MotoGP™ 2017 - Österreich - MICHELIN help the top-two protagonists produce a great battle as records tumble
Michelin witnessed its full range of MotoGP™ slick compound tyres used today during the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and a straight fight at the end between two great rivals before Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) came out the victor.
All six MICHELIN Power Slick race tyres were chosen by the 24-racers that lined up on today’s grid, with different pairings being used as the riders looked for the optimum performance from a range of tyres that gave many options over the weekend. Pole-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went with the medium front and hard rear pairing, whilst the early race leader Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) chose the medium front and soft rear option. Lorenzo got the hole-shot and led for the first 11-circulations of the 28-lap race around the 4,318m Austrian circuit, before Marquez took the lead on lap-12. The reigning champion tried to make a break, but was followed closely by Dovizioso, who was using the medium front and soft rear combination on his Ducati.
Watched at trackside by 90,411 fans, the two combatants then produced an incredible last few laps as they changed places numerous times. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) briefly joined in the fight at the front, but was unable to stay with Dovizioso and Marquez as the race continued, leaving the championship contenders to battle it out at the front. The two had different tyre compound choices from either end of the spectrum on the rear of their respective bikes, but grip, performance and durability never looked an issue for either man as they started the last-lap. Dovizioso led as the race approached the last corner, but Marquez made an audacious and exciting attempt to pass, using all the grip he could find and as much of the track as he could use, but he just couldn’t get the better of the Italian and Dovizioso crossed the line a mere one-tenth-of-a-second ahead of his rival - setting a new race duration record in the process. Marquez’s second place strengthened his championship lead, with Dovizioso now his closest rival, just 16-points behind.
Pedrosa, using the medium front and hard rear compound pairing crossed the line in third, with Lorenzo taking fourth. Fifth position and the title of First Independent Rider was taken by Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Frenchman used a soft front and rear MICHELIN Power Slick and this union also led to him setting the fastest lap and a new record on the sixth circulation with a time of 1’24.312, at an average speed of 184.3km/h around the 4.3km circuit. Sixth was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), just ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in seventh. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Racing) was eighth and had the honour of setting a new outright speed record for the circuit of 316.5km/h. Ninth went to Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) with wild-card Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Racing) rounding out the top-ten.
Today’s race was held in warmer conditions than had been experienced all weekend so tyre choice was an important factor and the selection given to all riders by Michelin was certainly an important factor. The available selection again highlighted Michelin’s continued dedication to supply all bikes, riders and manufacturers with tyres that work at all tracks and give them the best opportunity to match the correct rubber to their machinery and riding styles.
Michelin and the MotoGP Paddock now head across Europe and over the sea to England for the British Grand Prix which will be staged at Silverstone on Sunday 27th August.