Moto2: Vietti Takes First Win of Season

Celestino Vietti fought hard with Pedro Acosta to take his first win in Moto2 since the Catalan GP in 2022. Ai Ogura completed the podium with championship contender Tony Arbolino crossing the line in sixth place.

The race started strongly for Ogura after making a fantastic start, but this was overshadowed by Jake Dixon who slotted himself into second place when the pack reached turn one. Dixon attempted to continue his rise up the field by looking to overtake Acosta but was unable to do so.

Arbolino was able to make his way to fourth place and Vietti dropped to fifth place. On the second lap, Arbolino ran wide at the chicane and Vietti was able to get past him.

At turn three on lap three, there was a crash between Sam Lowes and Darryn Binder which resulted in the South African rider being taken to the medical centre and being declared unfit due to fractured vertebrae.

Acosta started to pull away from Dixon and Ogura at the front of the field, extending his lead to around one second and was setting consistent fastest laps with no pressure from the riders behind him.

Both Alonso Lopez and Albert Arenas crashed on the fifth lap at turns two and three respectively. On the same lap, Ogura was able to get past Dixon to take second place.

Acosta was able to increase his lead to Ogura and Dixon to almost two seconds due to the pair fighting each other over second place. Ogura made a mistake on lap seven to allow Dixon to get past him at turn three, but the Japanese rider was able to get back at him at the next corner. Vietti joined the fighting pair in the hunt to catch Acosta.

Manuel Gonzalez crashed at the third corner on lap eight causing a yellow flag in that sector.

With Dixon back in third place, Vietti started to look for places to overtake the Brit and was able to into turn one on the ninth lap with the Italian rider taking the inside line. Ogura started to reduce the gap to the leader Acosta, whilst the battle for third occurred behind him.

Somkiat Chantra also caught up to the chasing group by lap ten. On the same lap, Joe Roberts crashed at turn three. The American rider retired on lap thirteen.

Arenas had a second crash at turn six on lap eleven and Aron Canet also crashed on that lap but at turn nine.

By lap thirteen, Vietti was on the back of Ogura and was looking to make a move past the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider and was able to on the straight just before turn four. Ogura tried to make the move back on the Fanatic Racing rider over the start-finish straight but was unable to.

The front tire on Acosta’s bike started to go away from him and he began making mistakes, allowing Vietti to catch up to him. The gap reduced from two seconds to just under half a second. This was not helped by Acosta receiving a track limits warning.

Lap 18 was the lucky lap for Vietti as he was able to get past Acosta to take the lead at turn six. The Italian rider kept Acosta behind him, using the defensive line but Acosta was able to stay on his rear tyre. Vietti and Acosta began to break away from Ogura behind them, creating a three second gap.

By lap 21, Acosta was really struggling with his front tyre and this resulted in a wobble at turn nine and this caused him to lose some time to the leader.

Vietti crossed the line with a 1.5 second lead over Acosta who in turn had a 3.5s gap to Ogura. Dixon finished the race in fourth place with Chantra and Arbolino followed the Brit. Filip Salac had a good race ending it in seventh place, followed by Sergio Garcia, Fermin Aldeguer and Lukas Tulovic who rounded out the top ten.

Feature Image Credit: Joel Cooper Photography LTD

1 Celestino Vietti ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 36m 25.093s
2 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 36m 26.528s
3 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 30.282s
4 Jake Dixon GBR Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 36m 31.238s
5 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 33.728s
6 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 39.147s
7 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 36m 39.585s
8 Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 36m 41.538s
9 Fermín Aldeguer SPA CAG SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 36m 42.271s
10 Lukas Tulovic GER Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 37m 0.454s
11 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 37m 2.948s
12 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 37m 4.644s
13 Izan Guevara SPA Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 37m 5.306s
14 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 37m 5.503s
15 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 37m 6.191s
16 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 37m 8.539s
17 Alberto Surra ITA Forward Team (Forward) 37m 10.111s
18 Rory Skinner GBR OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 37m 12.715s
19 Mattia Rato ITA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 37m 14.954s
20 Kohta Nozane JPN Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 37m 22.132s
21 Alonso Lopez SPA CAG SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 37m 34.357s
22 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 37m 35.607s
  Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) DNF
  Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) DNF
  Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) DNF
  Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) DNF
  Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) DNF
  Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) DNF




Moto3: Öncü Takes Photo Finish Victory in Spielberg!

