MotoGP Austrian GP 2021: Binder reigns among the chaos in Styria

South African Brad Binder (KTM) has been the surprise winner of this Sunday’s MotoGP Austrian GP 2021 at the Red Bull Ring, in Styria. In a risky gamble, Binder held on to his dry tires in the rain, while his rivals went to pits to replace their bikes.

The time-saving move was key to his success. This was the South African rider’s second victory of his career after his maiden win last year. Behind the #33 came Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), who took his fourth podium of the season, and poleman Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing), for whom this was the second podium after his victory of last week at the Styrian GP.

Just outside the champagne positions arrived an outstanding Joan Mir (Suzuki). The crown defender is already second in the standings. Three places down in seventh finished the current leader of the Championship. This apparently timid result is actually a success for Fabio Quartararo,winner in DohaPortugal, Italy & Holland, who tends to shipwreck in wet conditions. 

Yamaha´s French rider has given up three points to his rivals in the battle for the title after the fall of his until now maximum rival and compatriot Johann Zarco. Bagnaia and Mir have now raised to second and third place in the standings respectively. The two are in fact tied at 134 points, two ahead of Zarco, now in fourth place. 

The greatest disappointments of the day have been both Jack Miller (Ducati), eleventh, and Marc Márquez, who, as in the wet French GP, crashed after changing his bike.

Martín holds on to the lead… for a few meters 

Pole holder Jorge Martín kept first place at the start ahead of Bagnaia and Quartararo, who was third, after brushing Martín in those early stages of the race at MotoGP Austrian GP 2021. Before the first lap was completed, a light rain appeared, and the Austrian MotoGP 2021 was declared ‘flag to flag’. Despite those first drops of water, the riders remained on the track awaiting instructions. 

After the second lapBagnaia had taken the lead ahead of Zarco, Marc, and Martín. Meanwhile, Quartararo struggled to keep up in fifth place but for the sake of the title, he managed to hold on and not succumb to his perils.

With 20 laps left to goBagnaia and an already recovered Quartararoembroiled in a beautiful duel for the lead. Behind them, Marc kept his position as he waited for his moment, which was to come with ten laps to go.

The Catalan pilot took advantage of a mistake by Quartararo to get ahead of him. At the same time, Martín and an unexpected Mir were approaching the head of the pack.

The rain brings chaos    

The decisive moment came with seven laps remaining, as the rain started to fall hard on the Red Bull Ring. Three laps later, all members of the dominating group (Bagnaia, Quartararo, Martín, Mir, and Márquez) pitted to change their bikes. A few brave pilots, however, decided to stay on the track. Among them were Binder, Íker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM) and Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia). Racing on the wet tarmac with slick tires poses a considerable challenge.

In the end, the South African was the one to reap the fruits of his risky bet. Meanwhile, Bagnaia came back from behind to finish secondahead of Martín. Quartararo managed a seventh place to conserve his lead of the standings and Marc finished eight places below after his umpteenth fall.

Images of MotoGP Austrian GP 2021: KTM.

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