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10 issues we realized from the 2023 MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix

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Francesco Bagnaia’s complete dominance of the Austrian Grand Prix was only one storyline in an eventful weekend for MotoGP.

The Ducati rider now leads the championship by 62 factors after registering his third dash/grand prix double of the 2023 season.

An honest problem from KTM and Brad Binder wasn’t sufficient to throw Bagnaia off his perch, nevertheless it a minimum of confirmed why the Austrian model was eager to signal the South African to a contract by means of to the top of 2026.

Elsewhere, chaos within the dash race led to extra criticism of the FIM’s stewarding in MotoGP – a subject all of us hoped banished after the early-season fallouts.

Off-track, the rider market kicked into one other gear as the way forward for Johann Zarco was determined, whereas Marco Bezzecchi’s vacation spot for 2024 is quickly to be recognized.

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There was additionally a candid declaration from 2020 world champion Joan Mir that reminded us of the human toll Honda’s woes can take, whereas MotoGP’s tyre stress guidelines took the blame for a boring grand prix.

With that, listed below are the ten issues we realized from the 2023 MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix.

1. Verstappen comparisons apt after good Austria weekend for Bagnaia

Bagnaia’s third dash and grand prix double has given him a 62-point within the standings

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Weekends actually don’t get significantly better for a rider than Francesco Bagnaia’s Austrian GP. At this stage of the season in 2022 the world champion was 91 factors down on standings chief Fabio Quartararo.

Quick ahead 12 months, he’s 62 factors forward of Pramac’s Jorge Martin and exhibiting no indicators of being halted. Finishing up his usually understated Friday programme, by which he focuses absolutely on setting his bike up for racing and making certain he does sufficient to achieve automated Q2 entry, Bagnaia stepped issues up on Saturday.

Scoring pole place, Bagnaia went on to lead every lap of the sprint, whereas setting the quickest lap within the course of, to win. He did the exact same thing in Sunday’s grand prix, tallying up his third spring/GP double of the season.

A key ingredient on this was Ducati’s improved begins, a growth on this space first examined out by Michele Pirro in a wildcard at Mugello, returning the Italian marque a bonus KTM has to date held in 2023.

Absorbing early stress in each races from KTM’s Brad Binder, Bagnaia proved too robust to battle, attending to the chequered flag 2.056s clear on Saturday and 5.191s forward on Sunday.

His present kind led Quartararo to liken him to Formula 1 dominator Max Verstappen, who has gained all however two grands prix in 2023 for Pink Bull.

“I feel he’s slightly bit [like] Verstappen now, as a result of I feel additionally like within the earlier years he had the most effective bike,” Quartararo stated when requested if anybody may beat Bagnaia now.

“However you’ll be able to have the most effective bike and never do the most effective outcomes. It’s a mixture and appears like proper now the mix he has with the bike, the boldness he has with the bike, when you’re successful, successful, successful you are feeling you’re unstoppable. That is the sensation he has now, he is aware of easy methods to use the bike, so proper now I don’t assume anybody will be quicker than him.”

2. Binder clearly explains KTM’s keenness to signal him long-term

Binder demonstrated why KTM has locked him down, as its only rider to finish the grand prix in the top 10

Binder demonstrated why KTM has locked him down, as its solely rider to complete the grand prix within the prime 10

Picture by: KTM Pictures

It felt like KTM’s announcement at 7:55am BST on Saturday that it had re-signed Brad Binder through to the end of 2026 was very a lot a way of providing one thing to an expectant media ready patiently for information of Pedro Acosta’s 2024 appointment (extra on that later).

Because it occurred, that was to be the one KTM rider announcement at its residence spherical. And it got here as little shock both. Binder is without doubt one of the Austrian marque’s prized belongings, a rider it has loved a lot success with since 2015 – together with its pivotal maiden MotoGP victory at Brno in 2020.

With consistency eluding the RC16 over the previous few seasons, Binder has at all times been in a position to get the most effective out of the bike, ending prime six within the standings in 2021 and 2022.

And in Austria, he proved simply why KTM was eager to safe his long-term future. Working Bagnaia onerous early within the dash and grand prix and arising with a brace of seconds was no imply feat.

While you take a look at the remainder of the KTM secure, team-mate Jack Miller light to fifteenth within the grand prix after operating within the podium battle early. The Australian struggled with a scarcity of drive grip, not helped by the stiffer tyre casing Michelin brings to Pink Bull Ring to deal with the acceleration calls for. However he additionally famous {that a} set-up change to go extra in the direction of what the remainder of the KTMs used simply doesn’t work for him.

