MotoGP riders and team managers reflect on Styrian stunner

2020 MotoGP Round Six
Styria Red Bull Ring

Miguel Oliveira – P1

“First of all, I was making sure, it was the last lap. During the whole race, I couldn’t see where my pit board was, so I actually didn’t know if the fourth was really close to me or not, so I was just fully focused on the front. When I came around on the final lap, I saw that Pol started to keep a quite defensive line and I thought they could both lose a lot of time, so I could take advantage of that. In the last corner, I let them both fight and just went to the inside. When I saw the chequered flag and no one around, it was just pure joy! I’m very happy to give this team their first victory. It’s such a great group of human beings, very professional guys all around and they really deserve it. We deserve this win from all the struggles we have been through since last year. Coming into this season with a lot of potential, but for some reason or another, we couldn’t quite make it and finally, I’m happy to be one of those guys, who give this trophy to the team.”

Miguel Oliveira
Jack Miller – P2

“Rewind 24 hours from Sunday, and I was in excruciating pain. Qualifying, I tell you … I knew it was going to bloody hurt and I had to put a stick between my teeth and just go for it. Completely winging it, basically. I was able to get one lap in that was good enough for the second row and I was done, I had nothing. Saturday night, I was up a fair bit of the night icing and using heat on my shoulder and doing rotations and cycles with it, and managed to get a little bit of sleep. Sunday, I was at a nearby hospital at 7am to have an MRI, literally rushed in and rushed out. I can’t thank them and the doctors, the Clinica Mobile at the circuit, enough. I was sore but compared to where I was before that, I felt pretty great. The crash itself wasn’t even that big – I’ve had plenty of bigger ones, believe me – but this one for whatever reason bit me. I walked away fine, but as soon as I went back out for FP4, it felt like someone was sticking a knife in my back and I knew there was something really wrong. So if you’d told me I’d be fighting for the win in the final corner the next day, I wouldn’t have believed you. Absolutely no way.

“In the first race before the red flag, I was able to get up the front but I had nothing for (Joan) Mir when he came past me … I actually really feel sorry for him because he was running a great pace and I couldn’t hang with him. He was like a robot, ticking the laps away and I had nothing for him, and he surely would have won. For him not to be on the podium at the end of the day, I’m sorry for him.

“The second race, the sprint race, it was over so quickly – 12 laps felt like the old days in the Australian Championship! I thought it was down to me and Pol (Espargaro) for the final lap, I didn’t realise Miguel (Oliveira) was so close, and when I got by Pol I thought I had it … but anyway, it’s a great result regardless. I got in front and tried to block, and I could hear Pol was right there so I braked as hard as I could for the last two corners. Miguel caught me by surprise, that’s for sure, because I thought it was down to Pol and me. I have to congratulate Miguel and the Tech 3 boys for their first-ever MotoGP win. It’s a massive deal for (team principal) Herve (Poncharal), for Miguel and Portugal, it’s huge for him to be their first-ever MotoGP winner. So well done to him. He was there to pick up the pieces, he made the most of the chance we gave him, so credit to him for that.

“I’m now just 14 points off the lead in the world championship, but last time I said I could be in the fight for it this year with Marc (Marquez) being out I crashed in Jerez, so I’m going to be taking the races as they come and not looking too far ahead. I learned my lesson the hard way! Considering I crashed in Jerez and then we struggled in Brno, we’ve been clawing the points back bit by bit. Austria has been good for me – finally, I’d done nothing here until the last two weeks – and there’s some great tracks coming up that I enjoy. So let’s just say we’ll see. Misano is next, with the new asphalt there – what we know is that with our bike, the GP20, she tends to work really well when the grip is high, so with two races in a row there coming up, we have to make the most of them. It’s been a hectic time with three races in three weekends, so I’m looking forward to getting back home to Andorra and giving this shoulder a rest … the right arm’s still strong enough to get a celebration beer in with the boys though, so that’s a priority.”

