Last weekend’s MotoGP race at Red Bull Ring in Austria, fourth in a truncated racing season caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, was spectacular for many reasons. Aside from the eventual race winner Andrea Dovisioso resigning from the Ducati Team then proceeding to hand the team their 50th MotoGP victory, the race saw a horrific crash with a conclusion nothing short of a miracle.
The incident began when Johann Zarco riding the Esponsorama Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP19 pulled in in front of Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, riding the Yamaha YZR-M1. Events are somewhat unclear at this point, with both riders coming out of turn 2 and approaching the apex of turn 3, but Morbidelli collided with Zarco.
Approach speed for both bikes at this time was, according to reports, close to 270 km/h. Both riders and bikes hit the run-off area, with the riders sliding and tumbling in the gravel.
However, momentum on the race bikes was such both machines careened through the gravel before finally finally flipping and literally flying through the air. Ahead of Morbidelli and Zarco were Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, both riding for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP.
At this point, the wreckage of Zarco’s Ducati flies mere centimetres away from Vinales, making him take both hands off the handlebars in an instinctive move to protect himself. Mere fractions of a second later, Morbidelli’s Yamaha follows, coming in between Vinales and Rossi who was following closely behind.
Both Vinales and Rossi escape being hit by debris flying across the track, with the Yamaha riders continuing on, unscathed. The track marshals at Red Bull Ring, the unsung heroes of any race meet, were quick to respond, the race being red flagged immediately.
In all, both Zarco and Morbidelli were uninjured and passed fit to compete for the coming weekend’s race at the same circuit. An earlier incident in Moto2 saw Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin collide with a fallen race bike on the track in a race incident that involved three other riders as seen in the video below.
Hafizh was rushed to the track medical centre after being catapulted into the air and coming to a rest some 100 metres away, further down the track. An examination revealed no fractures or serious injury and Hafizh has been released to recuperate, suffering only a hip injury that necessitates him temporarily using crutches.
Coming with diverse and extensive experience in heavy engineering, Mohan enjoys making anything with wheels go fast, especially motorcycles. His weapon of choice is the Desmoquattro engine, and he has a penchant for anything with a dash of Italian design. Strangely enough, he insists he’s a slow rider.