Image Credit: Joel Cooper Photography Ltd

Moto3 never fails to deliver and in the Styria mountains in Spielberg, it was no different today. Deniz Öncü the Turkish teenage wonderkid takes his second victory in Moto3 by a margin of +0.005 seconds to Daniel Holgado in 2nd. A Red Bull KTM 1-2 with Husqvarna riders Ayumu Sasaki finishing in 3rd and pole sitter Collin Veijer in 4th place.

Image Credit: MotoGP


As the lights went out to start the race, the two Red Bull KTMs were 1-2 with Holgado leading followed by Öncü into turn 1.  Pole sitter Veijer dropping back into 3rd. David Alonso up to 4th on the first lap, up 3 places already for the GASGAS Aspar Team rider.

Coming across the line at the end of lap 1, Jaume Masia and Alonso are side by side as they head into turn 1 with Alonso managing to cling onto 4th for the time being. A lead group of 7 riders now developing with a gap of 1.285 seconds to the rest of the field behind.

Coming through lap 2 and Sasaki sets the fastest time of the race. Championship leader Holgado still leading at the front with Veijer 2nd and Öncü 3rd keen to get by Veijer. Towards the end of the lap now into turns 9 and 10, Öncü dives up the inside of Veijer but can’t get the bike stopped into turn 10 with Veijer moving back passed into 2nd.

Lap 4 now and the lead group of 7 have a clear gap now over 2 seconds to the rest of the field with the second group lead by Joel Kelso.

Midway through lap 4 and disaster for Masia and his championship, as technical issues with the bike force Masia to pull over and out of the race. Sasaki and Riccardo Rossi doing well to avoid any collision with Masia.

A quarter of the way through now and onto lap 6, Holgado leads as Alonso now sets the fastest lap of the race. Öncü back up into second with Veijer 3rd. The front 3 now with a second gap to Alonso back in 4th. Alonso with the hammer down pushing hard to close the gap to the front.

Alonso pushing hard starting lap 7 with Sasaki tucked in behind, the front 3 are lapping just as quick though. Its going to be a hard job for Alonso and Sasaki to bridge the gap and fight for the victory.

Into turn 1 Veijer makes his move up the inside of Öncü and back up to 2nd place. Veijer eager to get by Holgado on lap 8 as Alonso yet again sets another fastest lap of the race. Turn 1 clearly the main overtaking spot for the riders on this circuit with it being tough to get by on any other section of the track.

Midway through lap 8 the lead trio has become a group of 5 as Alonso and Sasaki finally join the party at the front Across the line to start lap 9 and a repeat overtake of the one we seen on Öncü a lap before, as Veijer moves by Holgado and into the lead of the race.

Now with 12 laps to go, any of the top 5 could take the victory here in Austria. Holgado using the slipstream as we start lap 10 getting by Veijer into turn 1. Alonso now up into 3rd with a great overtake on Veijer at the end of lap 10. Alonso full of confidence after his incredible win from the back of the grid at Silverstone.

10 laps to go and Alonso is taking the charge to the front getting by Öncü and nearly overtaking Holgado only a few corners later, as they drop down by turn 10 onto the straight straight to start lap 12.

Start of lap 12 now and just as Alonso takes the lead from Holgado, only seconds later at the chicane Alonso goes down. Disaster strikes for the GASGAS Aspar Team.

It’s Sasaki now making moves getting by Öncü and looking to attack Holgado. Sasaki passes Holgado into turn 9 leading the race as they start lap 15. Holgado continuing the dicing at the front getting back by Sasaki into turn 3. Öncü taking all sorts of racing lines trying everything to get by Sasaki.  Ivan Ortola in 5th from 18th on the grid is trying all he can to catch the front setting the quickest times. Ortola may have left it too late though to get a podium.

As we go by the KTM stand, Sasaki is right up behind Holgado through turns 7 and 8 is still unable to get by as Holgado resists the pressure and continues to lead the race with 3 laps to go. Sasaki trying to fight for the win with Holgado just inches ahead at the same time as defending constantly against Öncü desperate to get by.

Its any of 4 riders now with 2 laps to go to see who can take this. Holgado holding his nerve keeping his cool gets back by Sasaki into the lead. We are set for a frantic last couple of laps with the win all to play for.

Onto the last lap and its Holgado leading across the line to start the last lap only for Sasaki to get by into turn 1. Holgado is not giving this up without a fight coning from way back to get by Sasaki into turn 3. Holgado in too hot though as Öncü gets by into the lead.