Jack Miller was gracious in his post race comments and showed his normal happy self, but that one had to hurt!
Pol Espargaro – P3

“Anyone can win those kinds of races! Pretty crazy. I was fighting with Jack until the last corner and Miguel was able to profit but that’s racing. It was a beautiful race. Anyway, we made the podium, we are up here and I’m super-happy.”

Red Bulll Ring Styria 2020 MotoGP podium
1 Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – KTM – 16:56.025
2 Jack Miller – Pramac Racing – Ducati – +0.316
3 Pol Espargaro – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM – +0.540
Joan Mir – P4

“Today I really didn’t have luck on my side, but the positive thing is that I was really fast. The truth is that on the last corner Pol went out very wide, outside the track limits, and opened the gas. I didn’t see it very well but I thought that he would be penalised by Race Direction for that. It’s a big shame and I’m unhappy about the inconsistency in the rules. I felt great all weekend, and in the first race I felt I could win for sure, but in the restart I had to go out on the used tyre and it was very hard to hold off the other riders. I gave all I could but in the end I couldn’t do better than fourth. In Misano I’ll try again!”

Joan Mir looked set for a clear victory before the red flag came out
Andrea Dovizioso – P5

“Unfortunately today didn’t go as I had hoped. In the first race, I had problems with the tyres, and I didn’t have the right feeling to ride well. Fortunately, with the restart, we were able to make a different tyre choice, and this allowed me to find back the sensations to which I was used to. Despite this, in the second race, I was not fast enough on the corner exit, and this prevented me from recovering. We will have to work well to improve this aspect to be more competitive on the other race tracks as well. With today’s fifth place, we are now very close to the top of the standings, and now we have to continue to be constant and take other steps forward in the next GPs”.

Dovizioso leading Vinales and Binder in the first leg of the race
Alex Rins – P6

“In the first part of the race I was up the front but it was so hard to pass Pol in front of me, although I was managing the situation. Then in race two I made a big mistake on the start because I released the clutch very quickly and the rear spun and I wheelied, so I lost a lot of ground at the beginning and it was difficult to make up the places. Anyway, I managed to get sixth place which means important points, and the bike actually felt great. My shoulder was a bit painful today but now we have two weeks without a race so hopefully in Misano the pain will be less, and I’m looking forward to it.”

How is this for tight! Alex Rins sandwiched between Nakagami and Miller
Takaaki Nakagami – P7

“Of course we’re a little disappointed to end up in P7. It was a real shame there was a red flag, but this is racing. As you saw, in race one we had everything under control and were on the podium and I even thought we could win the race in the first one. Unfortunately, the race was stopped and restarted again with 12 laps. Anyway, I did my best during both races, it was a fantastic weekend overall and we’re looking forward to the next one. In Misano we can fight at the front again. I want to thank my team, all the guys did a really great job this weekend and let’s see how we do in the next one.”

Taka Nakagami tussling with Pol Espargaro
Brad Binder – P8

“It was a good race. The first one was going really well and I was slowly catching up ground. To get up to 6th was already great. I felt really, really good. Unfortunately with the red flag and the restart I didn’t make the best decision with the tires and really struggled to stop, even running off at Turn 1 but I was able to come back to 8th. All-in-all we should be happy. I gave my best out there and the bike was fantastic. The team worked really well and I’m super-excited for the next race. I think we can do a good job at Misano.”

Brad Binder ahead of Oliveira, Lecuona, Vinales, Rossi and Quartararo in the first leg of the race before.
Valentino Rossi – P9

“I knew that we would have to suffer a bit here, especially in the second weekend, because all the other manufacturers and riders were stronger and able to improve their pace after the first Spielberg race weekend. We’re a bit worried because, though we knew this track isn’t fantastic for us, we had hoped that the gap to the others would be smaller. So, it was a difficult race, with another red flag. Fortunately, Maverick was able to jump off the bike in time, it was a very scary moment. In these last two weekends we were on the limit with the brakes, especially with the Yamaha. I had a problem with it last week, and this week we modified it, working together with Brembo. In the first race today, the brakes were not fantastic, but in the second race the brakes were good, and I didn’t have any particular problems. Now we have to work and hope that in other tracks, like Misano, we can be more competitive. I live very close to that circuit, so it’s easy for me to get to the track. We hope to be more competitive there, because last year we were strong. We hope we can fight for top positions again this year.”

