StyrianGP: 900th Grand Prix sees Miguel Olveira come out victorious.
In the 900th premier class Grand Prix, Miguel Olviera and Tech3 KTM managed to defy the odds to win a 12 lap dash to the line ahead of Jack Miller and fellow KTM rider Pol Espargaro.
The Portuguese rider took advantage of a last corner scuffle between fellow KTM rider Pol Espargaró and the injured Jack Miller to take his first MotoGP podium but more impressively, his first MotoGP win.
The race was once again interrupted due to a crash, once again involving Maverick Viñales, this time at turn one and due to no fault of his own. The Spanish rider had suffered some sort of issue earlier in the race which saw him drop from eighth to 12th in a handful of corners before eventually bowing out of the race in a 225km/h accident. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider suffered a brake failure, similar to what Fabio Quartararo was battling in last weekend’s race. As riders returned to pitlane, there was a small gesture between Valentino Rossi and Fabio Quartararo who both suggested they were suffering the same issues. Viñales’ YZR-M1 was left burning in the air fence, resulting in a red flag.
The first half of the race was fairly uneventful. Joan Mir fired his Suzuki into the lead of the race while Takaaki Nakagami and Jack Miller battled with Pol Espargaro for the final podium positions.
Further back, Brad Binder had a bright start to the race, jumping up inside the top ten after passing a struggling Yamaha duo of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi and set after Alex Rins who was holding fifth.
However, just as Mir started to escape the chasing pack, Viñales jumped off his Yamaha M1 into turn one, resulting in a red flag due to airbag damage and a smoldering Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP machine.
The race restarted with a 12 lap dash with riders opting to change tyres. Joan Mir didn’t change his front tyre and restarted the race with an 18 lap old front tyre, something that would hold the Spaniard back and ultimately drop him to fourth overall.
As the race restarted, Jack Miller launched into the lead of the race while Joan Mir dropped back through the pack, behind Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira. By the time we hit half race distance, Pol Espargaro fired into the lead of the race, passing Jack Miller who slotted into third. The pair would battle for a few laps before Pol Espargaro finally hit the front.
However, on the final lap of the race, Espargaro was given a +.0 pitboard which ultimately gave Espargarò the impression that he was under more pressure than he was, thus meaning the Spaniard parked his KTM defensively into turn three and lost the lead of the race.
Espargaró was quick to fight back, sliding up the inside of Miller into turn nine but ran slightly wide, opening the door for Miller to repass into the final corner. Miller’s late and hard pass on Espargaró meant they both ran wide on the exit of turn ten allowing a waiting Miguel Oliveira to pounce on the pair of them – winning his maiden MotoGP race.
Jack Miller was second while Pol Espargaro claimed his second-ever premier class podium with third. Joan Mir recovered to fourth after a last lap pass on Andrea Dovizioso who completed the top five.
Alex Rins was sixth with Takaaki Nakagami finishing in a disappointing seventh after starting so strong in the first half of the race. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider was ahead of Czech Grand Prix winner Brad Binder and Valentino Rossi, while rookie Iker Lecuona rounded out the top ten.
Danilo Petrucci was 11th with his new friend, Aleix Espargaro close behind in 12th while French duo, Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco led Franco Morbidelli home for the final points positions.
Miguel Oliveira becomes the fourth different winner in five races and takes his and Herve Poncharal’s maiden premier class victory.
With a poor result coming from Fabio Quartararo, Andrea Dovizioso has cut the gap down to just three World Championship points, while Jack Miller and Brad Binder lie in third and fourth with Viñales down to fifth ahead of Nakagami and Rossi.
MotoGP will now enjoy a well earned break before returning to action in Misano for a double-header in San Marino.