Oliveira stuns with last gasp Styrian MotoGP victory

Miguel Oliveira snatches a stunning last gasp maiden MotoGP win for himself and the Tech 3 Racing team after edging Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro at the line
Oliveira stuns with last gasp Styrian MotoGP victory

Miguel Oliveira has become MotoGP’s third first-time winner in five races with a stunning last gasp victory over Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro tussled out in a fraught final lap showdown.

For the second weekend in succession, the race would be interrupted by a red flag period after Maverick Vinales suffered a fiery accident, from which he was nonetheless able to walk away from.

The break duly reset the pieces for another Red Bull Ring sprint to the flag, with KTM’s Oliveira and Espargaro taking up arms against Miller on this occasion in a fight that would be decided through the final turns.

Prior to that it was Joan Mir that setting the pace during the first half of the race in what was initially a three-way battle for the top between the Suzuki rider, together with Miller and pole man Pol Espargaro.

However, Mir’s hard work would ultimately go to waste when Vinales suffered an alarming accident on the run up to Turn 1, the Spaniard showing some remarkable foresight to leap off the Yamaha M1 as it failed to slow for the right-hander, before it careered into the barriers and caught flame.

In what will no doubt prompt some more difficult questions to be asked in the Yamaha camp following more technical issues, the race was reduced to a 12 lap sprint with Mir on pole position.

With the competition back on his tail from the start though, Mir couldn’t extend the tyre life of his Suzuki on this occasion, instead promoting Miller and Espargaro into an thrilling fight for the lead, with Oliveira keeping a watching a brief as they entered into the final laps.

While Espargaro led into the final exchange, his over-defensive line into Turn 3 allowed Miller to get a run on him down to Turn 4, the Ducati rider nosing back ahead. Undeterred, Espargaro fought back through the final sector double right-hand complex, getting ahead at Turn 9 only to run wide and allow the Ducati man back through.

However, the pair would trip over one another as they exited the final bend, enabling a poised Oliveira in third position to scythe his way past to snatch victory right on the line for an extraordinary win.

Marking Tech 3 Racing’s first ever win in the premier class, including its many successful seasons as a Yamaha partner, Oliveira's success is also KTM's second victory of the season to firmly establish itself as a front-running MotoGP contender week-in, week-out.

Miller collected himself for a second place finish, leaving Espargaro a frustrated third on what is nonetheless a hugely successful day for KTM on home soil.

Mir had to settle for a disappointed fourth place having led for much of the contest, while Andrea Dovizioso couldn't mount the victory challenge he cruised to a week earlier, the Ducati man just adrift in fifth place.

Alex Rins picked up more solid points in sixth position, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami, who battled hard towards the front initially only to fade back to seventh position on the LCR Honda..

With only five seconds covering the top ten at the chequered flag, Brad Binder led home Valentino Rossi and Iker Lecuona, the latter ensuring all four KTMs filled top ten positions. 

Elsewhere, Johann Zarco put in a fighting performance on the Avintia Ducati having started from the pit-lane, the Frenchman working his way back up to 14th position, one spot behind Fabio Quartararo, who suffered another difficult weekend on the Petronas SRT Yamaha en route to 14th.

His lead in the standings has thus been reduced to three points over Dovizioso.

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