Valentino Rossi chasing Oliveira and Binder before the red flag
Iker Lecuona – P10

“For sure, I’m really happy. I finished in the top 10 again. Today it was not the ninth, but 10th, which is great. This morning, I struggled a bit in Warm Up, but I knew I have a strong pace with new tyres, so I felt strong for the race. In the first race, I overtook many riders, I had a very good pace, I was in ninth position. The best for me was to pass Rossi, because he was always my idol. This moment was very important for me. In the second part of the race, my start was not great, I lost some positions, but I came back, stayed in 10th position and was having some great fights. Finally, I finished inside the top 10 again. I’m really happy. Thank you to my team for sure! Thank you to KTM for the opportunity and congrats to KTM for Pol (Espargaro) and obviously to my team-mate Miguel, because he got this great victory!”

On the first leg Vinales seen here ahead of Binder, Oliveira and Rossi as Lecuona gave chase
Danilo Petrucci – P11

“Unfortunately, both in the first and second part of the race, I was unable to recover positions after the start and had to remain behind my opponents. Before the red flag, I’d managed to find a good rhythm, and I was trying to close the gap on the group that preceded me, but at the restart, I did not find the same conditions again. It will be important in the next GPs to finally get a good qualifying position to make a difference during the first laps of the race.”

Danilo Petrucci ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Franco Morbidelli
Aleix Espargaro – P12

“I am satisfied. Especially in the second race, we maintained an excellent pace. We could have battled in the top 6. It’s a pity about the problems in qualifying that forced me to start from so far back. When you start the race with a gap like that, making up ground is very complicated, even when you’re lapping very fast. In any case, we are leaving this track, which is a hard one for us, demonstrating some steps forward compared to last year. In fact, I am convinced that our potential is higher. Unfortunately, up to now we haven’t been able to fully exploit it for one reason or the other.”

Fabio Quartararo – P13

“It was more difficult today than we thought it would be. I was behind many riders in the race and we saw that the potential of our bike was not so great compared to those others. We were losing a lot in different areas. We need to find the solution to this because this will be a problem at Barcelona, Aragon and Valencia, where there are a lot of straights. It is something we need to understand so that we can improve upon it. I’m really looking forward to when we go to Misano because we should be better there; it wasn’t so fun to ride here today! There is the positive that we still have the championship lead though. We need to be on the podium at the upcoming races and get the feeling back that we had in Jerez. This will be the main target for Misano.”

Johann Zarco – P14

“I’m happy. During the race I’ve been fighting for getting the best pace possible and to gain positions and I need six laps to catch the group. At some moment of the race I felt some pain on my hand but during de red flag I could put some cold. The restart was good with all the group, but I still need to improve on the overtaking because I need to wait too much behind the gas. I am proud of my team. It was a good fight and at the end with Quartararo I overtook him, but he was very strong on brakes. I am happy because it has been a tough week and finally, I get into the points. Now it’s time to understand all these things and come back stronger at Misano.”

Franco Morbidelli – P15

“It was a tough race and a strange weekend. When we were alone on track and could take the lines we wanted, we were decently fast here. However, in the race with the other bikes we ended up riding at their pace and couldn’t attack. For me, it was a case of just riding until the end with no big drama to get the one point. It’s an encouraging point after the events of last weekend. Now I can go home and rest a bit before heading to Misano. It’s a completely different layout there, very twisty, and that’s the type of track where we’ve been quite fast so far. I hope we can be fast there.”

