Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso won an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix which was halted for 20 minutes after Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha collided with the Avintia Ducati of Johann Zarco in Spielberg on Sunday.
The red flag came out immediately when Morbidelli and Zarco came together at turn three, with their cartwheeling bikes missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales by centimetres as the two Yamahas navigated the turn.
Both riders walked away from the crash relatively unscathed and MotoGP said they were taken to the medical centre for a check-up where they were declared fit as the race restarted with 20 laps.
Dovizioso took the chequered flag after race leader Alex Rins of Suzuki crashed with 10 laps to go to keep the team’s perfect record at the Red Bull Ring intact.
“Very, very strange (race) for many reasons. To start twice was strange,” Dovizioso said.
“It was not that easy to start the ‘second race’ with perfect energy but I was able to manage the race because I had a few corners where I was able to be a bit faster. I was so strong in braking and could decide the pace.
“If Rins didn’t crash, I think it would have been very difficult to beat him.”
However, the manufacturer lost out on a one-two finish when Joan Mir capitalised on Australian Jack Miller’s mistake on the penultimate corner of the final lap as he went wide to give the Suzuki rider second place and his first podium in MotoGP.
Miller started well off the line on both occasions but struggled for grip on his soft front tyre towards the end of the race and he said that he had no other options with no medium tyres left.
“I just had to… push away at the start and see what I could do,” Miller said.
“I’m happy to get the podium but I missed second, I made a slight error when Mir came up on the inside… But hats off to him.”
Rossi, who had started 12th on the grid, moved up the field and put the near-death experience of the crash behind him to finish fifth.
The Italian great urged riders who make their way up to the premier class to exercise caution when fighting for track positions to avoid a repeat of the horror collision.
“It was so scary, it was terrifying,” Rossi, a seven-times premier class champion, said.”
“For me, now everybody is very aggressive but also from the small classes.
“I think it is good to be aggressive because everybody tries to do the maximum, but for me we don’t have to exaggerate, because we need to remember that this sport is very dangerous.
“You need to respect the other riders that are on track with you.”