Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

28 October 2018
Phillip Island Circuit in Australia

Top Gun Victorious Viñales shoots rivals down in a drama filled Australian MotoGP race.

Viñales Shoots Fastest Ahead Of Miller In Free Practice 1

Maverick Viñales Movistar Yamaha man went fastest in Phillip Island FP1 as Marc Márquez crashes

Maverick Viñales demonstrated he was up to speed and competitive, a taste of things to come this weekend.

He led Jack Miller in a delayed opening MotoGP FP1 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, while newly-crowned five-time world champion Marc Márquez crashed.

An oil spill in the early stages of Moto3 FP1 meant the opening MotoGP session of the weekend was delayed by almost two hours, with Viñales taking top spot early with a 1 minute 29.952 seconds.

Home hero Auzzie Miller set the early pace aboard his Alma Pramac Ducati GP17 with a 1 minute 36.260 seconds, with 2016 race winner Cal Crutchlow taking over with a 1 minute 31.588 seconds.

Factory Honda stable-mate Márquez went two tenths quicker with a 1 minute 31.376 seconds, which was matched by Factory Movistar Yamaha's Viñales minutes later.

Márquez reclaimed top spot from his compatriot with a 1 minute 30.500 seconds, while the sister Yamaha of Valentino Rossi moved into second, albeit half a second back from the Honda rider.

Crutchlow bested Márquez by 0.060 seconds, before Viñales went on a run of session-best laps, which culminated in the first sub 1 minute 30 seconds time of the day with a 1 minute 29.952 seconds.

Viñales' effort came under threat late on by Miller, who moved up to second with a 1 minute 29.989 seconds, but remained top of the pile, while the sister Pramac bike of Danilo Petrucci completed the top three.

Andrea Dovizioso made it three Ducatis in the top four as he put his works GP18 up to fourth with a 1 minute 30.121 seconds, with Crutchlow shuffled back to fifth at the chequered flag.

Márquez suffered a late fall at the MG hairpin, and was unable to improve on sixth as a result, but walked away from the heavy fall unscathed. 13th placed teammate Dani Pedrosa fell midway through the session at Doohan corner.

Andrea Iannone was top Suzuki runner in eighth ahead of Tech3's Johann Zarco, while Karel Abraham jumped up to ninth with a late effort of 1 minute 30.772 seconds in his first session on the Nieto GP17.

Rossi completed the top 10 from KTM's Pol Espargaró, while Alvaro Bautista ended his first session on Jorge Lorenzo's factory Ducati 14th and a second from teammate Dovizioso.

Bautista's stand-in in the Angel Nieto Team, Mike Jones completed the 24-rider field, the Australian just over five seconds off the pace in his first MotoGP outing since Phillip Island 2016.

MotoGP Free Practice 1 Classification

Phillip Island, Friday 26 October 2018

Viñales, Petrucci And Iannone Fight It Out In FP2 At Philip Island

Viñales Petrucci and Iannone squabble over top spot in the MotoGP free practice two

Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci and Maverick Viñales fiercely fought over top spot in the second free practice session in MotoGP's Australian Grand Prix, while Cal Crutchlow's day ended with a very fast nasty get off at Turn 1.

Iannone took just five minutes to start knocking on the door of the FP1 times, using a hard rear to put his Suzuki on top with a 1 minute 29.256 seconds.

Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez then both joined in the fray with 1 minute 30 seconds - dead, the Factory Ducati man had just 0.02 of a second advantage over his Factory Repsol Honda rival.

After a little under 10 minutes into the session, Márquez improved to set a new benchmark for the weekend, a 1 minute 29.739 seconds eclipsing Maverick Viñales' FP1 time.

The change at the top was followed by the first crash of the session, stand-in Factory Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista dropping the front of his Ducati Desmo GP18 at Siberia.

Minutes later Márquez had his own drama at Siberia, a loose back end as he hit the brakes forced him to abort the corner and straight-line through the gravel. Seconds later, Valentino Rossi did exactly the same thing.

As the session got to the quarter-hour mark, Crutchlow went quickest with a 1 minute 29.616 seconds, Iannone then edging that time by just over a tenth on his next run with a 1 minute 29.510 seconds.

