2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Results

The duels have been intense between Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. This duel was expected to display both riders’ talents Sunday at Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix.

But after Dovizioso suffered a nasty crash during free practice four, he wasn’t able to get his momentum back. He qualified 11th, and got off the line quickly for the 27-lap Australian GP.

2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Results: Honda's Marc MarquezBut troubles once again occurred when Dovi ran wide at turn one, dropping him back to 20th. This left the pole sitter Marquez out front to battle with the others. This fight came down to the final lap, but Marquez was able to hold off the field for his sixth win of the season.

He finished Phillip Island MotoGP 1.799 seconds ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, and 1.826 seconds ahead of Rossi’s teammate, Maverick Vinales.

After Phillip Island, which is the second of three back-to-back fly-away rounds, Marquez now has extended his lead to 33 over Dovizioso, who finished the Australian GP in 13th. Dovi is now the only other title contender as 2017 MotoGP heads next week to the penultimate round at Sepang, Malaysia.

“It was such an amazing race, I think we put on a fantastic show for the fans! I’m very happy, as I knew that today was important,” Marquez says. “Dovi was struggling a little this weekend, while I was feeling really good on the bike and had to make the best of it. When the race started I was thinking I had to stay calm and manage the tires, but then Zarco hit me and I realized it was going to be a battle. I was in a group of fighters.

“I knew I had to push and defend, but also to attack. So I just tried to control the situation and then, with around eight laps to go, I just gave it my all. I pushed really hard for three or four laps and that was it. I’m happy with the win of course, but even more with going to Malaysia with a 33 point advantage!”

Start of Phillip Island MotoGPAfter the race, Dovizioso also commented: “Today’s race was a big disappointment and we really lost a lot of points in the championship. For sure my mistake in the early stages of the race complicated things and maybe even the choice of rear tyre was not the best one, but on this track our bike is still struggling a lot.

“This year we’ve managed to improve many aspects and be competitive throughout the season but when you come to tracks like this, where you don’t brake very much and where there are lots of long fast corners, some of our limits are magnified: in fact here at Phillip Island none of the Ducati were very quick. Pity, because at this point of the season it would have been better to be closer to Marquez in the standings, but now we have to think of Malaysia, where quite simply we’ll have to give it our all.”

Following is the official 2017 Phillip Island MotoGP recap, results and a photo gallery:

It was Marquez who got the holeshot but he couldn’t hold it into Turn 2 as a stunner from Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) saw the Queenslander slice through into the lead – and then start pulling away. Viñales was the man in third on the chase, as an incredible first lap then took another twist next time round into Turn 1, when Dovizioso went wide and dropped down to P20.

Then the race was on for the Italian, as a seven-rider train at the front closed in on Miller in the lead. Rossi and Viñales were the first to get through, and a lead group of Marquez, Viñales, Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Zarco began to fight it out.

2017 Phillip Island MotoGP Results Yamaha's Maverick VinalesMarquez vs Rossi, Zarco vs Rossi, Viñales vs Marquez, Iannone vs Zarco…in one of the most aggressive and hard-fought battles of the season, decade or more, the passes came thick and fast – including a move for Zarco around the outside of Doohan corner – as rubber was left on the road; a little on opponents’ leathers and a little paint was swapped in one of the most incredible fights in history.

Once Marquez was ahead, however, the reigning Champion was able to begin pulling a gap with five laps to go. Pulling the pin as the battle raged on behind him, the number 93 began to sprint away – and the fight to complete the podium was down to three by the final laps: Rossi vs Viñales vs Zarco.

With some of the tightest lines ever ridden around the Island at times on that final lap, Rossi was able to take it – but all three were almost neck and neck over the line. And over that line behind the nine-time World Champion, it was Viñales just edging ahead of the Tech 3 of the Frenchman – taking third for a return to the rostrum but a definite end to his chance at the title. Zarco’s fourth, however, confirmed him as Rookie of the Year.

After Iannone getting pushed back in the latter stages, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) took fifth ahead of the Italian, with Miller, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and another double delight for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing completing the top ten; Espargaro just pipping Smith. Dovizioso suffered late heartbreak after losing out on the drag to the line to both Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and coming home 13th, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) completing the top fifteen.

Valentino Rossi and Johann ZarcoSepang is now ready for business, with the next round soon on the horizon and 33 points swinging the pendulum in Marquez’ favor. But not everything goes to script, as Dovizioso found out at the Island – and the Italian won at Sepang last season. It’s time for a final stand.

Photo by Luciano Bianchetto