Fabio Quartararo must rediscover his early season form to get back on track at the San Marino Grand Prix as the MotoGP title race hots up.

Quartararo made the most of Marc Marquez's injury misfortune as he won the first two races of the campaign to seize control of the championship picture.

But after three subsequent underwhelming displays, it is tight at the top of the riders' standings.

The Misano event is up next on Sunday at 14:00 local time (13:00 BST), with Quartararo in need of a result.


LAST TIME OUT

The season leader was a measly 13th at the Styrian Grand Prix, missing out on the stunning drama at the front of the field in the second straight Red Bull Ring race.

Miguel Oliveira scored his and Red Bull KTM Tech 3's first MotoGP victory with a double overtake at the final corner.

The Portuguese pipped both pole-sitter Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller, who had been engaged in a tense tussle on the last lap.

Andrea Dovizioso was a disappointing fifth - to Quartararo's relief - while Maverick Vinales suffered a scary crash that prompted a red flag in Austria.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN SAN MARINO

It will be interesting to see how Quartararo and Vinales approach this week, with their recent tactics failing. After each finishing first and second, respectively, in the first two races of the year, neither rider has come close to even a podium since.

Miller looks to be improving week on week at the moment but, after late disappointment in the previous race, is still waiting to add to his sole 2016 triumph.

Or could this be Alex Marquez's time to shine? He won at Misano in MotoGP's eSports series earlier this year.

"Hopefully we can have a good race again," he said. "Misano is a circuit with a lot of variety, the tight opening section and the faster back section."


TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Slumping star? Quartararo's dip in form has seen him fail to reach the podium in the past three MotoGP races, his worst such run since his first six grands prix in the top category.

Dovi delight? Across the Italian GP and San Marino GP, Dovizioso has five podiums in his past six attempts. He won this event in 2018.

Rossi return? Steady so far this season, Rossi has not made the Misano podium in his past two attempts yet has the most top-three finishes (six) at this track of any current rider. Only he and Marc Marquez have three wins at the San Marino GP.

Honda need help? Not aided by Marc Marquez's absence, neither Honda team have managed a podium through the first five races of the season. This is their worst start to a year since 1982.

Breakthrough year? Having become the first Portuguese rider to win in the top category, Oliveira has more points (43) so far this year than he did in the whole of the previous campaign (33).


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 67
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 56
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 49
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 48

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 102
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 93
3. Ducati 92
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 84
5. Suzuki Ecstar 73

Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller expressed sympathy with Joan Mir after the Suzuki Ecstar rider missed out on what would have been his second career podium finish following the red flag in Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix.

Mir shone in the first half of the race and appeared to be on course for a first-ever MotoGP win, but his momentum was halted with 12 laps to go.

A scary crash for Maverick Vinales led to the race being red flagged, and although Mir got away well from pole at the restart after that incident, he soon began to struggle for grip and could not hold on to his position.

Miller and Espargaro both went past him, while Miguel Oliveira joined them in the latter stages for what proved to be a thrilling climax – ultimately pipping both in the final seconds to become the first Portuguese winner of a MotoGP race.

Mir finished fourth, with Miller and Espargaro paying tribute to the 22-year-old after the race.

"In this type of race it is like Moto3, it is practically impossible to say who is going to finish first," Espargaro told DAZN. "Anyway, that is how it should be, this is fun and it is how people have fun at home.

"On the last corner I wanted to block Jack, but I knew that the little power they have accelerating would have been enough for him to be level, and then he started very fast. I should have braked a little more, I went long and Miguel took advantage of the gap to win.

"In the end, in these conditions anyone can win. We have risked victory, we have lost, but that's how racing is.

"I also want to say that today the race did not belong to any of the three of us. It belonged to Joan, who in the first race was superior to everyone, he was doing something incredible. Today he undoubtedly deserved it."

Miller echoed Espargaro's sentiments, adamant Mir would have won were it not for the red flag.

"I am very sorry for Joan Mir," he added. "In the first race he was driving like a champion. I couldn't follow him, physically I couldn't and he got away.

"He would have won this race, I'm sorry for him."

Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncharal went from contemplating retirement to being "the happiest man in the world" at the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

KTM Tech 3 team-mates Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Oncu were both in contention for a podium in the Moto3 race at the Red Bull Ring but collided with just five laps remaining.

However, in the main event of the day, Miguel Oliveira put a smile back on Poncharal's face by overtaking Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro and Pramac Racing's Jack Miller on the final corner to earn his and the team's first MotoGP victory in sensational fashion.

Poncharal said: "What an incredible day, incredible emotions! It is something like 40 years we've been in this business and we never won a MotoGP race.

"Honestly, I thought that was never going to happen and today our dream came true. Here in Austria, which is in front of our title sponsor Red Bull, in front of the KTM management, our manufacturer.

"To be honest, this morning, I was so down when I saw my two Moto3 riders, who collided, when they were on course for a podium and I thought maybe it's time for me to retire, because when you are deeply involved, I was really, really sad about that.

"And now I'm almost the happiest man in the world. Only racing can give you these up and down emotions.

"I would like to of course thank Red Bull, thank KTM, without who it would have been impossible. I would like also to dedicate this victory to Miguel, because he has been pushing a lot. Year one was not easy, he was injured the second half of the season.

"We've been fast since the beginning of this year, the bike improved, he improved, but we could never really show it due to some racing circumstances and I knew he could do it.

"Now we've done it. I'm very proud to see two KTM on the rostrum. Clearly, this is now one of the bikes to beat."

Oliveira's team-mate Iker Lecuona finished 10th and Poncharal is hoping to keep the momentum going at the next two races in Misano.

"I have been working with different manufacturers, but this one is more than special. They said they are ready to race and this is not only a slogan, but the reality," he said.

"There is such a big involvement, such a passion for racing and this is contagious, so let's celebrate tonight, let's hope there will be some other exciting days like today, but today I want to thank Miguel, Iker, who did a great race, too.

"I want to congratulate him as well, because it's also unbelievable, what he has done so far as a rookie. He is growing like I didn't expect.

"We go home to have a rest and fully motivated to do something great in Italy."

Maverick Vinales says the "exploded" brake that forced him to jump off his bike during Sunday's MotoGP race at the Red Bull Ring was unlike anything he had previously experienced.

Vinales dropped to 10th during the Styrian Grand Prix due to problems with brake pressure, but he battled to keep his Monster Energy Yamaha bike on the circuit and attempted to claw his way back through the grid.

However, the problem appeared to return and, with 12 laps to go, he was forced to leap off at a speed of more than 220 kilometres per hour, the bike then crashing into the barriers and bursting into flames, leading to the race being red-flagged.

After the race resumed, Miguel Oliveira claimed his maiden grand prix victory following a spectacular final corner.

Vinales said afterwards: "I was quite fast, I was feeling fantastic on the first laps, I was pushing Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso], but as we don't have top speed, you can see I could not overtake.

"I overtook one time and I said, 'okay, now I can go forward in front', but then he overtakes me on the straight very easily.

"I was just waiting to get the rhythm, but then I started to lose the front pressure of the brake, I went out [of the track] one time.

"I make three laps very slowly in one minute 26, then I push again at one minute 24, then again without brakes, and then [Fabio] Quartararo, Valentino [Rossi] and [Danilo] Petrucci overtake me.

"Then suddenly, the brake was good. So, I could make one minute 22, one minute 24 on mediums and I was recovering a lot to Valentino and Fabio, but then suddenly at corner one, the brake exploded, so [it was] impossible to do anything."

Vinales added that the problem was "something I never had during all my MotoGP career".

"Maybe [the brake pressure would] go down a little bit," he said.

"I played with the lever [to adjust it], but on every lap, I was adjusting the lever corner by corner so I couldn't do nothing."

Miguel Oliveira revealed he was not trying to overtake Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro at the last corner of the Styrian Grand Prix, yet doing so saw him become the first Portuguese winner of a MotoGP race.

Pole-sitter Espargaro was battling Miller on the final lap, only for Oliveira to ease into first at the crucial moment and take the chequered flag.

It was a first victory for the 25-year-old and his team, Red Bull KTM Tech 3, in what was the 900th premier class race in history.

