Alex Rins closed to within five points of Luis Salom in the race for the Moto3 world championship after winning a photo finish with Maverick Vinales in the Australian Grand Prix. The top two were separated by just three thousandths of a second over the finish line after 23 laps of typically frenetic action at Phillip Island.
After numerous lead changes early on, a group of seven riders eventually formed at the front with Jonas Folger working his way to the front as Salom, Rins and Vinales jockeyed for position behind. Alex Marquez was also making mischief on the second Estrella Galicia KTM while home favourite Jack Miller and Italian Niccolo Antonelli upheld FTR-Honda honours.
Folger’s challenge appeared to be fading once again as Rins eased past him at the Honda hairpin eight laps from home but the long drag race to Doohan corner would see plenty of position swapping as the lead rider found himself engulfed on the start/finish straight. Vinales looked to have timed his run to perfection when he slipstreamed into the lead at the start of the penultimate lap but next time around, Folger returned to the front after drafting past the Calvo KTM.
The Honda hairpin would prove Jonas’ downfall once again as Rins put another move on him under braking for the left hander. Chaos ensued from there as the opportunistic Salom attempted to follow through but the front end of the Red Bull Ajo KTM wouldn’t co-operate and the two came together. Vinales was the chief beneficiary as he regained second while Miller briefly took third but Salom recovered to dash Australian hopes.
Having steered clear of the mayhem, Vinales locked his KTM into the slipstream of Alex Rins as they geared up the rush to the finish line and had the chequered flag fallen ten metres later, Maverick would have been celebrating a first win since Le Mans. Instead, Rins took the honours with Salom completing the podium places.
Marquez also found a way past Miller on the last lap to take fourth while Jonas Folger was shuffled all the way back to sixth ahead of the fast finishing Efren Vazquez and Niccolo Antonelli. John McPhee was involved in the shenanigans at the front in the first couple of laps but the Briton would miss out on points after also being outmanoeuvred on the final lap.