Andrea Iannone made history today as he won the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich; the first time the MotoGP class have competed at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria since 1997.
Money was on Italian Ducati rider after the test
Prior to the meeting and the summer break, riders made their way to the Red Bull Ring where they completed two days of testing. Ducati dominated, Iannone topped the timesheets unofficially both days, and it all just turned out to be a sign of things to come.
Both of the Ducati Team riders were strong. Iannone and his teammate Andrea Dovizioso took turns at the top spot of the leaderboard; Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales was the only one to stop their domination during Free Practice.
Iannone started from pole after strong qualifying
Iannone claimed pole during qualifying after late surge in the session knocking Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo off the top spot he temporarily inhabited. He was already getting his name in the history books before race day even started.
Unique tyre choice for the Italian
Race day and Iannone chose the soft option Michelin for the front of his Desmosedici and a medium compound for the rear. A risky strategy, different to everyone else but one that was definitely about to pay off.
The Italian led into the first corner of the race where he stayed for several laps. Dovizioso took it from for several laps; an opportunity if anything for him to conserve his tyres, and then when the time was right, he reclaimed his lead and then went on to win the first Austrian MotoGP in 19 years, with a slight lead on his teammate.
Ducati 1, 2 at the Red Bull Ring
It was the perfect strategy it seems, an experience Iannone described as “a very beautiful moment” for him and his team. It is the first time Ducati have won in a long while and not only did they win, they claimed the top two places at the Red Bull Ring.
After the race Iannone spoke about how this was the first victory in the MotoGP class after what he described as “a very difficult first year” since he moved to the Italian team. Despite this he said “I never give up” and took it “step by step” and gradually “improve, improve, improve” with his bike.
He said that finally achieving the victory, making it to where he has wanted to be was “a very unique feeling”. He was “very happy” as he knew that Ducati have not for many years since Casey Stoner, who now test rides for them, won a MotoGP, and felt this was “a special moment”.
Difficult race despite winning at the Red Bull Ring
Despite his success Iannone felt the race was “very difficult” as he had chosen to run with the soft front. He said that he decided on day two that he was going to stick with the soft tyre. He said the medium compound tyre was “very good” and that it was “similar” to the soft option, but that he “had a better feeling with the soft one”.
Iannone revealed he had a strategy, he “won the start” and was “in the first position in the first corner”, what he described as “perfect” as he “wanted to manage the pace of the race”.
Adamant to prevent Lorenzo from leading
The Italian felt that if Jorge Lorenzo was to get to the front and “push strong” that wouldn’t be able to “manage the tyres”. Instead he managed to “control for eight laps in the front”, where he chose to “not push very hard and step by step, improve, improve, improve”.
His strategy paid off as it meant he “used less fuel”, something he felt “was a problem for this race”, and he “did not use all the power for the first 5 laps” which he thought made his strategy “very strong”. Iannone spoke of how it paid off at the end “because the last five laps the bike was very fast”.
Happy Ducati camp
To finish he praised his team saying that he felt they did “a very good job” along with Ducati. Hopefully Ducati see this as redemption for ‘The Maniac’ who has been involved in several incidents in the first half of the season.
He will not be riding for them next season but it was fantastic to see that there is no bitterness in the Ducati camp as they were able to work together and take great advantage at a track that turned out to be more than suited to their machinery.