Although Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez streaked away at the Red Bull Ring like they predicted they would, the result could have uncovered good news ahead of the rest of the season.
Marquez and Honda were the class of the field before the summer break, and the reigning champion had to work for his Brno victory when the season resumed.
However, Dovizioso and Ducati stole a famous victory in Austria last weekend, while Fabio Quartararo managed third aboard his Petronas Yamaha ahead of both factory Yamahas.
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The trio of Yamahas weren’t overly gapped by the leaders, with Quartararo, Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales within nine seconds of the race lead.
Marquez still enjoys a stranglehold on the 2019 title fight thanks to his 58-point lead, but with 200 points still to win this season, the Spaniard’s sixth premier class crown is far from settled.
According to Dovizioso, the Austria win not only breathed life into his season, but Ducati’s charge towards an unlikely title in 2019 after initially being left in “crisis”.
“This victory gives us, I think, a lot of energy for the future,” Dovizioso said.
“To win is always important but to win like this — we struggled a lot during some races, and to win like this, when we didn’t have a better speed [than Marquez] but we worked well for the race, and we took the victory in this way, I think it’s very positive for the me and for Ducati.
“It will give us energy for the continuation of the season and for development. Energy makes a lot of difference and the more energy there is, the better.
“[The title race] is open because it’s open, and there’s a lot of races … [Marc] was so competitive, more than last year. So I expect him strong in every track, so I think it’s very difficult.”
The title is all but out of reach for Yamaha, but their decent pace at the Red Bull Ring — a power-hungry layout that should have been their Achilles heel — revealed to Rossi that “something moved” within the team over the summer break.
Vinales broke through for a surprise victory at Assen, but results have otherwise been hard to come by for Yamaha. Both riders tested the 2020-spec bike at Brno, and while Rossi felt little change to the bike’s power output, the Italian veteran is confident the team can maximise potential in their bid to close the gap to Honda and Ducati.
“We are quite happy especially because it looks like the second half of the season start in a better way because the first one we had [was] very negative,” Rossi said after the promising Austria result.
“Looks like something moved in Yamaha, and Yamaha started to work harder and better to improve the bike.
“When we arrive here, Friday we understand that we make a step with electronic and acceleration and we can be more competitive because we always suffer in this track.
“This is the most important thing. For sure we have a lot of work to do because especially Dovizioso and Marquez are faster than us, but it’s a good way to start.”