Sasaki, Holgado and Öncü side by side now as they fly down to turn 4. Sasaki getting back to the front, only for Holgado to pounce immediately leaning on Sasaki through turn 5, Sasaki clinging onto the lead into turn 6. Still anyone’s guess as to who would be on the top step of the podium on the final lap of the race.

Coming into the final corners now of the Grand Prix, and into the final corner in 3rd place, Öncü takes a photo finish on the finish line with Holgado taking second. A stunning victory here in the Styria mountains for Öncü taking his second win in Moto3.

Holgado takes a 26 point lead in the championship to Barcelona at the beginning of September. Holgado didn’t mange to finish the race last season and will be hoping for a better result to continue his charge for championship glory.

Image Credit: MotoGP





Moto2: Acosta Grabs Third Pole of the Season

After two deleted lap times, Pedro Acosta took his third pole position of the year around the Red Bull Ring in Austria. He is joined on the front row with Ai Ogura and Celestino Vietti.

The first round of qualifying got underway, and all the riders came out of the pits, trying to set a time to get themselves into the top four to try and qualify in the top 18. The top four stayed relatively consistent throughout the session and Sergio Garcia ended the session at the top.

Garcia was joined by Lukas Tulovic, Dennis Foggia and Darryn Binder who all made it through to the second round of qualifying.

All riders except Ogura and Tulovic went out as soon as the second session started to try and take advantage of the track being sightly empty. Jake Dixon placed himself in a good spot behind Somkiat Chantra, who really enjoys riding around this circuit, for his first run.

A brief yellow flag came out when Acosta crashed at the chicane, but he and his bike were both okay, meaning that he could continue touring the circuit. The Spaniard started to turn up the intensity by setting the fastest second and third sectors before pitting to let his team check his bike.

The first representative lap time was set by Vietti and it was a 1:34.698, which was slower than lap times set in the morning practice session due to the increase in the track temperature.

Aron Canet also crashed at the chicane but was also able to continue.

On his final flying lap of the first part of the session, Vietti was able to improve on his own time by two tenths, solidifying his position at the top of the pile.

Albert Arenas at the Austrian 2023 Moto2 Qualifiying. Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

At the halfway point, all the riders came into the pits to discuss changes with their bikes and ensure that they knew the run plan for the second half of the session.

The riders started to come out of the pits, but Ogura had left the pits early and was able to set the fastest time of the session. But he would not be holding on to the top spot for long as Acosta came out of the pits with a point to prove after his earlier crash.

His first flying lap contained three of the fastest sectors of the session and he jumped to the top of the pile setting a 1:34.040 with just two minutes to go.

With less than a minute to go, Sam Lowes crashed at turn ten bringing out a yellow flag which caused various lap times to be deleted including one for Acosta which was down into the 1:33’s.

Alonso Lopez crashed at turn one bringing out a yellow flag but most riders had already set their fastest time, meaning that it did not impact anyone significantly.

Acosta, Ogura and Vietti will start the race from the front row and Dixon, Chantra and Fermin Aldeguer will be on the second row of the grid. The third row of the grid is populated with Tony Arbolino, who needs to score some points to ensure that Acosta does not begin to get out of touch in the championship, Albert Arenas and Manuel Gonzales. Canet rounds out the top ten.

Feature image credit: KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

1 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 1m 34.040s
2 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 34.311s
3 Celestino Vietti ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 1m 34.445s
4 Jake Dixon GBR Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 1m 34.532s
5 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 1m 34.590s
6 Fermín Aldeguer SPA CAG SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 1m 34.639s
7 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 34.728s
8 Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 1m 34.737s
9 Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 1m 34.857s
10 Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 1m 34.859s
11 Alonso Lopez SPA CAG SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 1m 35.045s
12 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 1m 35.048s
13 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 1m 35.082s
14 Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.197s
15 Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 35.209s
16 Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 1m 35.311s
17 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.605s
18 Lukas Tulovic GER Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 1m 35.676s
19 Izan Guevara SPA Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 1m 35.222s
20 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 35.289s
21 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 1m 35.304s
22 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 1m 35.316s
23 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 1m 35.349s
24 Rory Skinner GBR OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 1m 35.380s
25 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 1m 35.554s
26 Alberto Surra ITA Forward Team (Forward) 1m 35.675s
27 Kohta Nozane JPN Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 1m 35.919s
28 Mattia Rato ITA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 1m 36.125s


MotoGP: Spectacular Bagnia Wins Sprint Again

Pecco Bagnaia wins the Austrian GP Sprint race by just over two seconds ahead of Brad Binder and Jorge Martin.

