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
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.

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

MotoGP
Oct 19, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Prime

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result Prime

Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Prime

How Ducati's Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021