2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Sunday Results
MotoGP Race – 27 laps, 120.096 km
Yamaha’s long walk in the wilderness is over. After the company’s longest-ever losing streak – 25 races, Maverick Vinales rode the factory Movistar M1 to a clear and assured victory at today’s Australian GP.
While the cream of the crop bickered behind him, he had gradually drawn clear by four seconds, with seven laps to go. He was able to let the gap shrink to 1.5 secods by the end. And when he crossed the line, “there were only tears on my face”.
Given a few more laps, it is not impossibly that Andrea Iannone might not have given him more pressure. The Ecstar Suzuki rider lost too much time in the battle for second, unable to get clear of the faster Ducatis.
On the last lap, he was still obliged to fend off a hard-pressing Andrea Dovizioso, who marked a massive improvement for the Bologna bikes, after struggling to finish 13th here last year.
Temporary team-mate Alvaro Bautista, taking the place of Jorge Lorenzo, bounced back from several tumbles as he got used to the Desmosedici GP18, and claimed a valuable fourth for the factory, after running in the top three most of the race.
The next three – Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Ducati) – had lost touch with the battle for second in the closing stages; and Rins had snatched fifth from Rossi on the last lap.
Vinales – all the front men – were relieved of having to defeat new champion Marc Marquez, after the Repsol Honda rider was eliminated early on, in a potentially horrendous crash with Monster Yamaha rider Johann Zarco. Braking from more than 320 km/h for the first corner, Zarco’s front wheel touched Marquez’s rear. The Yamaha was sent flying in a reverse ground-loop, the rider was lucky to land on the grass rather than sliding into the gravel, and he escaped serious injury.
Marquez counted himself very lucky to escape a high-side, and was able to complete the lap at slow speed, only to retire to the pits … his seat unit all but broken off, and his rear tyre sliced round the full perimeter. Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa later crashed out of a distant 14th.
With independent-rider-prize rival Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha) crashing out of a strong eighth place with nine laps to go, Franco Morbidelli (EG-VDS Honda) took a valuable eighth, top Honda finisher, getting back ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) on the final lap. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM) was right behind, to complete the top ten.
Marquez remains unassailable on 296 points; but the battle for second is close. Dovizioso has 210, Rossi 195 and Vinales 180.
But Honda’s hopes of an early triple crown took a blow, with Ducati moving to within 39 points, with 50 still available; while a zero score allowed Movistar Yamaha to close to within 16 points in the teams championship, with 90 still on the table.
MICHELIN® AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX
MotoGP Race Classification 2018
Phillip Island, Sunday, October 28, 2018
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