Virtual MotoGP: Bagnaia takes the Red Bull Ring win| MotoGP staff | MotoGP
Pramac Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia took victory in the second Virtual MotoGP race at the Red Bull Ring, crossing the line just ahead of Maverick Vinales with Alex Marquez in third place.
After carnage at turn one on lap one, Bagnaia and the Monster Yamaha man were able to pull clear of the field.
Vinales managed to crash out of the lead on lap seven but hauled in a three-second gap to pass Bagnaia on the final lap.
However, Bagnaia took to the grass at turn six and claimed back the lead which Vinales could do nothing about.
The race got underway in chaotic style with nearly all of the field getting caught up in a huge crash going into Turn 1, with LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami somehow emerging ahead and in the lead in the aftermath.
It didn’t last long though, with first Bagnaia and Viñales both motoring past the Japanese rider, and then Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez also finding a way past to move into third.
At the start of Lap 2 though, Nakagami ran straight into the rear wheel of Marquez and took out the number 93, much to the nine-time Champion’s frustration. And it wouldn’t be the Japanese rider’s only controversial move!
The number 30 stayed on but was quickly passed by Alex Marquez, who had his eyes firmly on the duo ahead, but Nakagami would then take out Alex as well after once again riding straight into the back of him. That allowed Marc Marquez back into the podium hunt and Nakagami started to drift back.
Younger brother Alex had too much pace for the reigning MotoGP World Champion though and he eventually broke clear and settled into third place.
Back at the front and it was Viñales who was leading, eight tenths clear of Bagnaia with now just a handful of laps remaining. The win was in sight for the factory Yamaha, but disaster then struck when Viñales tucked the front end of his M1 and he crashed out the lead. Bagnaia didn’t need a second invitation to sweep through and retake control of the race, and the gap was quite something… surely it was done and dusted?
Not quite. Viñales found something to little by little cut the three-second gap down to nothing as the pair started the final lap. Remarkably he then took the lead from Bagnaia at Turn 3, plunging downhill and up the inside, but the Italian wasn’t tapping out and giving up.
He immediately responded with a huge dive up the inside of the Yamaha, even taking a trip across the grass to do so, and that would prove the race-winning overtake.
Viñales was able to cut the gap back down again, but a big slide out of the final corner put paid to any chance of him drafting past Bagnaia before the chequered flag…
It wouldn’t be another Virtual Race win for Alex Marquez, who came across the line in third place, but it was another trip to the rostrum and ahead of his brother Marc Marquez, who finished fourth. Behind them, three crashes cost Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo dearly as he ended up in fifth despite showing podium pace once again, just as he had at Mugello.
Sixth place was another tight fight and went right down to the wire as Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team), both making their Virtual Race debuts, slugged it out.
In the end, Petrucci came out on top despite The Doctor’s best efforts after the number 46 put in an almighty lunge at the final corner, that ultimately ending in the nine-time World Champion crashing out spectacularly and Petrucci able to escape.
Nakagami slipped back to eighth after a few more exploits, making no friends on the virtual track in this race but providing some top entertainment, with Ducati Team’s Michele Pirro and Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat completing the top ten.