Vinales wins on Phillip Island after Marquez seat breaks

A happy Maverick Vinales
A happy Maverick Vinales

It took some luck that Marc Marquez would fall out, but that enabled Yamaha's Maverick Vinales to produce an exceptional ride to win the Australian MotoGP Grand Prix on Sunday.

Vinales was the strongest rider in the second half of the race and did enough to hold off Suzuki's Andrea Iannone to take Yamaha's first win for 25 races. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso came home in third.

Recently crowned world champion Marc Marquez started on pole on Sunday but pulled out of the race after a high-speed incident with Johann Zarco. Vinales' Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi had to settle for sixth.

Following a frantic start, Jack Miller led the way at the end of the first lap, although Marquez remained in close proximity and was quick to restore his lead.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]However, just as the world champion appeared to be finding his groove, his chances were dashed after a crash with Zarco. The latter's front tire and Marquez's rear tire came into contact, prompting Zarco to be thrown from his bike. The Honda man somehow stayed upright but had to retire in the pits not long afterwards.

As the action continued, Vinales assumed control of the race, as he cut through the field to take the lead.

On Lap 6 he moved to the front and didn't look back, with the likes of Rossi, Iannone, Dovizioso and Alvaro Bautista all jostling for second place. It allowed Vinales to build a buffer of around four seconds to the rest of the field.

While Iannone and Dovizioso did emerge from that group to put pressure on Vinales late on, the battling they had done for second meant that life had been taken from their tires. As such, they were never seriously in a position to challenge for the victory.

In the end, the Yamaha man was able to hold off a fast-finishing Iannone with relative ease to clinch his first win since Le Mans in 2017. The triumph was a long time coming for Yamaha too.

Michelin Summary

The whole weekend at the 4,448m circuit had been shaped by strong, gusting winds and cold track temperatures, which caused all the riders and manufacturers difficulties in set-up and choosing the best compound of Michelin Power Slick tires for today’s race.

Marquez out front and almost a sure winner until Zarco hit his rear wheel
Marquez out front and almost a sure winner until Zarco hit his rear wheel

As the start drew close, four of the six available compounds were chosen, with just the hard front and medium rear not making the grid. Pole-setter and World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went with a medium front and rear hard slick, but it was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – soft front and hard rear – that got the holeshot and led into the first corner. After the first lap, local hero Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led the field over the line, before the race lead then changed hands several times over the ensuing laps.

Unfortunately, a collision between Marquez and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) saw the champion retire and the Frenchman crash out, but that didn’t stop the excitement as the riders pushed their tires to the limit on the cold surface, with their Michelin Power Slicks giving them the confidence to drive their machines through Phillip Island’s fast corners.

Vinales took the lead on lap-eight and he controlled the attack on his Yamaha – shod with a soft front compound tire and hard rear – to perfection as he never came under threat from the chasing pack. His victory sealed Yamaha’s first win in MotoGP since June last year and saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP close the gap on the Repsol Honda Team at the top of the Team Championship.

The intense battle for the remaining podium positions saw a five-way conflict, which eventually led to Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) taking second, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in third, both using a medium front and hard rear configuration. Fourth went to Alvaro Bautista (Ducati Team), who was riding for the Factory Ducati team as a substitute for the injured Jorge Lorenzo.

Vinales leads
Vinales leads

Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) just edged out Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) to take fifth, with Miller securing seventh and the position of First Independent Rider. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) scored his best result of the season so far to take eighth, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in ninth. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), finished tenth, meaning that all six manufacturers finished in the top-ten for the first time this season.

With high winds and cold track temperatures all weekend, along with a wet session on Friday, the Michelin Technicians had to work to the highest degree of their ability to get the optimum performance in the difficult and challenging conditions, Today’s race in-front of 36,600 fans at trackside demonstrated Michelin’s knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the conditions, the challenging Phillip Island circuit and the tires, all of which enabled them to give the best advice to all riders and teams, which facilitated towards the excitement at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock now return to Asia for the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour, as the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia will play host to the penultimate round of the season on Sunday 4th November.

Quotes

Maverick Vinales
"This is the best feeling ever, honestly! We've been in the dark all year, and suddenly we came into the light! I couldn't show my potential in the previous races, but today I could. Being first in Australia is always amazing! It's the best track ever, and I like to be at the front there. To win here and break this long none winning period of Yamaha is unbelievable! I was riding on the bike like I was in FP4. I got a really good feeling from the bike, so I knew I could maintain 1'29s. That's what I did for most of the middle of the race. I tried to escape as far as I could, because I knew my tire wasn't going to last until the end. I knew opening that gap would be difficult, I had some moments with some riders, and some shaking on the bike – I was struggling, but I still made it through anyway. It was amazing! I have to say 'thank you' to the team, because this weekend they worked for the win. We will try to be the best and we'll try to work in a good way. We don't want to lose the concentration, because we don't know what will happen in Malaysia, but for sure the level of motivation will be high after this weekend."

