Quartararo Secures Strong Third Place at 2021 Styrian MotoGP
The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team took another strong finish at the 2021 Grand Prix of Styria. After a red flag on lap 3, the Frenchman Fabio Quatararo rode his Yamaha M1 to third place on the podium. Maverick Viñales, who initially started strongly, stalled on the restart, ultimately causing the Spaniard to start and end Race 2 in pit lane.
Quartararo’s performance rivals his best previous result in Austria, and the third place finish extends his championship lead to 40 points. Both he and Viñales had a good start to the race from third and ninth on the grid, respectively. They were in third and fifth on the first lap, part of a busy seven-rider pack when red flags came out on lap 3 following a fiery crash.
The incident between Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Savadori halted the race for safety reasons as flaming fuel streamed across the track, requiring a lengthy clean-up. Once reopened, a quick restart saw the riders resume their original starting positions for a shorter 27-lap race.
Another good start by Quartararo saw him finish the first lap in fourth, but he had to put it all on the line to defend his position against Ducati rider, Johann Zarco. Not only did he fend off Zarco but also Jack Miller to take third.
With a 1.479sec gap ahead of him to second, El Diablo applied the heat but couldn’t close in on the front runners. Miller crashed out with 10 laps remaining, leaving Quartararo to finish the race alone, crossing the finish line 9.632sec from first.
“The goal was to finish on the podium and we did it!” said Quartararo. “It feels so good, even when there’s a tough red flag.”
Viñales’ dream start in Race 1 wouldn’t be repeated. His bike stalled between the sighting and warm-up lap for the restart. As a result, he had to start from pit lane. On lap 8, he caught Cal Crutchlow to take 20th, then picked off Luca Marini three laps later. Top Gun was finally in his flow but then received a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits. He executed the punishment quickly but fell to last place again.
Down on his luck, Viñales kept going to collect dry track data. With 11 laps remaining, he passed Crutchlow again for 19th and Miller’s crash gave him another position. With four laps to go, he lost a place to Crutchlow again, and had to pull into the pits and the end of the last lap to finish through pit lane in 19th place.
“We started the first race really well,” Viñales said. “I was fighting at the front but during the second race, I didn’t have the same feeling. We changed tires but the bike spun the tire so much. Problems kept me from going up the order.”
Quartararo continues to lead the championship standings with a 40-point advantage and 172 points total; Viñales is still in sixth with 95 points. Yamaha remains first place in the manufacturer standings with 200 points, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is also first with 267 points in the team standings.
Quartararo and Viñales return to Austrian Spielberg Circuit this weekend (August 13-15) for the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich.