Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had the race fans on their feet at the Grand Prix of Australia today, delivering a stunning race result at Phillip Island with a vital outcome for the 2015 Season.
Phillip Island (Australia) - The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders got swept up in an unbelievable fight around the Phillip Island circuit today for the first four places at the Australian Grand Prix. In the end it was Jorge Lorenzo who finished second ahead of Valentino Rossi in fourth in a nail-bitingly tense race, securing vital points for the MotoGP Championship.
Lorenzo had a good launch from third on the grid and immediately overtook Marquez at the start. With Rossi stuck behind Cal Crutchlow, the number two in the championship standings made most of the situation and powered passed Iannone in corner eight for the lead, but had to relinquish his position when they reached Doohan corner.
What happened over the next two laps was a flurry of activity. The top three protagonists consisting of Lorenzo, Iannone and Marquez switched position multiple times, before the Yamaha rider managed to take over the lead for a second time with 25 laps to go. This time he made it stick and quickly tried to check out.
It could have been more but it also could have been less, but it‘s enough.
It looked like the race leader was soon to be visited by Rossi, Marquez and Iannone once more, until the chasing group started to fight amongst themselves. Lorenzo put his head down one more time and increased the gap to 1.2s with 15 laps to go. However, despite his consistency, Marquez reached the back of his bike two laps later and the following swapping of places between the Spaniards allowed Iannone and Rossi to catch up.
Realising the threat that came from behind Lorenzo put in a brave move in Lukey Heights and took over the lead with six laps to go. He tried to build up a solid lead, but again it wasn‘t to last. He defended his leading position the best he could, but was caught in the end and had to settle for second, +0.249s from the front.
The Doctor made a great start to this tense race from seventh on the grid and soon moved up to sixth on the opening lap, but lost crucial time behind Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa. With 24 laps to go he managed to squeeze the nimble Yamaha YZR-M1 past the Spaniard and the Briton and then soon started to make his way to the front to join the fight for the lead two laps later.
With Lorenzo clearing off at the front, the Doctor pushed to the maximum to follow him, as every point is crucial in these incredibly tight championship standings. Chasing Marquez, Rossi set the fastest lap at that time of the race with nine laps to go. The young Spaniard went wide in Doohan Corner, allowing Rossi to catch up, but soon a scrap between him and Iannone gave Marquez a chance to break away and reel in Lorenzo.
They two Italians chased the leading Spaniards and found themselves in with a shot when, with six laps to go, they reached the duo at the front. With four laps to go Rossi took third from his compatriot. He went up the inside of Marquez one lap later, making a block pass, but it was Iannone who took advantage. On the last lap Rossi tried to take third from his fellow Italian in Lukey Heights but was unable to make it stick had to settle for fourth, +1.058s from the front.
Today‘s results see Rossi hold the lead in the championship with 296 points and an 11-point margin over teammate Lorenzo in second place.
"I think this was the most exciting race of the season and for sure one of the best in the last few years. To have four of the fastest riders fighting for victory in all the corners for the whole race is unbelievable. To be honest, I didn‘t expect that Andrea and Valentino would be able to stay with us. I also expected Marc to be stronger than me, but in the race I saw that he had some problems in some corners and so when I passed him again I tried to push to the limit and create an advantage, but it wasn‘t enough.
In the slow corners I lost out a little bit, because my front tyre‘s life was going down, so I couldn‘t lean in completely, so he was able to recover a lot of time in these corners. I didn‘t want to crash in the last braking zone and that‘s probably why Marc was able to brake later and take the victory. It‘s a really good feeling to close in on Valentino in the championship.
The bike was working really well and we did a good job throughout the whole weekend. It was just a pity that this front tyre on the bike was struggling a little bit, but we are a step closer in the championship. It could have been more but it also could have been less, but it‘s enough. At some point you have to be happy, look ahead to continue delivering this good work during the last two races."
"Today the results could have been better, but this is OK too. It could have been better if I would have been able to overtake Iannone in the last lap and it was a shame I wasn‘t able to stay on the podium. I had a good pace and good speed during the race, so arriving in fourth place is a pity, but it was still a good race. We already said that race results was going to be important ten rounds ago, but now it‘s really important and it will be very tough until the last race."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: "Today we saw the most exciting race of the season, unfortunately we couldn't win it, but we did everything we could. We all felt confident that we could deliver a good result here, but this race went beyond our expectation. Both Jorge and Valentino fought a very hard battle and pushed to the limit. We secured the Team World Title in Aragón in Yamaha‘s 60th Anniversary Year and now we have followed it up with the Manufacturers‘ Title, in which the whole team can take great pride. For the Rider World Title we will have to wait a little while longer and we can‘t wait to get started for the next race in Sepang."