Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was under pressure to maintain his team’s three year winning streak at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Honda’s Marc Marquez had his own task: to end the Ducati dominance.
In an intense opener to the Austrian GP, Dovizioso and Marquez both had an excellent launch from the front row of the grid.
However, they were both relentless and caught each other side by side leading out.
This caused both Dovizioso and Marquez to run wide and allowed rookie Fabio Quartararo to pass through.
The early scrap pushed Marquez to a foreign fifth position on the opening lap, while Dovizioso fell to fourth.
Valentino Rossi, who started 10th on the grid, made great progress on the opening lap to gain fifth position.
Rossi finished fourth, his first top five result this season since Round 5 at the French GP.
It was not long before Dovizioso and Marquez pushed to the front, and the classic Ducati-Honda battle ignited, leaving Quartararo in a lonely third.
The race amplified on the final two laps when Dovizioso, in second, lunged for Marquez.
Both fought for first but an unrelenting Marquez would not give up the fight, successfully entering the last lap in front.
Dovizioso’s chances began to dissipate on the final lap and it looked like Honda would shatter Ducati’s Austrian GP dominance.
In a move that left fans in amazement, Dovizioso block passed Marquez on the last corner of the final lap to win by just over two tenths of a second.
An impressed journalist approached Dovizioso after the race, saying he did not think that move was possible, with Dovizioso replying “me too”.
“It was the last corner… I had to try,” he continued.
“I had a good feeling too.
“I did something crazy [with that move] - sometimes it works.”
It was a jubilant victory for Dovizioso who has extended Ducati’s Austrian GP winning streak to four.
Former teammate Jorge Lorenzo won for Ducati last year.
Marquez continues to lead the championship by 58 points on 230 points with eight races until end-of-season.
Dovizioso is in second position on 172 points and Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci is in third position on 136 points.
Arguably the best race of the season thus far, the Austrian GP is followed by the British GP on Sunday, August 25, at 10:00pm.
Tune in to see what happens next!
Austrian GP Results (Round 11)
- Dovizioso (ITA) – Ducati
- Marquez (SPA) - Repsol Honda
- Quartararo (FRA) - Petronas Yamaha
- Rossi (ITA) - Monster Yamaha
- Vinales (SPA) - Monster Yamaha
- Rins (SPA) - Suzuki Ecstar
- Bagnaia (ITA) - Pramac Ducati
- Oliveira (POR) - Red Bull KTM Tech3
- Petrucci (ITA) - Ducati
- Morbidelli (ITA) - Petronas Yamaha
- Nakagami (JPN) - LCR Honda
- Zarco (FRA) - Red Bull KTM Factory
- Bradl (Ger) - Repsol Honda (replacement rider for Jorge Lorenzo)
- Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Factory Aprilia Gresini
- Abraham (CZE) - Reale Avintia Ducati
- Iannone (ITA) - Factory Aprilia Gresini (+ 1 lap)
DID NOT FINISH
Miller (AUS) - Pramac Ducati
Syahrin (MAL) - Red Bull KTM Tech3
Pol Espargaro (SPA) – Red Bull KTM Factory
Rabat (SPA) - Reale Avintia Ducati
Crutchlow (GBR) - LCR Honda