After a three-week summer break, the MotoGP teams return to the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit in Austria with renewed energy to take on the competition this weekend at round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship.
This Sunday the Spielberg circuit will host its first MotoGP Grand Prix in 19 years, with Spain’s Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) fervently hoping he can extend his championship lead.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have already had a first taste of the only 10 corners comprising this track during the two-day test three weeks ago.
Having been deprived from their YZR-M1s over the summer break, they are eager to head back to Austria this week to reunite with their bikes and prepare for the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.
Lorenzo booked steady progress during the first testing days in Spielberg and he aims to build on the already promising set up of his bike this week to make a strong comeback at the start of the second half of the season. Being in second place with a 48-point gap to close to current championship leader Marquez, defending champion Lorenzo’s fighting spirit is as strong as ever and he is determined to give his all during the rest of the season.
Lorenzo’s team-mate, Rossi, had already ridden at the circuit before and secured his first ever podium at the Red Bull Ring for a third place in the 125cc class in 1996. This weekend he aims to visit the Austrian rostrum again and reduce the current 59-point margin to first place in the championship rankings. The summer break gave the nine-times World Champion time to unwind so he returns to the scene ready for action.
The Red Bull Ring – Spielberg circuit was originally built in 1969 and was rebuilt in 1996 to the track-layout it still has today. Its unique design of three left and seven right corners and a 626m longest straight puts the emphasis on top speed, acceleration and braking stability, which allows the riders plenty of opportunities to fully open the throttle and put on a show for the Austrian fans.
“After the summer break we get back into action in Spielberg, a place we were able to check out for the first time three weeks ago during a two-days-test,” said Lorenzo.
“I spent a few days’ time on the Balearic Islands to relax but then I started to train again to get in the best shape to face the second half of the season. It’s true that the situation is difficult because Marc is slightly ahead in the championship but we will do our best, as every year, to try and cut the distance. We will keep fighting until the end of the championship!”
Marquez is looking forward to getting back into the action.
“A quite hectic and challenging second half of the season is about to begin, requiring our total concentration and a lot of hard work, so I also spent some time preparing myself with cycling and supermotard training,” said Marquez.
“Now I really look forward to getting back to racing my bike and to riding again at the Red Bull Ring. I had the chance to enjoy this amazing track twice, even if I wasn’t riding my factory bike and of course I couldn’t push as much as I like. It’s a circuit that’s quite enjoyable; some things about it remind me of Austin in that you have to brake very hard and stop the bike and turn quickly, but then there’s the last part that’s faster. I think it’s a good track for the World Championship and I can’t wait to ride there with a MotoGP bike.”
Third in the series standings, Rossi feels similarly rested and ready for action again.
“It was a long break. I certainly rested a lot! I went on holiday but I continued to train,” said Rossi.
“Now, however, I really want to get back on the track and do my best in this second half of the season. We have done good races up to this point. Some of them could have been better but we have proven that we’re fast. The Austrian circuit is very nice and the tests went pretty well. The two long straights don’t help us much, but during the race weekend we still have time to improve. We will do our best to get onto the podium.”
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Riders’ World Championship standings:
- Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 170 points
- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 122 points (-48)
- Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 111 points (-59)
- Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 96 points (-74)
- Maverick Viñales SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 83 points (-87)
- Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 72 points (-98)
- Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 65 points (-105)
- Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 63 points (-107)
- Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 59 points (-111)
- Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 53 points (-117)
- Aleix Espargaro SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 51 points (-119)
- Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 45 points (-125)
- Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 42 points (-128)
- Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 40 points (-130)
- Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 37 points (-133)
- Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 35 points (-135)
- Alvaro Bautista SPA Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 35 points (-135)
- Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 24 points (-146)
- Michele Pirro ITA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 19 points (-151)
- Tito Rabat SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 18 points (-152)
- Loris Baz FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 8 points (-162)
- Yonny Hernandez COL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 3 points (-167)