Remy Gardner rode smart to protect his Moto2 championship lead as Jack Miller went down and out at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Miller was battling for a potential podium place on his Ducati before his mishap, as Jorge Martin came through to win on another Ducati with defending champion Joan Mir second for Suzuki and Fabio Quartararo continuing to lead the 2021 title fight with third on a Yamaha.
The MotoGP main event was a start-to-finish celebration for Martin, who had qualified on pole position and then rode away for his first premier class win and to become the first independent rider to score a victory on a Ducati.
Miller was the early leader after a re-start that was triggered by a big crash at the beginning of the Grand Prix of Styria, but he faded and eventually fell just 10 laps from the finish.
“Dirty on myself with that one,” says Miller, who still sits fifth in the championship standings.
For Gardner, who now has a 37-point lead over his team mate Raul Fernandez in the Moto2 standings, the Austrian race did not produce the result he craved. He was in front in the early going but then Valentino Rossi’s protege, Marco Bezzecchi, was able to hunt down his rivals for his first win of the season.
Aron Canet was runner-up after an impressive charge, with Augusto Fernandez back on the podium to pick up where he left off in Assen.
But Gardner still showed impressive maturity when he reflected on the result.
“I am happy because we took the fourth position and picked up some important points. I want to thank the team for the work they have done and, at the same time, apologise for not making it onto the podium,” he says.
MotoGP returns to the Red Bull Ring next weekend for the second leg of a double-header with the Austrian Grand Prix.