Austrian GP 2021 preview: The second battle in Styria… without Viñales

With hardly any time to recover from the excitement of the Styrian GP last week, the Spielberg Circuit plays host again this weekend (13-15 August) to the second consecutive round of the World Championship. The MotoGP Austrian GP 2021, and 11th round of the calendar, promises a new thrilling battle with the Ducati as the top favourites.

But the most important news ahead of the event is the absence of Maverick Viñales. His team, Yamaha, announced  that the Spaniard´s entry to this weekend had been withdrawn on Thursday. His suspension by the Japanese team due to the unexplained irregular operation of the M1 by the rider during last Sunday´s Styria MotoGP race.

Jorge Martín wants to win again

The Red Bull Ring remains the impenetrable stronghold of Ducati since Austria returned to the Championship in 2016. Whatever happens this upcoming Sunday one thing is certain, starting on Friday, all eyes will be on Jorge Martín. The Pramac Racing rookie from Madrid is on top of the world after taking his first MotoGP win at the last appointment, also his second podium of the season after Doha.

The pace of the Spaniard onboard his Italian machine was unattainable for his rivals. The top speed of his Ducati will be key again this weekend and both his skill and machine make him a very serious candidate to win again.  

Joan Mir & Suzuki target first win of the season

Another of the great protagonists of the previous race, Joan Mir, will also arrive at the Austrian MotoGP 2021 in great spirits. The improvement on his Suzuki, which had the rear holeshot incorporated for Styria, aided the pilot from Majorca in the conquest of his second consecutive podium, fourth of the season, at the Red Bull Ring last week.

The Spaniard gave everything he had for his GSX-RR to keep up the pace until the end, despite the disadvantage of his lower top speed as compared to the GP2.

Ducati need to win at ‘home’

As for the Ducati official team, they must get back up after their Styrian failure. They cannot allow for a satellite bike to steal their victory again, particularly at a track where they have always reigned unrivaled. 

Pecco Bagnaia, who was let down by the poor performance of his tires in Styria, lost nine places to finish eleventh. The disastrous result demoted him from third to fourth in the Drivers’ standings with 114 points, seven less than Joan Mir (Suzuki), now third. The Italian still hasn’t been able to take a first MotoGP win in his three years competing at the top category. 

His partner Jack Miller, however, offered an even more disappointing performance. The Australian pilot got his second consecutive zero, and third of the season, last week when he crashed while chasing third place.

His irregular performance is gradually stripping him off the lead role that he was hired to play. Following that disaster, he fell to fifth place in the standings with 100 points. The teammates from Borgo Panigale should really make the most from racing at their home turf and fight back. 

Quartararo vs Zarco: French battle?

Fabio Quartararo, unbothered by the many difficulties of his many rivals for the title, arrives at the Austrian MotoGP more leader than ever. After taking his seventh podium of the year, he stretched his advantage to forty points above second-classified Johann Zarco. Considering the track is not the most amicable to the M1, the man from Nice obtained a much better result than expected. 

His compatriot from Pramac Racing, on the other hand, could only manage sixth place last Sunday, losing four more points to ‘El Diablo’ in the standings. Zarco will be desperate to cut that distance back again at a racetrack where the Desmosedicis are clearly superior to the Yamahas.

Marc Márquez needs to improve

A Spaniard in dire straits is Marc Márquez. The six-time champion has not quite regained his usual rhythm following his very serious injury of 2019. The #93 is struggling with a Honda that seems unable to adapt to its new rear tire. This was evident in Styria where he could only take eighth place. 

Images of MotoGP Austrian GP 2021: MotoGP.

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