Any chance of Crutchlow improving disappeared with 12 minutes to go, as Crutchlow didn't complete the session after being flung from his LCR Castrol Honda in a high-speed crash at Turn 1 with 12 minutes to go. Then, after the marshals and first-aid team had attended to him, he was transferred to the Clinica Mobile medical centre at the circuit by ambulance to look at his damaged ankle.

Crutchlow then was transferred to Melbourne’s Alfred City Hospital for surgery.

To add to LCR Honda's woes, Takaaki Nakagami fell heavily at Siberia just moments later.

That sparked a brief "Happy Hour", with Viñales going fastest before being immediately overtaken by Petrucci with a 1 minute 29.291 seconds.

With five minutes to go Dovizioso made his move on a soft rear, leaping from fourth to second with a 1 minute 29.555 seconds before going quickest with a 1 minute 29.406 seconds.

But a final flyer proved to be enough for Iannone, the Suzuki rider charging back into top spot with a 1 minute 29.131 seconds right at the flag. That bumped Petrucci back to second, followed by Viñales and Dovizioso.

Iannone ultimately won the dog-fight with Petrucci and Viñales in the battle to be Friday's fastest to head the top of the time-sheets, the Suzuki rider pulling 0.1s clear with his last fast lap of the session.

Crutchlow was shuffled down to fifth thanks to his get-off, followed by Johann Zarco Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and Márquez.

Jack Miller Alma Pramac was eighth quickest, Álex Rins, Ecstar Suzuki, ninth, and Valentino Rossi, Factory Movistar Yamaha, the final rider to take an automatic Q2 spot.

Mike Jones aboard Bautista's Angel Nieto Ducati

Bautista ended the day down in 15th after crashing Lorenzo's Factory Ducati, while Mike Jones, on Bautista's Angel Nieto Ducati, finished at the bottom of the timesheets in 24th.

Therefore Crutchlow was out of Australia MotoGP with his ankle injury.

Cal Crutchlow missed the Australian MotoGP race after his fast crash in the free practice two.

The LCR Castrol Honda rider came off at some speed at Turn 1 with 15 minutes remaining in FP2 and he was immediately taken to the Mobile Clinica, the Phillip Island medical centre for assessment. The track medical doctors confirmed the British rider suffered a bimalleolar fracture and anterior tibia right ankle fracture.

The final flyaway race is just over a week away at Sepang in Malaysia and it is doubtful Crutchlow will to be fit to race given the severity of the injury.

At the Japanese MotoGP Race Crutchlow came second to Marc Márquez to extend his lead in fifth place in the riders' championship and top independent riders title with a 15 point gap over Johann Zarco, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and Danilo Petrucci, Alma Pramac Ducati. Now it looks like Crutchlow will be out for the rest of the season. His potential independent rider title is now under threat.

Crutchlow is the third regular MotoGP rider to miss the Australian race. Jorge Lorenzo is out after surgery on his left wrist and Tito Rabat is still recovering from his broken leg sustained at Silverstone in August.

MotoGP Free Practice 2 Classification

Phillip Island, Friday 26 October 2018

Márquez Put's It Over Viñales
To Top Free Practice 3

Márquez overcomes Viñales charge to top the Free Practice 3 timesheets in the Australian MotoGP.

At the end of the 45 minutes it was Márquez who went top in free practice three only just 0.042 of a second faster than Viñales.

Marc Márquez pushed Maverick Viñales off the top spot, however, there were no changes to the Q1/Q2 split compared to Friday.

There was no change in lap times early in the session, times hanging in the 1 minute 31 seconds for the first five minutes before Márquez led a charge into the 1 minute 30 seconds before 10 minutes had been completed.

The World Champion's 1 minute 30.581 seconds was the initial benchmark, Márquez then improving to a 1 minute 30.110 seconds several minutes later.

At that same point Turn 1 claimed its second victim of the weekend, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Hafizh Syahrin low-siding at high speed as he went to brake into the left-hander.

The Malaysian was attended by the marshals and medical team and his session over as he was taken to the medical centre.

With 25 minutes to go Márquez left the garage with rear hard tyre, but didn't even get around to finish his out-lap before hitting the deck at Turn 4. He was quickly back on his feet and back the garage after the low-speed tumble.

While that was going on Andrea Iannone took over top spot, the Suzuki rider first into the 1 minute 29 with a 1 minute 29.867 seconds.

Viñales then went out on fresh rubber with 10 minutes to go, overtaking Iannone with a 1 minute 29.756 seconds despite running a hard compound rear.

