Vinales Wins In Australia To Keep Rabat Waiting

Maverick Vinales claimed the third victory of his phenomenal rookie season at Phillip Island as Esteve Rabat was made to wait for the world championship. Rabat would have clinched the title had he outscored Mika Kallio by twelve points but the Spaniard could only manage third behind Vinales and Thomas Luthi, ensuring the title fight will carry on to Malaysia next weekend.

Trailing Rabat by 38 points heading into the race, Kallio knew he had to come out fighting and the Finn set a blistering pace early on. Rabat had fallen to sixth after overshooting the Honda hairpin on lap one but within seven laps, the Marc VDS teammates were scrapping over the lead, ‘Tito’ diving through at Doohan.

The championship leader was finding the Honda hairpin particularly problematic, outbraking himself moments after passing Kallio, and although he regained the lead soon afterwards, a third error at the tight right hander saw him fall back to fifth. Mika wasn’t the beneficiary this time though with Vinales moving to the front for the first time.

Rabat continued to figure at the front of the leading group but with five laps to go, Vinales put a decisive move on the no.53 Kalex at Doohan. Rabat was shuffled back to third on the final lap by Luthi but he did at least keep his teammate at bay to claim the final podium position. The pair were closely followed across the line by Sam Lowes who enjoyed the best race of his Moto2 career so far, finishing an excellent fifth.

Sandro Cortese pipped his compatriot Marcel Schrotter for sixth with Dominique Aegerter recovering from a difficult qualifying to finish eighth, edging out Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres in a sprint to the line.