Magical Victory for Alex Rins in Australia, Marc Marquez 100th Podium Finish, Pecco Bagnaia Leads Championship as Fabio Quartararo Crashes Out.
Author: Myanna Wedes
The honours of winning the 2022 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix go to Alex Rins after a sensational race that had our hearts pounding lap after lap. It was a thrilling and probably the most exciting race of the year to date with Moto3 style passes, battles and the riders pushing one another until the very last corner. The race start had drama with Pecco Bagnaia not engaging his ride height device properly, Marc Marquez hitting the mark perfectly to launch, Jorge Martin doing what he does best going to the front of the pack and Fabio Quartararo almost crashing early on into the race having to take evasive action at turn 4, now famously known as Miller Corner. It was not smooth sailing for the French rider who ended up crashing out of the race early after entering turn 2 and finding himself low siding into the gravel. Fans around the world were shocked. However, this was not the only drama. The major error was Alex Marquez who entered turn 4 and managed to hit Jack Miller sending him into the ear and almost suffering a whiplash style crash. The Australian fans were guttered and shattered because Miller was preparing himself to chase the leading pack after finding a rhythm. Unfortunately, Miller is now out of contention for the World Championship, though is still focused on potentially aiming for third place which would see him with a bronze medal around his neck at the awards night in Valencia. There is still plenty to play for including the number one position with only two races remaining.
We now turn to the race events as they unfolded with some key riders and how they described their race day feelings. The Phillip Island circuit once again delivered an action-packed race even with torrential rain during warm up and certain riders questioning tyre compound choices.
- Suzuki are leaving at the end of the season and yet they have such a competitive bike. It really is upsetting to think they are going and have just won the 2022 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. From our perspective, the Suzuki is one of the strongest machines on the grid with their improved straight-line speed, they are dynamic. In addition to this, Rins is very smooth as a rider, and this adds to the overall performance of his tyres from race start to race finish. We noticed during the Friday and Saturday sessions that Rins has good race pace, and this carried over to the race. He was quick, consistent and did not buy into the World Championship battle with those chasing points. In fact, he pushed hard knowing who was battling for key points. Rins did his own race and went right down to the last corner with M Marquez. Although he was the race winner, ride of the day goes to Marquez after defying the odds and finishing on the podium after multiple surgeries, setbacks, and psychological challenges to regain the confidence required to race with total confidence. It was incredible to see M Marquez conquer the fears, demons and inner doubts that sometimes can take control. It does set up an interesting dynamic for 2023 with both Rins and Marquez Honda riders.
Alex Rins #42:
“I’m super happy! During the race I was feeling pretty good, in fact my feeling with the bike was amazing. The pace was fairly slow to try and preserve the rear tyre, because we know this place can be tough on tyres. But in the end, I was able to find some good traction in the sweeping corners and this allowed me to gain places and feel strong until the end – we had a fantastic battle all together! The entire team and everyone who has worked on this project deserves this win, and so do the fans, I’m so pleased that I could celebrate another victory together before we depart.”
- The dynamic Multi-World Champion of Marc Marquez is defying the odds and setting up 2023 to be exceptional for Honda after a couple tormenting years. The fact Marquez was able to put his bike on the podium and push with a soft rear tyre says it all about his talent. On Saturday, he had a 70-degree front end save and reconfirmed his ability to use the arm to push the bike which demonstrates his confidence in his arm to handle the pressure of riding at speed, consistently and for a long period of laps. We must make mention that Rins will be joining the Honda factory in 2023 though MM93 will not be providing any advice. The leader of the brand is MM93, and he wants another title though is celebrating the small milestones first because this sport of two-wheel racing and the calendar for next year is demanding. It is one race at a time for the Spanish rider and we feel this is a good way to keep on track of expectations and targets. The next race in Malaysia will be interesting as Marquez is strong at this event and no doubt will give us a show to enjoy with the title battle red hot between Bagnaia and Quartararo.
Marc Marquez #93:
“It was a great race today; I really enjoyed the battle a lot and the feeling of returning to the podium is fantastic. It has been a long journey and we have reached the next stage. The soft rear was certainly the correct option for us in the race, I felt quite good, and I was able to fight until the end. At the start I was managing the situation a little bit, but I really enjoyed the race, I tried to win! Alex Rins did really well in the last few laps. I left everything out on track today and I really enjoyed all the overtakes, especially at Turn 2 because the bike was working really well there. We are coming better but there is still work to do. It’s great to achieve this milestone of 100 premier class podiums and an honour to draw equal with Nieto but we are not done yet!”
- Ducati Lenovo are having the time of their lives right now with the title right there for the taking. Bagnaia was perfectly positioned to take the lead in the title though lost points to Marquez and Rins that could have dented the title campaign of Quartararo further. The Italian rider has his first chance to close out the title in Malaysia where he will be strong and of course Valencia which no doubt Ducati will be ready to conquer. Casey Stoner has been providing some crucial insight to Bagnaia and we feel this has been beneficial to the Rossi mentored rider who is on another level in 2022. There are no doubts that he has been one of the main riders deserving of the title after the mishaps experienced last year. The question is: will the title be finalised in Malaysia or Valencia?