With six minutes to go Valentino Rossi became the first rider in a Q2 spot to improve on his Friday time, giving himself some breathing space with a 1 minute 29.974 seconds. Jack Miller did likewise shortly afterwards, jumping up to second on the FP3 leader-board with a 1 minute 29.792 seconds.

Then with two minutes to go Márquez jumped back to the top of the session times with a 1 minute 29.714 seconds.

Rossi did have another attempt to go top right at the flag, setting a quickest first sector before going straight on into the run-off at Turn 4.

Márquez managed to secure top spot in the session and was 0.04 of a second clear of Viñales.

With Miller, Iannone, and Rossi the only other riders in the 1 minute 29 seconds for the session, there was no change in the Q2 line-up.

Iannone, Danilo Petrucci, Viñales and Andrea Dovizioso led the way on combined times, followed by Johann Zarco, Márquez, Miller, Rins and Rossi.

Ironically Syahrin is the final man with an automatic Q2 berth, having inherited tenth on combined times after Cal Crutchlow was out of the race weekend thanks to his Turn 1 get off yesterday.

MotoGP Free Practice 3 Classification 2018

Phillip Island, Saturday 27 October 2018

Iannone Fastest In Free Practice 4

Iannone was fastest ahead of both the Factory Movistar Yamahas in Free Practice 4 from the 2018 Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island, round 17 of 19.

Italian continued to assert his authority on the Island ahead of qualifying.

Andrea Iannone riding his Ecstar Suzuki was fastest in this session, which makes no different to the qualifying places, he set the timing screens alight in FP4 at the Australian MotoGP with a time of 1 minute 29.604 seconds.

He led the way by a considerable 0.544 from second man Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP and his team-mate Valentino Rossi 0.144 of a second behind him.

Factory Ducati's top man, Andrea Dovizioso, has improved this year. 12 months ago at Philip Island he was struggling all weekend. He managed to put his Ducati up to fourth followed by 'on-fire' Johann Zarco. The fast Frenchman hard on his heals in fifth. Although Márquez went well in P3 he concentrated on race pace and didn't do a time attack, he ended the session sixth fastest.

Next up was the other Ecstar Suzuki in the hands of Álex Rins closely chased by top rookie Hafizh Syahrin riding his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha well all weekend thus far.

A mixed weekend for Danilo Petrucci on the other Alma Pramac Ducati, he's been having yo-yo results. Bringing home the second Factory Ducati was Alvaro Bautista to complete the top ten fastest in FP4.

Local likeable Auzzie, Jack Miller was down in 19th after managing to crash his Alma Pramac Ducati early in the 45 minute session at Turn 4 he walked away with only his pride injured.

Cal Crutchlow will take no further part in the remainder of the Australian MotoGP round after suffering a fractured right ankle in his FP2 crash.

It's musical 'bikes' or 'chairs' at Ducati with Alvaro Bautista is riding Jorge Lorenzo's Factory Ducati GP-18. Australian Mike Jones taking up Bautista's place in the Angel Nieto Racing Ducati squad as a replacement rider for this weekend. Karel Abraham is riding Bautista's Ducati GP-17, with Jones on Abraham's GP-16.

Tito Rabat is still recovering from his horrific crash at Silverstone as his leg heals from the triple fractures and is again replaced by WorldSBK rider Jordi Torres. Torres has the Ducati GP-16 machines of Simeon, while Simeon is on Rabat's GP-17 and managed to finish his best place of this year in eleventh.

 

MotoGP Free Practice 4 Classification

Phillip Island, Saturday 27 October 2018

Bautista Quickest In Qualifying 1 At The Australian 2018 Motogp

Alvaro Bautista, riding the Factory Ducati standing in for injured Lorenzo. Bautista was well ahead of Pol Espargaró and Karel Abraham.

The two fastest in Qualifying 1 are promoted into Q2.

Bautista kept a comfortable gap after the first runs in the opening part of qualifying one, with a 1 minute 30.969 seconds. He soon followed that up with a 1 minute 30.344 seconds giving him almost half a second over the rest of the riders.

Franco Morbidelli was second quickest, before Karel Abraham closed the gap to Bautista down to 0.2 seconds with eight minutes to go.