After qualifying on pole position this morning, Bagnaia was able to have a great start from the best position on the grid. Alongside him was Maverick Vinales who struggled with the start and dropped down the order. From third place, Binder jumped up into second place and started chasing down the Italian rider.

After the first corner, Jack Miller was also able to capitalise on the poor start from Vinales and improved to third place.

As the riders came to take the first corner, Martin took the inside line and had contact with Fabio Quartararo who in turn touched Vinales. The Aprilia rider then had contact with Marco Bezzechi who had to retire on the next lap. Other riders that were involved in the incident were Miguel Olivera, Johan Zarco and Enea Bastianini.

Following this incident, Quartararo dropped down to twentieth position and Vinales brought up the rear of the field.

Binder continued to show his pace as he caught up to Bagnaia quickly and began to look for places on the track pass the Italian rider. Both Bagnaia and Binder began to break away from Miller in third place and by the end of the first lap, they had a one second lead over the Australian rider.

Martin was handed a track limits warning during the second lap, one of those was likely to be from the lap one turn one incident.

Nakagami crashed on the second lap and was unable to continue with the race.

Bagnaia started setting fastest lap after fastest lap and started to move ahead of Binder, leaving him about a second behind the leader.

Luca Marini caught up to Miller and started to see where the KTM rider was struggling around the circuit. As these two fought, Martin was able to catch the pair too.

Marini was able to pass Miller on the start finish straight on lap 6 and Martin was also attempting to get past too however it would be made easy for the Pramac rider when Miller ran wide at turn three. On the next lap, Martin attacked Marini into the chicane, but they touched each other, causing the Italian rider to crash out. The incident was investigated, but no action was taken.

On the ninth lap, Quartararo was given a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding. This incident occurred a few laps prior and was when he went to overtake Lorenzo Salvadori, the pair touched causing the Aprilia rider to crash out.

Quartararo took the long lap penalty on the twelfth lap and dropped down the order and was unable to make much progress due to there only being two laps left.

Zarco had to retire the bike on the penultimate lap after being involved in the first lap incident.

Brad Binder chasing down Pecco Bagnaia at the 2023 Austrian GP Sprint race. Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Bagnaia took the chequered flag 2.056 seconds ahead of Binder who in turn was 5.045 seconds ahead of Jorge Martin. Alex Marquez took fourth place after overtaking Miller. Pol Espargaro led his brother Aleix over the line to take sixth and seventh place respectively.

Vinales was able to improve to eighth place after being in last place at the end of the first lap. Franco Morbidelli and Marc Marquez rounded out the top ten

Fabio Di Giannatonio, Joan Mir and Bastianini occupied the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth places. Raul Fernandez, Fabio Quartararo, Iker Lecuona and Augusto Fernandez completed the riders who finished the race.

1 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP23) 21m 1.844s
2 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16) +2.056s
3 Jorge Martin SPA Pramac Ducati (GP23) +5.045s
4 Alex Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP22) +8.252s
5 Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM (RC16) +11.365s
6 Pol Espargaro SPA Tech3 GASGAS (RC16) +11.816s
7 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23) +11.960s
8 Maverick Viñales SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23) +11.984s
9 Franco Morbidelli ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +13.634s
10 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +14.435s
11 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Gresini Ducati (GP22) +15.251s
12 Joan Mir SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +16.740s
13 Enea Bastianini ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP23) +18.825s
14 Raul Fernandez SPA RNF Aprilia (RS-GP22) +19.536s
15 Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +22.321s
16 Iker Lecuona SPA LCR Honda (RC213V) +25.593s
17 Augusto Fernandez SPA Tech3 GASGAS (RC16)* +25.789s
  Johann Zarco FRA Pramac Ducati (GP23) DNF
  Luca Marini ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22) DNF
  Lorenzo Savadori ITA Aprilia Factory (RS-GP23) DNF
  Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) DNF
  Marco Bezzecchi ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22) DNF
  Miguel Oliveira POR RNF Aprilia (RS-GP22) DNF

Featured Image courtesy of Ducati

Moto2: Flawless Ogura leads home a Honda Team Asia 1-2 in Austria

Ai Ogura has won the Austrian GP, despite a last-lap attempt from his team mate Somkiat Chantra. Chantra had to settle for 2nd whilst Dixon took 3rd in the final moments of the race. Ogura now leads the championship, just 1 point ahead of Augusto Fernandez.

