Press releases from the MotoGP teams after a thrilling race in Phillip Island:
Marc Marquez takes a momentous victory at dry Phillip Island
Today 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. The performance extended his Championship lead to 269 points, 33 ahead Andrea Dovizioso, who remains his only rival for the Title.
Marc was aware that today he had a chance that was too good to miss, on a circuit he loves. However, he 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, fighting hard and constantly swapping positions from the start to two thirds of race distance.
Marc 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.
Despite continuing to struggle at making the best of his bike’s setup, Dani Pedrosa determinedly fought with Dovizioso until the end of the race, passing the Italian on the last lap to take 12th place.
“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. When the race started I was thinking I had to stay calm and manage the tyres, but then Zarco hit me and I realized it was going to be a battle. I was in a group of fighters. I knew I had to push and defend, but also to attack. So I just tried to control the situation and then, with around eight laps to go, I just gave it my all. I pushed really hard for three or four laps and that was it. I’m happy with the win of course, but even more with going to Malaysia with a 33 point advantage!”
“In general we had a hard weekend here, and even today I couldn’t improve the situation in any way. I think the team did a good job, but I wasn’t able to be strong. The warm-up was wet and I lapped fast, but I didn't have the chance to try the setup changes that we used afterward in the race. On the first lap I went wide, as did Dovi, and I lost contact with the group. But also later I wasn't able to keep a fast pace. We must keep focused and try and do better in Malaysia.”
Movistar Yamaha Persistence Pays Off with Double Podium on Phillip Island
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were front-runners in a fierce Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Phillip Island circuit. 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. An early battle with Johann Zarco saw him move back to fifth, but he was soon riding in third place, with 25 laps to go, when Marc Marquez and Zarco went wide. Passing Viñales, 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 Italian didn't hesitate to fight his way back to the lead again, but he was unable to break away as the battle at the front continued.
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. He set consistent personal best times in sectors one and two to start the last lap in second place. With a two-second gap to Marquez, he focussed on holding off Zarco and Viñales and took the chequered flag in second position, 1.799s from first. This result earned Rossi his 17th podium finish at the Phillip Island track.
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, but the Spaniard wasn't to be shaken off easily.
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.
Seeing Rossi carve through the field, Viñales cautiously picked up places, but it remained a push-and-pull fight at the front. He had his head down, but soon had to start all over again as 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 to perfection in the last laps to breeze past Iannone and overtake Zarco over the line for third place, pipping him by 0.016s, to take third place, 1.826s from first.
Today's race results see Viñales hold third place in the championship with a 50-point gap to the leader, while Rossi regained fourth place in the standings, 81 points from the front. Yamaha moved up to second place in the Constructor classification, 34 points from first, and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP are in second place in the Team title challenge, with 36 points to the top of the rankings.
The team will soon head north again to take part in next week's Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.
Position: 2nd - Championship: 4th - Points: 188
"I enjoyed the race very much. This track is unbelievable and it was a great race! 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. I wanted to try the maximum to be on the podium. In the end I'm in second place and I'm very happy. I want to say thanks to all my team, they always work very hard, and thanks to all of Yamaha."
Position: 3rd - Championship: 3rd - Points: 219
"I had planned on attacking with five laps to go. On the previous lap, I had already overtaken Johann and tried to overtake Valentino at the last part of the straight, but I went wide. I had a moment with Johann on the outside and then went towards Andrea. I lost my race there, but in the end I recovered really well. I started to overtake the other riders fast and, honestly, I was quite far back from where I needed to be in the last corner, but the bike accelerated really well and I even thought I could pass Valentino. In the end he was a bit too far ahead, but I'm still really happy. The team was working really well and especially this morning in the rain I felt great and that's a good starting point for Malaysia. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, especially on the soft tyre. The championship challenge is gone, this is not good news, but we already knew all season it was going to be difficult, especially during the second part. We have to try to be strong, as always, and try to be on the podium again in Malaysia. I want to recover some points to Andrea, which is important. We're going to try to make the bike work and try to have one of our strongest weekends."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"It was a fantastic race! The adrenaline levels were very high throughout all the 27 laps. Since Valentino and Maverick decided to use two different tyre options, I wasn't able to relax, as I was unsure which was the right one, but in the end both choices seemed to work out well as both riders finished on the rostrum. This double podium result is very important for the team, especially after the challenging race in Motegi, and gives us a boost for Malaysia. This morning we made a good step in the wet and this improvement is another positive point that we take away from this Grand Prix. I want to thank the riders, team members and engineers for their hard work. We aim to continue this momentum in Malaysia as we still fight for the Team and Constructor titles."
