Bagnaia wins Austrian GP sprint, SA’s Binder second

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Francesco Bagnaia led from start to finish to win the Austrian Grand Prix sprint for Ducati on Saturday while Brad Binder celebrated his new contract with Red Bull KTM by finishing second at their home circuit.

Victory saw reigning world champion Bagnaia extend his lead over Jorge Martin in the riders’ championship to 46 points ahead of Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Martin finished third after starting 12th on the grid.

“We managed to be in the front in the first lap,” Bagnaia said after his fourth sprint victory of the season.
“Then I tried to push. In the last laps, the rear tyre was completely done but the strategy was to push from the start.”

Bagnaia claimed pole position in qualifying earlier on Saturday and he rocketed off the line along with Binder but Maverick Vinales — who qualified second — was slow to accelerate off the front row and rapidly fell down the order.
Vinales was then involved in a collision on the first turn which saw VR46 Racing’s Marco Bezzecchi thrown off his bike in a crash. The collision involved multiple riders with Fabio Quartararo, Johann Zarco and Miguel Oliveira also crashing.

Bezzecchi was absolutely livid after he returned to the pits when he realised there was too much damage to his bike and the Italian raised his voice and pointed furiously at the screen when he watched the replay of the crash.
Martin made up several positions and as the Pramac Racing rider fought for third place he clipped Luca Marini who lost balance and slid off the circuit.

Marini’s mentor and MotoGP great Valentino Rossi was watching from trackside and the Italian had his head in his hands as both VR46 Racing riders did not finish.

Stewards reviewed the incident and said Martin was not at fault, allowing the Spaniard to finish third.

“It was a really emotional race … In the first corner I was really nervous, then I started pushing,” Martin said.

“Then Marini touched me and I saw him crash. I thought I’d get a long lap penalty … I was on the limit but happy to finish on the podium, it’s amazing.”