The Red Bull Ring is a special place for Ducati. The track on which Andrea Iannone, in 2016, took the Rossa back to success after a winless period of 6 years. It was no coincidence because Spielberg's track has always been suitable for the Desmosedici. Of the 7 editions of the Austrian GP, Ducati have won 6: one with Iannone, 3 with Dovizioso, one with Lorenzo and the last (last year) with Bagnaia. When the Styrian Grand Prix was also held on the same circuit (due to Covid), one of the two editions was won by Martin.
The only bike that has managed to interrupt Borgo Panigale's dominance at the Red Bull Ring is KTM. In 2020 with Oliveira after a restart caused by accident involving Vinales (he was left without brakes at the end of the main straight) and then in 2021 with Binder, who took a big risk by staying out on the track with slick tyres in the wet. However, even on those occasions, a Ducati finished second.
This summary serves to underline that the Red team leaves for Austria with only one goal: to win. The same as Bagnaia, who after being beaten by Aleix Espargarò at Silverstone wants revenge. After all, that defeat wasn't all that bad, because Pecco in England still managed to increase his lead over his pursuers in the standings and now Martin is 41 points and Bezzecchi at 47. It’s not a bad margin, but not enough to sleep easily, above all because his rivals have the same bike as him and the Red Bull Ring is also an opportunity for them to capitalize on.
After Sunday's GP, the championship will be at its halfway point and every point will be important for the final part that will take the riders to Valencia. Bagnaia is certainly the favourite, but to reach the destination he will have to be careful not to make mistakes with so many rivals, both in-house and out. While Martin and Bezzecchi are up there with Bagnaia in the standings, Alex Marquez, Marini, Bastianini and Zarco all have the expertise to compete for individual race wins.
Then there is KTM, improving rapidly, which will be racing at home this weekend. Brad Binder has proven to be a tough nut to crack, 83 points behind in the standings are a lot, but he can always be threatening. The Austrian manufacturer still lacks a victory this year, but it seems it has everything necessary to do it in the next races and, of course, the Red Bull Ring is one of those appointments marked in red (or rather, orange) on the calendar.
Then there's Aprilia, which flexed its muscles at Silverstone after a subdued start to the season. The victory of Aleix Espargarò and Oliveira and Vinales in the top 5 are confirmation that the RS-GP has some cards to play. While the British track is a friendly one for the bike from the Noale manufacturer, in Austria they will be required to confirm the competitiveness of the package from the Veneto. There is little hope for the title (Aleix will have to make up 107 points on Bagnaia), but the end of the season is an opportunity to bring home results and confirmations that would be important in view of next season.
We should now include the Japanese manufacturers, but there is absolutely nothing to say about them. It would be naive to think from one GP to the next that Honda and Yamaha can raise their heads unless they encounter very special conditions. For them, the Austrian trip promises to be an uphill struggle, like the mountain paths that surround the circuit.