6TH AND 8TH PLACE FOR IANNONE AND RINS AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 22.
Andrea IANNONE: P6 - +3.871
Alex RINS: P8 - +12.208
A solid race at the Phillip Island circuit allowed Team SUZUKI ECSTAR to achieve a favourable result, with Andrea Iannone finishing in 6th place after a hard fight for the podium. Alex Rins finished in 8th after a consistent race, very close to the leading group.
With wet and cold conditions in the morning’s warm-up, both riders struggled to maintain an effective performance. Iannone ended the session in 12th (1'40.545) and Rins in 21st (1'41.359).
With temperatures rising and the sun drying the track for the afternoon, the improvements made recently in the setups paid off and allowed both riders to perform more effectively.
Very fast at the start, Iannone immediately positioned himself well in the leading group, with a solid pace and strong riding. He fought fiercely in the top six positions for the entirety of the race and he was also able to come within reach of a podium position nearing the end. However he was not able to convert the opportunity into reality and get the podium at the chequered flag. He was forced to drop back a few places in the very last two laps.
Alex Rins executed an effective jump as the red light went off and then immediately overtook several other riders, advancing his position at the first corner. Getting into the race, the Spaniard was able to immediately set a confident pace that allowed him to gain positions and stay close to the leading group of eight, leaving a sizable gap between him and the rest that followed. His whole race was a solid and consistent one. Despite not being able to get into the fight for the top six, he kept the pace in the front. Only in the very final laps did he have to let up which created a small gap with the 7th place rider. Fortunately this did not affect his position and he finished in 8th.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“After the positive race we had in Motegi in the wet, it’s been nice here to see that we can be competitive on a dry track as well and stay in the leading group with the top competitors. Andrea had a fierce race with hard-fought battles and Alex set and maintained a fast pace until the end, when he had to let up because of a drop in the tyre. We’re happy we confirmed on a dry track the improvements we’ve made in the wet. We have to continue this positive trend in the last two races. I also want to congratulate both riders for today’s race; Andrea, for having held on tight and fought with the best, and Alex who made another step of improvement and conducted a solid race. This progression is very positive for us and I hope it will also help in the last two races.”
“The race for sure has been a positive one for us. It’s been a while since we fought in the leading group for the whole race. I’m happy for how we’ve worked during this weekend; the whole team and Suzuki did a great job in the last two races. We all know that we still have to improve, following this direction we’ve found, and I’m confident for the future. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t finish in a better position, but I couldn't feel enough grip to make use of our acceleration and keep up with the others. Anyway I gave it all I had. In the very last laps I also found myself in third and second place, but I had to let up because I couldn’t really control the bike. I want to thank the whole team and the Company and I hope I will be able to reward them with a positive 2018.”
“I’m very happy for the result because this weekend has been a very complicated one thanks to the variable and hard weather conditions. But today I felt really good and the position was not bad at all. I was able to stay with the leading group for nearly the whole race, but then with six or seven laps to go I had to give up because the rear grip had a big drop. It was getting worn and I couldn’t make any further attempts. The GSX-RR behaved very well and I’m happy. The fight in the leading group has been very fierce and it was nice to see both our Suzuki’s in the mix. This means that the development that we are doing on the bike is working, and I feel I’m improving myself as well, which give me confidence for the future.”
First win in Moto2 and top ten No. 5 in MotoGP for Red Bull KTM at Australian Grand Prix
RACE 16th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Phillip Island (AUS)
In Moto2, history was made today as KTM took their first Grand Prix victory in the class when Miguel Oliveira lead the Australian Grand Prix from start to finish. KTM send their congratulations to Red Bull KTM Ajo on winning this land mark race and to Oliveira on taking his first victory in Moto2.
The best result as a team was taken today also by Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing as Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith both finished inside the top ten at the Australian MotoGP. The two KTM RC16s were ninth and tenth over the line an impressive 16 seconds behind the winner of the race after 27 laps. For KTM it now means they have been victorious in four classes of Grand Prix racing with wins in 125cc, 250cc, Moto3 and now Moto2.
Moto3 was a rain interrupted race as rain fell after 15 laps, the leading KTM across the line was Gabriel Rodrigo in fourth just 0.029 secs off the podium. The team now moves on to Malaysia for the penultimate race of the season next Sunday.
