#AusMotoGP according to Boris

I’m thinking the only way to stop Marquez’s domination of the MotoGP is to have every round at Phillip Island. Once again, the recently crowned world champion did not finish the race. Except this time, it wasn’t his doing. This time, it was Zarco’s fault.

MotoGP Phillip Island Marquez GP AN
Marc Marquez – Image by AJRN

The Frenchman, who had once been considered a contender but had been running rather cold for most of the season, clearly decided it was once again his time to shine under the Australian sun. He had started third on the grid, behind a focused Jack Miller and Marc Marquez, the latter of which had managed to get himself on pole despite not shining much during practice.

MotoGP Phillip Island Zarco GP AN
Johann Zarco – Image by AJRN

Cal Crutchlow was also pretty damn shiny and was posting impressive times during practice until Turn One did a number on him and snapped his ankle on Friday morning. So he won’t be playing this weekend in Malaysia.

Turn One struck again during the race when Zarco, five laps in and charging towards the front down Gardner Straight, ran into the back of Marquez at five million km/h. How they both did not perish is a mystery.

MotoGP Australia Marquez Damage
#AusMotoGP – Damage to Marquez Honda

Zarco’s bike flew into the air, smashed back into Marquez’s bike (it almost looked like it clipped the Spaniard as well), and sent the Frenchman sliding into the gravel trap that had eaten Lorenzo’s finger a few years ago. It’s the same gravel trap young Stoner cartwheeled through as well, though I am given to understand they have made the stones a little smaller and less brutal.

Post impact, Marquez dropped like a stone through the field and immediately returned to the pits. His thighs looked to be the only things holding the Repsol Honda together.

MotoGP Phillip Island Pedrosa GP AN
Dani Pedrosa – Image by AJRN

Dani Pedrosa also binned it about ten laps in, and this meant that for the first time in a decade, there were no factory Hondas across the finish line.

As you can gather, Phillip Island once again served up a high-speed smorgasbord of brilliant cut-throat racing.

Vinales won in fine style. Starting second on the grid but swamped at the start and relegated to ninth in the first two laps, the factory Yamaha rider battled his way through the field, which was itself engaged in epic dicing.

MotoGP Phillip Island Vinales GP AN
Maverick Vinales – Image by AJRN

Jack was there, Iannone was there, Rossi fancied he had a fair chance of a podium, Dovi was not going to let that happen if he could help it. Bautista (astride the recovering Lorenzo’s Ducati) was having the best ride he’d had all season (tell me a factory bike doesn’t make a difference), Marquez was on it as always – and it became a typical Island honkfest.

MotoGP Phillip Island Miller GP AN
Jack Miller – Image by AJRN

The two slow corners, Honda and MG, as always, delivered heart-stopping brake-checking, miscalculations (mostly on Iannone’s part), while the long straight offered the Ducatis a place to show their pace.

Rossi, who is always strong and sometimes unbeatable at the Island, very much looked to be a podium chance, but as has been usual this year, he just couldn’t maintain the pace in the closing stages of the race. Bautista and Rins both beat him over the line and he came sixth.

MotoGP Phillip Island Rossi GP AN
Valentino Rossi – Image by AJRN

Not so his team-mate, Maverick. He just rode away from the ever-changing battle for second, and at one stage was four seconds clear. Only Iannone and Dovizioso stood a chance of catching him, and they certainly did make an effort.

MotoGP Phillip Island Vinales GP AN
Maverick Vinales – Image by AJRN

But the two have history, especially when Iannone has nothing to lose (which is pretty much always the case), so Dovizioso must have been itchy with nerves with The Maniac on his rear tyre. Five laps from the end it must have got too much for Dovi, and Iannone brought the Suzuki home in second.

Just as an aside, Iannone’s nickname does not actually pertain to his on-track antics. The tale (and my sources are pretty good), of how it came about concerns his off-track caperings, and it was Rossi who first called him that. I don’t know if what happened is true, but if it’s not, it should be.

MotoGP Phillip Island Iannone GP AN
Andrea Iannone – Image by AJRN

At an after-race party a few years ago, Lorenzo brought a very pretty girl along as his date. At some stage, probably after he recited some of his inspirational poetry to her, she excused herself and went to the restroom via Andrea Iannone, who went in with her at her invitation. They stayed awhile, apparently, and Lorenzo left in a huff. When the two emerged, Rossi high-fived him and said: “You are maniac!”

The next day that was sewn onto Iannone’s leathers.

See? Now you wish it was actually true too.

MotoGP Motegi Syahrin GP AN
Hafizh Syahrin – Image by AJRN

Anyway, the other non-finishers at the island were Hafizh and the KTM-riding Asparagus brother.

