The chances of factory Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso went almost down under as the Italian finished on 13th position at the Australian round of MotoGP. His rival and the current championship leader, Honda factory team’s Marc Marquez put on a stellar performance to secure a crucial victory at the Australian Grand Prix, the 61st win of his career, his 35th in MotoGP, and his sixth this year. Marquez is now 33 ahead Andrea Dovizioso, who remains his only rival for the Title of the 2017 World MotoGP Championship.
Marquez had to face an incredibly close, race-long battle in an eight-rider leading group formed by Marquez, Rossi, Viñales, Zarco, Iannone, Miller, Crutchlow, and Rins. He waited for his moment before taking the lead on lap 21, then pushed hard to pull a gap on his pursuers and crossed the line 1.799” ahead of Rossi and 1.826” in front of Viñales in third.
“It was such an amazing race, I think we put on a fantastic show for the fans! I’m very happy, as I knew that today was important. Dovi was struggling a little this weekend, while I was feeling really good on the bike and had to make the best of it… I’m happy with the win of course, but even more with going to Malaysia with a 33 point advantage,” said Marquez.
Meanwhile, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales scored Double Podium on Phillip Island. With seven riders fighting aggressively for a place on the podium, the teammates had to give their all to put their YZR-M1s inside the top-3. They did just that and secured second and third place respectively and delivered the team its fourth double podium of the season.
Rossi had a strong start from seventh on the grid and soon found himself in fifth position after the first few corners. He continued to push hard on lap 1, crossing the line in fourth place, right behind his teammate. The Doctor looked to be on a roll when he overtook Jack Miller for the lead two laps later, but chaos was about to ensue. Zarco and Marquez made a comeback as Rossi went wide in turn 4, with 18 laps remaining, and Miller did the same shortly after. The Doctor was riding in second place when, with eight laps to go, a touch of Marquez’ front wheel pushed him back to fourth. Yet, a manic four-lap dash at the end of the race saw the nine-time World Champion retaliate. With a two-second gap to Marquez, he focussed on holding off Zarco and Viñales and took the chequered flag in second position. This result earned Rossi his 17th podium finish at the Phillip Island track.
“All the riders in front were very aggressive, so you need to be more ‘stupid’, more aggressive, than they are. It was a great battle with Zarco, Iannone, Marquez and Viñales,” said Rossi.
Viñales had a good start and immediately looked threatening behind frontmen Miller and Marquez. After two laps his tyres were warm and he was ready to make a move. As he overtook Marquez, he took Rossi with him. His teammate passed him with 23 laps remaining as they continued their chase after the leader. When Rossi overtook Miller, Viñales launched himself past both. He was leading the race, but it wasn’t to last in today’s frantic MotoGP battle. He soon had to deal with Marquez, Zarco and Miller again and the Spaniard found himself in fifth place, with 15 laps to go, behind his teammate. However, fighting with Zarco and Andrea Iannone pushed him wide and made him fall back to seventh place. He climbed back up the rankings, picking off Miller and Cal Crutchlow with five laps to go, and used his saved-up tyre life in the last laps to breeze past Iannone and overtake Zarco over the line for third place.
Australian GP Results:
|1||MARQUEZ Marc||93||SPA||25||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||40’49.772|
|2||ROSSI Valentino||46||ITA||20||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1.799|
|3||VINALES Maverick||25||SPA||16||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||1.826|
|4||ZARCO Johann||5||FRA||13||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||1.842|
|5||CRUTCHLOW Cal||35||GBR||11||LCR Honda||Honda||3.845|
|6||IANNONE Andrea||29||ITA||10||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||3.871|
|7||MILLER Jack||43||AUS||9||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||5.619|
|8||RINS Alex||42||SPA||8||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||12.208|
|9||ESPARGARO Pol||44||SPA||7||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||16.251|
|10||SMITH Bradley||38||GBR||6||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||16.262|
|11||REDDING Scott||45||GBR||5||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||21.652|
|12||PEDROSA Dani||26||SPA||4||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||21.668|
|13||DOVIZIOSO Andrea||4||ITA||3||Ducati Team||Ducati||21.692|
|14||ABRAHAM Karel||17||CZE||2||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||26.110|
|15||LORENZO Jorge||99||SPA||1||Ducati Team||Ducati||26.168|
|16||RABAT Tito||53||SPA||0||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||26.252|
|17||BAUTISTA Alvaro||19||SPA||0||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||36.377|
|18||BAZ Loris||76||FRA||0||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||39.654|
|19||LOWES Sam||22||GBR||0||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||40.400|
|20||BARBERA Hector||8||SPA||0||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||45.901|
|21||PETRUCCI Danilo||9||ITA||0||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||48.768|
|22||PARKES Broc||23||AUS||0||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||57.711|
Rider Standing After Australian Grand Prix:
|1||MARQUEZ Marc||93||SPA||269||Repsol Honda Team||Honda|
|2||DOVIZIOSO Andrea||4||ITA||236||Ducati Team||Ducati|
|3||VINALES Maverick||25||SPA||219||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha|
|4||ROSSI Valentino||46||ITA||188||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha|
|5||PEDROSA Dani||26||SPA||174||Repsol Honda Team||Honda|
|6||ZARCO Johann||5||FRA||138||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha|
|7||LORENZO Jorge||99||SPA||117||Ducati Team||Ducati|
|8||PETRUCCI Danilo||9||ITA||111||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati|
|9||CRUTCHLOW Cal||35||GBR||103||LCR Honda||Honda|
|10||FOLGER Jonas||94||GER||84||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha|
|11||BAUTISTA Alvaro||19||SPA||70||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati|
|12||MILLER Jack||43||AUS||65||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda|
|13||ESPARGARO Aleix||41||SPA||62||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia|
|14||REDDING Scott||45||GBR||61||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati|
|15||IANNONE Andrea||29||ITA||60||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki|
|16||ESPARGARO Pol||44||SPA||49||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM|
|17||RINS Alex||42||SPA||46||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki|
|18||BAZ Loris||76||FRA||45||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati|
|19||ABRAHAM Karel||17||CZE||30||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||Ducati|
|20||RABAT Tito||53||SPA||29||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda|
|21||BARBERA Hector||8||SPA||25||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati|
|22||SMITH Bradley||38||GBR||20||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM|
|23||PIRRO Michele||51||ITA||18||Ducati Test Team||Ducati|
|24||KALLIO Mika||36||FIN||11||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM|
|25||LOWES Sam||22||GBR||5||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia|
|26||NAKASUGA Katsuyuki||21||JPN||4||Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha|
|27||GUINTOLI Sylvain||50||FRA||1||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki|