Maverick Vinales Ends Yamaha Drought as Two Andrea’s Finish Second and Third
The 2018 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was outstanding across all three classes. The battles on track proved to the world why Phillip Island is a brilliant circuit. The mind tricks started during the warm up lap. The weather, a beautiful sunshine filled skyline with fans packing out the venue. Rossi: “You need to be brave and have very big balls to race here”. His fellow riders in the paddock definitely agree especially at 350km/h on the main straight and being blown off line continuously throughout the various sectors around the circuit. The Australian race showcases how quickly positions change and why it is imperative to stay focused at all times. One lapse of judgment can mean a visit to the kitty litter, swapping paint with a fellow rider or even potentially injuring yourself.
Johann Zarco is probably sore, upset and embarrassed after running up the back of Marquez’s bike which sent him flying down the tarmac and his bike ended up destroyed. It was a scary crash for both riders involved and another reminder of how a lapse of judgment can turn from happiness to sadness instantly. With that said, finally, the drought for Yamaha is over with Maverick Vinales bringing the goods home. The Spanish rider was sensational from start to finish even with the chaos taking place around him between Marquez, Zarco, Danilo Petrucci, Miller, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Alvaro Bautista. It was the romantic ending for Movistar Yamaha and Vinales who have had a rough relationship in 2018.
We feel for Marquez who was on form after winning his World Championship. To have his race ruined by Zarco would be hard to take especially since his competitiveness is so intense. Marquez loves Australia and winning here would have been like a cherry on top of the ice cream. Looks like he will have to wait until 2019 with Jorge Lorenzo as his teammate. Marquez: “At first I didn’t understand exactly what had happened, but I was angry because I felt the contact from the rear. I couldn’t continue the race because my seat was broken and moving around. It was impossible to ride. When I arrived in the garage and saw the video, I understood. It was just a race incident because at that point of the track, we arrive really fast, over 300 km/h. I was behind Jack Miller when I braked even a bit later than usual, and then I felt the impact. Zarco had taken the slipstreams from the two of us. You may think he could have considered that, but for me it’s just a race incident and I already spoke with him. What I can say is that today I feel really lucky, and the most important thing for me is that both me and Johann are okay. Today I was really focused, and the race was going as expected. I led for a couple of laps, and then I decided to stay in the group and wait a bit. I had the pace and I felt I was able to fight for the win. It’s unlucky that we got a zero here at Phillip Island, but if next year I can win the title in Japan again and have another DNF here, I’ll sign up for that! Now let’s focus on the next race.” No doubt, Marquez will be giving it a red hot go at Malaysia!
Ride of the day goes to Alvaro Bautista who stepped up to the Ducati plate for the injured Lorenzo. Not only did he crash at least four times across the weekend, he fought like a warrior and put the Ducati in the top four. It was a remarkable ride by the Spanish rider who sadly ends his run at Phillip Island in MotoGP. In comparison, Ducati rider Jack Miller did not have the race he thought he would. Miller was leading at one stage and then dropped off sadly towards the end of the race. For sure, the race results are definitely throwing questions about 2019 rider contracts! At least for Miller, he will be the leading Pramac Ducati rider and able to push with more support behind him. Everything will come together nicely so long as Miller stays on two wheels and in the top ten.
Vinales thoughts on winning: “First of all, I did not expect to start so bad. I tried to keep my concentration. We worked on the switch and electronics. During all the weekend, I was in the top three. I do not have to think on the tyre, I just push. It was close because both Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso were fast. To win at this track is something unbelievable. It is the best track for me. Talk about a smile that could light up a city! “Honestly the season has been difficult. I need it that win. Yamaha needed that win. I said on Friday, we need to be motivated for next year. Thank you to my team. When I had the chance, I just go. I have a good life and be happy. In racing life, it is incredible. I love to win here. I have a good mentality for everything I do, when I train, when I am here and this helped me a lot. In some way, we did it different. We maintain same set up, get used to the bike and it worked really good. We will try this in Malaysia. I just wanted to give my best today and all the potential in my riding style.” With the fans on their way home, the paddock is packing up and making their way to Malaysia for the second last race of the season.
Andrea Iannone thoughts on coming second: “We improved all weekend. I arrived at the race with a strong feeling. For sure, we had potential to try and win the race. When I made the mistake on corner four, arriving long at high speed, I lost four or five positions. In this moment, I think it is not a good situation. I felt the tyre start to drop a little bit more than I expect. I control the tyres the best. It was the best situation and I tried to push at 100% in the last lap. I did another mistake in corner four. At the end, it was a great fight with Vale, Ducati and Marc and Zarco. It was a difficult race. Second position, I am happy”.
With the race concluding, we now move to Malaysia for a hot, humid and exciting event where some riders excel and others are pushed to the brink of their physical capacity. Could Dani Pedrosa win at a track where he excels and leave Honda a happy boy!