2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Race Result: The Fat Lady's All Dressed Up

With rain teasing us all throughout the day, the premier class race looked like the first time the sun fully hugged the track. But the riders had little time to enjoy the sights with crucial tyre decisions still being made on the grid. Despite the surface hotting up, the soft rear was an overwhelming choice but it ended up not making that much of a difference to Marc Marquez’s sixth win of the season. The world champion spent much of the race collecting (and sharing) black marks on his leathers courtesy of the three Yamahas that followed him across the line in an epic podium fight up to the very last turn. Valentino Rossi was top dog in that fight, Maverick Viñales pipping Johann Zarco on the finish line for the final podium position.

The winner and poleman started off well but Jack Miller was eager to attack for some early home glory from fifth on the grid. On the other hand, Zarco dropped back towards the end of the top ten on the soft-soft combination after the start. Miller soon stretched a gap of almost a second at the front, with Marquez being cautious with three Yamahas in hot pursuit, Viñales guiding a quickly recovered Zarco and Rossi. The Frenchman got his softs all warmed up and looked to attack but got pushed back as he tried to benefit from Viñales’ overtake of Marquez. Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso had an average start but ran wide halfway through the second lap and dropped all the way back to twentieth position.

The factory Yamahas started reeling back in the leading Australian, with the world championship leader hot on their tail and Zarco fending off Aleix Espargaro close behind. Rossi got past his teammate to lead the chase on lap four, the Italian already on the back of Miller a few turns later. It looked like the Marc VDS rider’s time in the sun was done by lap six, the Australian quickly pushed back to fifth place as the two Yamahas, Marquez and Zarco got past within a few corners.

After Viñales and Rossi played around a bit, the world champion found the inside line on his compatriot to trail the leading Italian. Viñales soon had Zarco to contend with, the Frenchman getting into the top three just as the older Espargaro brother left the lead group heading into the turn one gravel trap on lap eight.

Marquez did not get a chance to attack for the lead as Zarco was keen to make an impression at the front, the Tech 3 Yamaha getting past the world champion and attacking Rossi for the lead one lap later. Rossi played his part as the Italian ran wide and let both Zarco and Marquez past. A handful of seconds down the road, Dovizioso had recovered up to twelfth place, dicing with Dani Pedrosa for a few extra points.

Back at the front, the factory Yamahas lost a position to Miller, the Australian third on lap ten, followed by Rossi and Viñales. Andrea Iannone, Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins were also part of the lead group at this stage of the race but the trio had not shown any podium ambitions by this point.

The eight-man lead group settled a bit by lap twelve, only Rossi and Miller playing around for third spot. Rossi made it stick one lap later and fired into the lead soon after, the Italian keeping the position at the halfway point of the race. Then it was Marquez’s turn to entertain Zarco, the duo swapping second position for the next few laps. A handful of seconds down the road, Dovizioso was still showing the same pace as the leaders at this point but the Italian was  struggling to get past Pedrosa.

After Zarco settled the battle with Marquez with twelve laps to go, the Frenchman attacked Rossi and Marquez lost more positions to Viñales and Iannone. As Marquez was getting in dangerous territory with the Suzuki, Dovizioso made it past Pedrosa and tried to bring back the four-second gap to the top ten.

With ten laps to go, it was Viñales’ turn to take a slice of the pie and lead the race, Rossi following closely and with Marquez and Iannone getting revenge on Zarco a few turns later. The world champion was characteristically eager while getting past Rossi, the Italian losing a bit of ground in the process. Rossi was not too fussed, a few red hot sectors quickly to his aid. And if you found the plot hard to follow up to this point, watching the actual race would have the same effect – in the best of ways.

With seven laps to go and with the tip-off point of the soft rear tyre approaching, Marquez attacked for the lead into turn four and was quickly followed by Rossi. Zarco also made an outlandish move on Viñales soon after and the momentum got the Spaniard unsettled, allowing Iannone past as well. Viñales went from the lead down to seventh place in the space of one lap, with Crutchow and Miller also going past.

Marquez was attempting to make an escape out front, half a second’s gap ahead of Zarco, aided by the Frenchman’s pestering of Rossi. The Italian not only had an eager Zarco on his heels but also a familiarly aggressive Iannone. The combination was enough to raise goosebumps on anyone following the fight, with Viñales joining the party soon after.

The world championship leader extended his gap to two second with two laps to go and it was sgain Rossi’s turn to lead the chase behind him but the Italian was too busy keeping the mad house in check to actually entertain victory expectations. Marquez crossed the line with over one and a half seconds in hand on the three Yamahas still embroiled in an epic fight.

Two seconds later, Crutchlow crossed the finish line in fifth, ahead of the early protagonists of the race, Iannone and home hero Miller. Rins eventually lost touch with the lead group but came home in a strong eighth place, followed by another good showing from the KTM of Pol Espargaro, only one hundredth of a second ahead of teammate Bradley Smith who completed the top ten.

