Jorge Lorenzo Overcomes Marc Marquez to Win 2018 MotoGP Grand Prix of Austria

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 12, 2018

Winner Spain's Jorge Lorenzo (L) celebrates with the trophy next to third placed Italy's Andrea Dovizioso on the podium of the Austrian MotoGP Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on August 12, 2018. (Photo by ERWIN SCHERIAU / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT        (Photo credit should read ERWIN SCHERIAU/AFP/Getty Images)
ERWIN SCHERIAU/Getty Images

Jorge Lorenzo continued to pull himself back into the MotoGP title race after overcoming Marc Marquez to win the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria on Sunday and hand Ducati victory for the third successive year at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

Marquez failed to convert pole into victory for the first time this season but nevertheless extended his lead at the summit of the riders' standings and now holds a 59-point cushion over Valentino Rossi, who came sixth.

Lorenzo finished second at the Czech Grand Prix last Sunday and took his third win of the campaign in Austria, depriving Marquez of the chance to complete his set of MotoGP victories, with Austria still the last venue to be checked off his list of wins.

MotoGP provided a comprehensive rundown of Sunday's classification:

Lorenzo had two wins to his name in 2018 coming into this race, and the veteran didn't attempt to hide his happiness after adding a third to his collection.

The Red Bull Ring only returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2016, since which Italians Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, both of Ducati at their points of victory, had accounted for both wins.

The race began with Lorenzo and Dovizioso following Marquez in second and third, respectively, and the leader was actually getting faster as the early laps rolled by and confidence soared, via MotoGP:

The Ducati pair endeavoured to cut down Marquez's lead but were racing against a rider who had won all three of the races so far in 2018 in which he started on the pole.

The early performance of Marquez and his ability to hold off the Ducati assault was all the more impressive considering he was the only rider who opted for a hard rear tyre, per motorsport writer Beatrice Zamuner:

Honda had another impressive display from Cal Crutchlow, who held his spot in fourth but was a long way from breaking the top three, where Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Marquez sprang acres ahead of their competition. Ducati's Danilo Petrucci was another not far from breaking that hierarchy, though he could only finish fifth.

Further down the ranks was Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, who finished sixth and 12th, respectively, and never looked capable of challenging at the climax of a disastrous week in Austria.

The constructor had already expressed sadness with their performance in Spielberg, and Saturday saw Rossi go public with his own dissatisfaction, which struggled to improve on Sunday, via BT Sport (UK only):

Lorenzo finally wrestled the lead from Marquez and led his countryman by several tenths of a second for six laps, until a wide run at Turn 3 saw the latter take first, only to switch places again just one lap later.

The battle for first reached fever pitch in the last two laps and saw the genuine quality of both riders bubble to the top as Marquez proved his class in defence. The Ducati capitalised upon the gaping straight before Turn 1 and pushed Lorenzo into a last-gasp lead, which he managed to see out with an error-free end:

Marquez missed an opportunity to reclaim first just after that manoeuvre and was a deserving runner-up in the end, left to wait until 2019 before he can again attempt to finally taste victory at the Red Bull Ring.

A good day for Ducati and an even better day for Lorenzo saw the Spaniard keep his constructor in the seat of power in Austria, although their win still wasn't enough to prevent Marquez boosting his title claim.

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