Once again, MotoGP has put on an absolutely stunning race, this time at the Styrian Grand Prix. Rider Miguel Oliveira secured his first ever victory after Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro ran wide while battling for the lead—a pretty impressive feat for independent KTM team Tech 3 Racing. Not only was Oliveira awarded with a win, but he also went home with a brand new BMW M4.
The race saw countless leaders, including Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami, with Mir securing a strong lead halfway through the race. Had things gone according to plan, we may have saw a Suzuki win today.
But even the best laid plans are subject to the complexities of the race, and on lap 17, Maverick Viñales crashed and brought out a red flag. The rider appeared to be struggling with brake problems, and he had to jump off his Yamaha while it was traveling at 130 mph in order to avoid disaster. The bike hit the fence and burst into flames.
Viñales stood up and walked away from the event, looking more disappointed in his bad luck than hurt. Last week, too, he narrowly missed being struck by a wayward bike.
The race went green again with just 12 laps to go. Mir immediately took the lead again, but he quickly fell victim to faster riders on fresher, softer tires. He was quickly passed by pole sitter Espargaro and ultimate race winner Oliveira.
Espargaro and Jack Miller went head-to-head with some aggressive driving. At the second-to-last corner, Espargaro tried to pass Miller but ran wide. The two riders were side-by-side when Miller pushed Espargaro to the very limits of the track. It was the opportunity Oliveira needed, and he was able to slip by both riders to secure a win.
The final results are available here.
I’ve made it pretty obvious that this is my first season seriously watching MotoGP, and it has yet to disappoint. I haven’t watched a boring race, which puts MotoGP into a nice contrast with slightly more predictable racing series.
I know I’m coming into things at a strange time, both in terms of the pandemic-condensed schedule and dominant Marc Marquez’s injury, but it’s been an awesome introduction to the world of bike racing. Hell, even Moto2 and Moto3 have been fascinating (but I’ll be honest, those divisions are still on my periphery as I get used to a whole new paddock of riders and the longstanding histories that make the racing extra exciting).
If you’re looking for a good year to start watching MotoGP, look no further than 2020. It’s a highly competitive field, and the strangeness of the world has made the racing extra exciting.