The 2020 Austrian MotoGP is a race few will be forgetting in a hurry, filled with incident, drama off-track and, of course, that crash involving Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco… not to mention almost Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

But who came out of the weekend with something to celebrate (or simply something to be thankful for) and who was left with regret?

 

 

Winners

Every rider who escaped serious injury

Valentino Rossi said he would be praying on Sunday evening following that frightening incident that has made headlines round the world… indeed, you can’t help but wonder ‘what if’ things had been even a little bit different for him and others during Sunday’s race.

As if the original incident wasn’t violent enough, the ensuing wreckage of debris in the immediate aftermath came remarkably close to wiping out either Maverick Vinales and Rossi. The TV replays are heart-stopping at first watch and it’s still hard not to wince as you re-watch from various angles.

The same goes for Hafizh Syharin, who suffered relatively minor injuries – and no bone breaks – after his accident during the Moto2 race was had already sent shockwaves through the paddock.

Mercifully, the accidents – though close – weren’t quite as bad as they could have been, but it’s a stark reminder of how dangerous a sport motorcycle racing is and how safety should never be taken for granted.

Andrea Dovizioso

The ‘will they, won’t they’ back and forth between Andrea Dovizoso and Ducati has it’s conclusion and the answer is… they won’t

While one can assume if a victory for Dovizioso was to come at any venue then the Red Bull Ring would surely be it. Even so he had to deliver and deliver he did just 24 hours after confirming he will be exiting Ducati at the end of the 2020 season.

With a title challenge given a huge boost and a return to the Red Bull Ring this weekend, Dovizioso may we be looking to ram home the point to Ducati this coming weekend

Joan Mir

Having shown flashes of performance on the Suzuki since making his MotoGP debut in 2019, Joan Mir converted that into his first MotoGP podium in Austria with an accomplished performance.

Showing Suzuki was right to put its faith in another member of MotoGP’s upcoming Moto2 generation, Mir pace has often been compromised by poor qualifying efforts but a second row start – followed by a front row slot on the restart – showed what can be done with a strong Saturday.

Suzuki’s first MotoGP podium since Alex Rins’ win at Silverstone last year, both Suzuki riders will be tipped as victory contenders this weekend no doubt.

Losers

Ducati

How can Ducati be losers when they were – obviously – the actual winners in Austria this weekend? Well, with Dovizioso on his way out, it is literally losing a rider that has now secured 14 of Ducati’s 50 wins in MotoGP.

Strictly speaking, this was an excellent return to form for Ducati with Dovizioso’s win and Jack Miller’s third place a big comeback from a disappointing weekend in Brno but with the former announcing he will be departing the manufacturer at the close of the 2020 season it leaves them in a predicament with regards to its rider line-up.

Indeed, Dovizioso’s win was certainly a popular one in the context of the behind scene wrangling and it brings into sharper focus what it could well be losing out on next season.

Maverick Vinales

Another disappointing result for Maverick Vinales in Austria as Yamaha’s technical gremlins – happening with some surprising frequency at the moment – reared their ugly head to neuter the Spaniard’s efforts.

Only a loser in the sense that he lost out a big points’ haul, Vinales was on fine form on Saturday to land pole position but in the race issues on the restart took him to the back of the field and on the cusp of retirement before he was able to get the M1 up to speed again.

To his credit, tenth position ensured he got some welcome points on the board but this coupled to his 14th in Brno means Vinales – or perhaps rather Yamaha - hasn’t been able to make the most of his potential.

Pol Espargaro

With Brad Binder stealing the headlines in Brno, Austria looked like it was the perfect opportunity for Pol Espargaro to reassert his team leader status and make it another memorable weekend for KTM.

Unfortunately for him, while he had excellent pace at the start of the Austrian MotoGP, he didn’t have the tyre he needed on the restart and his hopes of landing that elusive victory was slipping from his grasp even before he became tangled up in a collision with KTM stablemate Miguel Oliveira.

Two DNFs in two weekends is a shame for a rider that was on course for a strong points’ haul, but at least looks good for a big response this weekend the series resumes at the Red Bull Ring for the Styrian MotoGP.

 

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