Speaking afterwards, Oliveira claimed he was simply focusing on track position and exiting the corner, only to realise he was on his own as he crossed the finish line.

"For sure, it was I think an intelligent move because Pol was starting to close the lines too much and they were losing a lot of ground," he said on BT Sport.

"I had the speed anyway and I was just waiting for the right moment to overtake, without losing time, and to do it with the Ducati in front of you is not easy.

"They both started to fight, the two last corners, it is what it is. If you look at the history here in Spielberg, when two guys arrive together, it's always the same.

"So I thought I had my chance there. I didn't try to overtake anyone, I was just getting as close as possible, preparing the exit of the corner, and when I did it I was very surprised because I crossed the finish line, I saw the chequered flag, no one was around me and I thought, 'I'm gonna win!'.

"That moment is sweet. It's super cool."

Oliveira found it difficult to sum up his feelings given the historic nature of the race at the Red Bull Ring, where a Maverick Vinales crash saw red flags waved with 12 laps remaining and where championship leader Fabio Quartararo could only finish 13th.

"I can't tell you how much it means to me because many things happened at the same time," Oliveira said.

"Many histories, as you say: first for Portugal, in the 900th grand prix, and I get to drive this BMW home! I can't believe it.

"It's super nice also to give the team the first victory. Just seeing all the names that rode for Tech 3 and all of them never won a race. To put my name up there in this very, very special place makes me very proud and gives me a lot of motivation and also stress release to carry on working."

Miguel Oliveira scored his and Red Bull KTM Tech 3's first MotoGP victory with a double overtake on the last corner in a stunning finale at the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

A scary crash for Maverick Vinales led to the second successive electrifying race at the Red Bull Ring being red flagged with 12 laps remaining.

Pole-sitter Pol Espargaro, who collided with Oliveira after leading much of the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, became embroiled in a last-lap battle with Jack Miller for the victory.

However, Oliveira snuck through at the last to become the first Portuguese rider to win in the premier class, with Miller and Espargaro finishing second and third respectively.

Joan Mir shone in the first half of the race and got away well from pole at the restart after Vinales was forced to jump off his Monster Energy Yamaha bike at in excess of 220 kilometres per hour due to brake failure.

Mir soon started to struggle for grip and Miller, who was in hospital with a shoulder injury on Saturday following a crash in FP3, took control of things until Espargaro got past him with six laps to go.

They were both stunned at the death by Oliveira, as he became the third new winner of 2020 and topped the podium in the 900th premier class race

With reigning champion Marc Marquez ruled out for another two to three months, championship leader Fabio Quartararo finished 13th and saw his advantage at the summit cut to just three points.

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso is his closest rival but was unable to replicate his win last weekend and took fifth behind Mir.

TOP 10

1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.316s
3. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.540s
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.641s
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.414s
6. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +1.450s
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.864s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +4.150s
9. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.517s
10. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +5.068s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 67
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 56)
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 49
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 48

Teams
1. Petronas Yamaha 102
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 93
3. Ducati 92
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 84
5. Suzuki Ecstar 73

WHAT'S NEXT?

After racing over three straight weekends, the riders are not back in action until the first of a double-header at Misano on September 13.

Pol Espargaro will be hoping to convert a maiden MotoGP pole into a first race win at the Styrian Grand Prix. 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Espargaro was unable to hold on for a maiden victory in the premier class in an electrifying first race in Spielberg last weekend. 

There could be more drama in the offing with the title race blown wide open by news that reigning champion Marc Marquez will be out of commission for another two to three months. 

Espargaro will team up with Marquez at Repsol Honda next season, meaning the stage is set for the 29-year-old to show his future team exactly what he can do.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

After claiming their first MotoGP win through Brad Binder at the Czech Republic Grand Prix, Austrian manufacturers KTM got their maiden pole in the premier class on their home circuit courtesy of Espargaro. 

Johann Zarco, who had scaphoid surgery on Wednesday, was third-quickest in Q2 but will start the race from the pitlane after being punished for "irresponsible riding" in his crash with Franco Morbidelli last week. 