After ninths, tenths and elevenths so far in 2017, the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team today hit another target with ninth and tenth in the same race with Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finishing just 16 seconds off the outright winner of the Australian MotoGP. Having qualified sixth and ninth respectively the pair made an electrifying start with Espargaro fourth at the first corner. The pace was typical ‘Phillip Island’ with a train of riders millimetres apart at 310kph, but both KTM RC16s could be in the leading group for the first half of the race. Come the last lap the two riders fought tooth and nail to the line but it was Espargaro who pipped Smith by 0.011 seconds to get two Austrian KTMs inside the top ten for the first time.
Espargaro: “We are now fighting for top tens in Grands Prix regularly – this is a great feeling that we thought might happen a couple of times but this is our fifth top ten of the year and it is with a gap from the leader of just 16 seconds so we are happy with what we’ve done today. In the race the grip on the rear meant I struggled at the start so I lost the train of the race early, but come the flag we were in front of many others with only one retirement so we must be proud of this result as we are still young in this category.”
Smith: “Phillip Island has been good to us this weekend but today watching Moto2 was a fantastic build up for me with their 1-2, plus Marvin Musquin won Red Bull Straight Rhythm in the USA – it spurred me on! Starting from a great grid spot meant I was determined to push on and stay inside the top ten and I knew I could do that following our post-Aragon GP test, something that our qualifying speed showed. I had a coming together with Zarco on lap one which lost some time, but I could hold the leaders until halfway. The last lap was a huge battle with Pol but this is a great result for me and for all the guys who are working hard on this project so let’s go to Sepang and finish this trio of races off in the right way.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “A super day. Unbelievable that we can stay in these positions in the race. Practice and the race was very good for both riders even if Pol’s rear tyre wasn’t as he wished so maybe he could’ve gone with this group in front, but we’ll check that. However, we have to be realistic to race here for the first time at Phillip Island and to be in front of many strong bikes and teams proves the riders and the KTM team did a great job. Thanks to all the guys working and pushing so hard at KTM in Mattighofen and Munderfing in Austria to enable these results. In the meantime let’s go to Sepang now for potentially our hottest race of the year.”
Difficult race for the Ducati Team at Phillip Island, with Andrea Dovizioso finishing thirteenth and Jorge Lorenzo fifteenth in the Australian Grand Prix
Round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship at the Phillip Island circuit proved to be a tough one for the two Ducati Team riders. Andrea Dovizioso, who started from the fourth row of the grid for the Australian GP, was unable to gain any positions at the start and he crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in eleventh place. The Italian then braked very late for the first turn and dropped down to twentieth place. Despite a good recovery, which took him back up to eleventh place, Dovizioso was not able to make up any more places and at the final corner of the last lap he was overtaken by Redding and Pedrosa, finishing his race in thirteenth place.
Jorge Lorenzo, still in pain from his bad crash yesterday, remained in thirteenth place for much of the race, but in the last few laps he dropped to fifteenth and crossed the line in that position.
Following the Australian GP, Andrea Dovizioso still lies second in the championship standings, but he is now 33 points behind Marquez and 17 points ahead of Viñales.
MotoGP will be back on track in a few days’ time with round 17 of the championship, the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 13th
“Today’s race was a big disappointment and we really lost a lot of points in the championship. For sure my mistake in the early stages of the race complicated things and maybe even the choice of rear tyre was not the best one, but on this track our bike is still struggling a lot. This year we’ve managed to improve many aspects and be competitive throughout the season but when you come to tracks like this, where you don’t brake very much and where there are lots of long fast corners, some of our limits are magnified: in fact here at Phillip Island none of the Ducati were very quick. Pity, because at this point of the season it would have been better to be closer to Marquez in the standings, but now we have to think of Malaysia, where quite simply we’ll have to give it our all.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 15th
“It was a weekend to forget, because we were never able to be competitive. I started a long way down the grid and was unable to improve my position in the race: after ten or so laps I began to lap consistently and a few tenths quicker than yesterday, but when the performance of the rear tyre dropped it was impossible to keep that pace. In general here all the Ducatis suffered a lot, with the different choices of tyres available, but now we are going to Sepang with confidence, because it’s a track that is certainly better suited to our bike”.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ KEEPS HIS APRILIA IN THE LEADING GROUP BUT A CRASH ON TURN 1 TAKES HIM OUT OF THE RACE
Only a crash on the first corner during the eighth lap kept Aleix Espargaró from battling for important positions in the GP of Australia. The Spanish rider had both the pace and the confidence to contend in the leading group. Well supported by an Aprilia RS-GP, he was once again solidly at the level of the best.
