Ducati Team's Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso (R) and Repsol Honda Team's Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa celebrate on podium after the the MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix race at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on August 13, 2017. AFP Photo

SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD: Andrea Dovizioso held off the hard-charging Marc Marquez to win a thrilling Austrian MotoGP Grand Prix for Ducati on Sunday.

World championship leader Marquez had started on pole but Italian Dovizioso got the better of an incredible battle where the lead changed hands several times, including twice on the final corner.

Three-time world champion Marquez’s Honda team-mate and compatriot Dani Pedrosa came third.

Dovizioso’s third win of the season moved him up to second behind Marquez in the standings, 16 points back, as Spaniard Maverick Vinales dropped to third after finishing only sixth.

That was one place above his Yamaha team-mate and seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy.

Dovizioso had started second on the grid but dropped to third as his Ducati team-mate and three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo jumped from third to first at the start.

Dovizioso, who was second in Austria to his then team-mate Andrea Iannone last year, took advantage of the battle between Marquez and Lorenzo to snatch the lead.

Marquez also passed Lorenzo to launch a thrilling battle with Dovizioso.

The Spaniard seemed to have an edge in speed but every time he passed the Italian, usually after a daring and almost reckless lunge into a turn, his ice-cool rival quickly took back the lead.

Their battle allowed Pedrosa to close right in around six laps from the end but he couldn’t challenge for the victory and Dovizioso prevailed. --AFP

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