As the final runs started, Bautista put his Q2 promotion beyond doubt with a 1 minute 29.851 seconds, which was unbeatable.

Pol Espargaró made his move on his KTM go make his first Q2 appearance of the season, moving up from sixth to second with a 1 minute 30.105 seconds.

Abraham went very close to retaking second spot on his last time attack in the final minute, but was 0.069 of a second slower than Espargaró.

Takaaki Nakagami managed to go up to fourth followed by Morbidelli and Bradley Smith.

Dani Pedrosa was out of contention and didn't look like a challenger for Q2. The Repsol Honda rider finished in eighth more than six-tenths off Bautista's time.

MotoGP Qualifying 1 Classification

Phillip Island, Saturday 27 October 2018

Márquez Snatches Pole From Zarco and Viñales In Qualifying Two

Márquez takes another pole position narrowly beating Zarco and Viñales

Marc Márquez took control from the start of this qualifying session to take his fifth consecutive MotoGP pole position at Phillip Island.

The 2018 World Champion made the best of challenging changing conditions during the hectic qualifying. He made a stunning 1 minute 29.199 seconds lap giving him more than three tenths gap over the pursuing Yamaha riders of Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.

After a short burst of rain right as the session began it left conditions difficult choose the correct tyres, with the possibility of heavier rain to come as well as there were black clouds looming. It meant riders had to go for it from the green light to book a fast lap on slicks laps from the word go.

Márquez did exactly that, going quickest from the off with a 1 minute 31.282 seconds before really nailing a fast lap and making a gap of over a second with a 1 minute 29.742 seconds on his second lap.

Viñales was keen to pressurise Márquez, closing to within 0.082 of a second just moments later.

As the weather stabilised at the midway point, the times plummeted. First it was Andrea Iannone who took over at the top with a 1 minute 29.712 seconds, before Zarco went even quicker with a 1 minute 29.705 seconds.

Márquez took a well-timed slipstream from Álex Rins to make another big gap, with a 1 minute 29.199 seconds putting him more than half a second clear of the rest.

But Viñales wasn't done yet, he reduced the margin further to only three tenths with four minutes left on the clock. He tried again but was thwarted as rain started to fall in the final minutes of the session stopping any last-minute attacks on Márquez's time.

Viñales and Zarco were now safe in second and third, completing the front row of the starting grid for the race.

Iannone managed to take fourth, chased by his Ecstar Suzuki team-mate Rins and local favourite, Jack Miller, who was best of all the Ducatis. Ahead of Valentino Rossi on his Movistar Yamaha M1, seeming to struggle a bit, he could only take seventh quickest. Miller's team-mate, Petrucci after a promising start to the session, dropped like a stone down to eight. On the Factory Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso also dropped down the order to ninth which will make for a challenging race start.

Having cruised out of Q1, Alvaro Bautista was the only rider to crash out of Q2. Lorenzo's replacement slid off after losing the rear of his Ducati into MG corner, the bike firing into the tyre wall after parting ways with the Spaniard. That meant he finished up 12th, behind Hafizh Syahrin and KTM's Pol Espargaró.

MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification

Phillip Island, Saturday 27 October 2018

Iannone Goes Fastest In The Australian MotoGP Warm Up

Andrea Iannone topped the morning warm-up session at Phillip Island, ending the 20 minute last session before the race, more than three tenths ahead of Viñales.

Iannone chose a soft rear tyre on his Ecstar Suzuki. He was quickest from the beginning. He started with a 1 minute 30.140 seconds on his first run, half a second clear of Zarco, who was also on a soft rear Michelin.

Viñales had a brief spell at the top half-way through the session, with a 1 minute 29.782 seconds, and followed it up with a 1 minute 29.583 seconds on a hard rear. He finished a close second to Iannone.

In contrast to Viñales, who's right up there, Valentino Rossi finished way down the time sheets. He was trying a few different set-ups to get more traction out of the corners and mid-corner speed. He was even slower than the Swiss Tom Lüthi on his Marc VDS Honda.

However Iannone went even faster, to get his top spot beyond doubt soon after, with a 1 minute 29.254 seconds leaving him over three tenths clear of Viñales and the rest.

Zarco ended up third with a time of 1 minute 29.942 seconds on a soft rear. Next was Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Márquez, and Álex Rins, all in the early 1 minute 30.

