An absolute blockbuster from the second date at the Red Bull Ring had us on the edge of our seats in a Race of the Century contender
One week on from a maiden premier class victory from pole, Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin was ready to do it all over again after securing P1 on the grid in qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix. Round 11 of the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship was the second of a doubleheader at the Red Bull Ring and will be best remembered for a simply spellbinding if unbelievable, flag-to-flag finale.
As riders lined up on the grid, the threat of rain lurked as dark clouds loomed large with claps of thunder in the distance. Slicks were the tyre of choice as the lights went out, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) grappling with the Ducatis to eventually join Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in a lead group that began to break away at the half-way point. The three-way tussle for the lead was already giving the capacity crowd plenty of on-track entertainment before another twist in the story came.
With just five laps remaining, the specks of rain seen across the rolling Styrian mountains had turned into a full-blown shower, drenching the tarmac and allowing a chasing trio of Martin, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) back into the victory fight. Two laps later, five frontrunners entered pitlane to switch bikes, while KTM’s Binder, incredibly, decided to stay out.
From there, it was scarcely believable what was happening on-track. Marquez emerged from pitlane in the lead but crashed out soon after while Valentino Rossi temporarily sat among the podium places. With just a few corners to go, it was pouring down and remaining upright was a struggle for most riders, while Bagnaia and Martin began to eat up the ground and close in on the podium places. At the front, however, it was a bold Brand Binder who crawled over the line to take the chequered flag first.
A truly thrilling finale and you can relive the chaotic finish below.
UNMISSABLE: The sensational final four laps from Austria