You’d think after already being crowned the 2018 MotoGP Champion, Marc Marquez would chill out a bit. Apparently not, as he lines up on the grid in pole position next to the Yamahas of Vinales and Zarco. Despite being very dominant last time out in Japan, Dovi sits down in 9th position.
It’s a proper scrap for the first corner, with Marc Marquez being pushed wide by the Suzuki’s of Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins. The surprise man to the front in Danilo Petrucci, shooting from the third row to lead the pack. Ultimately, he ends up overcooking the 2nd corner and heads right into the gravel.
The two Suzuki’s are monstering ahead but Jack Miller uses the power of his Ducati to accelerate out of the straight and steal the lead. Jack Miller leads the MotoGP in his own backyard. It’s not long before his lead is taken by Marc Marquez who has climbed his way back up after being swallowed up at the start of the race.
Rossi begins making moves, attempting to steal the tarmac from under the Suzuki’s but he doesn’t quite make it stick. Maverick Vinales is sat in 10th place now despite a first row start, quite typical of Vinales who seems to qualify well but gets swallowed up at the start.
Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso are battling for the lead but all the riders are so close to one another, the position changes are numerous. Jack Miller always seems to bite back hard whenever he is overtaken, yo-yoing between third and fifth position. Vinales gives Rins a kicking, making contact and and forcing the Suzuki man out wide.
The Aussie Jackass steals 2nd place from Marc Marquez, just managing to stay ahead of the Repsol Honda on the long straight. Zarco catches the rear tyre of Marc Marquez and it’s game over for the Frenchman as he slides at some incredible speed into the gravel and his bike has well and truly had it. Replays show Zarco edging ahead as Marc Marquez moves into to try and take the appropriate line. Either way, Zarco is up and walking which is all that matters. The incident must have damaged Marquez’s bike, as the champion pulls into the pits and calls it a day.
By technique and attrition, the riders move up two positions. Somehow out of nowhere, Vinales has managed to climb back up the grid and sits in 2nd place behind Dovi. Iannone and Rossi sit eagerly behind, as Jack Miller has a whopping great tank slapper and moves back two places.
Maverick Vinales is wringing every ounce of power out of his Yamaha, capturing first position while Rossi then overtakes Dovi for second. A factory Yamaha 1-2? We haven’t seen this in a very long time! We’re only 9 laps in and Vinales is a second clear!
Alvaro Bautista has mangled to wangle a place on factory Ducati for the weekend as Jorge Lorenzo is still out with injuries. Bautista is doing a great job, tailing Dovi in 4th place. Another man missing from the grid is Cal Crutchlow. Cal got badly banged up in free practice and sustained a broken ankle. We wish all riders the best and hope they recover soon.
Dani Pedrosa has had a bang and sits in pain on the grass. A weekend to forget for Repsol Honda, that’s for sure! Pedrosa has signed as a test rider for the Tech 3 KTM team, offering his expertise to the Austrian manufacturer next year.
Despite all the drama happening behind, it’s still a factory Yamaha 1-2 with Bautista on a borrowed Ducati making up the possible podiums so far. It’s a strange but exciting race here at the MotoGP Australia. Vinales is two seconds ahead of Rossi in 2nd place. Vinales is on rails this weekend!
Without warning, Bautista and Dovi sweep into 2nd and 3rd place and one lap later Iannone has swiped a position from Rossi. Has the Doctor toasted his tyres here at the MotoGP Australia? Despite a few mistakes here and there, Andrea Iannone is having a cracking race on the Suzuki, while Alex Rins can’t quite seem to make it stick whenever he makes a move despite having decent pace this weekend.
Rossi now sits behind Andrea Dovizioso, before making a move on the Ducati man to steal 2nd place. It’s back to a Yamaha 1-2 again. However, with there being a whopping 3.7 second gap between 1st and 2nd position, it’s unlikely Rossi will grab 1st position with just 7 laps to go at the Australian GP.
Andrea Dovizioso is trying his hardest to stay in front of Alvaro Bautista who sits comfortable behind him. Bautista deserves a real pat on the back here in Australia; filling a seat for Lorenzo, racing a bike he’s never raced before and challenging for the podium. Credit where credit’s due. It’d be all the more embarrassing for Dovi if Bautista beat him!
Iannone channels everything he’s got left and powers through, stealing 2nd from Dovi! Iannone’s problem always seems to be that he makes a great move, only to screw it up half a lap later and undo his earlier efforts. Can he make it stick and claim 2nd place at the MotoGP Australia?
With just three laps left in the race, the gap to Vinales is closing. Iannone is seeming to make this his 2nd position stick. Does he have enough left in the tyres and tank to make a challenge for the top spot? With Dovi and Bautista in 3rd and 4th with Rossi and Rins behind, there’s still time for anything to happen.
Vinales crosses the line and ends the longest Yamaha losing streak! He’s secured Yamaha’s first victory since Rossi’s top spot at Assen in 2017. A cracking ride from Vinales and a well deserved victory for the Spaniard! The Yamaha is followed by Andrea Iannone on the Suzuki and followed quickly by Dovi and Bautista on the Ducati.
All images courtesy of motogp.com