(Reuters) – Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso held off MotoGP points leader Marc Marquez to claim his third victory of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Dovizioso, who started on a soft rear tire, took the lead with seven laps to the finish line and maintained a slender advantage over Honda riders Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, who completed the podium.
“It was difficult this weekend,” Dovizioso said. “The battle was really nice. We controlled the race for the tyres. Three victories this season… it’s really good!”
Marquez, who won the last two races, made a late challenge on Dovizioso in the final corner but the Italian defended well to win the duel and move up to second spot in the battle for the world title.
“I was on the limit, pushing a lot. The last corner was completely on the limit, but this is MotoGP. This is the show. No worries. Next time we’ll try again,” said Marquez.
Dovizioso’s team mate Jorge Lorenzo finished fourth despite taking an early lead in dry conditions at the Red Bull Ring, while Johann Zarco finished fifth.
Yamaha endured a disappointing afternoon with Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi taking the sixth and seventh spot, respectively.
Alvaro Bautista secured an eighth-placed finish for Aspar Ducati, with Avintia Ducati’s Loris Baz ended ninth.
KTM wildcard Mika Kallio beat last year’s winner Andrea Iannone to the 10th spot.
World champion Marquez leads the overall standings with 174 points, 16 ahead of second-placed Dovizioso. Vinales slipped to third spot with 150 points, followed by Rossi on 141.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)