Features 10 Aug 2017

Rewind: Ducati's 2016 Red Bull Ring dominance

Looking back at the Italian manufacturer's 1-2 finish in Austria last year.

The 2017 MotoGP World Championship heads to the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend for the 11th round of the prestigious series, marking 12 months since Ducati dominated proceedings at the venue to capture its first victory since Australian Casey Stoner stood atop of the podium at Phillip Island in 2010.

In 2016, it was a perfect weekend for the Italian manufacturer, as riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso lodged some of the fastest times in the opening practice sessions, before the pair went 1-3 in qualifying, with Iannone starting from P1 after securing pole.

Looking like likely favourites for a much needed win, Iannone got a great start off the line to lead into the opening turn, as drama unfolded behind him with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) running in hot, going wide in an incident that would also affect fast-starting and former Yamaha-mounted Jorge Lorenzo.

Source: Supplied.

Iannone was the only rider to change to the medium rear tyre allocation, in addition to suffering with pain in his ribs from a motocross accident, but after being passed by Dovizioso, he was able to fight back against his compatriot and eventually crossed the line ahead to take the historic win.

Dovizioso had an impressive race and led a good amount of the laps at the Red Bull Ring, proving a worthy rival in the duel at the front. With a harder tyre option than his teammate, the veteran rider was unable to come close on his compatriot in the final few laps and crossed the line P2, in was his 250th grand prix start to complete a historic result for the Desmosedici after a drought of victorious results.

The then reigning champion Lorenzo showed exactly why he had that title in a calm ride under pressure, getting back onto the podium in P3, finishing ahead of Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Marquez in fourth and fifth respectively.

Source: Supplied.

The win marked the first for Iannone of his career, making it even more special for the Italian. The number 29 mentioned all the pieces fell together in the 28-lap race, with a perfect race bike assisting him to the top step of the podium.

“I am really very happy, because in my opinion we did an incredible race,” Iannone reflected. “I started off quite slowly and tried to stay up front without ever pushing too hard, because I knew that in the final stages I could have had a bit less pace than everyone else, having opted to start with the soft rear tyre, while all the others made a different choice.

“I ran the whole race keeping a bit of margin and my bike was really perfect. I think that we did a great job over the entire weekend and I’d like to thank my team, all of Ducati and my crew chief Marco Rigamonti who have helped me improve so much in these last four years”

Source: Supplied.

Ducati’s general racing manager Luigi Dall’Igna was delighted to end the six-year drought, and was even more satisfied to have the Desmosedici GP machines go 1-2 on the podium at the challenging Austrian venue, while extending his thanks to the entire operation,.

“I am really happy, it’s an enormous satisfaction,” Dall’Igna expressed. “I want to thank all the guys in Ducati Corse who over the years have done an incredible job and I hope that this fantastic result repays them for all their efforts. I would like to have each and every one of them here with us to celebrate this 1-2 win together and give them all a big hug – my sincerest thanks to everyone.”

With Lorenzo now a member of the Ducati squad and being a strong contender at the 2016 edition of the Austrian grand prix, this weekend’s 11th round could potentially serve as the venue that will see the multi-time world champion take his first victory aboard the Italian machine. Should everything align, the Ducati team will be a strong force in the coming days, with both contenders Lorenzo and Doviozioso aiming for a repeat of the brands 2016 results.