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MotoGP Austria preview – round 11 at the Red Bull Ring

The MotoGP teams make the relatively short hop from Brno in the Czech Republic to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for round 11 of the 2018 championship. After a tactically astute race in Brno, Honda’s Marc Marquez extended his championship lead to 14 points over Maverick Vinales in second on his Yamaha.

Marc Marquez

Andrea Dovizioso remains third but with his lead over Valentino Rossi in fourth reduced to just one point. Along with his team mate Marquez the other big gain at the sharp end of the championship was made by Dani Pedrosa, who courtesy of his second place finish reduced the deficit to Rossi from 16 to 9 points. Pedrosa’s second place finish was his 150th career podium in Grand Prix, becoming only the third rider in history to achieve this after Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.

Rossi may have finished on the podium at 26 different circuits in the premier class, one short of the current record set by Mick Doohan but he is yet to achieve a podium at the Austrian circuit. The Italian did however achieve his first ever Grand Prix podium finish at the Austrian Circuit, then known as the A1-Ring in the 125cc class 21 years ago in 1996. The Red Bull ring is also the only circuit of the calendar where Pedrosa is yet to record a top three finish in the premier class.

 By contrast Vinales will be looking for his 50th career Grand Prix podium in Austria.The win in Brno means that Marquez has won back to back races for the first time since he was victorious in Aragon and Japan last year. He has not won three or more races consecutively since he won the opening ten races of 2014. His current sequence of four podium finishes his longest since he finished on the podium at the final race of 2015 and the first four of 2016. Incredibly Marquez’s pole position for Sundays race was his 41st from 82 MotoGP race starts – a 50% success rate. His nearest rival of the current grid is Jorge Lorenzo with a 23.5% of his race starts been from pole position.

Marquez may have extended his lead in the championship at Brno, but with only 31 points separating the top five riders after the first ten races 2107 continues to be the closest top 5 since the current points scoring system was introduced in 1993.

MotoGP standings

1 Marc Marquez (Honda) 154 points

2 Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 140

3 Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 133

4 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 132

5 Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 123

6 Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 88

Source: The Telegraph