KTM’s pride can only increase if you consider that both bikes came home well ahead of factory Ducati and Honda bikes. Dovizioso could not reduce the gap to the leaders even after he reached clean air and the Italian was overtaken by Scott Redding and Dani Pedrosa on the very last lap of the race.

The Ducati veteran’s title bid took a hit of his own doing by only finishing thirteenth, which coupled to Marquez’s victory brings the gap in the championship standings to 33 points. Viñales’ chances are done and dusted 50 points down, while Rossi’s podium puts him back ahead of Pedrosa in the battle for fourth overall.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 40'49.772
2 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +1.799
3 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +1.826
4 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +1.842
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +3.845
6 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +3.871
7 43 Jack MILLER Honda +5.619
8 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +12.208
9 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +16.251
10 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +16.262
11 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +21.652
12 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +21.668
13 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +21.692
14 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +26.110
15 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati +26.168
16 53 Tito RABAT Honda +26.252
17 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +36.377
18 76 Loris BAZ Ducati +39.654
19 22 Sam LOWES Aprilia +40.400
20 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +45.901
21 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +48.768
22 23 Broc PARKES Yamaha +57.711
    Not Classified    
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 20 Laps

 

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Round Number: 
16
2017
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Total votes: 19

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Comments

Phew, what a race. I was a little worried when it rained this morning, but thankfully the weather cleared up and we got the dry race we needed, and BOY did it not disappoint! 5 or 6 guys genuinely could've won that race. But as it is, Marquez dealt with everything that was thrown at him and puts in what could turn out to be the decisive move in the World Championship with that win.

Great result for Valentino, you can never rule him out even when it appears he's having a quiet weekend. In general Yamaha will be pleased with such a strong showing for their bikes after recent races. Zarco was just outstanding. He doesn't give a monkeys regards to reputations! So much argy bargy. How no one fell with all the rubbing and contact going on I have no idea. Once again too, having Iannone back at the sharp end truly does wonders to the excitement level too. Been a great last two races for Suzuki, with both bikes finishing top 8, really ending the season with some good form.

KTM's will be real happy with their race. Both riders neck and neck at the line, both inside the top 10 and totally outperforming the Ducatis here, great effort all weekend.

This really has been a total disaster for Ducati and Dovi. They've done wonders to be in this title battle, but Aragon and now here have made the task very difficult. Ultimately this is what is likely going to decide the title. When Marquez has an 'off day', he's still usually fighting for a podium or there abouts. Dovi has only finished on the podium once when Marquez has won a race this season, wheres when Dovi beaten Marc, Marc has usually minimised the damage finshing close behind, and that looks to be the difference come the end of the season. Marquez just needs to come home in 2nd at Malaysia to win the title.

But once again MotoGP is the real winner, with another amazing race to put under the list of proper classics.

 

Total votes: 48

That surely must be one of the best motogp races ...ever!

Total votes: 46

Once more Johann makes Herve look like a genius. I imagine Yamaha will move Heaven and Earth to keep him at Tech3 until Rossi hangs up his leathers.

Yet again PI throws up another great race, can we drop a couple of the spanish rounds and hold them here instead?

Total votes: 0

Thought of redding finishing ahead of Dovi?
Certainly did him no favors. I guess redding is off to Aprilia next year so ducati can suck it? Makes sense I guess.

I feel like Marquez is always able to sit behind and wait but the Yams beat each other up way too much. Towards the end they all let Marquez slip away thinking they were all the one to catch him.
Would've been great if they all waited till the last lap to start fighting.

Total votes: 1

Was that? A Moto3 race with 270 HP. Motorcycles, and nobody willing to give an inch. 

Congrats to Marquez, he's something off this planet, the fastest alien. Rossi still amazes, Vinales came so close even after getting bumped back several positions by Zarco. 

Pedro nipped Dovi at the line netting Marquez yet another point advantage.

How can Sunday football in the U.S. hope to compete with the non-stop intense action and entertainment of MotoGp? 

Giving and receiving tire marks on your leathers is evidence of awesomeness.

Total votes: 0

I feel sorry for Zarco, as he was at the centre of most of the duels and provided real entertainment with his run and stun style.  A couple of Moto2 (psycho dogfight class) titles is proof of that.

Deserved a podium IMHO.

Total votes: 0

a nicely turned phrase at exactly the right time..  good one, Zara!

we have really had a roller-coaster ride this season, one of the greatest.

Two more, fat lady ready for final chorus, then we get to contemplate next year  ;)

Total votes: 7

Looked like a good race from where I was standing at Doohan corner. will be watching on video later. Great race for Marc Marquez & the Yamaha riders & factory. Dovi and Ducati had a bad race. Lorenzo had a shocker. how could ChuppaChup99 help A.D.04 ?

still digesting the race. I am sure I will understand the race better after I read David's thoughts. Thanks for your words Zara.

Total votes: 3