MotoGP™: Victory for Márquez on Honda’s home turf
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez pocketed his tenth win of the 2019 MotoGPTM campaign by winning the year’s 16th clash – the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. Fabio...
The dramatic Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle GP (Round 17 of the 2019 MotoGPTM World Championship) was won by Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team). Second and third at Phillip Island were Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and local hero Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) whose tyre choices meant there were three different combinations of Michelin rubber on the podium.
The Australian Grand Prix weekend produced a mixed bag of weather as riders faced a cocktail of rain, wind, sunshine, cold temperatures and both dry and wet conditions. Phillip Island effectively delivered practically all four seasons over the three days, and strong wind even compelled the organisers to postpone Saturday’s qualifying session until Sunday morning.
The race’s 2018 winner Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) looked particularly comfortable at the Australian venue, however, and he followed up his domination of free practice by claiming pole position on a dry track.
Tyre choice for the 27-lap dry race was no easy matter as the track temperature rose to 30°C for the first time since the start of the meeting. As a result, five of the six possible combinations of Michelins could be seen on the grid, with only the medium rear MICHELIN Power Slick not visible.
Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – who had qualified fourth and who had chosen medium and soft tyres front and rear – celebrated his 400
Viñales (soft/soft) failed to take advantage of his qualifying success and initially slipped back to sixth but fought back and appeared at the top of the order on Lap 10. Marquez (hard/soft) was up to second by this point and the two men spent the rest of the contest battling for supremacy, with Crutchlow now isolated in third place.
The 2019 world champion waited until the final lap before attempting to wrestle control from Viñales who subsequently made a mistake while trying to remain in the fight, leaving Marquez free to collect his 11
A fierce scrap in the wake of the leading trio kept spectators entertained and they were thrilled when Miller (medium/hard) inherited third place at the last moment, ahead of team-mate Francesco Bagnaia who produced his best performance of the campaign to date. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Rossi, Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounded out the afternoon’s top 10 which included both Aprilia riders.
With the exception of the medium MICHELIN Power Rain, the entire range of Michelin tyres was used over the course of the weekend, while a special 20-minute session was included in Friday afternoon’s timetable to allow the French manufacturer to evaluate a new rear tyre ahead of the 2020 championship.
The result saw Márquez take his personal score to 55 wins at motorcycle racing’s highest level to go clear of Australia’s Mike Doohan as Honda’s most successful rider ever.
With two races remaining, Dovizioso is now 57 points clear of Rins in the fight for 2019’s silver medal, with Viñales a further six points adrift.
Next round: Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, Sepang (November 1-3)