Pol Espargaró went seventh quickest on his KTM, with the Alma Pramac pair of Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller. Bradley Smith completed the Top 10 on his KTM.

Alvaro Bautista was pushing hard with five minutes of the session to go and went over the limit of the Factory Ducati, coming off his Ducati at Turn 4. Fortunately he was only one to crash in the session.

MotoGP Warm Up Classification

Phillip Island, Sunday 28 October 2018

Victorious Viñales Wins The Australian MotoGP

Maverick Viñales not only won the race he took Yamaha's first win after 25 races. He gave an excellent performance at Phillip Island.

It also looked like Yamaha have overcome their trouble with Valentino Rossi also right up with the leaders until his tyres went off.

The grid formed up, engines revving, out went the lights and the Australian MotoGP was go!

A bunch of them all diving into Doohan's for the first time, three abreast, with Petrucci emerging the early leader. The two Alma Pramac Ducatis getting the better of the rest swooping round the southern loop. They charged up from the third row into the lead on the first corner. Both Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller had a go at leading the race on Lap 1.

Petrucci's lead was very short-lived as he went so wide at Southern Loop and dropped to the back of the pack of riders all jostling for position.

That opened the door for local hero, Auzzie Jack Miller to sweep into the lead to the roar of the packed Philip Island circuit. He led the squabbling pack of riders from Turn four until the start of the second lap. Which he kept across the line.

It was Miller, Márquez, Iannone, Rins, Dovizioso, Rossi, Pol Espargaró, Zarco, Viñales and Bradley Smith, they flashed by the line at over 200mph to complete the first lap in that order.

It was all happening in the lead group, overtake after overtake for what was the beginning of a thriller. The lead swapped several times, Iannone barged his way by Márquez pushing him wide. The two Yamaha's getting by him as well.

Then it was world champ's turn, Márquez who powered into the lead on his Repsol Honda. Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone following the champion through to go second and third. With Movistar Yamaha pair Rossi and Viñales in the leading group. Zarco, shod with softs front and rear, quickly bought into the battle at the top five as well.

Márquez, Dovizioso, Iannone, Miller, Rossi, Zarco, Rins, Pol Espargaró, Viñales and top rookie Hafizh Syahrin who zoomed down the Gardener straight. All the riders vying for places at the end of lap two

Márquez tried to pull away but the rest had other ideas. Dovizioso, Iannone, Zarco, Rossi and Rins stuck with him. The battle raged on. At the end of the third lap it was still Márquez leading Dovizioso, Iannone. Zarco managed to get by Miller and Rossi. With Rins, Pol Espargaró, Viñales and Hafizh Syahrin in pursuit.

Dovizioso tried a few times to get by Márquez without success. Miller re-took Zarco and Iannone, as Rossi pulled away from Rins and Viñales. As the tight group headed down the Gardener straight once more.

As they shot by the line to start the fifth lap, it was Márquez, Dovizioso, Miller, Iannone, Zarco, Rossi Rins, Viñales and Pol Espargaró. Then Dovizioso, using the Ducati power and slip-stream by them both to edge into the lead going into Doohan's. Márquez made a mistake going into the hayshed letting Miller through. Zarco made a pass on Iannone as Rossi closed in on the Ecstar Suzuki man. Riding the Factory Ducati for the first time in a race, Bautista muscled his way by Viñales.

Zarco got a great drive out of the last corner, and he caught Márquez as he slip-streamed lead pack. Zarco was on the outside of Márquez as they hurtled towards Doohan's turn one. Márquez moved to his left to take his line with Zarco still accelerating and being squeezed. They were nose-to-tail then side by side, disaster struck, Zarco hit the Repsol Honda. They collided as they approached the right-hander.

That sent Zarco flying dramatically through the gravel, while Márquez managed to hold on to his damaged bike. Even though he came off at 185mph, Zarco managed to get up on his feet when he came to a stop, while Márquez wobbled round to get back to the pits, both their races' over.

The lead pack started lap seven with Dovizioso, Miller, Rossi, Iannone, Viñales, Bautista, Rins, Syahrin and Smith who dashed down the start-finish straight.

It was then the Yamahas took over at the front, Viñales and Valentino Rossi getting into second for a Yamaha one-two.

Rossi gained on Viñales and made a move to take over at the front with Viñales on his tail. It looked like it could be a Yamaha one-two as they pulled a few bike lengths away from the chasing pack. Any of the top seven could battle for the lead and the win.