However with Augusto Fernandez a distant 14th within the GP and Tech3 team-mate Pol Espargaro nonetheless constructing his means again from harm, Binder spared KTM from some massive blushes on residence soil.

3. New aero no magic answer for Marquez

Marc Marquez last saw the chequered flag on a Sunday at the 2022 Malaysian GP

Marc Marquez final noticed the chequered flag on a Sunday on the 2022 Malaysian GP

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

After its debut on Takaaki Nakagami’s LCR bike at Silverstone, Honda homologated the brand new aerodynamic package deal for its manufacturing unit riders in Austria.

Following a design philosophy akin to the aero KTM and Ducati makes use of, the brand new package deal is clearly exhibiting Honda is attempting to repair its points with some massive adjustments.

And whereas Marc Marquez in the end ended up along with his first Sunday end in 301 days with twelfth within the Austrian GP – something he admitted “looked like a joke” – the brand new aero was no magic bullet for HRC.

Marquez famous that it fully modified the way in which he has to experience the Honda. It supplied higher braking efficiency, however the principle Honda subject of rear traction on acceleration remained as a result of enhance in drag.

A daring choice to run the delicate rear tyre within the grand prix paid off for Marquez and truly seeing a chequered flag on Sunday is a key step ahead in HRC gaining important information.

4. Stewarding frustrations stay as consistency nonetheless absent

Inconsistent penalties from the stewards was under the spotlight once again

Inconsistent penalties from the stewards was beneath the highlight as soon as once more

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

It was an issue that marred the early a part of the season amidst the fallout from the Marquez Portugal penalty incident. And, sadly, we’re as soon as once more speaking a couple of lack of consistency from the FIM MotoGP stewards.

All of this centred the dash race. Whereas battling for third, Pramac’s Jorge Martin made contact with VR46 rider Luca Marini on the Flip 2 chicane whereas overtaking.

Marini crashed out whereas Martin went on to complete the dash third, avoiding a penalty after a quick in-race investigation. Earlier within the dash, Fabio Quartararo was concerned in an analogous incident with Aprilia wildcard Lorenzo Savadori at Flip 4.

Quartararo wasn’t as far alongside Savadori as he entered the nook, with the pair making the slightest little bit of contact that despatched the Aprilia rider down.

Marini was unhappy that Martin went unpunished but Quartararo did. Underneath present guidelines, riders are supposed to be punished for incidents with riders that both trigger them to crash or disrupt their race in a serious means.

“The issue is the consistency of the penalties, as a result of each time they modify their opinion, they modify how they apply the principles,” he added.

“So, it’s not clear. It will be nice if we may attempt to discover a answer. I feel initially of the season we have been in a state of affairs that the rules have been very strict, there have been quite a lot of penalties, even when there is no such thing as a crashes, whereas in some moments they modified and so they began to be extra free. Pushing one other rider off the monitor isn’t a penalty, like occurred in Silverstone with some riders.

“However till now there may be contact and a few crashes, each time there was a penalty. However right now, no. It’s not clear. They gave Fabio a protracted lap penalty, so why Fabio sure and never within the different event?”

However, Martin was handed a long lap penalty for the grand prix for triggering a multi-rider pile-up at Flip 1 within the dash, which he continues to really feel was unjustified. The incident concerned Marco Bezzecchi, who later stated it was “incorrect” for the stewards to not subject a penalty throughout that race when it was 14 laps lengthy and the crash occurred on the opening tour.

Whereas the assorted shifting components of that incident maybe warranted an extended investigation, the actual fact a rider concerned in hampering seven riders’ races made it to the rostrum was a nasty search for MotoGP.

A worse look is the truth that the stewards supply no transparency in any of its choices, preferring as a substitute to cover away behind its rulings.

5. Mir’s confession highlights human toll of Honda’s season

Mir made a shock revelation that he considered quitting MotoGP earlier this year

Mir made a shock revelation that he thought of quitting MotoGP earlier this 12 months

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The entire discuss Honda’s dire 2023 season has largely revolved round Marc Marquez and the way it could have an effect on his future with the Japanese marque.

And whereas it has been clear to see the anguish all of this has positioned Marquez beneath, it’s usually ignored the human toll a state of affairs like this will carry.

That was highlighted by Joan Mir’s confession prior to the Austrian GP that at factors this 12 months he has thought of strolling away from MotoGP. And whereas he is aware of he would remorse this for the remainder of his life, it’s not troublesome to see why this consideration emerged within the first place.