Aleix paid a high price for a slightly wide trajectory on the fast first corner as he was overtaking Miller for fifth place. The high speed slide resulted in a fracture to the fourth metacarpus of his left hand, an injury that shouldn't keep the Spanish rider from participating in the Malaysian weekend that is just days away.
Sam Lowes finished nineteenth after a shrewd race, overtaking Parkes, Petrucci and Barbera.
"The race was going well. Despite a less than perfect start, I had already rejoined the leading group and I had a good feeling. Unfortunately, as I was overtaking Miller on the first turn, I went a bit too wide, ending up on the dirty part of the track and sliding out. I should be able to participate in the race in Malaysia even with the injury to my hand. We'll see what the conditions are on Friday."
"Obviously you always hope for a better result but, given the conditions, I'm rather satisfied. I overtook a few riders in the race and I didn't make any mistakes throughout the weekend. We are working well. Unfortunately, Aleix wasn't able to demonstrate the full potential of the RS-GP today because of the crash, but we are on the right path."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"This was a peculiar weekend where we once again demonstrated how competitive our bike is and how Aleix is able to take advantage of it. The race began in the best possible way. Despite a less than perfect start that we need to work on, he recovered with impressive speed. Unfortunately, the crash stopped him in a race where anything could have been possible, but the responses from this track give us great optimism both for the upcoming races and for 2018."
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"Except for the race result itself, this was another good weekend. More proof that we are competitive, very close to the best in the category. Unfortunately, we are leaving Phillip Island today with a bitter taste in our mouths, knowing that we have a great bike and a very fast rider. Aleix paid a high price for a small mistake, but that is racing."
Phenomenal Zarco finishes spectacular Australian GP in 4th – Parkes perseveres to complete home GP
Johann Zarco narrowly missed out on a podium finish after battling at the front of the field for the entire Australian Grand Prix. The French star kicked off the race from 3rd and after slipping back, he relentlessly worked his way through the pack before lunging into the lead on the 9th lap. He consistently traded places at the front and eventually just missed out on the podium by 0.016. Nevertheless, his efforts saw him finish 4th and as the Top Independent rider, which sealed the Rookie of the Year title in the MotoGP class.
Meanwhile, Broc Parkes, who stood in for the recovering Jonas Folger, delivered a determined performance in his race debut aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The Australian fought persistently as he diced with the experienced MotoGP riders, before eventually completing the GP in 22nd. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team would like to thank Broc for his efforts and professionalism at the Australian Grand Prix.
Position: 4th - Championship: 6th - Points: 138
“It was an amazing race today in Australia and I am so happy that I could fight for the victory but Marquez broke away at the end, yet I still managed to lead the Grand Prix. After the tricky start, where I had to close the throttle to avoid touching someone, I lost a lot of positions. However, I was strong and I then overtook many riders and it was an amazing feeling. I had some moments on the track that I thought I would never live in my life so it was very good to take this experience. I could also analyse my rivals and see how they were so fast. On the last lap, I was running in 3rd and trying to get 2nd, and I attempted to overtake Rossi at the final corner on the acceleration. I changed my line to pass him and instead of 2nd, I finished 4th. It's a big shame to miss out on the podium but I need to enjoy what I achieved today.”
Position: 22nd - Championship: Not classified
"I just did not have the rear grip from the start. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a lot of track time this weekend so I struggled a little bit. In the race, I thought I could stay with the Ducati’s and Lowes but unfortunately, I dropped back from them. However, it was hard to come back and I rode on my own for a while. I wanted to do better but I’m happy to have completed my home Grand Prix and to have ridden here in front of everyone. Thank you to Hervé and the entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for giving me this opportunity."