Ai Ogura has turned his pole position into a stunning win at the Red Bull Ring. He took the lead early in the race and never looked back. Just behind him was his Honda Team Asia team mate, Somkiat Chantra, who had to settle for second despite a last-lap attempt for the win. With just a few corners to go, Chantra made his move round the outside and was ahead of Ogura until the Japanese rider got the cut back at the final corner.

Jake Dixon was able to capitalise on the drama and action around him, keeping his nose clean throughout the race and coming home in third. Much like Chantra, he made a final lap lunge on Pedro Acosta. Unlike Chantra, he was able to make this stick to take 3rd in the final moments of the race.

Acosta, who is returning from an injury sustained before the summer break, had a positive day despite missing the chance to visit the podium. He was the fastest man on the track in the early stages of the race, setting numerous fastest laps as he enjoyed a race-long battle with Dixon.

Just behind him were the ever-battling group of Augusto Fernandez, Aron Canet and Alonso Lopez who eventually finished in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. Lopez will be frustrated with his final position today, after leading the race in the first few laps as well as enjoying a battle for the podium with Ogura and Vietti. His biggest mistake came on Lap 9 when he was sitting in third and trying to keep Vietti behind. He overcooked it, went wide and gave away the place to the Italian rider. A few laps later, whilst battling with Fernandez and Canet, he then dropped from 4th to 8th in the space of a few corners.

Meanwhile, Celestino Vietti had a terrible day and retired a few laps after he crashed. With 9 laps to go and sitting in 3rd, he was looking to make a move on Chantra for 2nd when he pushed too hard and the bike slipped out from underneath him. He rejoined at the back of the pack but retired shortly after.

Further non-finishers included Tony Arbolino and Lorenzo Dalla Porta who have a very scary crash at Turn 3 – the two riders tangled together as they misjudged each other’s braking points, leaving them and their bikes in the middle of the track as the grid had to carefully made their way through. Thankfully, the fast work of the marshal meant we didn’t need a red flag but Arbolino and Dalla Porta were unable to rejoin the grid. This wasn’t the way Arbolino would have wanted to finish his 100th race!

Aldeguer had a similarly scary crash – on Lap 12 he fell at the entry to the newly designed Turn 2a/2b chicane and almost slid into the path of the racing pack.

Alessandro Zaccone was the first crash of the race – an enormous high-side at the reworked Turn 2 chicane ruined his bike and he was stretchered off the track by the medical team. Sean Dylan Kelly, Kemith Kubo, Manuel Gonzalez and Filip Salac also failed to finish the race.

Image Credit: MotoGP

After his flawless win, Ogura now leads the championship by a single point over Fernandez, who will have been disappointed with 5th today. After retiring from the race and scoring no points, Vietti has slipped back even further. He is still third in the standings but is now 26 points behind Fernandez.

Feature Image: MotoGP

Moto2: Ogura Takes Pole For Austrian GP

Ai Ogura has taken pole ahead of tomorrow’s race at the Red Bull Ring. He will be joined on the front row by Alonso Lopez and Augusto Fernandez.

Japanese rider, Ai Ogura, will start tomorrow’s Austrian GP from pole position after setting a stunning qualifying lap time of 1:33.933. Just 0.048 seconds behind him was Alonso Lopez taking 2nd place. Championship leader, Augusto Fernandez, will line up 3rd for tomorrow’s race.

The top five were covered by less than 0.2 seconds with Jake Dixon in 4th and Somkiat Chantra in 5th.

After being declared fit to race on Thursday, the returning Pedro Acosta made it to Q2 and took an impressive 6th for tomorrow’s race. Just behind him was Celestino Vietti who will be looking to make significant improvements after his recent poor performance.

Marcel Schrotter was forced to make his way through Q2 but eventually took 8th ahead of Albert Arenas and Lorenzo Dalla Porta who took 9th and 10th respectively.

After topping the time sheets in Q1, Cameron Beaubier took 11th in Q2. Fermin Aldeguer was also a Q1 progressor and, despite sitting at the top of the timing sheets in the early stages, took 12th as the session ended.

Aron Canet struggled during the session. With 3 minutes left on the clock and provisionally sitting in 11th, he crashed out of the session and was eventually shuffled back to 17th.

