Ducati’s Dovizioso wins thrilling Austrian Grand Prix

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso celebrates by spraying sparkling wine on the podium after winning the Austrian Grand Prix. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: Andrea Dovizioso surged past MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez at the last corner to win a thrilling Austrian Grand Prix for Ducati on Sunday and trim the Spaniard’s runaway lead to 58 points.

The pair were in a private duel at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring, with the Italian making a seemingly decisive move with nine of the 28 laps to go after running wheel-to-wheel with his Honda rival.

Spaniard Marquez, starting from a record 59th MotoGP pole, then went back in front with three laps remaining but Dovizioso muscled through at the last corner of the final lap and powered through to the line.

French rider Fabio Quartararo, who led the first four laps, was third for the Petronas Yamaha team.

Marquez now has 230 points to Dovizioso’s 172 after 11 of 19 races.

Austria remains a race Marquez has yet to win in motorcycling’s premier class but Dovizioso said he was as surprised as anyone with the outcome.

“It was the last corner, I had to try,” he said amid wild celebrations on the pitwall as he charged across the finish. “I did something crazy and sometimes it works.”

Ducati have won every race at the Red Bull Ring since it joined the calendar in 2016, with Dovizioso on the podium in every one and winning in 2017.

Quartararo had taken the lead at the start, with Dovizioso dropping back to fourth and Marquez fifth, but the championship frontrunners soon recovered.

Marquez said he had chosen the wrong rear tyre and was sliding a lot on it.

“Anyway, Dovi did an incredible job and we are leading by 58 points so we continue in this way,” said the Spaniard.

Italian great Valentino Rossi finished fourth for Yamaha, ahead of Spanish teammate Maverick Vinales in fifth and Suzuki’s Alex Rins.