With a soft tyre on the front, Viñales got passed his team-mate and quickly pulled over a second clear of his Rossi as he made a break at the front. End of lap eight it was Viñales, Rossi, Dovizioso, Iannone, Miller, Rins, Bautista and Syahrin the top eight.

While Viñales maintained his lead, Rossi dropped back into the clutches of the pack behind. He, Iannone, Alvaro Bautista, and Dovizioso traded places, before Iannone went wide at Turn 4 and took himself out of the battle with 15 laps to go and dropping to fifth.

On Lap 16 Viñales had got into a good rhythm, leaving Rossi to fight with the factory Ducati over second. Iannone, meanwhile, used the squabbling pack to make up the ground lost with his Turn 4 mistake, getting back into the battle with 11 laps to go.

Viñales increased his lead to over four seconds from then on it was race management for the Yamaha rider. Iannone and Dovizioso closed back to with two seconds but never seriously looked like threatening his lead.

The two Andreas managed to pull clear of what had been a six-way fight for second, with Iannone making an effort to catch Viñales with four laps to go.

But as his burst of speed wore off Dovizioso almost got past Iannone for second on the final lap, Iannone just able to hold on to second at the flag.

Bautista was pleased to finish fourth in his deputising role on the Factory Ducati, chased by Álex Rins, while Rossi, with his tyres shot and Miller dropped back to sixth and seventh respectively.

First rookie was Franco Morbidelli on his Marc VDS Honda, taking his season best finish in eighth. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia and Bradley Smith, KTM, ensured all six manufacturers were represented in the top 10.

Dani Pedrosa finished off a forgettable weekend for Repsol Honda by crashing out right at the half-way point of the race at Turn 4.

Viñales after taking the lead on Lap 6 broke away the pack, cruising to a comfortable 1.5 second win.

It was both Yamaha and Viñales' first triumph of the season, the team having had 25 winless races since Assen last year and the Spaniard since the Le Mans race last year.

The race also saw another massive crash going into Turn 1, Zarco smashing into the back of Márquez in the braking zone.

The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider was lucky to walk away with only bruises and a dented pride, from a wild ride through the gravel, while the World Champion retired with damage to the back of his Repsol Honda.

MotoGP Race Classification

Phillip Island, Sunday 28 October 2018

What Some Of The MotoGP Riders Said About Their Race

Winner Maverick Viñales Spanish Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #25

Race Points 25, Championship Position Fourth, 180 Championship points

"This is the best feeling ever, honestly! We've been in the dark all year, and suddenly we came into the light! I couldn't show my potential in the previous races, but today I could.

"Being first in Australia is always amazing! It's the best track ever, and I like to be at the front there. To win here and break this long none winning period of Yamaha is unbelievable! I was riding on the bike like I was in FP4. I got a really good feeling from the bike, so I knew I could maintain 1'29s.

"That's what I did for most of the middle of the race. I tried to escape as far as I could, because I knew my tyre wasn't going to last until the end. I knew opening that gap would be difficult, I had some moments with some riders, and some shaking on the bike - I was struggling, but I still made it through anyway. It was amazing! I have to say 'thank you' to the team, because this weekend they worked for the win.

"We will try to be the best and we'll try to work in a good way. We don't want to lose the concentration, because we don't know what will happen in Malaysia, but for sure the level of motivation will be high after this weekend."

Second Andrea Iannone Italian Team Suzuki Ecstar #29

Race Points 20 Championship Position 8th 133 Championship points

"I'm really happy, especially as we were at the top almost all weekend long, and this gives us a lot of positivity. We worked together on improving my feeling with the bike and it meant I was able to finish really close to the top.

"I felt able to win but it was a hard fight with the others and I was losing ground with them. When I managed to overtake them and keep them behind I realised I couldn't catch Viñales, so I just tried to defend and manage the tyres. At the end I pushed at 100% to make sure I could get 2nd place."

 

Third Andrea Dovizioso Italian Ducati Team #04

Race Points 16 Championship Position Second, 210 Championship points

"I'm really satisfied with the way the race went. Even though we knew we had good speed, managing to get a podium here is another thing.

"I'm pleased I got myself immediately into an ideal position in the race, because if you start from the third row here at Phillip Island anything can happen, as we saw. Instead with a bit of luck I immediately managed to make up some positions and after a few laps I was first: I never expected that!

