Moto2: Can Marquez be Stopped in Austria?

The Moto2 World Championship arrives in Austria weekend for round eleven of the 2019 World Championship from the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) comes into this round with a thirty-three-point championship lead, and colossal momentum after taking his fifth win in six races last week in Brno. Beating him this weekend will not be easy, even though the Spaniard is without a podium in Austria, such has been his dominance since Le Mans. It seems that Marquez’ understanding of the Dunlop tyres with the Triumph-powered Moto2 bikes is superior to his rivals.

That said, impressive performances from Fabio Di Giannantonio (Speed Up) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) last weekend, where they were able to match Marquez’ pace throughout the race, in the case of Di Giannantonio, and especially in the closing stages, proved that Marquez is reachable. Beatable, however, is unclear, but every weekend presents a different challenge and new opportunity for Marquez’ rivals.

While Brno was a good race for Alex Marquez, for his strongest championship rival, Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) it was a disaster. The Swiss crashed out early on, giving Marquez an advantage he doesn’t need. Thirty-three points might not seem like a huge amount, but when Marquez has the pace advantage he has week after week, and keeps churning out wins, it might not be long before this world title slips out of reach of Luthi.

KTM almost won their home race last year in the hands of Miguel Oliveira, before the Portuguese was passed in the final corner by Francesco Bagnaia. Things have been more complicated for KTM this year, but an all-knew chassis – a complete redesign from KTM – for Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was an apparent step in the right direction for the Austrian marque in Brno, despite the South African ending his race in the gravel. There were two podiums for Binder – who has been the standout rider on the KTM this season – before the summer break in Assen and Sachsenring, so there will be some hope in the orange camp that they can return to the rostrum in their home race despite the difficulties this season.

Jorge Navarro (Speed Up) had one of his best results of 2018 in Austria, finishing fifth on the Gresini Kalex twelve months ago. Navarro has been one of the standout riders in the intermediate class in 2019 aboard the Speed Up, and his usually strong race pace and tyre management can be a particularly strong point in Austria where traction is so important.

After missing the last three races courtesy of Stefano Manzi’s (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) error in practice at Assen, Dimas Ekky (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) is out once again this weekend. The Indonesian will be replaced by Teppei Nagoe, who replaced Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) earlier in the year.

Featured Image courtesy of Gareth Harford/ MarcVDS

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