Iannone leads Ducati charge
| Ducati scorch to a sensational one-two in Austria after massive last-gasp gamble on softer tyres
Just seconds before the field screeched off on the warm-up lap Andrea Iannone decided to change tyres. He switched from the medium fronts and hard rear Michelins used by almost the entire grid, to a soft front and medium rear. It was a huge risk, but it paid off as the Italian was able to stay with the leaders in the early stages of the race and then power away from his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso for a conclusive win in the closing laps.
It was Ducatiõs first Motogp victory in six years Ð and only their third onetwo result in their GP history. Iannone admitted after the race that he had ignored the advice of his Michelin technicians and Ducati crew.
He explained: ÒMY engineers asked on the grid Ôbut why? Why do you want the soft?õ Everyone else used the hard, but I rode on Saturday with the soft, and I thought it would be a good decision. But it wasnõt easy when people are telling me the decision is wrong!
Òbut I worked on Saturday with both tyres, soft and hard, and for me the hard one had a big drop in grip after six or seven laps, and it became very difficult to manage on the right side. I tried a run with the softer one in free practice four, and I finished 22 laps with my last laps at a good pace.
ÒI talked with my engineers and with Michelin when I came back into the box, and I explained that I thought the softer tyres were better for the race. Michelin didnõt agree at the time, but I believe in me! I decided at the beginning to start like everyone else, but at the last minute I went with what I knew would work, and I think it was a good strategy!ó
And the gamble paid off, as he romped home to his first victory in the premier class and Ducatiõs first win since Casey Stoner at Phillip Island in 2010 Ð something that he said made the victory that much sweeter.
ÒITÕS a very beautiful moment for me Ð magical. Not just for me, but for Ducati too. Weõve come back after six years to win; but not only that, weõve come back after Casey Stoner. Heõs a very fast rider, and that makes this even more special.
ÒITÕS an incredible emotion. The first victory for me in Motogp is very important. Iõve won a lot of races in the Moto2 class, but in GP it is a different story. Here, you fight with the best riders ever Ð with Vale, Jorge and Dovi. It helps me believe a little more in my potential too and it should help me get even better.ó
And while it was widely acknowledged by nearly everyone on the Motogp grid going into the weekend that the Red Bull Ring would offer Ducati the best chance of a win, the 27-year-old says that thereõs no reason that their success has to stop in Austria as the series moves on to the Czech Republic this weekend.
ÒI think Brno is a very positive track for us. We had good potential there last year, and I finished fourth even with a technical problem. Without that, there was a strong chance of fighting for the podium. After this race and this win, and even after Sachsenring, Andrea and I have a very good chance now. Itõs possible to stay on top for the rest of the season.ó
Iannone went his own way with tyres and ended up with his maiden victory Ducati left their rivals trailing at the Austrian track