Phillip Island (Australia), Oct 27: World champion Marc Marquez secured his 11th victory of the season at the Australian MotoGP after disaster struck fellow Spaniard Maverick Vinales, who crashed on the last lap.
Marc Marquez of Spain poses on the winner’s podium after the Australian MotoGP at the Phillip Island near Melbourne, on Sunday. – AP/PTI
The Monster Energy Yamaha rider had dominated all weekend at Phillip Island and was leading for much of the race until Repsol Honda’s Marquez darted past in the dying stages.
In a desperate bid to retake the lead, Vinales pushed too hard and skidded out to hand his gifted rival, who clinched his sixth MotoGP world title in Thailand this month, a fifth win in a row.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, who suffered career-threatening injuries at Phillip Island last year, came second on his LCR-Honda with Australian Jack Miller third on a Ducati.
Italian veteran Valentino Rossi, racing in an amazing 400th Grand Prix, was eighth.
“It was an incredible, incredible victory because today we were the fastest on the racetrack,” said Marquez, who became Honda’s most successful ever premier class rider with his 55th win surpassing Australian great Mick Doohan. “Maverick was fastest but I was waiting for him... and I did a strong move to pass, it was the only chance for me.
“The whole weekend has been crazy,” he added, after qualifying was called off on Saturday due to strong winds and instead run on Sunday morning.
Asked about becoming Honda’s most successful ever rider, he said: “They are the biggest manufacturer in the world, so I’m happy and just enjoying the dream.”
It was a crushing loss for Vinales, who won in Australia last year and started from pole, having reigned supreme through practice and qualifying.
He had a terrible start, slipping to sixth as Rossi powered to the lead before and disaster for exciting French rookie Fabio Quartararo in an incident-packed first lap.
Quartararo, who was second to Marquez in Japan last weekend, and Danilo Petrucci collided, crashing out at turn two. – AFP