Maverick Vinales

210km/h step-off after brake failure

SPANISH MotoGP ace Maverick Vinales doesn’t need to buy a Lotto ticket after his spectacular step-off at more than 200km/h.

The 25-year-old Yamaha rider already makes around $10 million a year, but he’ll be thanking his lucky stars, the gods or sheer good fortune after his two grands prix on Austria’s Red Bull Ring circuit.

In last week’s Austrian MotoGP he came within centimetres of being wiped out by a motorcycle that scythed across the circuit between him and teammate Valentino Rossi.

And in the just-run Styrian MotoGP, he jumped off his bike when it had total brake failure — at 210km/h.

It was one of the most dramatic moments of a race that produced one of the most exciting last laps seen in years.  

The race was red-flagged after Vinales’ heart-stopping bail-out from his bike, which went on to crash into the new air-cushioned safety fence and cremated itself.

A few laps prior, Viñales slowed and held his hand up to suggest something was wrong with his YZR-M1. 

However, he seemed to recover and was down in 13th place, just ahead of Alex Marquez, when he had the terrifying brake failure.

The race restarted as a 12-lap dash to the finish and looked like a toss-up between front-runners, Australia’s Jack Miller on his Pramac Racing KTM or Pol Espargaro on a Red Bull KTM.

Close behind the duelling duo was Portuguese rider  Miguel Oliveira on a Red Bull KTM Tech 3.

Miller and Espargaro entered the final corner side-by-side, ran fractionally wide and  Oliveira took the inside line and grabbed his first — and his team’s — MotoGP race win.

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had a tough time, leading for many laps after a great start, but finished 4th after his front tyre lost grip in the closing laps.

Last week’s winner, Dovizioso couldn’t make it two-from-two for Ducati and crossed the line 5th.

Another unfortunate victim from the red flag was Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami, who has to settle for P7 in Styria after looking odds on for picking up a maiden podium. 

Brad Binder, who started from 14th for Red Bull KTM, progressed steadily to 5th, but also had a red mist moment and ran wide just five laps from the end, and finished 8th — just ahead of Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha.

Tenth place went to rookie Iker Lecuona, who capped off a fantastic day for Red Bull KTM Tech 3. 

A stunned Oliveira described his win as “history for me and my country.” 

His victory meant that there were different winners for four of the five MotoGPs held so fa, in stark contrast to the Formula 1 procession led by the Mercedes team. 

Vinales later explained his problem with the Yamaha’s brakes.

“I was quite fast, I was feeling fantastic on the first laps, I was just waiting to get the rhythm, but then I started to lose the front pressure of the brake,” he said.

“I make three laps very slow, then suddenly the brake was good.

“I was recovering a lot but then suddenly at corner one the brake exploded, so it was impossible to do anything.”

He said he’d never experienced any such hassle before.

“No, it’s something I never had during all my MotoGP career.”

Alex Marquez, who was chasing Vinales at the time, said he saw ‘small bits of black’ falling from Vinales’ machine moments before the crash.

The Red Bull Ring is notorious for its hard braking zones, but Vinales doesn’t think that was the main cause of his failure.

He also did not elaborate on his split-second decision to abandon bike at that speed.

Had he stayed aboard, he would certainly have been catapulted into space, probably with an unhappy landing, when the machine hit the barrier.

What is sure is that his two scary moments on the Red Bull Ring is something he will never forget. 

Next round is at Misano, Italy on September 13.

Top 10:

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 183.5 16’56.025
2 20 43 Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 183.5 +0.316
3 16 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 183.4 +0.540
4 13 36 Joan MIR SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 183.4 +0.641
5 11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 183.3 +1.414
6 10 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 183.3 +1.450
7 9 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 183.2 +1.864
8 8 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 182.8 +4.150
9 7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 182.7 +4.517
10 6 27 Iker LECUONA SPA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 182.6 +5.068

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