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International Racing News

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MotoGP Austria: Lorenzo beats Marquez in Austrian duel

Jorge Lorenzo beat Marc Marquez in an epic battle around the Red Bull Ring to win his third MotoGP race of 2018.

Starting from the outside of the front row, despite not leading into the first corner, the Spaniard found himself leading after Marc Marquez ran hot into turn three forcing early leader and pole sitter Andrea Dovizioso wide. However, just one lap later Marquez went under Lorenzo into turn three to take the lead.

Marquez who had elected to run a hard-hard tyre combination had hoped to push Lorenzo’s soft-soft combination into submission with a string of blistering laps in the early stages of the race. By the half race stage Marquez had a gap of around a second from Lorenzo who appeared to be holding his team-mate up.

However, when the race entered its second half, Lorenzo managed to edge closer to the leader and eventually closed the gap right down and took the lead into the first corner with 10 laps to go. In the same move, Dovizioso was pushed wide and lost over a second to the front two.

Lorenzo’s lead lasted one corner as Marquez moved back past him. The factory Ducati man held sat behind the World Champion for six laps which saw the first two drop Dovi. With just over three laps to go, Lorenzo made an extremely aggressive pass on Marquez into the downhill turn nine, nearly forcing Marquez off the track. The Honda man then lined Lorenzo up and repaid the favour in his usual spot in turn three with an equally aggressive move.

Going into the final lap Lorenzo moved under Marquez going into turn one and then took a started the drag up to turn three and braced himself for an attack from Marquez. Marquez retook the lead in turn three but Lorenzo managed to keep his GP18 lit and went back around Marquez and kept hold of the lead. Lorenzo held off a late charge to claim his third win on a Ducati by 0.130 seconds.

Andrea Dovizioso was third but 1.6 seconds behind the front two after his medium compound Michelin tyre didn’t give him the feel he had hoped for in the final five laps.

Cal Crutchlow was the top independent team rider in fourth place on his LCR Honda, albeit a further eight seconds behind Dovizioso. The

Brit was a further four seconds ahead of Petrucci in what ended up being a lonely race for Crutchlow.

Valentino Rossi salvaged sixth position from his disastrous weekend to keep hold of second place in the World Championship with Alex Rins, Johann Zarco and Alvaro Bautista rounding out the top ten.

Tito Rabat was eleventh place on his satellite Ducati, whilst Maverick Vinales miserable season continued with a twelfth place finish. 2016 Austrian Grand Prix winner Andrea Iannone was thirteenth on his GSX-RR Suzuki with the sole KTM of Bradley Smith in fourteenth position. Taka Nakagami rounded out the point scorers, piping Syahrin to fifteenth.

Power delivery the focus for Honda’s WorldSBK effort

Picture: GeeBee Images

Honda Europe’s WorldSBK chief Chris Pike has indicated that working on how the Fireblade delivers its power without the help of electronics is Red Bull-backed team’s focus for the foreseeable future.

Pike, who has done pretty much every job in racing, took over from Italian Marco Chini as Honda’s Superbike point-man and appears pleased with the progress of the SP2 so far.

“Our bike is very good in some areas, we have taken big steps with the switch to Magneti Marelli electronics and also with the chassis developments,” said Pike.

“We need to keep the momentum in these two areas and pick up more on the engine performance, the outright power is not so bad but we need to concentrate on the natural power delivery of the engine and rely less on electronics to smooth it out.

“We have quite a lot of things to test in Portimão, so much that we booked an extra couple of days of track time. We have an two different chassis options to test to get a direction for 2019, Akrapovič have built a new exhaust system for the Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR and there are some quite significant electronic upgrades to try.

“We also have a brand new engine specification to try out, so it’s fair to say that the team will be busy during the upcoming tests.”

by Bliss Drive Review