"Then I had a chance to manage the tyres and reach the end of the race in a good state, even though we were all in trouble a bit. I'm very pleased with the work we've done here: Phillip Island was a fundamental test to understand our level of competitiveness and now we know we have made a good step forward over last year."

Fourth Alvaro Bautista Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19

Race Points 13 Championship Position 11th, 96 Championship points

"At the end of a difficult weekend in which I crashed three times, this fourth place is a great reward for me. To come into a new team and step onto a new bike at a circuit like this was for sure not going to be easy, but I think we've worked well together, making steps forward in every session. I started the race really focussed and relaxed because I had no real targets to aim for, except for enjoying riding the Desmosedici GP18.

"After quite a complicated start, I was able to soon catch up with the leading group and fight for the front positions. In the last few laps I made a few small mistakes and lost contact with Dovizioso and Iannone, but in any case I'm very happy with my overall result, especially for the team and for Ducati, whom I would like to thank once again for the trust they have shown in me."

Fifth Álex Rins Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar #42

Race Points 11 Championship Position 10th, 129 Championship points

"It was an interesting race and I was able to learn a lot. During the first part, when I was inside the group, I was feeling good but then when I got the contact from Maverick I lost a lot of ground and it cost me a lot because the group got away, but this is racing. I also lost further time trying to overtake Miller.

"But we want to focus on the positive points, and there were many, for instance the way I was able to battle with Rossi and defend my 5th place. We're going to Malaysia with good feelings and we are prepared, so we hope for another nice result there."

Sixth Valentino Rossi Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46

Race Points 10 Championship Position Third, 195 Championship points

Rossi with his legion of fans

"Unfortunately from the first lap I already started to slide a bit too much on acceleration. I lost some grip compared to yesterday and this morning. It's a shame because for sure we wanted to try to do better.

"I tried to ride smoothly and manage the tyres, but unfortunately after 15 laps I was in trouble, because when exiting left corners I had too much spin. We need to understand why this happened and then try to improve, but having Maverick win a race is good news for the team and Yamaha, because it gives great motivation."

Seventh Jack Miller Australian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #43

9 Race Points Championship Position 13th, 83 Championship points

"If I have to be honest I was expecting a little more but I am still happy with this result and being the first Independent rider.

"I got off to a good start even though I honestly didn't think I would be in the lead so early. In the middle of the race I tried to save my tyres but in the end I didn't have any room to attack the podium group."

Eighth Franco Morbidelli Italian EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda #21

8 Race Points Championship Position 14th, 46 Championship points

"I am very happy with this result, my personal best result in MotoGP. We did a good job to exported the situation with riders going out of the race.

"Our tyre choice was the right one and I had good pace especially from half-race and I was able to get into the tope ten. I want to thank my crew for a great job this weekend to sort out the set-up of the bike for the race."

Ninth Aleix Espargaró 17th Spanish Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #41

7 Race Points Championship Position 15th, 39 Championship points

"On the straight, I was in the slipstream of a lot of riders and at a certain point, a piece of Marc's bike struck my left hand. I began to feel pain, but fortunately in MotoGP we only use the clutch for the start, so I was able to finish the race.

"We'll assess the situation in view of Malaysia. After a less-than-easy weekend, in warm up we made a big step forward and in the race I was able to ride very incisively. This is demonstrated by the fact that we lapped faster than in qualifying, but unfortunately on the final laps, the soft rear tyre began to suffer and I was unable to hold onto eighth place. In any case, the result is good, considering the hard work done this weekend with two different bikes."

The British Riders

Tenth Bradley Smith 12th Smith British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38

6 Race Points Championship Position 19th, 29 Championship points

"We did a good job. We saw Phillip Island as an important weekend for KTM because we knew the bike would work quite well here. The team did a fantastically because the main aim of the weekend was to try and set up the bike as best as we could to look after the rear tyre. It meant we had to sacrifice qualification a little bit yesterday but it paid off today.

"I had a great first lap to come from sixteenth to eighth and then tried to hold the position for as long as possible. Unfortunately towards the end I just didn't have anything left for Morbidelli or Aleix. Sepang now and it is a difficult track but I think we have some good confidence and the bike has a good setting and it working well for me. I'm optimistic we can keep the same level and take some good points."

