5 keys to the Austrian GP... by Alex Hofmann

The former MotoGP™ rider gives his thoughts after the opening day at the Red Bull Ring

Friday at the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich saw Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) make it a Desmosedici 1-2-3 in the dry, but a certain Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) topped the wet FP2 session.

So, what does former MotoGP™ rider Alex Hofmann make of the opening day’s action at the Austrian GP?

A hectic but telling FP1

I think day one here has been pretty tough for all the classes, but especially for MotoGP™ because the weather has been like a question mark, especially for the Free Practices and it remains for tomorrow. So, today we saw a very hectic FP1 where everybody had to test a lot of things. Ducati and Honda straightaway with their top riders; Dovizioso, Lorenzo and, of course Marc. They looked very strong and had their things together. Yamaha, I think, missed out on a very important time on track with Viñales and Rossi with the technical issue. Rain in the afternoon, which is okay to get ready, but Sunday looks dry.

Red Bull Ring = power

For Sunday, I think it’s pretty clear: the Red Bull Ring is all about power, lots of power and getting the power down fast, especially after acceleration. That should be in Ducati’s favour. Both Ducatis, especially Dovizioso and Lorenzo need to win, and Lorenzo wants to show he can still have another win with Ducati. The guy to spoil the party, like last weekend, is going to be Marc Marquez. He’s my underdog because I think in Brno he switched on his brain half a lap from the end because he saw it was too much, but probably like last year here he can stay with them and battle them, and he wants 25 points again. Ducati are favourite but my dark horse is Marc Marquez.

Ducati and Honda hold the advantage over Yamaha

The layout of this race track is in favour of the V4 engines like the Honda, like the Desmosedicis. Yamahas always have a hard time to stay with the guys but, due to fuel consumption like last year, they were in the race there until the end. Five laps from the end Ducati and Honda could really show what they had so that same still applies this year. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are still complaining that there’s not enough development coming from Yamaha and there’s a bit of frustration in the team. On one side there’s another big, big issue with team ambience and Viñales, that’s not healthy. The favourites are Ducati and Repsol Honda, they’re the ones to beat.

Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Suzuki will struggle too

The same for Suzuki, which is the same engine configuration, so they’ll have a hard time over race distance to stay with the V4 guys. But, this year showed it’s so tight, the competition is harder than ever.

Andrea Iannone, Team Suzuki Ecstar, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

KTM on home turf

We shouldn’t forget – even if they only have one rider – KTM. KTM have brought upgrades but they only have Bradley Smith to show them, so hopefully he can have a good run and knock on the door of the top ten.

Bradley Smith, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich