Seven times MotoGP champion takes maximum points ahead of Lorenzo and Smith
Valentino Rossi secured victory at today’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix with the seven times MotoGP World Champion taking his second win of 2014 on his 250th career start in the premier class with the Italian taking and important maximum 25 points ahead of Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo while Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith was rewarded with third place for his hard work throughout the 26 lap race.
To comeback and take the first position after ten years is great.
Starting from 8th place, Rossi immediately got to work in scything his way through the riders in front to make it into third place within a few laps and he then set his sights on Lorenzo and pole sitter Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez who also got off to a good start while there was bad luck early on for his teammate Dani Pedrosa who was hit from behind by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and both riders subsequently retiring early on.
Within 10 laps Rossi and Lorenzo were locked in battle for second place while Marquez was 4 seconds ahead and looked to be in a commanding position but nearing the final ten laps the double MotoGP World Champion crashed out after losing the front of his machine at the MG hairpin and gifting the lead to Rossi with Lorenzo trying his best to stay in second with his pace dropping significantly in the final third of the race.
The drama was to continue at Philip Island nearing the end of the race with LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl crashing out after hitting Aleix Espargaro who then had to retire his NGM Forward Racing machine a few corners later. Ducati Team rider Cal Crutchlow made up tons of time to catch and pass Lorenzo after having a strong race sitting in 4th place for the majority of the race but disaster then struck the British rider when he crashed after losing the front end on the regular GP14 machine, as did Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro in pursuit of a podium finish.
There was also bad luck for Broc Parkes at his home race with the Paul Bird Motorsport rider retiring nearing the end of the race. Back at the front the continued through to the end of the race with Crutchlow and Espargaro’s bad luck becoming Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith with the British rider claiming his first podium in the MotoGP class. Rossi’s win is his 6th career win at Philip Island and is now eight points ahead of teammate Lorenzo in the fight for 2nd place in this year’s championship.
Rossi was thrilled to win his second Grand Prix of the year especially at Philip Island, a track he likes so much. Speaking afterwards he said, “I’m so happy because Phillip Island is one of the most important and most beautiful tracks of the season. I won here many times in the past, but over the last few years I was only able to get onto the podium without winning the race. To comeback and take the first position after ten years is great. It's also great to see three Yamaha's on the podium! The race was tricky.
The work that we did during the weekend with the team was very important. We did a fantastic job and made the right front tire choice. Marquez was not too far in front of me but he had a two second gap, so I decided to focus on my pace and on Jorge. He was very fast during the whole weekend, but for the second position in the championship it was very important to finish in front of him. When I was in front Marquez crashed and I said to myself “victory!" Rossi added.
Front tire decision threatens Lorenzo's impressive podium run
Lorenzo fought hard to maintain his podium position and admitted some good fortune helped him achieve it saying, “It’s a great result for Yamaha, because there are three of us on the podium. Our race on the other hand did not go as I expected to. We struggled a lot to get the best set up for the race. Everything needs to be perfect, but if you put on the wrong tire the race is over. I’m happy for the second place.
This has been the luckiest second place in my life, because there were a lot of riders that could have finished in front of me. Honestly I’m a bit disappointed because with a different tire it would have been possible to stay with Marc and fight for the race. We'll keep on doing our best to be in the best possible shape in Malaysia and try to win the race”.
Smith delighted with unexpected maiden MotoGP podium finish
Smith didn’t know when he had crossed the line that he had secured his first MotoGP podium and was thrilled. “For sure it is a fantastic feeling to clinch my debut podium in the MotoGP class and I am so pleased to reach this milestone,” said Smith who continued, “Honestly, I wasn’t too happy with how I was riding at the beginning of the race, I made several mistakes and lost a few positions. Therefore I told myself to calm down, I improved and moved forward. It’s a bit unexpected to be on the podium in all honesty, but after having great pace all weekend, it is the dream way to complete all of the good work we have done recently.
I passed the checkered flag and saw the team on the wall, so I thought that I was in 4th or 5th, but then I saw my name in 3rd on the board as I came around the corner, which was an amazing feeling. Now we have closed the gap in the championship to 6th quite considerably, so we need to focus on this for the next two races. There is only a small gap between myself, Pol and Aleix in the standings, so we will aim to continue this great run in Malaysia and try to climb two more positions in the final standings. I must say a big thanks to the team who did a great job this weekend as well as to my sponsors for their support. Moreover, it's a fantastic experience to complete an entire Yamaha podium and I can't be anything other than grateful for their assistance!" Smith added.