Alex Marquez – P16

“I was able to learn a lot today, even if the result isn’t our best. I followed a lot of the experienced riders and I was able to learn a lot from them. I want to wish Maverick all the best, it looks like he is OK, but it was a really scary crash to be behind. I see a lot of positives in this race, the feeling was better and we’re now at a point to improve some specific details. I need to keep refining my riding style and this is the target for Misano. It’s been an intense three weeks so it will be important to recharge now.”

Cal Crutchlow – P17

“Today was essentially what we expected from the race. I qualified 17th and finished 17th, so not the greatest day. I wanted to improve the bike from yesterday and it seems that we were not able to particularly. I felt better in the first part of the race than the second part, which was probably the rear tyre choice – I used the medium rear tyre in the first race and felt a little bit better than with the soft rear tyre. In the second part, the bike was moving around a lot during acceleration and corner entry. I tried to stay with the group, but was unable to and we need to continue to work with my team and study the data from these last races going into Misano, by which time we hope to have solved some of our problems. The team and HRC are working hard for this and we look forward to going to Misano in two weekends’ time.”

Stefan Bradl – P18

“To not ride for six months and then come in and do three races in a row is very tough, but we have done it and we have learned a lot from it. In the first half of the race I didn’t make the best start and I lost some positions in the opening corners. In the second part of the race I was able to make a better start and I felt better with the bike, my pace was not too bad, and I was able to close the gap to Alex and Cal. We’ve made a step.”

Bradley Smith – P19

“Unfortunately, the conditions didn’t favour me today. We were ready to make the RS-GP work well with higher temperatures, but that’s not how it went. Anyway, in the first race we were keeping up with the group, so the red flag was not an advantage for us. We didn’t have any new soft tyres to put on and the restart ended up being basically a qualifying session. Many riders with new tyres managed to maintain a pace that was unsustainable for us. I see the glass half full after this weekend. We have definitely grown and I hope to be able to confirm that on a track like Misano that is kinder to us.”

Michele Pirro – P20

“The race unfortunately  was conditioned by the second part, I tried to do my best anyway. It was a shame because I could have fought for points. I’m sad , but I  also want to thank the team for these two weeks of work.”

Pirro battling with Zarco
Tito Rabat – P21

“It’s been a race from which we can take positive things. We have been able to follow the group, I have seen that where we lose a little time is in the first meters in acceleration and we have to work to be able to solve it. We know which way we have to go and we will come back stronger at Misano.”

Maverick Vinales – DNF

“I was losing the brakes from lap 4 onwards. I tried my best. I tried to overtake Dovizioso, and I did overtake him, but suddenly on the straight he overtook me again. These have been three really tough races where we could have done a really good job, but due to our mistakes we’re not at the front. For sure, today’s crash was amazing. I never had that feeling before, where I completely lose the brakes and have to jump off. I understand how it happened, the brake overheated, but for sure it’s not a common problem. Luckily, I’m okay. This is the most important thing. I will be 100% fit again in Misano. You know, we have to stay positive and focus on the next rounds. Misano is a good track for us, last year I was very strong there, and I think this year I can do even better.”

Maverick Vinales started to struggle with failing brakes from lap four

Pit Beirer – KTM Motorsports Director

“It is hard to find the right words after such a wonderful day. I remember so well our first GP in Qatar when we started from last place and my words to our CEO Mr Pierer that we would turn things around and park our bike on the other side of the grid. We’ve had a double today: Pole and a win at our home Grand Prix with Moto3 as well and all four MotoGP bikes in the top ten with two on the podium. The project overall has been amazing. We have gone our own way and that approach is paying off. The team spirit and the atmosphere with so many people here at the circuit and back at the factory pushing like crazy bringing the results: it’s like a dream come true. I will need some time now to realize what has happened these last weeks.”