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was unable to extend his run of consecutive front-row starts to 12 and will begin from ninth, while Valentino Rossi was down in 14th after sliding out on his final lap in Q1.

THE STARTING GRID

1. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 2. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 6. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 9. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
10. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 12. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
13. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 14. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 15. Michele Pirro (Pramac Racing)
16. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 17. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), 18. Bradley Smith (Aprilia)
19. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 20. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda), 21. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing)
22. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing)*
*Starting the race from the pitlane

STYRIAN GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

The extended spell out for Marquez means the race offers other contenders a chance to improve their place among the favourites to finish the season at the top of the standings. 

Espargaro led the Austrian Grand Prix at the restart after it was red flagged following Zarco's crash with Morbidelli, but tyre issues and a collision with Miguel Oliveira ended his hopes of victory. The KTM stablemates have continued to argue about where the blame for that incident sits, and it carried over to FP3 on Saturday. 

Ducati have won the past five races held at the Red Bull Ring, with Dovizioso, who triumphed last weekend, on the podium on each of those occasions. 

The factory team will need a strong start to be in contention once more, while Pramac Racing's Jack Miller is set to race through a shoulder injury following a crash in FP3.

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Pol Espargaro (pole): "It's super important here to start in the first two rows and its super important to be at the end of the second straight, so after the third corner, in front of the Ducatis because if not it's super difficult to overtake them. It was important to start on the first two rows, as we did last weekend. P1 for sure is amazing, but we need to make a clean race and finally see the chequered flag. If we do that, we're going to be in a good place.

Takaaki Nakagami (2nd): "This is my first time on the first row, this is an amazing feeling. We are trying to keep calm and prepare for the race because it's a completely different story. For the race pace we are quite good, of course there are maybe small details we can improve. In this moment we can fight for the podium and I really want to get the podium and this is the main target."

Johann Zarco (pitlane): "I got less pain than what I expected and when I did the first laps this morning I said, 'Okay, that's great, I have some pain but it's under control'. I missed FP4 to rest myself because the wrist is not the best thing to push a lot, but then I had to do the Q1 and the lap time came pretty well. In Q2 I managed well only on one lap but it was enough. I think I've learned a lot, so thanks to the team."

Joan Mir (3rd): "Over this weekend so far we've managed to improve everything a little bit compared with last weekend. It's really important at this track to start on the front two rows, so I'm pleased that I managed that, especially as my time was so close to the top. I feel great and I know I have the pace to fight at the front, so let's see how tomorrow goes."

Valentino Rossi (14th): "Starting from 14th on the grid will be hard, but my race pace is not so bad, I'm quite fast and consistent. I think there are four or five riders that are faster, but we are up there with the others. This is not our best track, it's difficult here with the Yamaha, but the pace is not so bad, I'm quite strong. The race is long. We have to do everything well, trying the maximum from the beginning of the race."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 67
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 56
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 48
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 41
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) 38

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 98
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 86
3. Ducati 76
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 60
5. Suzuki Ecstar 50

Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has been ruled out for "two to three months", Repsol Honda announced on Saturday.

Marquez fractured his humerus in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in July and had to undergo a second operation after damaging a plate that was placed in his arm while opening a window ahead of the second race in Jerez.

The 27-year-old has not featured since and is now unlikely to return until the back end of the 2020 season.

A Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) statement read: "Marc Marquez will continue recovering in the coming weeks.

"The MotoGP world champion together with HRC, have consulted with and compared the opinions of a number of specialists in regard to the injury to the humerus of the right arm that Marc suffered on July 19 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"As a result, all parties have decided to modify the planned recovery process.

"The objective of both Marquez and the Repsol Honda team is to return to the world championship when Marc's arm has fully recovered from the serious injury that occurred in Jerez.

"It is estimated it will take between two to three months before Marc can return to the RC213V.

"HRC has not set a grand prix for the return of the reigning world champion and will continue to report on the evolution of his recovery."

Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig said: "There has been a lot of talk about Marc's recovery and the various deadlines, but from the first day after the second operation we have said that the only objective that exists is for him to be 100 percent.

"We do not want to rush. Once Marc is in a position to return and compete at the level he knows, then we will think about the next objective."