Scott Redding 13th British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45

3 Race Points Championship Position 21st, 15 Championship points

"I am happy with the way the race went. To be honest, I didn't expect it. Even in warm up, I didn't have any particularly good feeling. Apparently, staying in the slipstream of the other riders helped me warm up the front tyre better.

"Maybe in terms of pace I could have done a bit better too, but when I found myself leading the group, I began to have some difficulties. In any case, I battled, overtaking Nakagami on the final lap and bringing home important points. A few crashes helped, but we did a good job anyway turning a complicated situation around."

Cal Crutchlow British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35

No Race Points Championship Position 5th 148 Championship points

"I was having a good weekend, I felt good on my bike and competitive. I like Philip Island, I've always gone well here and wanted to be on the podium.

"In free practice one I was going well and got up to fifth. In FP2 I was up to second and got a good time in. I came out of the last turn onto the Gardener straight, started to brake for Doohan's, I think I hit a bump which caused me to crash.

"That's the way it goes.

"It's a great pity as I know I'd have won the independent title again. Now it's in doubt. I'm not sure if I'll be able to race in Valencia, see how it goes."

Crutchlow had a few visitors in hospital, Aleix Espargaró was one of them.

Non-Finishers

Márquez Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93

No Race points, Championship Position First, 296 Championship points

"At first I didn't understand exactly what had happened, but I was angry because I felt the contact from the rear. I couldn't continue the race because my seat was broken and moving around. It was impossible to ride.

 

"When I arrived in the garage and saw the video, I understood. It was just a race incident because at that point of the track, we arrive really fast, over 300 km/h. I was behind Jack Miller when I braked even a bit later than usual, and then I felt the impact. Zarco had taken the slipstreams from the two of us. You may think he could have considered that, but for me it's just a race incident and I already spoke with him.

"What I can say is that today I feel really lucky, and the most important thing for me is that both me and Johann are okay. Today I was really focused, and the race was going as expected. I led for a couple of laps, and then I decided to stay in the group and wait a bit. I had the pace and I felt I was able to fight for the win. It's unlucky that we got a zero here at Phillip Island, but if next year I can win the title in Japan again and have another DNF here, I'll sign up for that! Now let's focus on the next race."

Johann Zarco French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5

No Race Points Championship Position 7th, 133 Championship points

"It was a bit cold today, but the sunshine made it a nice day. Starting from third position was a good advantage. I got a good start, but in the second corner I slide with the rear and a few guys had the same, I lost a few positions, but then I was really feeling quite ok to attack and try to overtake. I'm happy about the feeling that I was strong and did some good passes.

"After a few laps, I was still feeling pretty good, I got the slipstream of Jack Miller and Marc Márquez was also there. We were going so fast and when we were braking for corner one, I touched the rear wheel of Marc and totally flew away. I had a big crash, but I'm okay, which is the most important thing, as that crash was really fast It's a shame about the race, because finish the race would have been important for the independent riders' championship, but I didn't. The crash was big and I am sorry that Marc could not finish the race.

"Thank you to my team, because the bike was competitive today! I did a mistake and I need to make up for it on the next two rounds."

Massimo Meregalli Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

"What a thrilling and dramatic race! Maverick is always strong at the Phillip Island circuit, and he once again outdid himself in Australia today. He really deserved the victory, because he had been strong the entire weekend. It's a great feeling for the team to secure a win again - we have all been working so hard for this. It's not just us who have been waiting, but also our fans, so this is as much for them as it is for us.

"It was a pity that Vale wasn't able to join the podium, because he was showing great potential for the majority of the race. It would have been great to have him up there too. He and his crew have also been pushing to the maximum, but sixth place was really the best he could do today due to tyre wear at the end of the race. Overall this weekend has been a great moral boost, because both riders were competitive, so we're all looking forward to the next round, the Grand Prix of Malaysia, in just a week's time."

2018 MotoGP World Championship Standing

At 21 October 2018

Statistics obtained from motogp.com website and used to create the all the above tables.

Next MotoGP Race Is In Malaysia

It is the penultimate race of this year, race 18 of the championship.

It's the final race of the "fly-aways" at the Sepang Circuit.

Action starts Friday 2 November with the race on Sunday the 4th

All the sessions will be reported on in my full report soon after the winner has taken the chequed flag.

- Roland Potter