Miguel Oliveira with Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Principal

“What an incredible day, incredible emotions! It is something like 40 years we’ve been in this business and we never won a MotoGP race. Honestly, I thought that was never going to happen and today our dream came true. Here in Austria, which is in front of our title sponsor Red Bull, in front of the KTM management, our manufacturer. To be honest, this morning, I was so down when I saw my two Moto3 riders, who collided, when they were on course for a podium and I thought maybe it’s time for me to retire, because when you are deeply involved, I was really, really sad about that. And now I’m almost the happiest man in the world. Only racing can give you these up and down emotions. I would like to of course thank Red Bull, thank KTM, without who it would have been impossible. I would like also to dedicate this victory to Miguel, because he has been pushing a lot. Year one was not easy, he was injured the second half of the season. We’ve been fast since the beginning of this year, the bike improved, he improved, but we could never really show it due to some racing circumstances and I knew he could do it. Now we’ve done it. I’m very proud to see two KTM on the rostrum. Clearly, this is now one of the bikes to beat. We’ve done an incredible job with the factory, the engineers, the test team with Dani Pedrosa, for sure to have four riders helped a lot and of course I would like to thank Stefan Pierer, Hubert Trunkenpolz, Pit Beirer, Mike Leitner, Jens Hainbach, without who it would have been impossible. It’s not only the fact that we won, we won with these people behind us and this is an incredible group. I have been working with different manufacturers, but this one is more than special. They said they are ready to race and this is not only a slogan, but the reality. There is such a big involvement, such a passion for racing and this is contagious, so let’s celebrate tonight, let’s hope there will be some other exciting days like today, but today I want to thank Miguel, Iker, who did a great race, too. I want to congratulate him as well, because it’s also unbelievable, what he has done so far as a rookie. He is growing like I didn’t expect. Thank you to the whole crew, to the entire teams, Moto3, communication department, thank you everybody! We go home to have a rest and fully motivated to do something great in Italy.”

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Principal
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“An unbelievable race. We had all four bikes in the top ten at our home race and with two riders fighting for victory. Pol was pushing all the way with Jack on the last lap and we know that the last two corners are crucial at this track. Both went wide but fortunately Miguel was in a great position to bring home the race and we’re super-happy about that. Both riders deserved it because Pol rode so well. Brad and Iker also scored good points and we have shown that the performance of the RC16 is really there.”

KTM are now third in the manufacturers standings
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“We could have had a good race, but we were missing some luck – especially in the second half of the race. We wanted to give a really great result to all the Suzuki fans and workers, but unfortunately we couldn’t get another podium today. But I want to thank both riders for their performance and having both of them in Top 6 is great and a first for this season. We’re focusing on the next round at Misano to see if we can get back on the podium there.”

Davide Brivio – Suzukin Team Manager

“If we look at the pure performance we can be happy because both riders showed very competitive pace at a fast circuit. Alex got a solid start in race 1 and had good pace, he just missed an opportunity in race 2 due to a little mistake off the start. Joan had a solid lead in the first half of the race with a big gap over the others when the red flag came out. Then he finished fourth on the second part of the race and we can’t be happy with the final result which has been influenced by a decision, or a non-decision, by race direction. The rules clearly state that any rider who exceeds track limits on the last lap must drop one position, especially if they gain from it; in our opinion without the green tarmac run-off Espargaro would’ve had to brake, being passed also by Joan. So he was able to defend his third position by going wide. Joan had this penalty himself at the beginning of race 1 when he had to drop one place for going wide, but the same thing hasn’t been applied on the last corner in race 2. Anyway I want to take the positives from these races in Austria, which is the third track in a row where we’ve been highly competitive. We have big potential with the GSX-RR and also with both riders.”