Fabio Quartararo went into this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix with a nine-point lead over Andrea Dovizioso in the riders' standings.

Pol Espargaro will start from pole for the first time in his MotoGP career after going quickest in Q2 at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Espargaro clocked a time of one minute, 23.580 seconds to start from the front of the grid at the Red Bull Ring.

As well as being a maiden pole in the premier class for the 29-year-old Spaniard, it was also a first for Austrian manufacturer KTM, who earned their first win at the Czech Republic Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Espargaro will hope he fares better than he did during the Austrian Grand Prix at the same track last time out, having led the race when it was restarted after a red flag before crashing out in a collision with Miguel Oliveira.

Takaaki Nakagami guided his LCR Honda to second place, while Johann Zarco, who had surgery on his scaphoid on Wednesday, qualified third.

However, with Zarco handed a pitlane penalty following the horror crash with Franco Morbidelli last weekend that injured his wrist, Joan Mir was promoted to the front row.

Jack Miller sat out FP4 due to shoulder pain from an FP3 crash but will start fourth ahead of Maverick Vinales, while championship leader Fabio Quartararo was unable to extend his run of successive front-row starts to 12. He will begin the race from ninth.

Last weekend's race winner Andrea Dovizioso will get away from the middle of the third row, while Valentino Rossi was down in 14th after he crashed at turn nine on his final lap in Q1.

Qualifying results

1. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:23.580
2. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.022s
3. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +0.252s
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.098s
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.120s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.198s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.202s
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +0.217s
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.269s
10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.286s
11. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.441s
12. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.594s

Johann Zarco will have to start his next MotoGP race from the pitlane after he was punished for the crash involving Franco Morbidelli at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Reale Avintia Ducati rider suffered a fractured wrist after colliding with Morbidelli at the Red Bull Ring.

A stewards panel determined Zarco - who admitted he was "very lucky" to avoid serious injury - was guilty of irresponsible riding and handed out a penalty for his next race.

"After evaluation it was determined that there was evidence of irresponsible riding from Johann Zarco, which has resulted in a penalty," a statement from MotoGP read.

"The Frenchman will start his next MotoGP race from the pitlane."

Zarco may not serve the one-race punishment at this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix, however, as the Frenchman is yet to be cleared to participate.

The 30-year-old underwent surgery on his injury in midweek and was subsequently ruled out of Friday's two practice sessions in Spielberg, though may yet ride in Sunday's race.

He posted a picture of himself on Instagram following the operation with his arm in a sling giving the thumbs up, writing: "Hi everyone! All good with the operation! Let see now how fast can be my recovery!"

Johann Zarco has been ruled out of practice at the Styrian Grand Prix on Friday but could still race this weekend despite suffering a fractured scaphoid.  

The Reale Avintia Ducati rider underwent surgery on Wednesday after breaking a bone in his right wrist in a horrific crash at the Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday.  

A shaken Zarco knew he was "very lucky" to avoid serious injury in a shocking high-speed collision with Franco Morbidelli at the Red Bull Ring.  

The duo went flying off their bikes, which came perilously close to hitting Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales as they hurtled across the track.   

Zarco will not be on back on the same track at Spielberg five days after the incident, but the Frenchman will be checked again to see if he can return to action on Saturday.  

The 30-year-old posted a picture of himself on Instagram following the operation with his arm in a sling giving the thumbs up, writing: "Hi everyone! All good with the operation! Let see now how fast can be my recovery!"

Rossi on Tuesday criticised Zarco for a "serious error in judgement", sharing footage of the incident via his onboard camera on Instagram.

He wrote on social media: “I understand that in the race we play for so much and everyone gives their best to be at the front, but we must not forget that ours is a dangerous sport, and the safety of us and our opponents is far more important than gaining a position.

"Zarco didn't intentionally cause such a carambola [crash] but it still remains a serious error in judgement, one which a MotoGP rider cannot afford, especially at 310kph."

He added: "The images from my camera are the ones that scare me the most because from here you can understand the speed with which Franco's motorcycle crossed the track in front of me.

"It passed so quickly I didn't see it, and when I went back to the pits I was already shaken enough after seeing Zarco's motorcycle literally flying over Maverick's head."

Johann Zarco has undergone surgery on the fractured wrist he suffered in a horror crash at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

A shaken Zarco knew he was "very lucky" to avoid serious injury after a shocking high-speed collision with Franco Morbidelli at the Red Bull Ring last weekend. 

The Reale Avintia Ducati rider and Morbidelli went flying off their bikes, which came perilously close to hitting Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales as they hurtled across the track. 

Zarco went under the knife on Wednesday and hopes to make a swift return, with the Styrian Grand Prix to come this weekend on the same track where he had such a fortunate escape. 

The Frenchman posted a picture of himself on Instagram with his right arm in a sling giving the thumbs on and wrote: "Hi everyone! All good with the operation! Let see now how fast can be my recovery!" 

Rossi on Tuesday criticised Zarco for a "serious error in judgement" in Spielberg, sharing footage of the incident via his onboard camera on Instagram.

He wrote on social media: “I understand that in the race we play for so much and everyone gives their best to be at the front, but we must not forget that ours is a dangerous sport, and the safety of us and our opponents is far more important than gaining a position.

"Zarco didn't intentionally cause such a carambola [crash] but it still remains a serious error in judgement, one which a MotoGP rider cannot afford, especially at 310kph."

He added: "The images from my camera are the ones that scare me the most because from here you can understand the speed with which Franco's motorcycle crossed the track in front of me.

"It passed so quickly I didn't see it, and when I went back to the pits I was already shaken enough after seeing Zarco's motorcycle literally flying over Maverick's head."

A thrilling MotoGP season is set to continue this week at the Styrian Grand Prix, with reigning world champion Marc Marquez still unable to race.

Marquez is recovering from the surgery he received on a broken arm suffered at the season-opening race in Jerez and will miss another grand prix.

An unpredictable and entertaining opening four rounds have produced three different winners and just 31 points separate the top seven riders in the 2020 standings going into the next event.

Round five, which gets under way at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT), is the second consecutive race at the Red Bull Ring and one which fans will hope provides more thrills and spills.
 

LAST TIME OUT

The last race in Spielberg was most memorable for the horror crash involving Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco, who incredibly avoided serious injury after they tangled, while Valentino Rossi was almost struck by one of their bikes as it flashed across the track at high speed.

That brought out the red flag on lap nine and the restarted race ultimately produced plenty of drama too with Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins both leading the race at one stage only to crash out.

The eventual winner was Andrea Dovizioso, who triumphed just after confirming he would be leaving Ducati at the end of the season. Joan Mir and Jack Miller completed the podium, with standings leader Fabio Quartararo finishing down in eighth and pole-sitter Maverick Vinales just 10th.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN SPIELBERG

Quartararo still leads the standings but after finishes of seventh and eighth to follow his opening two victories, he has a group of riders closing in fast behind him. Since his first six races as a MotoGP rider last year, he has not gone three consecutive events without reaching the podium.

Dovizioso is the closest of those rivals, now just 11 points adrift, and will be confident at a track where he and Ducati have traditionally thrived.

Like Yamaha, Honda are in need of a boost, with the manufacturer yet to register a podium in Marquez's absence. Takaaki Nakagami has impressed so far but Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl and the champion's brother Alex Marquez have all endured difficult starts to the campaign.

Pol Espargaro, who will partner Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda next year, has retired in his past two MotoGP races and is looking to avoid three early exits in a row for what would be the first time in his career, particularly with current Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate Brad Binder impressing so much.

His frightening near miss last week aside, Rossi has had an enjoyable campaign. He has three consecutive top-five finishes to his name and has beaten team-mate Vinales in each of the last two. He has not beaten the Spaniard on three straight occasions since the seventh race of the 2018 season.


TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Ducati dominance – The Italian manufacturer have won the past five races held at the Red Bull Ring  and have done so with three different riders (Andrea Ianonne: 2016; Jorge Lorenzo: 2018; Dovizioso: 2017, 2019 and 2020).

Delight for Dovi? - The Red Bull Ring could be the first circuit where Dovizioso reaches four wins in his MotoGP career, double that in any other circuit (two each at Losail and Sepang). He has finished on the podium in all of his previous five races here.

