after his stop - was seventh ahead of Petronas SRT Yamaha counterpart Rossi.

The top 10 was completed by LCR’s Alex Marquez and Aprilia’s Espargaro, while Marc Marquez crashed on the penultimate lap at the first corner following his bike swap.

Miller’s decision to switch to wets earlier than the rest along with Rins didn’t pan out, with both 11th and 14th at the chequered flag, with Tech 3’s Danilo Petrucci and LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami between them.

Marc Marquez remounted after his crash to seal the final point in 15th ahead of his struggling Honda teammate Pol Espargaro, while SRT stand-in Cal Crutchlow was the final classified runner.

Miguel Oliveira was a late crasher on the factory KTM, with Zarco falling out of contention on lap 18 and Avintia’s Enea Bastianini an early retirement after the fairing on his Ducati broke off.

Despite the drama, Quartararo comes out of the Austrian GP 47 points clear of Bagnaia and Mir in the standings. 

Austrian MotoGP - Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 33 South Africa Brad Binder KTM  
2 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 9.991
3 89 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 11.570
4 36 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 12.623
5 10 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 14.831
6 27 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 14.952
7 20 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 16.650
8 46 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 17.150
9 73 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 17.692
10 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 18.270
11 43 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 25.144
12 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 25.193
13 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 25.603
14 42 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 30.642
15 93 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 35.459
16 44 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 40.384
17 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 52.950
  88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM  
  5 France Johann Zarco Ducati  
  23 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati  
shares
comments
Marquez: Vinales "did the right thing" to apologise to Yamaha
Previous article

Marquez: Vinales "did the right thing" to apologise to Yamaha

Next article

Binder: Wet final Austria MotoGP lap on slicks “a disaster”

Binder: Wet final Austria MotoGP lap on slicks “a disaster”
Load comments
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021
What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression Prime

What's really fuelling junior bike racing's dangerous aggression

The pressure shouldered by young riders is at the root of the increased on-track aggression seen in lower categories of late, which motorcycling's governing bodies want to curb with new rules. But will stopping under-18s from racing in the world championship and capping grid sizes prevent the often desperate acts of youths pursuing their MotoGP dreams?

MotoGP
Nov 2, 2021
The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano Prime

The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2021
Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Prime

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Motorsport.com pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on.

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021