Joan Mir had ooked set for a clear victory before the red flag came out
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“Unfortunately, it‘s another weekend to forget. We know that at this track overtaking is difficult for us, so the riders really had to make the most of the start. Valentino did exactly that both times, in Race Part 1 and Part 2, and that‘s what earned him ninth place at the end, despite originally starting from P14. Maverick had a problem with his bike‘s brakes in Race 1. He decided to keep riding, hoping to salvage some crucial points for the championship, but when he approached Turn 1 without brakes, he had to make the split-second decision to jump off the bike. We are thankful he wasn‘t hurt, and we will investigate the issue most thoroughly in the coming two weeks, as we prepare for the next triple header. We will be riding two rounds in Misano and one in Catalunya in September. These circuits suit our package a lot better, so we aim to use this to our full advantage there.”

Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Yamaha Team Principal

“I think this triple-header, which started in Brno, has been extremely difficult for us. Although we had the podium in Brno, both Austrian races have been extremely challenging. There have been various issues – brakes, performance, track conditions – but we need to take the positives: we are still leading the championship, both riders’ and teams’ and we look forward to Misano. We need to stay strong together and make a comeback next time out. We are very pleased and happy with today’s result in Moto2, it is our best ever placement in the category. I am very proud of Xavi and Jake. We hope that they will continue their progress in the next race. It was very unlucky for John in Moto3. Although he is third in the championship it is very close between him and Vietti in fourth, there is only one point between them. I think John will come back stronger after the break till the Misano races where he can solidify his third position. We also wish KIP all the best. He has a surgery on Tuesday to hopefully fix his finger once and for all. We hope that he will recover in time for Misano and come back stronger as well.

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport

“We have seen yet another last corner thriller here at Spielberg, but this time there were different protagonists, it shows the strength of our tyres that we are seeing most of the manufacturers battling at the front and all with a chance of victory. All the Michelin team has worked so hard this weekend as this is one of the most difficult tracks we visit and it produces so much stress on the rear tyres that they get very hot – which is why we have a special construction for here – and to then get track temperatures of over 50 was an added complexity that we had to overcome, but we did and all the riders were in a good position ahead of the race. Yet again the weather gods came in to play and the temperature dropped to the mid-30s, so again the Technicians needed to use all their knowledge to support their respective riders and teams to make the correct decision in both the original race and the restart. The tyres performed well in both races, some riders kept the same rubber and some changed during the short break and through the 12-lap race the riders pushed to the maximum, it was almost like a qualifying session, but all the different combinations of tyres worked well. It was disappointing for Mir and Nakagami in the first race, but I am sure their time will come and it was equally as pleasing to have another new winner on Michelin tyres – the third this year – with Oliviera taking victory, it was also very good to see the Tech 3 team take a MotoGP victory, so well done to them. We have a short break now before an extremely busy two weekends in Misano, when we will have two MotoGP races and three MotoE races during the two events, but we will be prepared and ready to face a new asphalt after the Italian track was resurfaced earlier this year.”

Red Bull Ring MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 16m56.025
2 Jack MILLER Ducati +0.316
4 Joan MIR Suzuki +0.641
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +1.414
6 Alex RINS Suzuki +1.45
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +1.864
8 Brad BINDER KTM +4.15
9 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +4.517
10 Iker LECUONA KTM +5.068
11 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +5.918
12 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +6.411
13 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +7.406
14 Johann ZARCO Ducati +7.454
15 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +10.191
16 Alex MARQUEZ Honda +10.524
17 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +11.447
18 Stefan BRADL Honda +11.943
19 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +12.732
20 Michele PIRRO Ducati +14.349
21 Tito RABAT Ducati +14.548
DNF Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 0 Lap

MotoGP World Championship Standings


Rider Bike Points
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 70
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 67
3 Jack MILLER Ducati 56
4 Brad BINDER KTM 49
5 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 48
6 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 46
7 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 45
8 Joan MIR Suzuki 44
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 43
11 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 32
12 Johann ZARCO Ducati 30
13 Alex RINS Suzuki 29
14 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 25
15 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 15
16 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 15
17 Iker LECUONA KTM 13
18 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 9
19 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 8
20 Tito RABAT Ducati 7
21 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 7
22 Michele PIRRO Ducati 4
23 Stefan BRADL Honda 0


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