Viñales wins in action-packed Australian GP to finally end Yamaha’s win drought

by Alice Cipolat
Maverick Vinales Australian MotoGP 2018

Maverick Viñales has taken his first win since Le Mans 2017 in Australia today, dominating at the front once he managed to take the lead. There were 3 different manufacturers in the top 3, with Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso completing the podium.

This win was a long time coming for Yamaha, having now finally ended their record-breaking long period of races without a win. It’s been 25 races since Valentino Rossi took the chequered flag in Assen in 2017 and the team have struggled many times this year. Rossi also had a strong race and result today, finishing 6th but battling with the chasing pack throughout the race.

There was huge drama early on when Johann Zarco hit the rear wheel of Marc Marquez at very high speed, in the braking zone at the end of the straight. Zarco suffered a massive crash whilst Marquez had to retire with a heavily damaged bike; fortunately, both riders were unharmed. Marquez will be relieved he managed to wrap the title up last week in Japan, although he would’ve likely been competitive for the win in Phillip Island today.

With Marquez out and Cal Crutchlow missing the race due to the broken ankle he sustained in practice, it was already a disappointing race for Honda – made even worse by Dani Pedrosa crashing out. Franco Morbidelli was Honda’s top finisher in 8th place. The only other crash in the race was from Hafizh Syahrin, who lost out on valuable points to Morbidelli in the battle for rookie of the year.

This is a track widely considered to not suit the Ducati, yet today that’s not how we saw the race play out. With Jorge Lorenzo still out with a wrist injury, it was Alvaro Bautista drafted in as temporary teammate for Dovizioso. Bautista performed an outstanding ride, finishing in 4th place after battling with Dovizioso for much of the race. It’s even more unfortunate to see him lose out on a MotoGP seat next year now he has proven how capable he is of fighting at the front, when he has the bike to do so. With Dovizioso finishing 3rd, this is only the second podium Ducati have had at Phillip Island since Casey Stoner won in 2010.

For Iannone, the pressure was certainly on him to perform today. He had the best pace all weekend and was widely expected to challenge for the win. Throughout the race he was fighting at the front yet made a few mistakes, running wide in corners which consequently pushed him down the order. He redeemed himself by fighting back to 2nd and holding off a chasing Dovizioso.

2018 MotoGP Michelin Australian Grand Prix – Race Result:

125. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP40:51.08125
229. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR+1.54320
34. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team+1.83216
419. Alvaro BautistaDucatiDucati Team+4.07213
542. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR+5.01711
646. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP+5.13210
743. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing+6.7569
821. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS+21.8058
941. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini+22.9047
1038. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+22.9406
1117. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team+34.3865
129. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing+35.0254
1345. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini+36.3483
1430. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU+36.3892
1510. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing+44.2141
1612. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS+48.226
1781. Jordi TorresDucatiReale Avintia Racing+1:04.965
187. Mike JonesDucatiAngel Nieto Team+1:19.817
NC43. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing+5 Laps
NC55. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 3+9 Laps
NC26. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team+16 Laps
NC93. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team+22 Laps
NC5. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 3+22 Laps

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