Francesco Bagnaia wins third straight MotoGP, takes more points from Fabio Quartararo after Austrian GP


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.

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

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It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway