Andrea Dovizioso won Sunday’s crash-affected Austrian MotoGP, shortly after announcing he will quit the Ducati team at the end of the season. Picture: REUTERS
Andrea Dovizioso won Sunday’s crash-affected Austrian MotoGP, shortly after announcing he will quit the Ducati team at the end of the season. Picture: REUTERS

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will miss this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix as he continues his recovery from a broken arm.

The Spaniard has already missed three races due to the injury he suffered in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez last month. He will continue to be replaced by German rider Stefan Bradl.

Six times MotoGP champion Marquez has yet to score this season and is 67 points behind Petronas Yamaha’s leader, Fabio Quartararo.

This Sunday’s fifth round of the championship will take place at the same Red Bull Ring that hosted last weekend’s Austrian MotoGP.

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso won the action-packed race which was stopped for 20 minutes after a dramatic high-speed crash between Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha and the Avintia Ducati of Johann Zarco.

The red flag came out after Morbidelli and Zarco collided with each other and both riders walked away from the crash relatively unscathed, with their cartwheeling bikes narrowly missing Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Dovizioso, who said on Saturday that he won’t renew his contract with Ducati next year, took the chequered flag in the restarted race after leader Alex Rins crashed his Suzuki.

Ducati have won every race since the Red Bull Ring was introduced on the calendar in 2016. It was the Italian rider’s third victory on the track having won in 2017 and 2019 while it was Ducati’s 50th premier-class win.

The Italian team lost out on a one-two finish when Suzuki’s Joan Mir took second place on the final lap when Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller ran wide. Miller finished third, ahead of SA’s Brad Binder on a Red Bull KTM who made impressive progress through the field after qualifying 17th. Binder won the previous round in the Czech Republic, his debut MotoGP victory.

Rossi shook off his earlier near-miss with a fifth-place finish in Austria. Quartararo was eighth after an early mistake caused him to rejoin at the back of the field, but still leads the championship.

Points standings: Quartararo (67), Divizioso (56), Vinales (48), Binder (41).

 

LEWIS KEEPS NOTCHING UP THE RECORDS

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won in Spain for the fourth consecutive year on Sunday to celebrate a record 156th podium finish and stretch his already commanding lead to 37 points.

Hamilton is now just three wins short of Michael Schumacher's record 91. Picture: REUTERS
Hamilton is now just three wins short of Michael Schumacher's record 91. Picture: REUTERS

The victory from pole position on a sweltering afternoon at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, in a race without spectators due to the pandemic, was the 88th of the Mercedes driver’s career, and one of the more straightforward.

The six-times champion lapped all but the top three in a race that offered few thrills other than for fans of tyre management.

Hamilton is now just three wins short of Michael Schumacher’s record 91, and the podium ended another of the German’s records that he had shared with the Briton since the previous Sunday at Silverstone.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s closest challenger after six races and winner of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, finished runner-up but a huge 24.177 seconds behind.

Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, having taken the fastest lap after a late stop for fresh tyres, in another big setback for the Finn.

Verstappen has now beaten Bottas in the last four races and been second to Hamilton in three of them. Hamilton has 132 points to Verstappen’s 95, with Bottas falling further behind on 89.

Sebastian Vettel salvaged seventh for Ferrari after doing close to 40 laps on one set of soft tyres, while his teammate Charles Leclerc was the sole retirement in the race due to a suspected electrical problem.

The next round is the Belgian Grand Prix on August 30.

 

F1’S FASTEST DRIVER ALGORITHM STIRS DEBATE

Formula One found the quickest route to an argument on Tuesday by publishing a list of fastest drivers, produced by an algorithm.

An algorithm chose Ayrton Senna as the best F1 driver of all time. Lower down the order, the results were more controversial. Picture: REUTERS
An algorithm chose Ayrton Senna as the best F1 driver of all time. Lower down the order, the results were more controversial. Picture: REUTERS

The late Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna won, based on machine learning technology provided by official partner Amazon Web Services and comparing qualifying performances between team mates.

Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher was rated 0.114 seconds slower while six-times champion Lewis Hamilton, who boasts a record 92 pole positions, was third (0.275) and Max Verstappen fourth (0.280).

Other names jarred in comparison to such high achievers, with the list, fuelling an age-old debate and mainly for entertainment, swiftly derided on social media.

Heikki Kovalainen, who bowed out of Formula One in 2013 with one pole position and one win after 111 starts including two years at McLaren in Hamilton’s shadow, ranked a surprising eighth.

In terms of success, Kovalainen does not rank even among Formula One’s top three Finns.

Italian Jarno Trulli, another one-race winner who was famed for qualifying well and then holding up a string of faster cars at the head of a “Trulli Train” during the race, came in ninth.

Four-times world champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost were 10th and 20th respectively.

“Just when you think 2020 couldn’t get any worse for Seb he comes out in 10th stuck behind Jarno Trulli,” quipped one fan on Twitter in a nod to Vettel’s current woes at Ferrari.

Champions Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen did not feature but McLaren’s Lando Norris, in only his second season, was 15th.

Despite Formula One talking up the “fastest driver of all time”, the ranking also featured data only from 1983 to the present day — just over half of the sport’s 70 championship seasons.

The Formula One website said the algorithm gave a higher ranking to drivers who either dominated team mates in qualifying or showed up well against strong team mates.

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