Tony Arbolino, who starts his 100th race this weekend, will line up in a slightly disappointing 15th. He lines up just ahead of the final Q1 progressor, Bo Bendsneyder in 16th.

Jeremy Alcoba and Joe Roberts were achingly close to a place in Q2 thanks to their final flying laps in Q1. However, they are forced to line up 19th and 20th respectively for tomorrow’s race.

All the race action will be available on Crew On Two so stay tuned for all the details!

Feature Image: MotoGP

Bottas wins chaotic Austrian Grand Prix as Norris claims debut podium

Valtteri Bottas has taken victory at a chaotic Austrian Grand Prix that saw just eleven cars reach the chequered flag, with Charles Leclerc in P2 and Lando Norris claiming his first ever podium in P3. Lewis Hamilton finished second on the road but dropped to fourth due to a five-second penalty he received for a collision with Alex Albon.

The race was sedate enough for the first ten laps. Bottas built up a 3.2-second gap to Verstappen, while Norris slipped back to P5 behind Albon and Hamilton. On lap 11, though, Verstappen lost power on the approach to Turn 3 and told his engineer that his car kept going into anti-stall. He limped back to the pits and retired on lap 13.

LAT Images

The next casualties were Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll. Ricciardo pulled into his garage with a cooling issue while Stroll, who had been struggling with a lack of power for several laps, retired due to a sensor issue.

Bottas had built up a six-second gap to Hamilton by lap 17, but on lap 21 Hamilton set a new fastest lap and began to reel his team-mate in. Four laps later, the gap was down to 3.8 seconds.

Lap 26 saw the first safety car of the race, brought out due to Kevin Magnussen suffering a brake failure at Turn 3. A flurry of pitstops ensued with every driver opting for the hard tyres except for Perez, who went with the mediums.

When the safety car period ended, Vettel lunged down the inside of Carlos Sainz going into Turn 3. He misjudged the attempt and span, dropping down the order to P15. While the incident was noted, no investigation was deemed necessary by the stewards.

On lap 42, Bottas and Hamilton were warned about sensor issues that had been detected in the gearbox of both cars and were told to stay off the kerbs. This warning was repeated several times and the gap between the two widened as Hamilton eased off slightly. Despite this apparent issue, the duo were still over ten seconds ahead of third-placed Alex Albon.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lap 51 saw the next retirements. George Russell ground to a halt from what had been a promising P12 and brought out the second safety car of the day. Romain Grosjean, meanwhile, ran off the track at the final corner and pulled into the pits with seemingly the same brake problem that curtailed team-mate Magnussen’s race.

Red Bull chose to bring in Albon for a change to the soft tyres, losing P3 to Perez in the process, while both Mercedes stayed out on hard tyres that had already completed 25 laps by that point.

The Safety Car came in on lap 54 briefly, after which Albon re-took third place from Perez after Perez locked up going into Turn 3.

At that exact moment, however, the safety car was brought out again, this time because Kimi Raikkonen’s front-left tyre had come clean off the chassis going into the final corner. It was initially unclear whether it was Albon or Perez who had been ahead at the moment the safety car came out, but it was decided a few laps later that Albon had been slightly ahead of Perez and thus the Red Bull driver slotted into P3.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lap 60 saw the safety car come back in and Albon set about chasing after Hamilton on his newer soft tyres. He saw an opportunity going into Turn 4 and went for it, only for the two to come to blows. Albon span and fell down the order to last place. The incident was duly noted and investigated, with Hamilton being given a five-second penalty.

Albon slowed a couple of laps later, saying over the radio that his engine was stopping. He wound up finishing P13, or last.

Between lap 64 and lap 66, Leclerc got past Norris and then Perez to find himself in P3 behind the Mercedes duo. It looked as if Perez was in with a shout of finishing on the podium due to Hamilton’s penalty, only for his hopes to be dashed when he was awarded a five-second penalty of his own for speeding in the pitlane and then being overtaken by Norris.

Lap 70 saw the last retirement of the race when one of Daniil Kvyat’s tyres disintegrated going into Turn 1. He managed to bring the car to a stop behind the barriers at a marshall post.

Bottas crossed the line to take the chequered flag at the end of lap 71 with Hamilton in P2, Leclerc in P3 and Norris in P4. Hamilton’s penalty, though, dropped him to P4 and promoted Leclerc to second and Norris to the final podium position.

[Featured image – LAT Images]

Honda, From Nadir to Zenith

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JUNE 30: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 celebrates during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 30, 2019 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

‘Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% of failure’ Soichiro Honda.