Pecco Bagnaia #63:
“I am satisfied with today's third place, but the most important thing is that we are finally now first in the Championship. I only regret not being able to win because I really did my best. In the first laps I tried to manage tire wear well, but towards the end I no longer had the same pace and was still struggling with the front. When I saw that Quartararo was OUT, I changed my approach and just tried to make an intelligent race, avoiding unnecessary risks, to try to take advantage of the situation. The next GP will be held in Malaysia, a track where we are usually fast, so there are all the conditions to do well there too.”
- We felt sorry for Jack Miller to have been taken out of his home race. Nevertheless, Miller was in good spirits even though sore after being hit hard by Alex Marquez. With the famous corner of turn 4 being named “Miller Corner”, the Australian rider has cemented himself in the history books and as both Casey Stoner and Mick Doohan have mentioned, Miller has the makings of a World Champion. It will be interesting to see how he performs at KTM and maybe this will be the ticket to the title in due course. A Marquez has been penalised for his aggressive riding and will serve a long lap penalty at the Malaysian MotoGP. The shift in gears for Miller is to achieve third in the title. This is an opportunity to grow before the season is finished and then start off 2023 with KTM in the right frame of mind.
Jack Miller #43:
“Unfortunately it was an unlucky day. I was able to reassemble quite quickly: we had made some changes to the bike compared to yesterday and I felt really comfortable but at Turn 4, my corner, I was hit by Alex Marquez and I crashed. These are things that can happen in the race. Then Alex came to me, he explained what had happened to him, and I accepted his apology. He is only sorry that he was unable to do something more for all of my fans who came here to see me today. It was still an incredible weekend and I am delighted to be back in Phillip Island. The positive side is that both Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro didn't score many points today, so we can still aim for third place in the championship.”
- The biggest surprise of the weekend was the lack of pace and consistency from Fabio Quartararo. We all thought he was on course for a top five finish. Instead, he walked away from the Phillip Island circuit with 0 points. The result does add pressure and there have been comparisons to the 2020 season regarding French riders’ mentality. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider insists that he is fine and although has his work cut out of for him, he will look to enjoy the last two races because if he does, then the rewards of his riding will be there. In the last four races, Quartararo has looked frustrated. There is every chance that it could go Quartararo’s way in the last two races. He must focus, work hard, and make no mistakes. What we do know after the last handful of races is that Yamaha must improve and work tirelessly to develop their machines if they want to keep charging for a title year upon year.
Fabio Quartararo #20:
“I was struggling a lot in Turn 4 because of the wind. I already made a mistake there earlier at the beginning of the race. After the second mistake, I tried to push. I was quite far behind. I did manage to overtake a few riders, but then I pushed too much in Turn 2. I made a mistake. Let's see how we can handle the next races. I think Malaysia is a good track for us. I like it, so let's see how we can do it. The championship changed a lot since Sachsenring, and that means it can also change for us in the last two GPs. I feel that we can make two great last races. We need to be focused, work well, and then we'll see. We go to Malaysia with full motivation! I want to enjoy these last two races, that will be the most important, because when I enjoy the races, I know we can be fast.”
- Aleix Espargaro did not have the best race and we expected more of a battle forward rather than going backwards. He did not look entirely comfortable though is not ready just yet to wave the white flag. He still has belief he can try for the title. It will be a tough challenge and Aprilia are right there with him. If not in 2022, then when is the kind of attitude for A Espargaro. The team will need to bring the goods because once again, the bike let him down and the poor result is felt as a team rather than just by one person. A Espargaro is right when he says in order to win the title, they cannot make mistakes like this one with the electronics. When you make the comparison to Bagnaia, the bike has been there all year and it has been individual mistakes. The lucky Ducati star has gained the lead so A Espargaro will have high expectations of his team for the next two remaining races.
Aleix Espargaro #41:
"In the early part of the race today, everything was going according to plan. I started well overtaking Fabio and managed to stay easily with the leading group. Even when I made a small mistake, I was able to quickly close the gap, even doing the second fastest lap of the race. Then the situation took a strange turn. The electronics began to cut a lot of power and, despite pushing hard to make up ground on the braking sections, I didn’t have the acceleration to stay with the others. It’s a pity. These are mistakes that we can’t make if we want to battle for the championship title, especially because we demonstrated that we have the speed to do so."
Next up is Sepang, the Malaysian MotoGP race, which is guaranteed to be hot, humid and with a chance of a storm or rain showers that add to the overall experience of being in that part of the world. The riders love the circuit, and it will be game on! Be sure to tune in and enjoy what will be a memorable Malaysian GP after not having the bikes rev their engines since 2019.Protect your Motorcycle. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.