Marquez checks his broken seat
Marquez checks his broken seat

Marc Marquez
“At first I didn’t understand exactly what had happened, but I was angry because I felt the contact from the rear. I couldn’t continue the race because my seat was broken and moving around. It was impossible to ride. When I arrived in the garage and saw the video, I understood. It was just a race incident because at that point of the track, we arrive really fast, over 300 km/h. I was behind Jack Miller when I braked even a bit later than usual, and then I felt the impact. Zarco had taken the slipstreams from the two of us. You may think he could have considered that, but for me it’s just a race incident and I already spoke with him. What I can say is that today I feel really lucky, and the most important thing for me is that both me and Johann are okay. Today I was really focused, and the race was going as expected. I led for a couple of laps, and then I decided to stay in the group and wait a bit. I had the pace and I felt I was able to fight for the win. It’s unlucky that we got a zero here at Phillip Island, but if next year I can win the title in Japan again and have another DNF here, I’ll sign up for that! Now let’s focus on the next race."

Race Classification

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Vinales Maverick 25 SPA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 40'51.081
2 Iannone Andrea 29 ITA 20 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.543
3 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA 16 Ducati Team Ducati 1.832
4 Bautista Alvaro 19 SPA 13 Ducati Team Ducati 4.072
5 Rins Alex 42 SPA 11 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 5.017
6 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA 10 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 5.132
7 Miller Jack 43 AUS 9 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 6.756
8 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA 8 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 21.805
9 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA 7 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 22.904
10 Smith Bradley 38 GBR 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 22.940
11 Abraham Karel 17 CZE 5 Angel Nieto Team Ducati 34.386
12 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA 4 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 35.025
13 Redding Scott 45 GBR 3 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 36.348
14 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN 2 LCR Honda Honda 36.389
15 Simeon Xavier 10 BEL 1 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 44.214
16 Luthi Tom 12 SWI 0 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 48.226
17 Torres Jordi 81 SPA 0 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1'04.965
18 Jones Mike 7 AUS 0 Angel Nieto Team Ducati 1'19.817
19 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA 0 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 5 laps
20 Syahrin Hafizh 55 MAL 0 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 9 laps
21 Pedrosa Dani 26 SPA 0 Repsol Honda Team Honda 16 laps
22 Marquez Marc 93 SPA 0 Repsol Honda Team Honda 22 laps
23 Zarco Johann 5 FRA 0 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 22 laps

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor
1 Marquez Marc 93 SPA 296 Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA 210 Ducati Team Ducati
3 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA 195 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 Vinales Maverick 25 SPA 180 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
5 Crutchlow Cal 35 GBR 148 LCR Honda Honda
6 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA 137 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
7 Zarco Johann 5 FRA 133 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
8 Iannone Andrea 29 ITA 133 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
9 Lorenzo Jorge 99 SPA 130 Ducati Team Ducati
10 Rins Alex 42 SPA 129 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
11 Bautista Alvaro 19 SPA 96 Ducati Team Ducati
12 Pedrosa Dani 26 SPA 95 Repsol Honda Team Honda
13 Miller Jack 43 AUS 83 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
14 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA 46 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
15 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA 39 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
16 Rabat Tito 53 SPA 35 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
17 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA 35 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
18 Syahrin Hafizh 55 MAL 34 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
19 Smith Bradley 38 GBR 29 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
20 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN 21 LCR Honda Honda
21 Redding Scott 45 GBR 15 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
22 Abraham Karel 17 CZE 10 Angel Nieto Team Ducati
23 Kallio Mika 36 FIN 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
24 Nakasuga Katsuyuki 15 JPN 2 Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha
25 Simeon Xavier 10 BEL 1 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
26 Pirro Michele 51 ITA 1 Ducati Team Ducati

Team Standings

Pos. Team Points
1 Repsol Honda Team 391
2 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 375
3 Ducati Team 353
4 Team Suzuki Ecstar 262
5 Alma Pramac Racing 220
6 LCR Honda 169
7 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 167
8 Angel Nieto Team 93
9 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 64
10 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 54
11 EG 0,0 Marc VDS 46
12 Reale Avintia Racing 36

Constructor Standings

Pos. Team Points
1 Honda 339
2 Ducati 300
3 Yamaha 256
4 Suzuki 193
5 KTM 55
6 Aprilia 49

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