Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) became the most successful premier class Honda rider thanks to a phenomenal victory at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. The Spaniard and compatriot Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) broke clear but last lap drama saw the Yamaha man crash, allowing Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) to take P2 and home hero Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) to claim a stunning P3.
There was surprises and drama right from the off. From P4 on the grid, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) got a great launch to get the holeshot into Doohan Corner, with Viñales slipping to P6 from pole. Then, at Turn 2, two heavyweights were out of the race. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) was pushed slightly wide by Marquez as the packed shuffled into the left-hander. A little too eager on the gas, Petrucci then highsided as the Italian was launched into Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The Frenchman was wide and almost on the grass before Petrucci slammed into the side, thankfully both riders were thankfully ok.
Back on track and it was The Doctor leading the way on his 400th Grand Prix start, with Crutchlow and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Andrea Iannone slotting in behind the Italian as a freight train of nine riders formed at the front in the opening handful of laps. Rossi held P1 until Lap 4 when Crutchlow powered past the Yamaha into Turn 1. Iannone then spectacularly led the race as Crutchlow, Iannone, Rossi, Marquez, Viñales, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Miller and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) all battled one another in a scintillating start to the 2019 Australian GP.
🏆 @marcmarquez93 prevails against @mvkoficial12 in Phillip Island thriller— MotoGP™ 🇦🇺 (@MotoGP) October 27, 2019
Unbelievable last lap drama unfolded as @calcrutchlow and home hero @jackmilleraus claim podiums in Australia#MotoGP | #AustralianGP 📰https://t.co/A4TEfZ4IRE pic.twitter.com/rNQhGL6BXm
The form man of the weekend was slowly picking his way through the pack though. Viñales was up to third on Lap 8, second on Lap 9 and then the lead was his on Lap 10. Knowing the polesitter had the pace to make a break, third place Marquez was in a hurry to get past Crutchlow as he shoved the Brit ride at the top of Lukey Heights, dropping the number 35 down to P4 behind Iannone. Immediately, Viñales and Marquez were clearing off. Crutchlow passed the Aprilia into Turn 1 and attempted to go with the leading duo as all three set mid 1:29s, seeing the trio unshackle themselves from the monstrous fight for fourth.
The LCR Honda Castrol man couldn’t hold the pace of Viñales and Marquez though, as the two Spaniard’s started to show their superiority around the Island. Crutchlow wasn’t troubling them, but the three-time Grand Prix winner also wasn’t being troubled from the men behind. That scrap behind was between eight riders: three Ducatis, two Suzukis, two Aprilias and a Yamaha. Rookies Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were producing the goods as that battle chopped and changed constantly.
"On the last lap, my plan was to overtake on the main straight and close the doors!" - @marcmarquez93 🎙️— MotoGP™ 🇦🇺 (@MotoGP) October 27, 2019
The world champion executed his plan to perfection! 🏆#AustralianGP 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/M0Fx3B3lZY
Back at the front, it was line astern. Viñales and Marquez were on rails as the duo raced to over three seconds clear of Crutchlow with 10 laps remaining. With a handful of laps remaining, using the Honda’s better grunt, Marquez was threating to lead at Turn 1 – but the 2019 Champion was holding back. He did it to Quartararo at Misano, was another Yamaha about to get the same treatment in Australia?
The laps ticked down and Marquez kept shying away from a Turn 1 pass, shadowing Viñales around the rest of the lap. Last lap time. Viñales vs Marquez, Yamaha vs Honda, Spain vs Spain. This time, Marquez did fire past Viñales into Turn 1 and the lead was his. Viñales was quick around the outside in the hope of gaining the inside line at Turn 2, but Marquez shut the door. Turn 4 approached but Viñales wasn’t close enough – Turn 10 now the only major overtaking opportunity. The race would then be settled on the drop into 10, but now how we imagined.
Rapid over the crest of Lukey Heights, Viñales was right on the back of Marquez. But then, the Yamaha was crossed up into the braking zone, which ultimately caused Viñales to crash out. Unreal drama on the final lap as Marquez was lucky not to be taken out by Viñales stricken YZR-M1, with the number 93 crossing the line to take victory number 55 of his MotoGP career, becoming the most successful Honda rider in the premier class, overtaking Mick Doohan’s record on the MotoGP Legend’s home circuit.
Viñales’ crash bumped 2016 Australian GP winner Crutchlow into P2, a sensational result for the number 35 after last year’s near-career ending crash at Phillip Island.
On the last lap, Miller found himself at the forefront of the battle for P4 after Dovi ran wide at Turn 2. That fight for P4 was now a battle for P3 though and, on the run to the line, Miller had to fend off teammate Bagnaia for a dream home GP rostrum. Sensational scenes prevailed for Miller, the Australian fans and the Pramac garage as both riders produced a stunner – Pecco pocketing his best MotoGP result in P4.
"My heart rate probably jumped about 50 beats per second!" - @jackmilleraus 🎙️— MotoGP™ 🇦🇺 (@MotoGP) October 27, 2019
The home favourite describes the moment he saw @mvkoficial12 crash out of second! 💢#AustralianGP 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/fqDsGgsdlv
It was a magnificent ride from the Italian rookie having started from P15, who beats fellow rookie Mir. The Spaniard also claimed his best premier class result in P5, the Suzuki man holding off the super impressive Iannone as ‘The Maniac’ takes his best Aprilia finish. Dovizioso crossed the line in P7 just a whisker behind Iannone, with Rossi getting the better of Rins and Espargaro for P8, P9 and P10.
