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Another Ducati vs Marquez showdown on the cards

The MotoGP riders strike a happy pose at the press conference

Bengaluru, August 10: It was a spectacular weekend of action at the Brno circuit in Czech Republic last week and now Austria steps up to try and repeat the feat

The Austrian GP to be held at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday (August 12) promises to be yet another possible Ducati vs Marc Marquez showdown, if one goes what riders had to say at the pre-event press conference.

World champion Marquez, who topped the official tests in Brno a day after the race, sounded upbeat as he hopes for a quick turnaround from the Czech GP, his 100th MotoGP race where he ended up behind the Ducati duo off Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.

"One of the main goals in Brno we achieved: try to increase the lead in the Championship and we did it. I was happy, right after the race I was a bit bitter because of both Ducatis but then I analysed the race in the motorhome. It was a great race and a great result for us, then the Monday test was very busy with a lot of things to try. Some of them we will introduce here step by step because we found some interesting things," said the Repsol Honda rider, who still leads the FIM MotoGP World Championship standings with 181 points.

High level

High level

Both Ducati riders, like we saw in Brno, are on a really high level so we'll try and find the best way to fight with them until the end. It will be tough, but you have to start the weekend positively, we'll try to be there and find the step.

The main aim is to be on the podium. If we can fight for victory we'll try but you don't know before you try the tyres and asphalt and everything," he added.

Man on the roll

Man on the roll

The man on the roll, however, is Dovizioso: the 2017 Austrian GP winner after the stunning duel with Marquez and the winner last time out was also brimming with confidence.

"After the victory in Brno, you arrive at the next round with good confidence and even more to this track because on paper our bike works well here. But last year it wasn't easy! We struggled but then in the race, our speed was really good and I was able to fight with Marc. But I expect this season our competitors will be stronger because they've increased their power and aero - maybe they will be closer," said Dovizioso.

Tough track

Tough track

Rossi, meanwhile, will be wringing the neck of the weekend to get the most out of what could be a tougher track.

"It's always a difficult track, especially last year I didn't enjoy it a lot because it was one of the most difficult races for me. I've never been on the podium here although in 2016 it wasn't bad, me and Jorge were strong and not so far from the podium but it wasn't enough," the Yamaha rider said.

Interesting factor

Interesting factor

The weather - as also pointed out by Marquez and Rossi - could be an interesting factor. And so could a Lorenzo so close to being back on top in Brno.

"The improvement compared to the first races has been huge," said the five-time world champion.

" It was a great race last time out and in the test we improved some more details, I've been more competitive especially on older tyres so I think we arrive in the best way possible to Austria."

After a bad run of luck of late that sees Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio side-lined, Bradley Smith faces down the weekend alone in the premier class. In terms of development, for Smith it's feeling positive in terms of input and they're just missing another step to break into the top ten.

The track action starts from Friday (August 10) before the lights go out at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday at 2pm local time (5.30pm IST).

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    Story first published: Friday, August 10, 2018, 13:12 [IST]
    Other articles published on Aug 10, 2018
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