2018 Australia MotoGP Results:
Viñales Ends Yamaha’s Winless Streak
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ended Yamaha’s 26-race MotoGP winless streak with a solid victory at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island Circuit.
Viñales’ convincing win also ended a personal run of 29 races without a victory. Pre-race favorite Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) won a tough battle for second over Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).
Pole man and 2018 MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) was involved in a high-speed collision early with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and was forced to retire due to extensive damage to Márquez’ motorcycle.
1. Maverick Viñales suffered a horrendous start, yet eventually took a commanding lead on his way to a win at Phillip Island. Viñales was second on the grid, but was bounced back to P9 on the opening lap. Viñales was stuck there for three laps before making an epic charge to the front. Viñales had only moved to P8 by lap 5 (of 27), but two laps later he nabbed P2. On lap 8, Viñales took the lead from Dovizioso and was never headed. Viñales’ lead ballooned to over four seconds, and Viñales cruised late in the race to the checkered flag, winning by over 1.5 seconds ahead of a charging Iannone.
2. Marc Márquez was rear-ended by Johann Zarco in a frightening 185 mph crash as both were braking for turn 1 as lap 6 began. After slipstreaming his way to P4 behind Márquez, Zarco waited a bit too long to brake for the first corner. Zarco’s Yamaha’s front tire hit the rear tire of Márquez’ Honda, sending the Yamaha skyward on into Márquez’ tail section. Zarco was sent down the track and into the grass, while the rear subframe of Márquez’ RC213V was broken and his rear tire damaged. Amazingly, Zarco walked away and Márquez was able to ride back to the pits.
3. With Viñales clear, it was a six-way battle for P2. There were plenty of position changes in the race for the podium behind Viñales.
4. Early on, Valentino Rossi held P2 for six of seven laps. Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was in a podium position as late as lap 20 before fading to P6.
5. Twice, Iannone charged into P2, only to make braking errors going into turn 4. That dropped Iannone three spots on laps 13 and 20. Iannone returned to P2 on lap 23, holding it to the finish despite a persistent challenge by Dovizioso.
6. Ducati Team fill-in rider Alvaro Bautista was a podium threat through most of the race. Bautista, taking injured Jorge Lorenzo’s seat, start in 12th on the grid, and dropped back to 14th by the end of the opening lap. From there, Bautista quickly worked his way through the pack, joining the top 10 on lap 4 and part of the lead group a lap later. Bautista was in a podium spot, on laps 13-18, 21, and 22, and was ahead of teammate Dovizioso from laps 12-17. Eventually, Bautista couldn’t run with Iannone and Dovizioso, taking P4 over two seconds behind Dovi.
7. Australian Jack Miller led the opening lap of his home GP before dropping back to P7 at the end. It was a strong effort by Miller (Alma Pramac Racing Ducati), who ran in a podium position in laps 1 and 5-7. After that, his podium threat was over, though he did hang with the six-rider group fighting over P2. Miller finished top Independent Team rider.
8. Alex Rins started fifth on the grid and finished in P5, despite being touted as a podium threat. Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) never truly got it going, and never looked like he had a real podium shot. Rins battled with Rossi for P5 over the last seven laps, taking it from Rossi on the final lap.
9. Franco Morbidelli was the top Honda rider, scoring a P8 finish—his best of his rookie year. Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) started 15th on the grid, and a strong start put him in 12th as the first lap was in the books, though he quickly dropped back to 15th. Morbidelli slowly worked through the pack before besting Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in a tight three-way battle for P8.
10. After the elation of Márquez winning the MotoGP World Championship a week earlier in Japan, it was despair for Honda, and HRC, in Australia. Márquez’ retirement was followed by a crash by his teammate Dani Pedrosa on lap 12 as Pedrosa was circulating back in P13. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) suffered a severely broken ankle in free practice, while LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami could only manage P14 at Phillip Island.
11. Both Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders finished in the points. It has been a difficult year for Aprilia, so Espargaró’s P9 finish and Scott Redding taking P13 was a welcome result for the struggling Italian marque.
12. Redding was part of a four-way tussle for P11, with Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team Ducati) edging Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing Ducati) for the top spot in the group. Petrucci ran well off-track in the second corner after the starting strong, putting him in P23 for the opening five laps. Redding took Nakagami at the finish by just 0.041 seconds.
13. Xavier Simeon took his first point of the season, with a P15 finish. Simeon (Real Avintia Racing Ducati) ran as high as P14 before he was passed by Petrucci with just over three laps remaining.
14. Ducatis ruled the Race Top Speed roost, taking the top three positions. Petrucci had the fastest top speed at 341.8 km/h, followed by Dovizioso (341.1) and Abraham (340.0). Despite winning comfortably, Viñales’ fastest top speed was just 329.9 km/h, making him 19th fastest in the field.
15. Lorenzo is expected to return to the Ducati Team next week at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. Crutchlow will not be back, and HRC test rider Stefan Bradl will take Crutchlow’s place. The status for Crutchlow and Bradl has not been determined for the final round at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.
2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Results from Australia
1. Maverick Viñales, Yamaha; 40:51.081
2. Andrea Iannone, Suzuki, +1.543
3. Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati; +1.832
4. Alvaro Bautista, Ducati; +4.072
5. Alex Rins, Suzuki; +5.017
6. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha; +5.132
7. Jack Miller, Ducati; +6.756
8. Franco Morbidelli, Honda; +21.805
9. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia; +22.904
10. Bradley Smith, KTM; +22.940
11. Karel Abraham, Ducati; +34.386
12. Danilo Petrucci, Ducati; +35.025
13. Scott Redding, Aprilia; +36.348
14. Takaaki Nakagami, Honda; +36.389
15. Xavier Simeon, Ducati; +44.214
16. Thomas Luthi, Honda; +48.226
17. Jordi Torres, Ducati; +1:04.965
18. Mike Jones, Ducati; +1:19.817
Pol Espargaró, KTM; 5 laps
Hafizh Syahrin, Yamaha; 9 laps
Dani Pedrosa, Honda; 16 laps
Marc Márquez, Honda; 22 laps
Johann Zarco, Yamaha; 22 laps
2018 MotoGP World Championship Standings (after 17 of 19 rounds)
1. Marc Márquez, 296 points (8 wins)*
2. Andrea Dovizioso, 210 (3 wins)
3. Valentino Rossi, 195
4. Maverick Viñales, 180
5. Cal Crutchlow, 148 (1 win)
6. Danilo Petrucci, 137
7. Johann Zarco, 133
8. Andrea Iannone, 133
9. Jorge Lorenzo, 130 (3 wins)
10. Alex Rins, 129
11. Alvaro Bautista, 96
12. Dani Pedrosa, 95
13. Jack Miller, 83
14. Franco Morbidelli, 46
15. Aleix Espargaró, 39
16. Tito Rabat, 35
17. Pol Espargaró, 35
18. Hafizh Syahrin, 34
19. Bradley Smith, 29
20. Takaaki Nakagami, 21
21. Scott Redding, 15
22. Karel Abraham, 10
23. Mika Kallio, 6
24. Katsuyuki Nakasuga, 2
25. Xavier Simeon, 1
26. Michele Pirro, 1
* Clinched title