Miller, who rode like a man possessed for the first half of the race and looked to make his mother prouder than she already is, just couldn’t maintain the pace for 27 laps.

MotoGP Phillip Island Miller GP AN
Jack Miller – Image by AJRN

The other Aussie, Mike Jones, who was riding Bautista’s satellite Ducati, just wanted to finish the race, which he did. And he can now hang those golden-kissed leathers in his garage and remember the day when he looked as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

MotoGP Phillip Island Mike Jones GP AN
Mike Jones – Image by AJRN

The next race is Sepang. The championship might be decided, but if the Island is anything to go by, no-one will be backing off at all.

2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Results
PosRiderTeamTime
1.Vinales M.Movistar Yamaha40:51.081
2.Iannone A.Team Suzuki Ecstar+1.543
3.Dovizioso A.Ducati Team+1.832
4.Bautista A.Ducati Team+4.072
5.Rins A.Team Suzuki Ecstar+5.017
6.Rossi V.Movistar Yamaha+5.132
7.Miller J.Alma Pramac Racing+6.756
8.Morbidelli F.Marc VDS Racing Team+21.805
9.Espargaro A.Aprilia Racing Team Gresini+22.904
10.Smith B.Red Bull KTM Factory Racing+22.940
11.Abraham K.Angel Nieto Team+34.386
12.Petrucci D.Alma Pramac Racing+35.025
13.Redding S.Aprilia Racing Team Gresini+36.348
14.Nakagami T.LCR Honda+36.389
15.Simeon X.Reale Avintia Racing+44.214
16.Luthi T.Marc VDS Racing Team+48.226
17.Torres J.Reale Avintia Racing+1:04.965
18.Jones M.Angel Nieto Team+1:19.817
DNFEspargaro P.Red Bull KTM Factory RacingDNF
DNFSyahrin H.Monster Tech 3DNF
DNFPedrosa D.Repsol HondaDNF
DNFMarquez M.Repsol HondaDNF
DNFZarco J.Monster Tech 3DNF
MotoGP Phillip Island MotoGP Podium GP AN
MotoGP Race Results – Image by AJRN – Maverick Viñales (SPA) YAMAHA 40’51.081
Andrea Iannone (ITA) SUZUKI +1.543
Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +1.832

MotoGP Championship Standings

2018 MotoGP Championship Standings
PosRiderTeamPoints
1.Marquez MarcRepsol Honda Team296
2.Dovizioso AndreaDucati Team210
3.Rossi ValentinoMovistar Yamaha MotoGP195
4.Vinales MaverickMovistar Yamaha MotoGP180
5.Crutchlow CalLCR Honda148
6.Petrucci DaniloAlma Pramac Racing137
7.Zarco JohannMonster Yamaha Tech 3133
8.Iannone AndreaTeam Suzuki Ecstar133
9.Lorenzo JorgeDucati Team130
10.Rins AlexTeam Suzuki Ecstar129
11.Bautista AlvaroAngel Nieto Team96
12.Pedrosa DaniRepsol Honda Team95
13.Miller JackAlma Pramac Racing83
14.Morbidelli FrancoMarc VDS Racing Team46
15.Espargaro AleixAprilia Racing Team Gresini39
16.Rabat TitoReale Avintia Racing35
17.Espargaro PolRed Bull KTM Factory Racing35
18.Syahrin HafizhMonster Yamaha Tech 334
19.Smith BradleyRed Bull KTM Factory Racing29
20.Nakagami TakaakiLCR Honda21
21.Redding ScottAprilia Racing Team Gresini15
22.Abraham KarelAngel Nieto Team10
23.Kallio MikaRed Bull KTM Factory Racing6
24.Nakasuga KatsuyukiYamaha Factory Team2
25.Simeon XavierReale Avintia Racing1
26.Pirro MicheleDucati Team1
27.Luthi ThomasMarc VDS Racing Team0
28.Bradl StefanHonda Racing Corporation0
29.Torres JordiMV Agusta Reparto Corse0
30.Jones MikeReale Avintia Racing0
31.Guintoli SylvainPata Yamaha Official WSBK Team0
32.Ponsson ChristophePonsson C.0

 

2018 MotoGP Team Points
PosTeamPoints
1.Repsol Honda Team391
2.Movistar Yamaha MotoGP375
3.Ducati Team353
4.Suzuki MotoGP262
5.Alma Pramac Racing220
6.LCR Honda169
7.Monster Yamaha Tech 3167
8.Angel Nieto Team93
9.Red Bull KTM Factory Racing64
10.Aprilia Racing Team Gresini54
11.Estrella Galicia 0,046
12.Reale Avintia Racing36

 

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Boris Mihailovic
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.