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

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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.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III