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25/08/2020 News

Styrian Grand Prix - Maiden wins for Miguel Oliveira and the KTM Tech3 team

 

Miguel Oliveira claimed his maiden MotoGP win, and a first triumph for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team, on a historic weekend for both the Portuguese rider and the French team who race in Elf’s colours at the Styrian Grand Prix.

The 900th premier class Grand Prix in history will live long in the memory of everyone associated with the Tech3 team. Prior to the weekend, Hervé Poncharal's outfit, who have been competing in the premier class since 2001, had amassed 31 podiums over nineteen seasons without recording a MotoGP win. Miguel Oliveira brought home the French team’s maiden victory in Austria after an interrupted race, the second half of which was reduced to twelve laps following a delay to repair an inflatable safety fence that had been damaged when Maverick Viñales crashed out. Hanging on to the wheels of Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller in the closing stages, Oliveira played his hand to perfection and took full advantage when the Spaniard and Australian left the door open for him at the final bend. “I felt that in a straight battle, I couldn't try anything,” said the Tech3 rider. “But when I saw that Jack was going to attack Pol in the last few corners, I knew that I could take advantage if I got myself in the right position. That's exactly what happened. They ran wide and I was able to pass them on the inside to reach the chequered flag first.” And so Miguel Oliveira, competing in his 150th Grand Prix, became the first Portuguese rider to win in the premier class. “Taking the win here, in KTM’s back yard, feels amazing,” said Hervé Poncharal. “I'm really struggling to take it all in. It had got to the stage where I’d resigned myself to the idea that a MotoGP win would never come. We hadn't managed to do it in eighteen years with Yamaha yet here we are, in the second season with KTM, and we win with Miguel. It's wonderful.” The French team manager’s mood was further buoyed by another top ten finish for Iker Lecuona: “The weekend ends on an incredible high whereas, three hours earlier, I was so down after our riders collided in Moto3. Only motorbike racing can stir up all these emotions.” In that Moto3 race, Ayumu Sasaki had been battling it out in the leading group with five laps to go when he was the victim of an overzealous attack by teammate Deniz Öncü. “Deniz was too aggressive this weekend and he made a big error,” said Poncharal. “He may only be young, but he needs to change his behaviour.” Similarly, neither of the two Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders made it to the finish line in Moto2. Augusto Fernandez, who had started on the second row of the grid, fell on the first lap. Sam Lowes suffered the same fate two laps later, taking Somkiat Chantra and Jorge Navarro with him. “It wasn't our day,” was VDS team manager Joan Olivé’s assessment. “But we have to stay positive because the team did a good job all weekend again. This championship is very tight, the races come thick and fast, so we have to stay focused and keep looking ahead.”

The championship

Thanks to his maiden MotoGP victory, Miguel Oliveira jumps to ninth place in the championship on 43 points. Iker Lecuona move up a place to seventeenth position. In Moto2, British rider Sam Lowes drops to sixth place overall but remains only 28 points behind the leader, Luca Marini. Augusto Fernandez slips one place to fourteenth. In the Moto3 class, Deniz Öncü and Ayumu Sasaki also drop a place each in the overall standings. They now sit in eighteenth and twenty-second places respectively. 

  • Styrian Grand Prix - MotoGP World Championship

  • Styrian Grand Prix - MotoGP World Championship

  • Styrian Grand Prix - MotoGP World Championship

  • Styrian Grand Prix - MotoGP World Championship