“Phillip Island always produces some unbelievable racing but I think that this one is going to remain as maybe one of the best in MotoGP history. We feared the rain, however, fortunately, it did not happen which allowed the crowd and the viewers to enjoy an incredible show. We were right in the mix at the front and the start was ok but Johann touched Miller so he had to let a lot of people pass to avoid crashing. After that, he showed incredible speed and overtook every other rider to take the lead. Once he was there, he tried to open a gap, yet, it was so difficult because Phillip Island is a slipstream track. We know this as we won the 250cc World Championship with Olivier Jacque against Shinya Nakano in 2000 and the slipstream was highly instrumental. We could see that Johann was losing out on the straight and especially if someone was right behind him. Up until the last lap, he was in a position to fight for 2nd as Marquez broke away in first. Yet, I think he wanted it a bit too much so he tried to pass Valentino on the inside. However, he lost some speed when entering the straight and Maverick, who was behind, took the slipstream past him and we lost the podium by almost nothing. We are in Parc Fermé as the Top Independent rider but we have shown that we can fight at the top. The team did a great job and the suspension, tyres and rider were all perfect, and even if our man was aggressive, it wasn't too much. Plus, we consolidated 6th position in the championship, which is important. Nevertheless, I am happy but there is a slightly bitter taste in my mouth because a podium was certainly possible. On the other side, I have to thank Broc Parkes a lot as it was not an easy weekend for him due to the fact that he had to learn the YZR-M1 as well as the Phillip Island circuit on the 2017 Michelin tyres. In addition, the track conditions for the entire weekend were difficult but he did well and made almost no mistakes. We knew the race was going to be tough and sure, he needs more track time to be closer to the guys, yet, he was impressive in all departments. I would like to thank him a lot for his professional approach. We never know what will happen in the future, but we met a top rider and a super nice man. So many thanks again to him for what he did for Monster Yamaha Tech3.”
Zarco seals Rookie of the Year title in Australia
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Johann Zarco achieved his main objective with the 4th place finish at Phillip Island enabling him to secure the 2017 MotoGP Rookie of the Year title. The double Moto2 World Champion has delivered some truly memorable performances in his debut year in the premier class, including a podium finish at Le Mans, pole positions at Assen and Japan as well as a further front row start in Australia. In addition, he has scored points in every race this season aside from the opening round in Qatar. The French star currently stands in 6th in the World Championship as he now aims to clinch the Top Independent rider title with two rounds remaining.
Championship: 6th - Points: 138
“It is a good feeling to achieve this target. There were a lot of fast riders who came from Moto2 in 2017, including my teammate Jonas, Alex Rins and Sam Lowes. The main aim was to be Rookie of the Year and I am happy to have done this. It was not easy as Jonas was very strong and he got a really good 2nd place finish at Sachsenring where he was fighting with the top guys. However, I was a bit more consistent which helped me to get the points. Now, I need to keep the 6th position in the championship and it will be fantastic if I can do this, as it will be better than being Rookie of the Year.”
“Today in Australia, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Johann Zarco secured the Rookie of the Year title. This was his main objective, which we set him when he started the season with us. We knew that he would have strong opponents from Moto2, firstly his teammate Jonas Folger and also Sam Lowes as well as Alex Rins who he was fighting against for the 2016 intermediate class championship. He has already achieved our target with two races to go so I would like to congratulate him, thank Yamaha for their support and say thanks to all of Johann’s crew who have worked really hard. He has had some unbelievable races, and the highlights include; the podium finish in France, the pole position at Assen and in Japan, and qualifying on the front row of the grid here. I would like to say thanks to him for everything that he has done for us, our sponsors and for Yamaha. We are very proud of this and it was not easy although it may look simple if we look at the standings now, but this was not the case at the beginning. Now we need to celebrate and get ready for Malaysia.”
BRAVE CRUTCHLOW TAKES FIFTH IN PHILLIP ISLAND THRILLER
PRESS RELEASE: 22 October 2017 | Phillip Island Grand Prix
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow claimed a fine fifth placed finish in a thrilling Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday. The Briton showed all of his fighting qualities to overcome a serious fall in the warm-up session, before battling it out amongst the leading group in what was a thrilling spectacle at the famous circuit in Victoria.
Starting from the fourth row of the grid, Crutchlow went hard in the early stages to ensure he joined part of an eight-man group at the head of the field. All eight riders were covered by just one second at around the halfway stage with places being swapped regularly.
In the end, championship leader Marc Marquez pulled away to claim an important victory, but Crutchlow fought all the way to the end and edged out Andrea Iannone on the line to claim a creditable result in fifth.
Cal Crutchlow – 5th
“Obviously it was a better result and race than in qualifying. I felt quite good and confident in the race and I was being very patient to be able to try and come towards the podium at the end of the race. The problem was that after about five or six laps there was a small gap to the leaders and I had to push a lot and use a lot of the rear tyre at that moment of the race.
“But I think that fifth is not a bad result considering that we had a massive crash this morning. It’s one of the biggest high-sides of my career out of turn six and to be able to ride in this shape was good as I was really contemplating not being able to ride with the advice of the doctors and my team.
