#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|1.||Vinales M.||Movistar Yamaha||40:51.081|
|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|
|DNF||Espargaro P.||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||DNF|
|DNF||Syahrin H.||Monster Tech 3||DNF|
|DNF||Pedrosa D.||Repsol Honda||DNF|
|DNF||Marquez M.||Repsol Honda||DNF|
|DNF||Zarco J.||Monster Tech 3||DNF|
MotoGP Championship Standings
|2018 MotoGP Championship Standings
|1.||Marquez Marc||Repsol Honda Team||296|
|2.||Dovizioso Andrea||Ducati Team||210|
|3.||Rossi Valentino||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||195|
|4.||Vinales Maverick||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||180|
|5.||Crutchlow Cal||LCR Honda||148|
|6.||Petrucci Danilo||Alma Pramac Racing||137|
|7.||Zarco Johann||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||133|
|8.||Iannone Andrea||Team Suzuki Ecstar||133|
|9.||Lorenzo Jorge||Ducati Team||130|
|10.||Rins Alex||Team Suzuki Ecstar||129|
|11.||Bautista Alvaro||Angel Nieto Team||96|
|12.||Pedrosa Dani||Repsol Honda Team||95|
|13.||Miller Jack||Alma Pramac Racing||83|
|14.||Morbidelli Franco||Marc VDS Racing Team||46|
|15.||Espargaro Aleix||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||39|
|16.||Rabat Tito||Reale Avintia Racing||35|
|17.||Espargaro Pol||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||35|
|18.||Syahrin Hafizh||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||34|
|19.||Smith Bradley||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||29|
|20.||Nakagami Takaaki||LCR Honda||21|
|21.||Redding Scott||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||15|
|22.||Abraham Karel||Angel Nieto Team||10|
|23.||Kallio Mika||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||6|
|24.||Nakasuga Katsuyuki||Yamaha Factory Team||2|
|25.||Simeon Xavier||Reale Avintia Racing||1|
|26.||Pirro Michele||Ducati Team||1|
|27.||Luthi Thomas||Marc VDS Racing Team||0|
|28.||Bradl Stefan||Honda Racing Corporation||0|
|29.||Torres Jordi||MV Agusta Reparto Corse||0|
|30.||Jones Mike||Reale Avintia Racing||0|
|31.||Guintoli Sylvain||Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team||0|
|32.||Ponsson Christophe||Ponsson C.||0|
|2018 MotoGP Team Points|
|1.||Repsol Honda Team||391|
|2.||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||375|
|5.||Alma Pramac Racing||220|
|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.||Estrella Galicia 0,0||46|
|12.||Reale Avintia Racing||36|