In 2015, Honda returned to Formula 1 and powered McLaren’s cars. That season, the Japanese manufacturer supplied Alonso’s and Button’s car with the Honda RA615H 1.6L engine. It was a tough season for McLaren and a difficult return in F1 for Honda, the engine was unreliable both drivers retired 12 times combined in the 2015 season. Kevin Magnussen, who replaced Alonso in the Australian Grand Prix, didn’t even start the race because his engine failed while he was driving to the grid.

In general, it was a disastrous season that everyone in McLaren and especially Honda would like to forget.

The following year, McLaren-Honda finished 6th in the constructors’ standings. Progress was made, considering the 9th position in 2015.

“Half happy and of course we are not satisfied at our current position,” said Hasegawa.

In 2017, Honda redesigned their engine and named it RA617H. Changes applied in 2017 rules, FIA dropped the regulation for limited engine development during one season, that gave the chance to the Japanese team to design a reliable motor. Honda’s official, Yusuke Hasegawa described the new design as “very high risk”.

“The concept is completely different. It’s very high risk, we don’t know a lot of things about that new concept. We know it will give us a performance advantage but the biggest risk is whether we can realise that potential this year.” Said Yusuke

Long story short, it was another disastrous season for McLaren-Honda. The engine was unreliable, Fernando Alonso finished 15th and Stoffel Vandoorne 16th. Jenson Button, who replaced Alonso in Monaco, retired due to suspension damage.

During the season, McLaren announced the end of the partnership with Honda, after three years.

Honda is a great company which, like McLaren, is in Formula 1 to win,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, McLaren Group Executive Chairman and Executive Committee principal.

“It is unfortunate that we must part ways with McLaren before fulfilling our ambitions, however, we made the decision with a belief that this is the best course of action for each other’s future,” commented Takahiro Hachigo, President and Director of Honda Motor.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JUNE 30: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 30, 2019 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Last season, Honda partnered with Toro Rosso and scored 33 points, more than the years with McLaren combined.

Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley retired three times due to engine issues, whilst in 2017 McLaren’s drivers forced to retire nine times for Honda related problems.

The positive results and the signs of improvement convinced Red Bull to offer a two-year contract to Honda for 2019 and 2020.

In Melbourne, Max Verstappen secured the first podium for Red Bull Racing-Honda. That was the first podium for the Japanese manufacturer after their return to Formula 1 in 2015.

That was the beginning of a new era for Honda, eight races later, Verstappen wins the Austrian Grand Prix, the first win for Honda in the hybrid PU Era and the first since 2006.

Honda boss, Toyoharu Tanabe, had no idea what to do for Austrian GP podium.

“I was surprised when I was told to go [to the podium], I had no idea what I should do and that’s why I got to the podium later than other people. Normally you need to stay before the National Anthem – I thought I should be there for that but I was a bit late. But I joined after that. This was my first time – I was worried about what to do and no one told me!”

Max Verstappen had a bad start, dropped from second to seventh, but managed to recover and after some tremendous laps, passed both Bottas and Leclerc and reached his first victory in 2019.

The Japanese never give up, even when they face difficulties, they find the courage to fight back and overcome all the obstacles to reach their goal.

“We were strong, but for the next race, I cannot guarantee we’ll be a strong as in Austria” said Toyoharu Tanabe

As Formula 1 fan, I truly hope that Honda will remain competitive and will deliver reliable engines to Red Bull racing and Toro Rosso. The sport, needs strong teams to keep the competition high and increase the action during the races.

Austrian Grand Prix: Christian Horner Praises “Mature” Max Verstappen

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has praised Max Verstappen’s approach to the Austrian Grand Prix, in light of the Dutchman’s win this afternoon.

It was Verstappen’s first victory of 2018 after a series of incidents in the early stages of the year, and is Red Bull’s first win at their home race since it returned to the F1 calendar, re-branded in their image, in 2014.

Max Verstappen the Winner of the 2018 Austrian GP with Kimi and Seb. Image courtesy of Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“To win in a Red Bull Car at the Red Bull Ring is something I never imagined would happen this morning,” said Horner. “All credit to Max today, he drove a very, very mature race, managing a very tricky situation with the tyres and he completed a very controlled drive to win our first Austrian Grand Prix.”

Verstappen started the race in P4 and gained a position on the opening lap when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen overcooked an attempt to overtake Lewis Hamilton.

