MotoGP: David Emmett – What I’m interested in for Austria
Throughout the 2020 season David Emmett, editor of Motomatters.com, will be providing Racing Lowdown with some exclusive analysis of what he sees in MotoGP.
This will take the form of the topics that David is most interested in before and after every Grand Prix.
Who leads the KTM charge this weekend?
Obviously, KTM has now won a race after Brad Binder’s performance in Brno last weekend but their weekend weekend was about more than just the South African. Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira were also fast. The question now becomes which of them will do the best job in Austria?
Binder hasn’t tested there before so is riding a MotoGP bike at the Red Bull Ring for the first time and Pol Espargaro is clearly incredibly motivated. He was frustrated to have crashed in Brno after his collision with Zarco and he’s out for revenge. Keep an eye on Pol this weekend.
The other riders on the grid are now saying that the KTM is the most powerful bike on the grid and that it also has the most grip. Power, acceleration and grip are the most important elements for a track like Austria with so many straights and hard acceleration zones.
Has Ducati found a solution?
Red Bull Ring is Ducati territory and they’ve won every race here. Coming to this round though the question becomes about whether they have fixed their problems.
We expected Ducati to be strong in Brno but instead they really struggled and it was only Johann Zarco, on a 2019 machine, who was able to perform well. Ducati engineers have studied the data from Zarco to see that he was finding his time in the braking zone.
Now Dovizioso, Petrucci and Miller need to see if they can use that to find an improvement. This weekend it’s not the Michelin tyre that we’ve seen used throughout this year because with this being such a fast track they have brought a different construction.
If Dovi still wants to have a chance of the title he needs to win again and he really needs to win this weekend and next to make up a lot of points.
A weekend of damage limitation for Yamaha
This will be Yamaha’s most difficult track of the year. They’re down on top speed and with this track layout you can’t really find too many places to gain an advantage from high corner speeds.
The Yamaha is a better bike than it was last year because it has more drive grip and the track also has more grip this year and that should make things easier for the Yamaha’s.
This will be a real test for the Yamaha’s but also for Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales because they need to limit the damage this weekend and score as many points as possible.
Complicated dynamics within Yamaha
The first podium of Franco Morbidelli’s MotoGP career means that we have now had all four Yamaha riders stand on the rostrum in 2020. That makes it very interesting within the ranks because Franco has made a big step forward and so has Valentino Rossi. They’re both quicker now and they could both be a factor this weekend.
Vinales had a terrible time in Brno so needs to bounce back this weekend. Quartararo salvaged a decent result in seventh last weekend but the dyanmics of who is the lead Yamaha rider could get very interesting. Who does Yamaha back? Or do they back everyone equally?
Usually one rider has the best chance of winning the championship and gets more support from a manufacturer. It’s a fantastic problem to have because you have four riders that are all performing at a very high level.
A hard rain’s a-gonna fall..
When it rains in Spielberg it absolutely tips it down. The track becomes awash with water and a lot of the riders don’t want to ride in those conditions because they feel it’s not safe. It will be a tricky situation and the forecast is that rain will interupt practice and have an impact on qualifying.
If the rain comes before the race it could cause a delay and that will start playing on the nerves of some riders. For the second race in Austria next weekend the forecast is a lot better.
Pic Credit: Polarity Photo