“But I tried my best and I think it was a good result considering, although I’m disappointed not repeat my win from last year because I think if we’d have had a little bit better weekend we could have been right up there. But what a great fight, what a great show in the MotoGP race at Phillip Island today.”
Home hero Miller a superb seventh at Phillip Island
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller received a hero's welcome from home fans after a courageous seventh place in today’s Australian Grand Prix.
Miller’s stirring performance came despite racing with a fractured right tibia held together by a plate and seven screws.
Making his trademark rocketship start Miller stunned the stars of MotoGP by taking his Honda RC213V to the front and leading the opening four laps of the 27-lap race at the super-fast Phillip Island Circuit.
Cheered on by local fans Miller outpaced Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales and eventual winner Marc Márquez with his daring early charge.
The gritty Aussie remained a podium contender until just after the halfway mark when rear grip levels dropped and Miller raced to ensure a top ten finish.
Miller’s amazing recovery from his injury, suffered just 24 days ago in a trials bike accident, was tribute to his determination and an intensive rehab program.
Miller’s teammate Tito Rabat missed scoring championship points by just eight hundredths of a second.
The Spaniard, who started 14th, finished 16th just behind Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo.
The third and final race in three consecutive flyaway events will be next Sunday in Sepang, venue for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Jack Miller: 7th
“It was great feeling to be leading my home race at Phillip Island but maybe going hard early hurt me later in the race with rear grip when I had to switch engine maps. It would have been nice to be able to push a bit harder at the end of the race but it was a solid weekend considering my injury, starting fifth and finishing seventh in front of my home fans, I’m happy with that.”
Tito Rabat: 16th
“I always like to score points and although I just missed out today there were many positives for me over the weekend, I learnt a lot in the mixed weather conditions over three days at Phillip Island. I qualified 14th and finished 26 seconds behind the winner, which is a good step for me. I am happy about my race and now I can look forward to the race in Sepang next week.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack put in a big effort to finish seventh considering his injury and as we know at this track rear grip is always an issue in the second half of the race. For a private team to finish in the top ten at this level in MotoGP is always a good feeling. It is a pity Tito just missed the final championship point but he did a good job, in conditions over the weekend that were not easy for him. Now we look forward to the race next weekend in Malaysia.”
Abraham battles with factory riders in Australia
Pull&Bear Aspar rider takes fourteenth at Phillip Island, with Álvaro Bautista seventeenth
Marc Márquez has one hand on the MotoGP World Championship title after dominating the race at Phillip Island as Andrea Dovizioso could only finish thirteenth. Despite having to come back from running wide early in the race, Marquez has extended his advantage over the Italian from eleven points to 33, meaning that he will have his first shot at claiming the crown in Malaysia next Sunday. Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales completed the podium after a tough battle with Johann Zarco.
Karel Abraham produced an outstanding performance in Australia and even though it wasn't rewarded with his best result it is hard to think of a better race from the Pull&Bear Aspar rider, who spent most of it battling with factory riders Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. The Czech rider, who struggled for rear grip in corner exit during the final stages f the race, battled all the way to the line with Lorenzo and held off the Spaniard for two hard-earned points. Álvaro Bautista started from twentieth and finished in seventeenth but leaves empty-handed after struggling all weekend to find grip at the Australian track.
14th Karel Abraham: “I'm very happy. I think this is a very important result for the team because it brings back the good feeling. I never want anybody to crash but let's say we were unlucky that nothing happened in front of us! Anyway it was a strong race for us, the lap times were good and I was able to run with the factory Ducatis. I had a good fight with Lorenzo and overtook him a couple of times. By the end of the race the front tyre was still good but the rear was spinning and sliding a lot and I was losing drive out of the left-handlers. I was losing grip on entry too and had to play a little with the electronics. On the last lap I prepared one last move on Jorge on the brakes into turn four and made the pass. I was sure he was going to get me back somewhere on the corner exit but he didn't and I hung on to fourteenth. It's not a special result but it was a special race because of the group we were fighting with and to finish 26 seconds behind the winner, I don't think there's any more we could have done in this race."
17th Álvaro Bautista: “It has been a difficult weekend, I haven't had a good feeling with the tyres all weekend in these conditions and today was the best I could do. When things don't work like they should, especially the combination of bikes and tyres, it is difficult to do any more. We saw here in Australia how all of the Ducatis suffered.”
