PHILLIP ISLAND. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ends Yamaha’s 25-race victory drought after storming to a spectacular win at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Spaniard imperious in the second half of the race to eventually take his first win since Le Mans 2017 by 1.5 seconds over second place Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
A mistake with just over a lap to go on the exit of Turn 10 ended Bautista’s hopes of a podium, a terrific P4 - his best result of the season - nonetheless for the Spaniard who helps Ducati Team close the gap to Repsol Honda in the Team Championship to 38 points, with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP now just 16 points off Repsol Honda. Rins got the better of Rossi on the final lap to claim a fourth consecutive top five finish, ‘The Doctor’ settling for P6. Miller would bring his Ducati home in a solid P7 and as the leading Independent Team rider - the Australian just 6.7 seconds from the win - with Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) earning his best result of the season in P8 to take charge in the Rookie of the Year Championship – Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) crashing out of a top ten place on lap 19 at Turn 4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was able to beat Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Bradley Smith by a whisker – 0.036 separating the duo at the line in P9 and P10 respectively. Great results for both riders which means all six manufacturers were in the top 10 at Phillip Island.
Talking of great results, 11th was Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team), this the Czech rider’s best result of the season, with Petrucci recovering to P12 at the flag. Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing) completed to points in P13, P14 and P15 respectively – the latter earning his first point-scoring finish of the season.
After finding the right race setup, Aleix Espargaró took a nice ninth place in the GP of Australia. The new materials brought to Phillip Island, also in view of the evolution for 2019, required extensive testing in order to find the right settings, but the warm up session, where Aleix was one of the fastest on used tyres, already provided promising signs for the race. The starting position penalised Espargaró greatly, forcing him to ride the race coming back from behind with very interesting times, managing to claw his way up to eighth place, a position he lost on the final lap. The Spanish rider also had to deal with pain in his left hand, struck during the sixth lap by debris from the accident between Márquez and Zarco.
Aleix Espargaró: 9th
“On the straight, I was in the slipstream of a lot of riders and at a certain point, a piece of Marc's bike struck my left hand. I began to feel pain, but fortunately in MotoGP we only use the clutch for the start, so I was able to finish the race. We'll assess the situation in view of Malaysia. After a less-than-easy weekend, in warm up we made a big step forward and in the race I was able to ride very incisively. This is demonstrated by the fact that we lapped faster than in qualifying, but unfortunately on the final laps, the soft rear tyre began to suffer and I was unable to hold onto eighth place. In any case, the result is good, considering the hard work done this weekend with two different bikes".
Xavier Siméon: 15th
“I have a lot of problems with the clutch and once again, my start was horrible. I was last again, but this time at least I was able to recover some positions on the first lap. The bike was very good and I had the pace to fight between eleventh and fifteenth position. Ten laps from the end though, the left flank of the rear tyre was destroyed and I had to slow down. Therefore I’m a little bit disappointed. The weekend has been very good and I always felt strong, but we depend too much on tyre wear. Apart from this, I’m super happy about achieving my first MotoGP point and I want to thank my team because they helped me a lot since I got on this bike. In Malaysia we have to improve the start and work more with the tyres for the race. I hope to have fun again like here and score more points".
Mike Jones: 18th
"Today I just wanted to give my best and finish the race, and we achieved our objective. I am very happy and grateful to the Ángel Nieto Team for the opportunity to race in MotoGP in front of the Australian fans. It has been an incredible experience, the power of the bike is crazy and the braking force is unreal. It has been a physically demanding weekend because this is such a different bike to anything I have ridden before."