Vinales needs victory – TThe Spaniard has not finished on the podium in his five MotoGP races at the Red Bull Ring. If he does not finish in the top three in the Styrian Grand Prix, this will be the circuit where he has had the most appearances without a podium (6) in the top category.

Miller momentum – Australian Miller, who will join the Ducati factory team next season, has finished on the podium in five of his past 14 MotoGP races. He only recorded two podiums in his first 75 appearances.

Brad has rivals in a bind - Binder has collected 41 points in the first four races of the season, the best all-time season start of any KTM rider in the premier class.


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) - 67
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) - 56
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 48
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory) - 41
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 38

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha - 98
2. Monster Energy Yamaha - 86
3. Ducati - 76
4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - 60
5. Suzuki Ecstar - 50

Andrea Dovizioso insisted he was not out to prove a point by winning a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix just a day after it was announced he would leave Ducati.

Speculation over Dovizioso's future was ended on Saturday when it was confirmed he would be on his way out of a team he joined in 2013 at the end of the MotoGP season.

Dovizioso showed Ducati what they will be missing by claiming his first victory of the season and his third in the last four years at a Red Bull Ring circuit where the Bologna factory have won five in a row.

The Italian says confirmation that he will be moving on did not give him extra fuel to get back on the top step of the podium and move just 11 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

He said: "That performance didn't come after that decision [to move on].

"We already showed in the past how strong we are at this track so I'm more impressed with the improvement from Brno as this was our focus and we did it.

"For sure the track helped us but we really studied a lot and approached practice in a different way, this was the reason why I'm here [talking as the race winner]."

Dovizioso's win came after the race was stopped nine laps in due to one of the most horrific crashes ever seen in the premier class.

Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco incredibly avoided serious injury after they tangled at Turn 3 and Valentino Rossi was almost struck by one of the two bikes that flashed across the track at high speed.

Alex Rins then spun out from the front halfway through a 20-lap race following the restart and Dovizioso capitalised to win ahead of Joan Mir, who passed Jack Miller on the final corner.

Dovizioso added: "When they put out the red flag the feeling was good.

"I put myself in a good position, but I expected after the restart for Pol [Espargaro, who crashed out after being in the lead] to be a bit stronger, and I didn't expect Rins to be so strong as in the first part he wasn't that good, but ahead of the race I expected Rins so in the second part this became the reality.

"I think if Rins hadn't crashed it would have been very difficult to beat him because I was struggling a little bit but in some braking zones I was so good and I was able to make a gap."

Johann Zarco was visibly shaken but felt "very lucky" after his shocking collision with Franco Morbidelli in Sunday's MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix resulted in no serious injuries.

Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati emerged victorious at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, but the race was marred by an accident on lap nine that could have had dire consequences.

Ahead of Turn 3, Zarco's rear wheel appeared to be clipped by Morbidelli's front wheel, sending both riders careering from their bikes, which continued to dart onwards.

The Ducati smashed into a tyre wall and then flew back across the track, while Morbidelli's uncontrollable bike hurtled between Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi – the machine seemingly coming within a few feet of broadsiding the Italian.

Zarco posted a video message - which later appeared to be deleted - to his Instagram account after the race, confirming he avoided any major injuries and acknowledged everyone involved was extremely fortunate.

"I'm okay. I've got some burns here [arm], and my hips and leg. We had a really big scare," Zarco said.

"I have seen Morbidelli also and we were both sorry about what's happened. It was a racing incident that is sometimes difficult to avoid at this speed. Also, our bikes didn't touch anyone, so very lucky today.

"All is fine, just need to analyse everything well and work for next week. I will be fit to race. Thank you for all your support."

Petronas Yamaha confirmed in a statement that a scan cleared Morbidelli of any serious injuries, a relief considering he took a knock to the head in the aftermath of the collision.

They said: "Franco is okay. His right hand, right shoulder and head took the brunt of his crash but he did not lose consciousness at any point.

"He has undergone a CT scan, which showed that there are no major issues. Franco is currently in the Clinica Mobile undergoing minor treatments."

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