Only one of last year’s Austrian Moto2 podium finishers remains in the class – Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) was second at the Red Bull Ring between Morbidelli and Luthi – and the 22-year-old Spaniard will be hoping to better that this Sunday, after crashing out at Brno last weekend.

Marquez’s second no-score of the year did a lot of damage to his world-title hopes, dropping him to 53 points behind new series leader Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM). The 23-year-old Portuguese won a thrilling race at Brno to move into the lead of the Honda CBR600-powered championship, taking over from Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) who finished the race a close third, just behind team-mate Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex).

Bagnaia finished fourth at the Red Bull Ring last year, while Oliveira crashed out fighting for the podium, so will the pendulum swing once again this weekend? Currently the Italian trails the Portuguese by just two points, so anything could happen over the remaining nine races. But unless Marquez manages a miracle, the battle for the 2018 Moto2 crown looks likely to be a two-way duel. So far Oliveira has won two races – Mugello and Brno – to Bagnaia’s four – Losail, COTA, Le Mans and Assen.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) closed to within seven points of Marquez with a fine ride to fourth at Brno and will be looking to advance further in the championship this weekend. The young Italian has been on the podium three times so far this year – including a win at May’s Spanish Grand Prix – and knows he needs to up his game during the second half of the season.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) holds fifth overall, just ahead of top rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter). The current Moto2 top ten is completed by Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter), Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).

Miguel Oliveira

Miguel Oliveira 44

“The win at Brno was important for us because it gave us the points lead in the World Championship for the first time this year. However, the championship is very tight and we are only just past half-distance, so we know we will have to fight for every single point over the last nine races. The Red Bull Ring is the home race for KTM and for our title sponsor, so it’s an important race where we want to do very well, but the goal will be the same as it always is: to be competitive all the way to the chequered flag.”

Red Bull KTM Ajo
Francesco Bagnaia

Francesco Bagnaia 42

“I’m happy to be immediately back on track in Austria. At Brno, despite the third place, I was not 100 percent happy with the bike, so I cannot wait to get back to work this weekend. At Spielberg the gaps between the strongest guys will be really small and we will all be very close to each other. It is a track characterised by strong braking zones and long straights.”

SKY Racing Team VR46
Alex Marquez

Alex Marquez 73

“I’m really looking forward to the race in Austria and even more so after the disappointing outcome in Brno. We had a strong weekend in Brno but no points meant all our effort and hard work went unrewarded. Now we need to improve for the Austrian race and I am sure I can do that because I like the track a lot. Now it’s time to forget about the World Championship and try to make a good race adding points every weekend.”

EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, Austria

Moto2 2018, Round 11

Rider Standings
Sunday, 5 Aug 2018 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Miguel OLIVEIRA 44 POR 166 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
2 Francesco BAGNAIA 42 ITA 164 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex
3 Alex MARQUEZ 73 SPA 113 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA 106 Pons HP40 Kalex
5 Brad BINDER 41 RSA 101 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
6 Joan MIR 36 SPA 95 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
7 Xavi VIERGE 97 SPA 90 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
8 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER 82 Dynavolt Intact GP Suter
9 Fabio QUARTARARO 20 FRA 77 Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing Speed Up
10 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA 69 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
11 Luca MARINI 10 ITA 63 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex
12 Sam LOWES 22 GBR 46 Swiss Innovative Investors KTM
13 Iker LECUONA 27 SPA 35 Swiss Innovative Investors KTM
14 Jorge NAVARRO 9 SPA 31 Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex
15 Simone CORSI 24 ITA 30 Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex
16 Andrea LOCATELLI 5 ITA 29 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
17 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI 24 Kiefer Racing KTM
18 Remy GARDNER 87 AUS 20 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
19 Augusto FERNANDEZ 40 SPA 11 Pons HP40 Kalex
20 Hector BARBERA 40 SPA 10 Pons HP40 Kalex
21 Romano FENATI 13 ITA 9 Marinelli Snipers Team Kalex
22 Isaac VIñALES 32 SPA 7 SAG Team Kalex
23 Stefano MANZI 62 ITA 6 Forward Racing Team Kalex
24 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN 6 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
25 Danny KENT 52 GBR 4 Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing Speed Up
26 Khairul Idham PAWI 89 MAL 2 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
27 Joe ROBERTS 16 USA 2 NTS RW Racing GP NTS
28 Steven ODENDAAL 4 RSA 1 NTS RW Racing GP NTS
29 Bo BENDSNEYDER 64 NDL 1 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3