After 10 rounds, Mir has scored simply 5 factors. He has been injured twice, hurting his ankle in a crash in Argentina after which lacking a number of rounds with a wrist harm. It is a world champion in MotoGP, as lately as 2020, and it’s considerably forgotten that he has – in some methods – been pressured into this case.

On the time Suzuki elected to give up MotoGP on the finish of 2022, Mir – in accordance with his supervisor Paco Sanchez on the time – was near inking a brand new cope with the Japanese marque.

He’s not the one one burned by Honda in latest instances, although. Pol Espargaro told Autosport last year that the difficulties of his stint at HRC induced issues in his private life; Jorge Lorenzo, a three-time MotoGP champion, successfully had his profession ended by the RC213V as the large crashes he suffered led him down the identical thought path as Mir.

It’s by no means price making a lot of a behavior of feeling sorry for bike racers. However you’ll be able to always remember that these riders are nonetheless simply human beings.

6. Bezzecchi’s 2024 choice may go away Morbidelli in pound seat

Could Bezzecchi's lack of movement in the rider market create opportunities for others?

May Bezzecchi’s lack of motion within the rider market create alternatives for others?

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Austrian GP weekend was a hive of rider market exercise, with Marco Bezzecchi now on the centre of the subsequent massive strikes.

The double grand prix winner – who was third within the Austrian GP having been taken out within the Jorge Martin-triggered dash pile-up – has been instructed by Ducati that his solely hope of getting a factory-spec bike subsequent season is to hitch Pramac.

A spot has been vacated by Johann Zarco, however Bezzecchi’s first selection is to stick with VR46. Valentino Rossi has been “pushing” for this additionally, with Bezzecchi admitting after Sunday’s race that he has already made his decision.

Regardless of the actual fact he gained’t have a manufacturing unit bike, it’s possible he’s staying the place he’s. VR46 introduced him to MotoGP and it’s a set-up that’s clearly permitting him to flourish. And the struggles Enea Bastianini is having on the manufacturing unit crew now, having been so robust on year-old equipment at Gresini in 2022, is an efficient instance of why breaking apart a successful crew isn’t at all times appropriate.

The knock-on impact of this implies Franco Morbidelli, ousted by Yamaha for 2024 to bring in Alex Rins, may now discover himself with a factory-spec Ducati.

Morbidelli had been linked to Bezzecchi’s VR46 seat if he stepped to Pramac. With that wanting much less and fewer possible, and with Pramac’s sponsorship necessities for an Italian rider, Morbidelli is the apparent candidate.

Yamaha administration stated parting methods with Morbidelli could be good for him to discover a recent begin and rediscover his successful kind. He could be making the most effective recent begin potential.

7. Austria highlights unfavorable influence of tyre stress guidelines

MotoGP riders are feeling the pressure of a different kind of inflation rate

MotoGP riders are feeling the stress of a distinct form of inflation fee

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The 2023 Austrian GP gained’t go down as considered one of MotoGP’s most fun affairs. Wanting on the lap chart for the 28-lap grand prix, there have been just below 30 adjustments of place (not together with riders operating off monitor, serving penalties or crashing out).

Whereas it’s true that you just don’t want tons of of overtakes to make a race thrilling, there additionally wasn’t something including pressure final Sunday. Bagnaia led from begin to end and was over 5 seconds forward on the chequered flag.

Final 12 months, the successful hole was 0.492s. In 2020, 1.4s. In 2019, 0.213s. In 2018, 0.130s. In 2017, 0.176s.

The arrival of utmost aerodynamics in MotoGP hasn’t helped make the racing higher, however in Austria quite a few riders have been fast to level the finger on the new tyre stress guidelines as explanation for the procession. The 1.88 bar entrance minimal riders should run to for 50% of the GP leaves about 0.1 bar tolerance earlier than the tyre begins to trigger issues.

The huge wake from bikes forward as a result of wings plus the warmth bikes pump out results in the entrance stress going up, one thing that’s magnified in case you are not out entrance.

Jorge Martin famous that the stress window often comes at round lap 9 of a GP. However on Sunday, after the primary tour, his entrance stress was already excessive.

“For positive,” Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio stated when requested if the brand new tyre stress rule had an impact on the grand prix. “After the fifth lap, it was simply survival mode as a result of the entrance tyre stress goes up and you’re feeling quite a lot of locking and you can’t cease the bike, you can’t make overtakes, you can’t make errors or else you’ll lose the entrance. So, it’s beginning to be harmful and you need to be tremendous cautious. After which the race is sort of over, mainly.”