When Valtteri Bottas retired on lap fourteen and brought out the Virtual Safety Car, Verstappen emerged from the round of pit-stops in P2, now on the soft tyres and thirteen seconds behind the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who had stayed out.

He then inherited the lead of the race when Hamilton finally did pit, and calmly waved off his team’s concerns about his tyres blistering, an issue that befell a number of other drivers on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen may have been closing in the final stages of the race, but Verstappen had built up enough of an advantage to hold on to victory.

Max ahead of kimi. Image courtesy of Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – whose 29th birthday it was today – retired from the race on lap fifty four. “It was a great shame not to have Daniel up on the podium as well,” Christian Horner said, “after running for so many laps in P2, but then his rear tyre started to overheat which caused a second pit stop. Shortly after that we began to see an exhaust crack that was causing gearbox damage, forcing his retirement.

“A special word to our pit-crew, again executing a faultless stacked pit stop on our route to victory, as they had done previously this year in China. I have to also applaud out entire staff back at the factory and their commitment to produce a competitive race car. The day belongs to them, to Max, to the team, to Red Bull and particularly to Mr Mateschitz who has given so much to modern Formula One. We are all delighted for him.”


Austrian Grand Prix: Bottas Claims First Pole of the Year

Image courtesy of Pirelli Motorsports

Valtteri Bottas has claimed his first pole position of the year, and leads a Mercedes 1-2 into tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Of the big-hitters, only Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen had a truly clean session. Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel made mistakes early on – at turn three and turn four respectively – and ended up relatively far back after the first Q3 runs had been completed. It took until the last couple of minutes for the pair to pull themselves back up the order – Hamilton ultimately qualified P2, and Vettel P3, with both pushing Kimi Raikkonen down into P4. Vettel was noted as being under investigation for allegedly impeding Carlos Sainz in Q2, but since Sainz did advance to Q3 it is uncertain whether Vettel will receive any penalty.

Red Bull had expected qualifying to be a struggle compared to Mercedes and Ferrari coming into the weekend. Max Verstappen may have qualified P5 but he was still two tenths behind Raikkonen, and Daniel Ricciardo ended up P7 behind the Haas of an impressive Romain Grosjean. Replays of team radio throughout the session indicated a certain amount of tension in the team, with Ricciardo frustrated that Verstappen did not follow orders to lead the Australian for a lap and give him a tow, as Ricciardo had done for Verstappen the lap before.

Kevin Magnussen and the two Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg complete the top ten.

Further down the order, Charles Leclerc continues to impress in the Sauber. He qualified P13 but carries a five-place grid penalty due to his gearbox needing to be changed following a stoppage on track in FP3.

Force India’s Sergio Perez had a nightmare of a session. The Mexican complained of running out of battery during his first run and of getting stuck in traffic during his second. He failed to make it out of Q1 and starts P17.

It was also a frustrating session for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley. Both were looking to pull themselves out of the drop-zone and into Q2, but encountered yellow flags on their flying laps when Charles Leclerc ran through the gravel trap in the final moments of Q1.

Both Mercedes and Red Bull will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix on the supersoft tyres, with all those around them starting on the ultras. Bottas will be hoping to convert pole position into a win, at the circuit where he claimed his second ever victory in 2017.

Austrian Grand Prix Grid

1. Valtteri Bottas – 1:03.130

2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:03.149

3. Sebastian Vettel – 1:03.464

4. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:03.660

5. Max Verstappen – 1:03.840

6. Romain Grosjean – 1:03.892

7. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:03.996

8. Kevin Magnussen – 1:04.051

9. Carlos Sainz – 1:04.725

10. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:05.019

11. Esteban Ocon – 1:04.845

12. Pierre Gasly 0 1:04.874

13. Fernando Alonso – 1:05.058

14. Lance Stroll – 1:05.286

15. Stoffel Vandoorne – 1:05.271

16. Sergio Perez – 1:05.279

17. Sergey Sirotkin – 1:05.322

18. Charles Leclerc – 1:04.979 *5-place penalty for gearbox change

19. Brendon Hartley 1:05.366

20. Marcus Ericsson – 1:05.479


Update – 17:30 – Sebastian Vettel has been given a three-place penalty by the stewards for impeding Carlos Sainz at turn one in Q2. The German will now start P6, promoting Kimi Raikkonen to P3, Max Verstappen to P4, and Romain Grosjean to P5.

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