Photography by Gold & Goose
Marc Marquez went from being on the verge of being World Champion to leading title chase rival Jorge Lorenzo by just 18 points after an Australian Grand Prix like no other.
Where do we begin? For starters, Yamaha’s Lorenzo won the race and he did so from pole position, the Spaniard never headed in the race that was shortened from 26 laps to 19 laps with a mandatory pit stop thrown in for good measure when Bridgestone realized prior to the race that the tires wouldn’t go the distance on the newly resurfaced Phillip Island. So everyone would have to pit on laps nine or 10 to change bikes.
But not everyone did.
In what could only be described as a complete debacle on their part, Repsol Honda apparently failed to tell Marquez that he needed to pit. And by the time they did, it was too late. It was the 11th lap and it was mandatory to pit by the 10th lap. Thus, Marquez was black flagged and disqualified from the race – scoring zero points to Lorenzo’s 25 and completely changing the complexity of the title chase. And all this was after Marquez had exited pit late on the 11th lap and made contact with Lorenzo who was at full stick entering Doohan Corner.
When all was said and done, Lorenzo ended up beating Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa by 6.936 seconds, the diminutive Spaniard also penalized after a pit-lane exit violation that forced him to drop a position. That position was to Marquez, so he would gain it back and ultimately still finish second.
The battle for third place went to the final lap with Valentino Rossi taking the spot over Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow by just .116 of a second after the Italian passed the Brit in Honda Hairpin on the final lap. Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista was with the duo throughout and he came up just .053 of a second behind Crutchlow.
Crutchlow’s teammate Bradley Smith parlayed his good start into a sixth-place finish, the Brit some four seconds clear of Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden. Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Ianonne and Andrea Dovizioso were eighth and ninth, respectively. Randy de Puniet was the top CRT finisher, the Frenchman finishing 10th. Texan Colin Edwards, meanwhile, was 12th.
The top three were covered by just a few tenths when it was time for the pit stops to start and Pedrosa was the first to do so at the end of the ninth lap. A lap later and Lorenzo followed suit, heading to pit lane. Marquez was expected to go with him, but he didn’t. The young Spaniard would do so a lap later, but it was too late. He would be disqualified.
He didn’t know it at the time and he entered the track at the same time that Lorenzo was headed toward turn one and the two made contact. Pedrosa, meanwhile, was with the lead duo but he would be signaled that he needed to drop a position, which he dutifully did to Marquez. Then came the black flag to Marquez, the championship leader dejected as his points lead went from 43 to 18 points.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
10. Randy de Puniet (CRT)