Brad Binder wins a chaotic 2021 Austrian MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring after braving pouring rain on slick tyres, while Francesco BagnaiaJorge Martin and Joan Mir carved through to second, third and fourth on wets!

Bagnaia, who led for much of the 'dry' race, would have needed just one more lap to pass Binder but the South African was rewarded for being the only member of the lead group to stay out on slicks and celebrated his second MotoGP win.

The likes of Iker Lecuona, Luca Marini and Valentino Rossi also rode through the rain on slicks and held podium places in the final laps, before being caught and passed by those on wets.

Rain drops began falling as the riders sat on the grid, prompting Marc Marquez to switch to a soft rear slick, on the assumption that the weather would worsen. All other riders stuck with the medium or hard rubber.

By the midway stage meaningful rain had stayed away but Marquez showed no signs of fading on the soft, completing a close leading trio behind Bagnaia and title leader Fabio Quartararo.

The Repsol Honda rider then returned to second when Quartararo ran wide with 8 laps to go. Only Bagnaia now stood between Marquez and potentially a first-ever win at the Red Bull Ring - and when the rain drops began falling once again, Marquez momentarily took the lead from Bagnaia.

But this time the rain was heavy enough to send the likes of Jack Miller and Alex Rins into the pits for their wet bikes, with five laps to go, while the slowing lead group suddenly expanded to six riders!

Marquez initially mastered the chaos to edge clear of the pack as the rain intensified, but with four laps to go he was joined by Bagnaia, Quartararo, Martin and Mir in pitting for wets, leaving Binder leading from Aleix Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami and Rossi.

With two laps to go Rossi briefly climbed into a podium place, but the pouring rain meant anything could still happen.

Marquez led the 'wet' group in tenth place, but 33sec from Binder and then fell at Turn 1 on the penultimate lap, leaving Bagnaia as the top 'wet' rider. But the Italian was forced to wait for his first MotoGP win after being left 13s behind the brilliant Binder at the flag, a margin later reduced to 9.9s by a track limits penalty for the race winner. UPDATE: 3-second penalty later reversed.

Pole man and last sunday's winner Martin was 1.5s behind Bagnaia and 1.0s ahead of Mir's Suzuki.

Johann Zarco crashed out before the rain, handing a further boost to Fabio Quartararo's title lead, despite the Yamaha rider dropping from the victory battle to eighth in the closing lap chaos. Bagnaia and Mir are now Quartararo's closest world championship rivals.

Team-mate Maverick Vinales was suspended from this weekend's race by Yamaha 'due to the unexplained irregular operation of the motorcycle' during last Sunday's Styria MotoGP, rumoured to mean deliberate over-revving of the bike.

The Spaniard made a public apology on Saturday, but it is unclear if he will be allowed back on an M1 next time at Silverstone.

Michelin changed the hard front tyre option after an issue for Miguel Oliveira in last Sunday's Styrian race.

Cal Crutchlow was making the second of three planned appearances as a replacement for the injured Franco Morbidelli at Petronas Yamaha.

Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori was absent due to an ankle injury in last Sunday's fiery accident with Dani Pedrosa.

The back-to-back Austrian events were the first since the start of the Covid pandemic without special restrictions in place for spectator numbers.

A chicane will be added to slow down the fast Turn 2 kink next season.

The British MotoGP at Silverstone takes place in two weeks' time.

Austrian MotoGP, Red Bull Ring - Race Results
PosRiderNatTeamTime/Diff
1Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)40m 43.928s
2Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)+12.991s
3Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+14.570s
4Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+15.623s
5Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia Ducati (GP19)*+17.831s
6Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+17.952s
7Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+19.650s
8Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+20.150s
9Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+20.692s
10Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)+21.270s
11Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)+28.144s
12Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+28.193s
13Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+28.603s
14Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+33.642s
15Marc MarquezSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+38.459s
16Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+43.384s
17Cal CrutchlowGBRPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+55.950s
 Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)DNF
 Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)DNF
 Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Ducati (GP19)*DNF
 

* Rookie

By Peter McLaren