Marquez reigns on the Island, but Viñales was right there. The duo go again in Malaysia in less than a weeks’ time at the final flyaway of the season. The temperature off track will be scorching in Sepang, let’s hope the on-track heat will be just as good as it was at Phillip Island.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder clinched his third Moto2 win of 2019 at the Pramac Generac Australian Grand Prix to keep his Championship hopes alive as he now sits 33 points from top spot after title leader Alex Marquez (Marc VDS EG 0,0) came across the line in eighth. Rookie Jorge Martin made it a Red Bull KTM Ajo one-two, whilst Dynavolt Intact GP’s Tom Lüthi finished third to close the gap to 28 points between first and second in the Championship.
Binder bagged the holeshot from the middle of the front row of the grid and teammate Martin quickly followed him through to second as polesitter Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) slipped backwards off the line. In a dramatic opening half a lap, American Racing’s Iker Lecuona took out both Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull Tech 3 KTM) after trying to pull off an audacious move into Turn 4.
World Championship leader, Marquez, was incredibly fortunate not to get caught up in the incident that resulted in Lecuona being handed a long-lap penalty, with the newly-signed MotoGP rider just millimeters from the rear wheel of Marquez’s Kalex as he lunged through on the brakes.
Back at the front and the KTM duo had started to break clear from Navarro and Lüthi, who were having their own momentary fight over the final podium spot. The Swiss rider got the better of Navarro at half race distance, with the Speed Up rider seemingly suffering some rear grip issues.
Marquez, meanwhile, began to struggle with Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40), Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) all finding a way past in the space of a lap, demoting the number 73 down to eighth. It would get worse for Marquez, with Lecuona fighting back through the field following his long-lap penalty.
Marquez was tenth at one stage before then beginning his fight back. Back at the front, Martin continued to apply the pressure on Binder but the South African was standing firm, before then finally break free from Martin and on towards victory. A sixth career Moto2 win wrapped up on the same weekend as he was confirmed as a factory MotoGP rider in 2020. Seven days on from his first Moto2 podium, Martin was back on the box and it was back-to-back podiums for Lüthi too.
Fourth went the way of Navarro, who held off a brilliant late charge from Baldassarri as the Italian closed to within half a second on the final lap. ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team’s Remy Gardner ended sixth at his home round after holding off Lecuona in the closing stages. Marquez came across the line in eighth, meaning he now sits 28 points ahead of Lüthi and 33 points clear of Binder with now just two rounds remaining. Manzi and Nagashima completed the Phillip Island top ten.
Thanks to a sensational victory at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) became the first Italian lightweight class Champion since Andrea Dovizioso in 2004. Dalla Porta led polesitter and teammate Marcos Ramirez over the line as the Team Champions claim another 1-2, with 2018 Australian winner Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) claiming his third consecutive podium in P3.
Last year was the closest top 15 finish in Grand Prix history in the Moto3 race at Phillip Island and a year later, we were treated to yet another classic. Constant changes for the lead was the script from the get-go but there would be a Championship-defining moment at the beginning of Lap 3. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) made a good start from P2 on the grid and was fighting for the lead in the opening exchanges. However, running into Doohan Corner a little hot, the Spaniard tucked the front of his KTM and slid out of contention. Canet was ok but his title aspirations had just gone up in smoke, all Dalla Porta had to do now was bring it home with a decent handful of points to claim the Moto3™ crown.
And he was at the forefront of an almighty group immediately. But Dalla Porta wouldn’t have it all his own way as a lead group of 20 had formed, with the Phillip Island slipstream coming into full effect. One of the riders scrapping at the front with Dalla Porta was Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), a stunning start to the race after launching from the back of the grid, and getting caught up in a Turn 2 incident with Riccardo Rossi (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) – the Italian crashing unhurt. Those two, along with a whole bunch of other hungry young guns were battling hard, with the likes of John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) just a few names who took turns to lead.
One name was always there though – Dalla Porta. It was a classy ride from the Italian as trouble unfolded behind, Andrea Migno (Mugen Race) and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) crashing out at Turn 4 with three to go. The lead was changing sector by sector but heading onto the last lap, Dalla Porta had it from Suzuki and McPhee. The Japanese rider then took the lead at Turn 4, somehow staying on the bike – and in the lead – after getting crossed up on the exit.
A top-notch maneuver around Lukey Heights then gave Dalla Porta the lead, as teammate Ramirez dived up the inside of about three riders to get himself up to P4. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Jaume Masia (Mugen Race) then crashed with two corners to go but the glory on the Island was about to go Dalla Porta’s way. The number 48 claimed the win and the Moto3™ Championship in the best way possible – winning. Ramirez drafted Suzuki and Arenas to make it a Leopard 1-2, Arenas took P3 with Suzuki losing out in the final drag race to pocked P4.
McPhee threatened on the final lap but the Scotsman go caught up at Turn 10, eventually crossing the line in P5, with Binder’s early race scorching pace giving him the chance to take home a very solid P6. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was able to grab his best finish since the British GP and just behind him, Britain’s own Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) produced by far his best ride of his rookie season to pick up a fantastic P8 at Phillip Island. Arbolino eventually had to settle for P9 after tasting the race lead in the early parts, while Stefano Nepa (Reale Avinita Arizona 77) finishing in his second top 10 place of the year in P10.
Filip Salac (Redox PrüstelGP) crashed out of the leading group after contact with Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), the Spaniard having to do the Long Lap Penalty twice due to cutting across the white line on his first attempt. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Raul Fernandez (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) were involved in an incident at Lukey Heights with eight laps to go, while Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and wildcard Yanni Shaw (Double Six Motor Sport) also crashed out.
So, after an Island stunner, we have our 2019 Moto3 World Champion. Congratulations to Dalla Porta on a sensational season, but with two races to go, everyone will be wanting to finish the season strong – none more so than Canet. Malaysia is next, the Sepang International Circuit awaits in less than a weeks’ time.