Ducati rider Andrea Iannone won his maiden MotoGP race at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, giving the Italian manufacturer its first victory since 2010.
Having started from pole position, Iannone lost the lead to his Italian compatriot Andrea Dovizioso but overtook his Ducati teammate with 7 laps to go and beat him by 0.938 seconds. It was Ducati’s first 1-2 finish in nine seasons.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Iannone said.
“It’s very, very difficult to explain. I worked so many years for this moment.”
Dovizioso was chasing his second career win after taking the British GP in 2009, when he was competing for Honda.Defending MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha was 3.389 seconds behind in third and reduced his deficit to championship leader Marc Marquez, who placed fifth, a day after the Honda rider hurt his left shoulder in a crash during practice.
After 10 of 18 races, Marquez leads with 181 points, 43 clear of Lorenzo with another Yamaha rider, Valentino Rossi, 14 points further back in third.
Seven-time world champion Rossi finished Sunday’s race in fourth, half a second behind Lorenzo.
It was the first time in 19 years that the marquee event in motorcycle racing took place in Austria. The track was adapted after hosting the Formula One grand prix six weeks ago. The circuit, with its many straights, suited Ducati, which also dominated practice and qualifying. It earned Iannone his second career pole position after also starting first in last year’s Italian GP.
A tactical gamble by Iannone worked out well as he was the only rider to combine a soft front with a medium rear tire while almost all others picked a medium-hard combination.Australian rider Jack Miller didn’t compete after suffering hairline fractures to a vertebra and his right wrist in a crash during warmup.
The MotoGP season continues in Brno, Czech Republic, next week.