Miguel Oliveira wins three-way battle in last corner for first MotoGP victory

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Miguel Oliveira earned his first victory in premier series of MotoGP in dramatic fashion Sunday, passing the top two riders on the final corner of the Grand Prix of Styria.

The Portuguese rider for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team snatched the lead after a duel between Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro, becoming the first MotoGP premier class winner from his country. Miller finished second ahead of Espargaro.

“Happy and proud; there is for sure many reasons to be happy about this day,” Oliveira said in the postrace news conference. “It was a win in the home of KTM and Red Bull, so this is extra special. First one for me. Throughout the whole weekend, we (did) a good job.

“Just really happy. My feet are on the ground, but my head is for sure floating around a little bit. Feel full of happiness for not only me but my family, Portuguese fans. Everyone.”

Oliveira became the third first-time winner of a season that has been left wide open by the injury to defending series champion Marc Marquez in the season opener.

MotoGP runner-up Jack Miller (right) and winner Miguel Oliveira share a moment on the podium after the Grand Prix of Styria (Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images).

Points leader Fabio Quartararo, who won the first two races of the season, and rookie Brad Binder also became first-time winners this year.

“I don’t know if there is any specific reason,” Oliveira said about the trend. “Just my opinion, once Marquez was out, I think all of a sudden, everyone started to feel like all of a sudden they could win races and championships. I think this feeling is still floating around a little bit.

“This is why there’s not a clear favorite for the championship fight. But I think it’s also still quite early to define that. Hopefully in the next few races, we see who is more consistently on the podium and making more points, because at the end, that’s what is going to make the difference.”

Through five races, Quartararo holds a three-point lead (70-67) in the championship standings over Andrea Dovizioso, who won last week’s race in Austria.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.