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Dovizioso edges Marquez in MotoGP Austrian thriller

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Some finishes at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria that have seen the lead change hands on the last corner of the last lap – see Michael Schumacher over Rubens Barrichello in the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix – are memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Others, such as today’s MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix, are memorable for all the right ones. Today it was Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso who wrote a spellbinding final chapter to an otherwise scintillating race, holding off a last-lap, last-turn gasp from Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to secure the victory.

The two exchanged positions quite a number of times throughout the race but it was Dovizioso who held on by just 0.176 of a second for the win, his third of the season, after a gripping fight.

You can see the final corner of the race in a slo-mo video linked here.

Dani Pedrosa took third in the second of the Repsol Hondas, a few seconds in arrears.

Marquez now leads Dovizioso by 16 points, 174-158, after this result in the championship battle. Marquez won last week at Brno in the Czech Republic but today’s result sees Dovizioso regain some of the points lost there.

The series’ next race is at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.

Dovizioso doubles up with MotoGP win at Barcelona

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After Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati scored a stunning, surprise and starring victory on both rider and manufacturer’s home soil in Mugello, Italy last week, Dovizioso doubled up on Sunday with his second win of the year at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday.

Dovizioso is the first Ducati rider to win back-to-back races since Casey Stoner in 2010, and did so Sunday in Spain after hounding the Repsol Honda teammates before getting around them.

First passing Marc Marquez and then Dani Pedrosa, Dovizioso made it through to the lead and would hold them both off the remainder of the race.

Marquez came second with Pedrosa third, with second Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco completing the top five finishers.

Dovizioso later explained that the race came down to tire management at the notoriously abrasive Barcelona circuit.

“We realized the grip was so bad and the rear tire consumption so high, that we shouldn’t just focus on the speed. And when we started the race, no one could push because everyone had to save the tire a lot,” Dovizioso said.

“I overtook a few riders and was behind Dani, and decided to stay there. He saved the rear tyre well, and I did, but I was able to conserve the front. I didn’t know what was going on behind or if someone was able to catch us because our pace wasn’t very high.

“Ten laps to the end I tried to push but when I got to the front I realized my tire was finished! But it was the same for them, too. It’s a strange feeling because I’ve never won by not pushing 100%!”

With this result and with points leader Maverick Viñales finishing only 10th, Dovizioso has closed to within seven points in the championship, now in second place (111-104).

Marquez (88), Pedrosa (84) and Valentino Rossi (83) are all within striking distance but need the top two to have an off weekend to catch up that gap.

MotoGP resumes in two weeks’ time at Assen in the Netherlands.

Dovizioso, Ducati take memorable home MotoGP win at Mugello

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Andrea Dovizioso led Ducati to its first home MotoGP victory in eight years on Sunday with a controlled display in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

On a day that saw Italian riders take victories in all three world championship classes, Dovizioso charged from third on the grid to score Ducati’s first win of the season, breaking Yamaha and Honda’s dominance.

Dovizioso made a slow start, dropping back to fifth by the end of the second lap as old rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo battled for position at the front.

World championship leader Maverick Viñales managed to pick off Lorenzo and Yamaha teammate Rossi to take the lead by the end of Lap 4, with Dovizioso following him through.

Dovizioso managed to hit the front 10 laps later, slipping past Viñales and leaving the Spaniard in the clutches of Danilo Petrucci, who had charged all the way from ninth on the grid to find himself embroiled in the battle for second.

While Dovizioso was able to finish a second clear of the field to claim his third MotoGP win, Viñales held on to P2 to extend his championship lead, leaving Petrucci third.

Despite riding with injuries sustained in a motocross accident last week, Rossi took fourth place for Yamaha ahead of Alvaro Bautista, who was fifth and the third-fastest Ducati.

Honda’s Marc Marquez was sixth ahead of Tech3’s Johann Zarco and Lorenzo, who faded after his early charge, eventually finishing eighth. Michele Pirro and Andrea Iannone rounded out the top 10 positions at Mugello.

Lorenzo’s Ducati debut headlines MotoGP first test day in Spain

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Jorge Lorenzo’s career with Yamaha is over and his new career with Ducati has begun today, at the opening day of testing for the 2017 MotoGP World Championship season in Valencia, Spain.

Lorenzo sampled the 2016 Ducati, which was base carbon with red numbers, before his first scheduled run on the new 2017 Ducati tomorrow. Lorenzo signed with Ducati earlier this year.

You can see a couple quick videos of that, via the official MotoGP Twitter, below:

Indeed it’s Lorenzo’s replacement at Movistar Yamaha GP, Maverick Vinales, who topped the timesheets on the opening day of testing though. Vinales, on the No. 25 bike, clocked in a best time of 1:30.930 to edge teammate and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi by just 0.02 of a second.

Rossi survived a crash and will get back going tomorrow.

“With the new chassis the first feeling was OK, but after unfortunately I crashed because I put the hard tyre on the front, which on the right side doesn‘t give enough grip for our bike,” he told MotoGP.com. “I damaged the bike and I didn‘t have enough time to try it again, so now the guys are working and I will try the new chassis some other time tomorrow and we will see.”

A full report from the official MotoGP website is linked here.

Dovizioso takes MotoGP victory in Malaysia, becomes ninth winner of 2016

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Andrea Dovizioso picked up his second MotoGP victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix to become the ninth different winner of the 2016 season, setting a new record for the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Dovizioso scored the fifth pole position of his MotoGP career on Saturday at the Sepang International Circuit, but dropped back to third on the first lap as Valentino Rossi hit the front of the pack for Yamaha on a drenched track.

Rossi was joined at the sharp end of the field by Dovizioso’s Ducati teammate, Andrea Iannone, who took the lead on lap two as he went in pursuit of his second win of the year.

Dovizioso was left with world champion Marc Marquez and Australian Grand Prix winner Cal Crutchlow for company, only for both to fall by the wayside. Crutchlow slid out of the race at Turn 2 to relieve some of the pressure on Dovizioso, before Marquez fell at Turn 11. The Spaniard was able to get back up, but his win hopes were over.

By this point, Dovizioso had reeled in the leading duo of Iannone and Rossi, who swapped positions with eight laps remaining. Iannone’s win hopes were ended one lap later when he also crashed out, handing second place to Dovizioso.

Putting the straight-line speed advantage of the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 bike to good use, Dovizioso was able to close right up on Rossi before capitalizing on an error made by the nine-time world champion. Rossi ran wide at Turn 1, allowing Dovizioso to move into a lead he would not relinquish.

Some seven years after his first win in MotoGP at the 2009 British Grand Prix, Dovizioso crossed the line to claim victory in Malaysia with an advantage of three seconds at the checkered flag over Rossi.

In doing so, the Italian rider became the ninth different rider to win a race in 2016, marking a new record for MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the podium on the second factory Yamaha bike, having hit the front on lap one before making an error. Hector Barbera and Loris Baz made the most of the conditions to finish fourth and fifth respectively, while Maverick Vinales ended the race sixth.

Alvaro Bautista finished seventh for Aprilia ahead of Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro, while Ducati satellite rider Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top 10. Marquez ultimately finished 11th after a rough weekend blighted by illness.

The final round of the 2016 MotoGP season takes place in Valencia, Spain on November 13.