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MotoGP: Sensational win from Marc Marquez, loosening Valentino Rossi’s grip on the Championship lead

Marquez Lorenzo Honda Ducati Yamaha Australian GP

Marquez went into the lead on the final lap in thrilling race at Phillip Island

Marc Marquez takes the victory from a last lap dash in the closest race of the season, whilst title contenders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finish second and fourth, leaving just 11 points difference in the standings.

Phillip Island, Australia is a favourite track of many riders, the flowing circuit lends itself well to the smooth riding of the Yamaha’s, but it was Marc Marquez on his Honda RC213V who took pole for the eighth time this year. The front row was completed by Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo who both qualified with a lap time of 1 minute 28.680 seconds. Championship leader Rossi qualified in seventh place on the third row.

It was a four-way battle for the 27-lap race as Lorenzo led from early on but couldn’t quite break more than 1.1 seconds away from the other front runners of Marquez, Rossi and Iannone.

By halfway, Marquez was making strides on Lorenzo and managed to close in enough to take the lead from the fellow Spaniard with ten laps to go. Iannone briefly pushed Lorenzo back to third place but the Spaniard catapulted forwarded passing the Ducati rider and retaking the lead from Marquez with seven laps to go. The new race seemed set for second place as Marquez, Iannone and Rossi swapped places over and over until the last lap when Marquez put in the fastest lap of the race, swooping on Lorenzo and holding the lead for the chequered flag.

On his first win at the Australian track on his GP bike, Marquez said: “During the race I felt good, but at the beginning we have lots of overtakes. I had a lot of movement from the front tyre and I didn’t expect to arrive to Jorge but I’m very happy to make this victory”

Lorenzo crossed the line 0.249 seconds behind taking 20 valuable points for the title challenge. Even with a seagull smashing into the front on Iannone and ripping a hole through his fairing, didn’t hold back the Ducati GP15 of the Italian as he fought tooth and nail for the third place podium position, leaving series leader Rossi 0.128 seconds behind in fourth place.

Just behind, Dani Pedrosa was unable to join the front party, battling with rookie Maverick Vinales on his Suzuki GSX-RR and British rider Cal Crutchlow. Crutchlow finished in seventh place with fellow Brit riders Bradley Smith crossing the line in tenth with Scott Redding in eleventh.

Taking seven points from Rossi in the championship standings, Lorenzo said: “I expected Marc to be quicker than me. When he first overtook, I was willing to stay behind but then Andrea was right behind me. In the end, I don’t know where Marc got his tenths from, I tried to pass him on braking, but he was harder on braking than me. I enjoyed the last laps and thanks to Andrea! This championship has been like a movie, I think we will arrive to Valencia with similar points to Valentino”

Over in Moto2, Brit rider Sam Lowes claimed his fifth podium position this year taking second place behind Alex Rins. In Moto3 Danny Kent crashed out missing his chance to clench the title on the junior class.

The next race is next weekend from Sepang in Malaysia.

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