No points for Reale Avintia riders in Australia
Another rain shower that came down over Phillip Island stopped just before the start of the MotoGP race and the sun was shining for the 24-lap Australian Grand Prix. But although Reale Avintia Racing riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera were confident about scoring a strong result, they lost all hopes before completing half the race distance.
Loris Baz had a great start from 17th place of the grid, but while fighting in a big group with Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Abraham, Petrucci and Redding, he was touched by another rider and lost precious time that he could not recover in the remainder of the race. He tried his best, but stressed his rear tyre too much, lost grip and finished the race in 18th position.
For his teammate Hector Barbera, who was 19th on the grid, the race was even tougher. The Spaniard was missing rear grip from the second lap and although he cut the power using a different engine mapping, he was not able to put up a fight and finished in 20th place.
Reale Avintia Racing heads now to Malaysia for the last of three consecutive race weekends, held at the Sepang International Circuit.
Loris Baz | P18
“It was a difficult race because we changed many things on the bike. I was able to make a good start and I was in the group with Karel (Abraham), Jorge (Lorenzo) and the others during the first few laps, where I had a really good feeling. I tried to save the tyres, but at the same time I was attacking to defend myself in that group. But then Scott Redding passed me twice and on the second occasion, he took me out and I lost contact with the group. I tried to push hard to get back, but it was impossible. I also think that I overheated the rear tyre because at the end I had no grip. Nevertheless, I finished another race and now we already thinking of Malaysia.”
Hector Barbera | P20
“This was a strange race. On the first lap I was okay, but I think that something happened with my rear tyre, because from the second lap until the end I was sliding everywhere. I tried to change the engine mappings, but the lack of traction remained the same. Together with Michelin, we have to analyse what happened because the tyre seamed to be new after the race, which was strange. It’s a shame because I had good feeling after my strong pace in FP4 yesterday and I was hoping to score some points. Now we fly to Sepang where I expect to finish the triple with a good result for the team.”
Great comeback for Scott Redding, just outside the Top 10. Bad Sunday for Petrux
Scott Redding returns to be competitive after a difficult period and takes part in a great comeback from 20th to 11th place. For Danilo Petrucci a weekend to forget. These are the "headlines" of Octo Pramac Racing on Phillip Island circuit.
Scott is in P20 on the grid of Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and his start is not the best. The English rider, however, remains focused and since the first laps starts to run with a good pace. On lap 10, he has already recovered 5 positions and his race pace is one of the fastest. On lap 17 he overtakes Lorenzo before being involved in a terrific scrap with Pedrosa and Dovizioso. The final is crazy and Redding manages to win the fight under the chequered flag, finishing 11th.
Petrux can't overcome the difficulties of the weekend. After recovering a couple of positions in the early laps (16th) the rider from Terni starts to have problems with the rear grip and his lap-times are not incisive. His GP finished almost on lap 10 and Petrux can only finish his weekend in Australia in 21th place.
21° Danilo Petrucci
“It's my worst race of the season. We do not know why we have not managed to be competitive. I really cannot explain that at the moment. Fortunately, Sepang is only in a week's time. It's a track that I like very much and I hope to be able to do well to forget as soon as possible this weekend”.
11° Scott Redding
“I'm really very happy for this race. I've come back to enjoy riding my bike. The start wasn't good but from the first laps I found a great feeling. It is a great satisfaction after a very complicated period for me. Now I want to finish the season at its best with two good races in Malaysia and Valencia”.
MICHELIN’S GRAND PRIX SERVES UP A CLASSIC ALONG WITH A MARQUEZ MASTERPIECE
The Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from Phillip Island served up one of the greatest races in MotoGP™ history as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took a stunning victory following a breath-taking race-long battle between eight riders.
Marquez qualified on pole yesterday for today’s 27-lap race, but was beaten off the line and into the first corner by local hero Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). In-front of his home fans the Australian kept first place until he was overtaken by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on lap-five. The nine-time World Champion then held the lead for four-laps, before Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), took to the front. The rookie stayed at the head of the pack for five laps, before the lead returned to Rossi, then went the way of Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and then finally to Marquez, in what was a titanic battle between some of the greatest racers in the world. The full-on encounter for the top positions featured the five riders that led the race at some point, plus Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), all of whom produced some incredibly close racing and daring overtaking throughout the whole race, with manoeuvres that showed the trust the riders had in their Michelin tyres.
