Francesco Bagnaia totally dominated the tenth Sprint race of the year at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria, notching up a spectacular lights-to-flag victory – his fourth this year – to boost his lead over his closest rivals in the championship to 46 points.
After setting his fifth pole position of the year in the morning’s qualifying session with a time of 1:28.539, Bagnaia got an outstanding start to head the field into the tight first corner at the top of the hill, which was fatal for several riders behind who were eliminated in a mid-group collision. The Italian then put in an impressive series of sub-1’30 laps in the first half of the race to gradually increase his lead, setting a pace that none of his pursuers were able to match. Pecco’s winning margin as he took the chequered flag was two full seconds.
Teammate Enea Bastianini, who started thirteenth on the grid, was caught up in the first-corner chaos and was forced wide, and this conditioned his pursuit of the field in the remaining laps. Enea moved into thirteenth place on lap 7, a position he held to the flag.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“I’m very happy with how things went today; I knew how important it was to be in front at the first corner because it’s always a mess being behind at this track. I just tried to do my best and then pushed like hell to remain in front. Sincerely I was expecting my rivals to be stronger. We made a slight change for the race from qualifying, and in any case, it went perfectly. We are always improving, we already know that the 2023 bike needs more work, but it also has more potential, so every time we start from a bit far behind, I and my team work perfectly. They know exactly what to give me when I ask, so big thanks to them, they are a great team. Tomorrow, it will be a completely different race, there will be a group of three or four riders, and you can’t manage the tyre like today.
Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 13th
“After the start, I was on the outside, I tried to brake hard, but then when I came back, I had to pick the bike back up because I saw other riders were touching. I had to go straight on, I was lucky not to crash, but after the contact, I lost a lot of time. Then after that, my race was quite flat, I did some overtaking, but my priority now is to understand what the problem is because I think this is not the position that reflects me. In the end, I did my maximum, trying to understand my sensations on the bike to report back to my team. We have made a lot of changes on the bike, but every time it is the same, we must continue to work, let’s see if we can improve a bit tomorrow morning to do a normal race.”
- From Ducati Media House