Alex Marquez charges from the back of the grid at…

The strong comeback of the former Moto2 and Moto3 world champion followed a remarkable Moto2 race, in which Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and teammate Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) achieved a historic double.

Marquez’s run made up for a crash in yesterday afternoon’s Q1 qualifying session which prevented him from setting a fast lap, so he had to start the race from the back line of the grid, at the 25th place.

The 26-year-old Spaniard kept a cool head for the race, staying calm and composed before the start, already plotting ways to improve once the race started. It is a fast circuit, with several slow corners following fast straights, so there are plenty of overtaking opportunities and the youngster took advantage of them.

At the end of the first lap, Marquez finds himself in 20th place. From there it continued onward, around this popular circuit nestled in the Styrian Alps, where 92,000 fans turned out to watch the action on race day. He entered the points just before halfway and snatched 14th place from a rival on the very last lap.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) missed the score by just over a second, taking the checkered flag in 16th place. The 30-year-old Spaniard started from 15th on the grid, alongside 14th fastest Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V).

During the race, Espargaro had some problems with the arm pump and also with the rear wheel drive when exiting the corners. Because the Red Bull Ring features such ferocious acceleration through low-speed corners, drivers are given different tires for this event, with a harder carcass and therefore slightly less grip.

The Red Bull Ring is also the heaviest braking circuit in MotoGP, which can lead to overheating of the front tyres, especially when riders find themselves in the peloton, behind several other bikes, all emitting massive heat.

This is the situation Nakagami found himself in. His front tire overheated and the pressure increased, which changed the profile and therefore reduced grip. The 30-year-old from Chiba was trying to manage the situation and pick up some points when he lost the front when braking at Turn 7 on lap ten. The former Moto2 race winner was uninjured in the fall and will be ready to make amends at the next race.

Honda MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), replacing Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), finished the race in 17th position, a few seconds behind Espargaro. The 32-year-old German will take everything he learned from this weekend and use it to help improve the performance of the current RC213V.

MotoGP now has two races remaining in Europe – the San Marino and Aragon GPs – before riders and teams fly east to Japan, for the first Japanese GP since 2019, at Twin Ring Motegi, north of Tokyo.

About Rachelle Roosevelt

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