Cal Crutchlow became the first British rider to ever win a Grand Prix on Australian soil after a dramatic victory at Phillip Island. The LCR Honda rider took full advantage of a crash for newly crowned world champion Marc Marquez to lead home Valentino Rossi who stormed through from fifteenth on the grid to second.
With dry conditions finally prevailing for race day, Marquez raced into a comfortable early lead with a succession of fastest laps while Crutchlow became embroiled in a battle for second with Aleix Espargaro, a battle he won on lap five. By this point, Marc was over 2.5 seconds up the road and seemingly uncatchable but the race took a dramatic turn on lap ten.
Under braking for the Honda hairpin, Marquez lost the front end of his RC213V with his harder front tyre seemingly losing temperature. With his machine too badly damaged, the Spaniard was forced to deal with his first non-finish of the season while Crutchlow inherited a two-second lead.
The man now leading the chase was Rossi after a sensational recovery ride in the early stages, culminating with a pass of Espargaro’s Suzuki at the start of lap ten, but the late race charge towards the LCR Honda never materialised with an error at Honda hairpin costing any chance of a remarkable victory. Instead, that honour went to Crutchlow who eased his way to a second career win by 4.2 seconds.
The fight for the final rostrum spot looked by a straight head-to-head between Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati but neither had bargained for a resurgent Maverick Vinales who caught them both from thirteenth on the grid. With his teammate crashing out five laps from home, Maverick only had the Ducati to deal with and he did just that, outbraking Dovizioso into MG.
Pol Espargaro, who led the race through turn one, finished an excellent fifth ahead of the off-colour Jorge Lorenzo while Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding won a five-way scrap for seventh, just ahead of the heroic Bradley Smith who outdragged Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller on the run to the finish line.
2016 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Race Result)
|1||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||40:48.543||25|
|2||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+4.218||20|
|3||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+5.309||16|
|4||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+9.157||13|
|5||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+14.299||11|
|6||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+20.125||10|
|7||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+28.369||9|
|8||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+28.781||8|
|9||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+28.792||7|
|10||73. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+28.815||6|
|11||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+31.809||5|
|12||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+47.734||4|
|13||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team||+47.749||3|
|14||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati Team||+54.311||2|
|15||7. Mike JONES||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+55.875||1|
|16||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+1:06.395|
|17||69. Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+1:22.604|
|NC||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Ducati Team||+3 Laps|
|NC||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+5 Laps|
|NC||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+18 Laps|
|NC||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+27 Laps|