8. “Necessary” begin subject important for Aprilia to repair

Start problems have resurfaced for Vinales, but is it a rider issue or part of a bigger Aprilia headache?

Begin issues have resurfaced for Vinales, however is it a rider subject or a part of a much bigger Aprilia headache?

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales had fast tempo all weekend in Austria, however his return was a sixth within the grand prix and eighth within the dash race, having been pressured to get better from the Martin Flip 1 tangle within the dash.

However the Aprilia rider would by no means have been in that place had his RS-GP gotten off the road nicely from second on the grid. The identical was true on Sunday, Vinales plummeting to eleventh after the primary few corners.

Begins have been a problem for Aprilia this 12 months and it has labored to discover a answer to this, by means of up to date clutches and launch management settings. For Vinales, it is a “obligatory” repair Aprilia should make as a result of he felt the tempo he had within the grand prix was adequate to combat for the rostrum.

Austria usually is a tricky monitor for the Aprilia, and the actual fact he had the tempo he did throughout the weekend suggests there may be some reality to what Vinales says.

Nonetheless, poor begins have been a problem that plagued him throughout his Yamaha days. Whereas the malaise he used to undergo within the first half of races is gone, one has to marvel simply how a lot the bike is the difficulty and what position the rider is enjoying in it.

9. KTM’s rider logjam deepens as options operating out

Acosta still appears MotoGP bound for 2024, but how KTM fits him in remains unclear

Acosta nonetheless seems MotoGP certain for 2024, however how KTM matches him in stays unclear

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Whereas it was largely anticipated that KTM’s 2024 line-up could be introduced throughout its residence Austrian GP, nothing on this entrance surrounding the way forward for Pedro Acosta got here forth.

KTM had no selection however to activate the clause in Acosta’s contract to carry him to MotoGP, as a result of one other producer would have snapped him up in a heartbeat.

KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer told MotoGP’s world feed that it was taking a look at an answer to swimsuit all because it doesn’t need to lose any of its riders. That has led it to strive increasing its presence on the grid however to no avail.

With Binder beneath contract long-term and Jack Miller signed up by means of to the top of 2024, each Tech3 riders insist they’re staying put with their contracts in place for subsequent season.

After all, in fashionable motorsport contracts don’t imply an terrible lot (the place’s a riders’ union while you want one?) nevertheless it appears KTM goes to should half methods with considered one of its runners.

KTM CEO Stefan Pierer instructed Speedweek in the course of the Austrian GP that Espargaro and Fernandez will possible be going head-to-head at races later this season to find out who will probably be Acosta’s team-mate.

That’s not unusual. Just a few years in the past, Pramac and Ducati pitted Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci head-to-head to determine who bought the factory-spec bike for the next season. KTM’s plan, nevertheless, is considerably extra ruthless.

10. Zarco’s Honda change comprehensible given Ducati’s phrases

Zarco is set to join LCR Honda from 2024 - a partnership that should suit both sides

Zarco is about to hitch LCR Honda from 2024 – a partnership that ought to swimsuit each side

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Whereas it’s but to be made official by Honda, Johann Zarco will be an LCR rider in 2024 after confirming he has signed a two-year deal.

LCR’s first selection to switch Rins, Zarco – who raced for the crew thrice on the finish of 2019, and says discovered “a great feeling” with the Honda again then – was chosen as the one selection that made sense for each events.

Now, the Honda might not be a aggressive bike proper now. However the issues it has confronted to date and the specter of its continued fumbling doubtlessly dropping the best asset for any MotoGP crew – Marc Marquez – then the timing could possibly be proper for Zarco’s long-awaited Honda berth.

Linked to the Japanese marque earlier than signing his fateful KTM deal, Zarco believes he has matured massively since that failed enterprise, and serving to Honda out of its gap is a activity he feels able to deal with.

Perpetually on one-year offers, job safety was a key think about Zarco’s choice. However Ducati’s phrases for him for 2024 additionally fell brief. Its supply was for a one-year deal, with a view to shifting him to its World Superbike venture after that. At 33, Zarco – who’s fifth within the MotoGP standings – feels he nonetheless has quite a bit to provide.

For Honda, it would acquire essential info of the grid’s finest bike… if it’s keen to pay attention, that’s.

MotoGP returns to action in two weeks in Catalunya

MotoGP returns to motion in two weeks in Catalunya

Picture by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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