Weather had been an issue at Phillip Island all weekend, with cold sessions, wet practices and intermittent sunshine meaning the riders had to leave the choice of MICHELIN Power Slick tyres to the very last moment as they all tried to gauge the weather for the race. When the event got underway in bright and windy conditions, which also produced the warmest temperatures of the weekend, Marquez took the decision to go with a medium front compound slick tyre, matched with a soft rear and he managed it superbly as he took the chequered flag to secure his sixth win of the season and strengthen his championship lead. Second was Rossi, who paired front and rear medium compound tyres, whilst third-placed Viñales used the medium front and soft rear configuration. Zarco took fourth-place on the line — setting the fastest-lap of the race in the process — a result which secured the First Independent Rider position and reinforced his lead in that championship and gave him the honour of being crowned Rookie of the Year. Fifth was Crutchlow, narrowly holding off Iannone at the finish, with home-boy Miller taking seventh and Rins eighth. The top-10 was rounded out by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith respectively.
The Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix also saw a very important announcement during the weekend’s proceedings, as a press conference was called featuring the CEO of Dorna Sports, Carmelo Ezpeleta and Director of Michelin Motorsport, Pascal Couasnon. This was held to confirm an extension to the partnership which will see Michelin as the ‘Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP’ for at least a further five-years, taking the Clermont-Ferrand based manufacturer to 2023 as the sole provider of race tyres for the premier-class.
Michelin now returns north of the Equator for the final of the three fly-away races, as MotoGP heads to Sepang for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday 29th October, a race that signals the 17th and penultimate round of the season and with the championship still to be decided it looks all set for being another thrilling event.
Marc Marquez — Repsol Honda Team:
“Today’s race was amazing. It was a bit like a Moto3 race because it was a big fight until the end with lots of bikes involved. This was because the riders were saving the tyre, as most of them went with the soft option on the rear. All the guys that chose this option tried to manage because we knew it would be at the limit at the end of the race, but the Michelins managed well and then I gave as much as possible in the last five-laps and that was enough to open a gap. I felt really good all weekend and I led every session, just in FP2 I was second, but I am very happy because in wet, dry and cold conditions the tyres worked well and I felt good, so I am happy for the victory and because we increased our lead in the championship.
“Also for me the news that Michelin is carrying on for another five-years is very important for the riders and the teams and of course for Michelin. When you start in a new category with a lot of technology it takes time, but Michelin arrived so quick and at a good level. Now it is important that we have stable tyres and we always have more or less the same compounds and they are working very good. Also, the riders and manufacturers start to understand the tyres very well and now I believe we will be faster and faster.”
Nicolas Goubert — Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“I don’t know where to start after a race like that. The performance of the front group was amazing and it was incredible to see such a race. The riders pushed the tyres to the limit and we saw no fade in performance as the race progressed from any of the tyres on such a demanding and abrasive track. This is always such a challenging race and it was the first time the riders had the soft rear option for a race here and they certainly put it to good use today. Throughout the weekend we had many different conditions to contend with and tyre choice was difficult today for all concerned. The the track was warmer than at any other point this weekend, but the race was quite late, so the temperature could have dropped quickly and all those factors had to be considered. The Michelin technicians worked closely with all the teams to assist with the decisions on tyre selection and again it demonstrated how different riders and manufacturers can use different compounds. We now head to Malaysia where I’m sure it will be a lot warmer than here, that will also bring its own challenges, but we will certainly be up to the test.”
Pascal Couasnon — Director of Michelin Motorsport:
“This has been a very busy weekend for Michelin, due to being the title sponsor here at Phillip Island and with that honour it has also given us the opportunity to announce this great news about our extension to the contract. We are delighted to be a part of MotoGP for a further five years. This is a huge compliment to the confidence that Carmelo Ezpeleta and Dorna has shown in what Michelin is achieving and fully endorses our achievements since we returned to MotoGP. These first two seasons have seen some impressive racing and we have seen tyre performance and strategy make a real contribution to the show. Michelin is pleased to have played a role in this and that has been endorsed by the decision of Dorna to extend its collaboration with Michelin as technical partner and exclusive tyre supplier until 2023.
“Michelin will use its on-going association with MotoGP to continue developing ever-safer and more competitive racing tyres and it is these innovations that will go on to benefit our road tyres. The information we gather from the premier motorcycle championship is directly linked to improving our road tyres, we are constantly striving for the best, whether it is on track with the world’s top racers or on the street, Michelin is dedicated to offering the finest tyres for the task.”