The second half of the 2022 Moto3 season began in style with a thrilling British Grand Prix barely a fortnight ago. Now that the dust has settled, our attention turns to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for Round 13 of the championship this coming weekend (19/20/21 August).
The GASGAS Aspar duo of Sergio Garcia and Izan Guevara were unstoppable during the first half of the season, they sit first and second in the championship standings respectively, despite both crashing out in the latter stages at Silverstone. The chequered flag was taken by title rival Dennis Foggia, who masterfully guided his Leopard Racing Honda to victory, capitalising on the Spanish riders misfortune. The Italian is now just 42 points behind Garcia in the race for the Moto3 crown.
Perhaps the biggest talking point ahead of the Austrian GP is the new chicane which has been installed to reduce speeds on the approach to turn 3. The alteration was prompted after an incident in the 2020 MotoGP race, where Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco came together at high speed, nearly collecting the Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales in the process.
The revised layout has divided opinions, with some riders suggesting that the new chicane itself is dangerous. How the racing will be affected remains to be seen, but the hope of course is that the changes will lead to more overtaking as well as improved safety.
As is often the case in this class, there are a number of contenders for victory. Last year’s podium finishers will all be in the hunt this weekend. 2021’s race was won by the aforementioned Garcia, with 3 wins already this season, he is probably the favourite. Turkish rider Deniz Öncü is still searching for his maiden Moto3 win, he was last year’s runner up and has the added motivation of Austria being both KTM and Red Bull’s home race. Foggia, who was third, has shown steady improvements in his results of late, though he knows as well as anyone that more victories will be required if he is to win the championship.
British fan’s hopes will once again rest upon the shoulders of Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max rider, John McPhee. The Scotsman rode well at Silverstone and almost led at one stage, though a chaotic final lap saw him shuffled back to 7th place. Visiontrack Racing Team’s Scott Ogden made progress through the field after a poor showing in qualifying, finishing 12th. He and teammate Josh Whatley will be hoping for better fortunes this weekend.
Weather was an infamous factor at the Red Bull Ring in 2021, and the forecast suggests it will be again this year. Thunderstorms are predicted for Friday, with showers anticipated on both Saturday and Sunday. The race is scheduled to start at 11:00am local time (10:00am GMT).