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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.

Marquez perfects wet-to-dry tire switch for dominant Brno MotoGP win

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Marc Marquez swept to his third win of the 2017 MotoGP season in Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix after perfecting the switch from wet to slick tires and leapfrogging the field when they pitted.

Marquez started from pole at Brno, only to drop back through the field after electing to fit his Repsol Honda bike with soft wet rear tire.

The Spaniard was brought into the pits to make the switch for slicks early, with a drying line soon appearing and the rest of the field following suit in the laps that followed.

Marquez had been able to lay down a quick enough pace in order to vault to the front of the pack once the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Johann Zarco had pitted, regaining P1 on Lap 6 and staying out in front to the checkered flag.

Marquez ultimately crossed the line with a 12-second advantage over Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, while Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales was a further six seconds back in third place.

Valentino Rossi took P4 after a late pass on Cal Crutchlow, the Honda satellite rider left to settle for fifth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

Brothers Aleix and Pol Espargaro were eighth and ninth respectively, while Jonas Folger completed the top 10 for Tech3. Despite leading early on, Ducati’s Lorenzo eventually finished 40 seconds back in 15th place.

Marquez’s victory extends his championship advantage to 14 points over Viñales, with Dovizioso sitting a further seven back for Ducati in third.

Spanish motorcycle legend Angel Nieto dies aged 70

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Thirteen-time motorcycle world champion Angel Nieto has died at the age of 70 from injuries sustained in a road accident earlier this week.

Nieto was struck by a car after falling off his quad bike, suffering severe head injuries that led to him being placed in a medically-induced coma.

Nieto’s condition worsened earlier this week, with his passing being announced in a statement from MotoGP released on Thursday evening.

“Spanish motorcycling legend Angel Nieto sadly passed away on August 3rd, succumbing to injuries sustained in a quad bike accident in Ibiza some days before,” the statement reads.

“A true giant of the sport in Spain and on the world stage, the Champion from Zamora will be deeply missed.

“Nieto was a 13-time World Champion, but due to superstition would always refer to the number as 12 + 1. Born in Castile and Leon in 1947, the Spaniard would emerge as the leading force in establishing his nation as a motorcycling world power, winning an incredible 90 Grands Prix and taking 139 podiums on his way to his 12 + 1 world titles.

“Over almost two decades, Nieto set his name in stone as a true great, competing in and often dominating the 50cc, 80cc and 125cc events and Championships he entered.

“This dominance and brilliance over 19 years at the top established him as one of the all-time elite – alongside the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Mike Hailwood and Phil Read in the annals of two-wheeled history.

“Six 50cc World Championships and seven on 125cc machinery also make Nieto the rider to have won the most titles with different manufacturers, as the Spaniard rode for and won on Derbi, Bultaco, Garelli, Minarelli and Kreidler machinery.

“He also took domestic titles in every conceivable class from 50cc up to 750cc in his native Spain, setting his legend in stone at home as well as on the world stage.

“His cavalier charisma and character were a great reflection of the late 1960s and ‘70s, with his personality more than matching his achievements on-track.

“Later Nieto was also a team manager, at the helm when Emilio Alzamora won the 125 World Championship in 1999, and became the head of a motorcycling dynasty as family members followed his path into the world of two wheels.

“The Nieto name remains synonymous with Spanish motorcycling and the 12 + 1 World Champion will be deeply missed; forever remaining an inspiration to his nation and to the entire MotoGP paddock.”

Marquez takes Sachsenring MotoGP victory as Folger stars

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Marc Marquez continued his incredible record at the Sachsenring by taking his eighth consecutive world championship victory in Sunday’s MotoGP race, albeit after a serious challenge from rookie Jonas Folger.

Marquez extended his pole record at the Sachsenring on Saturday after leading qualifying, and stayed out front in the early part of the race with Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa in tow.

After picking off Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, Folger managed to fight past both Honda riders on his satellite Yamaha bike, hitting the head of the pack six laps in.

Folger’s hopes of a fairytale victory on home soil were dashed when he ran deep at Turn 1 five laps later, allowing Marquez to move back past.

The German rider stayed within sight of the leader through the remainder of the race and applied pressure, only for his tires to fade late on and leave him to settle for P2 at the flag.

The victory for Marquez continues his stunning record at the Sachsenring across all three rungs of the motorcycle world championship ladder, having claimed every pole and victory on offer at the track dating back to 2010 when he raced in the 125 cc class.

Marquez also moved back into the lead of the MotoGP riders’ championship with the win, running five points clear of Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales, who could only finish fourth in Germany behind Pedrosa.

Valentino Rossi finished fifth on the second factory Yamaha ahead of Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro, while previous points leader Andrea Dovizioso ailed to eighth place at the checkered flag. Johann Zarco and Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10.

MotoGP now embarks on its summer break, returning in one month’s time at Brno in the Czech Republic.

Marquez clinches eighth straight Sachsenring pole in MotoGP qualifying

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Marc Marquez swept to his eighth consecutive pole position at the Sachsenring on Saturday in the MotoGP qualifying session for the German Grand Prix as both Repsol Honda bikes hit the front row of the grid.

Embroiled in a close championship fight with Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, Marquez secured a key victory by taking pole while all of his rivals struggled.

Marquez turned in a fastest lap of 1:27.302 to finish 0.160 seconds clear of Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci, who was the lead Ducati rider in P2.

Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, took third place, while LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was fourth ahead of Jonas Folger and Jorge Lorenzo.

On a difficult day for the three leading riders in the championship, Rossi was 1.3 seconds off the pace in P9 ahead of Dovizioso and Viñales, who followed in 10th and 11th respectively.

By taking pole, Marquez has now started all of his last eight races at the Sachsenring from pole position, stretching across all three categories of the motorcycle world championships.

RESULTS: MotoGP German Grand Prix qualifying