Ducati a step ahead in Austria - Marquez


MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez believes Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone are the men to beat at the Austrian GP.

Dovizioso and Iannone set by far the fastest times in Friday's second practice session, while Marquez was comparatively slow on his return to action after the sport's mid-season break.

Marquez - who tops the standings by 48 points - expects to be competitive with his nearest rivals for the championship, the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, in Sunday's race despite his practice struggles.

"Both Ducati riders are one step in front, they are far and I don't know if we'll be able to fight with them," Marquez said.

"But the two Yamaha riders, my main rivals for the title, we are not far from them. [Fighting for third] is a possibility.

"We need to understand how can [Ducati] manage the tyres, but it looks like they are fast."

Marquez highlighted the speed at the first corner Ducati have showcased in Austria as key to the race.

"They have really good acceleration at Turn 1," the Spaniard said. "That's only one corner but I'm losing three-and-a-half tenths there and it's difficult to recover from that.

"It looks like it will be easier for the Ducati riders [to win] but we will fight until the end and especially fight with Yamaha riders, my main opponents."