Francesco Bagnaia kept the pressure on the 2022 title fight by winning his third straight the MotoGP Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring, but the points’ leader Fabio Quartararo counter-punched with second-place finish to avoid losing too much ground.
For the first time in his career, Bagnaia was able to win three consecutive MotoGP races following his Dutch and Bristish GP triumphs, while Quartararo was forced to overcome a modest start. In the previous two rounds, disastrous performances for Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro, who currently sits second in the points, put Bagnaia within 44 of the leader.
Bagnaia will continue need help if he wants to climb to the top of the charts since his 44-point deficit with seven rounds remaining means he needs to make up a little more than six points per race in a division that has a five-point separation from first to second. But Bagnaia is doing all he can for now, logging five victories in the last eight rounds. Unfortunately, he failed to finish the other three rounds, giving up major points in the process.
In the Austrian GP, Bagnaia left nothing to the imagination. He grabbed the MotoGP holeshot over Enea Bastianini and led all the way to the checkers.
Meanwhile, Quartararo’s start was not great. Crossing the line sixth at the end of the first lap, it appeared as if Bagnaia would continue to make significant inroads into the championship hunt. Espargaro also struggled off the line and finished Lap 7 in seventh.
In contact with a podium finish on Lap 11 of 28, Quartararo charged through the field. With eight to go, Quartararo caught Bagnaia’s teammate Jack Miller for second and made a bold pass in the chicane four laps later. After sweeping into the runner-up position, Quartararo steadily cut into the lead, ending the day less than a half second behind Bagnaia.
Finishing sixth, Espargaro failed to podium for the fifth consecutive time. With only one victory on the season, he trails the leader by 32 points with seven races remaining. Bagnaia is only 12 back in third.
In Moto2, Ai Ogura scored his second win of the season over Somkiat Chantra in second and England’s Jake Dixon in third. With the win, he and slipped into the points lead by a slim margin of one over Augusto Fernandez, who finished eight seconds behind in fifth.
Meanwhile, Americans Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts battled to be the best rider sport the red, white, and blue as they finished nose-to-tail in 13th and 14th respectively.
A race that gave us plenty to talk about! 🏁
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 23, 2022