Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo was on route for a podium place at the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, but rain in the last three laps spoiled his plans. Having to swap to his rain bike late on in the race, he fell back to P14 and had to make a quick dash to salvage a brave seventh place, which extends his lead in the championship by 7 points.
Spielberg (Austria), 15th August 2021
The Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich was full of action and surprised with a dramatic ending when rain started to play a key role. Fabio Quartararo had brilliant pace in the dry and was fancying his chances to claim a place on the podium, but a heavy shower towards the end of the 28-lap race let his hopes evaporate. However, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider's spectacular efforts today were still rewarded with a seventh place and 9 crucial championship points.

There was a lot of tension on the grid with spots of rain falling as the riders settled into their starting positions before the race. Little did they know what was in store for them.

Quartararo had a decent start from second on the grid, but a big wobble in Turn 1 made him lose some momentum. He had to make his Yamaha as wide as possible in the busy opening lap, while white flags signalled that the riders were allowed to swap bikes. The Frenchman crossed the finish line for the first time in fifth place. He temporarily lost a place to Jack Miller but retaliated and set a fastest lap of the race thus far, a 1’24.471s, on lap 3. His 1’24s-pace allowed him to quickly pass Johann Zarco at the start of lap 5, and he then put his head down to close in on the three front riders.

The 22-year-old showed he completely trusts his YZR-M1 with various brave overtaking manoeuvres. By lap 8, Quartararo was leading the race while rain flags were waving all around the Spielberg circuit, but the battle for the lead continued. Francesco Bagnaia had the edge on the long straight. The number-20 rider went wide at Turn 1 and lost a bit of time, but quickly resumed his hunt for victory. With rain flags withdrawn on lap 11, the Yamaha man was keen to resume the fight for first. Though Bagnaia was picking up the pace, El Diablo stuck with him and responded by again setting another fastest lap of the race, a 1’24.451s, in an effort to take over first position, but there were rivals with other ideas.

With nine laps to go, Quartararo went wide in Turn 3 trying to defend second place from Marc Marquez. Three laps later, rain flags came back out and soon the front group consisted of six riders. The Yamaha man was fancying his chances for the win and recovered from fourth to second place, but with three laps left, rain started chucking down. Five of the six leading riders, the Frenchman included, all dove into the pits.

Quartararo re-joined the track in fourteenth place. With some riders still out on slicks or making their pit stop, the riders who opted for wet tyres were able to swiftly move up the order. The championship leader ultimately crossed the line in seventh place, 16.650s from first, extending his lead in the standings by 7 points.

Today’s results see Quartararo heading the championship standings with a 47-point advantage and a 181 points total. Maverick Viñales, who was suspended from the Austrian GP, dropped to seventh in the standings, with 95 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP stays in first place in the team standings with 276 points. Yamaha is now in second place in the constructor championship with 209 points.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time at the Silverstone Circuit for the Monster Energy British Grand Prix.
Massimo Meregalli

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

The Spielberg Circuit has a way of producing spectacular races, and today it again didn’t disappoint. The fans must have been on the edge of their seats, but for us it was really a shame that it rained towards the end of the MotoGP race. Fabio had great pace today, and he also showed great confidence in the front of his Yamaha to out-break his rivals the way he did. Some of his overtakes were breathtaking. It’s a pity his and the team’s hard work wasn’t rewarded with another podium here in Austria. He came so close, but the rain in the final laps made it too dangerous for him to continue on slicks. Fabio is leading the championship, and he had to take that into consideration. He avoided unnecessary risks and by really going for it on the wets in those last three laps he still finished seventh and extended his championship lead by seven points. Of course, we have thoughts about what could have been, but these are still positive results, especially at a track that isn’t our best. Next up is the British GP, which shares our title sponsor, Monster Energy. We can’t wait to give it our all there in two weeks’ time, because today’s pace was very encouraging.
Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Rider

Let’s say that I’m happy about my dry race. I’m happy because I stayed with Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez at the front. At this track that’s a good step forward. I wasn’t thinking about the championship until it was raining a lot. The overtaking was scary. I had Jorge Martin on the left, Marc Marquez on the right, I had no place to go. I said, ‘Let’s do as usual and brake hard’. I felt that I was on the limit, but I think it was one of the best overtakes of my career. We know that Marquez and Martin are ‘strong brakers’, so I impressed even myself. When it was raining a lot, I had a few moments. I saw Marquez go into pit lane and said, ‘It’s time to go in’. Most others followed and I said, ‘Now is the time to think about the championship and let’s see the results’. That was, for me, the right decision. Unfortunately, I missed out on fifth position because of a mistake. But in the end, it’s quite a nice feeling to leave Austria with a 47-point lead. This is a track where we thought we might lose points. As for Silverstone, in good conditions, we will be there fighting for the victory, that's my goal. I’m looking forward to it because it’s one of my favourite tracks.