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Marquez takes a momentous victory at Phillip Island

Marquez extends his lead while Rossi wins three-way battle for 2nd
Sunday, October 22, 2017


Marc Marquez leads a pack of hungry Yamahas
Marc Marquez leads a pack of hungry Yamahas

Today Marc Marquez put on a stellar performance to secure a crucial victory at the Australian Grand Prix, the 61st win of his career, his 35th in MotoGP, and his sixth this year. The performance extended his Championship lead to 269 points, 33 ahead Andrea Dovizioso, who remains his only rival for the Title.

Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took his sixth win of the year in a scintillating Phillip Island showdown, breaking away from an eight-rider fight for the win in the latter stages to take to the top step. After a tough race for title rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) as the Italian suffered an early run off and was only able to fight back to 13th, it leaves the rider from Cervera now 33 points clear in the standings. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second as he came out on top of a three-way fight for the podium, with teammate Maverick Vinales taking third. Vinales is now out of the Championship fight, 50 points back with two rounds to go.

It was Marquez who got the holeshot but he couldn’t hold it into Turn 2 as a stunner from Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) saw the Queenslander slice through into the lead – and then start pulling away. Vinales was the man in third on the chase, as an incredible first lap then took another twist next time round into Turn 1, when Dovizioso went wide and dropped down to P20.

Then the race was on for the Italian, as a seven-rider train at the front closed in on Miller in the lead. Rossi and Vinales were the first to get through, and a lead group of Marquez, Vinales, Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Zarco began to fight it out.

Marquez vs Rossi, Zarco vs Rossi, Vinales vs Marquez, Iannone vs Zarco…in one of the most aggressive and hard-fought battles of the season, decade or more, the passes came thick and fast – including a move for Zarco around the outside of Doohan corner – as rubber was left on the road; a little on opponents’ leathers and a little paint was swapped in one of the most incredible fights in history.

Once Marquez was ahead, however, the reigning Champion was able to begin pulling a gap with five laps to go. Pulling the pin as the battle raged on behind him, the number 93 began to sprint away – and the podium fight was down to three by the final laps: Rossi vs Vinales vs Zarco.

Marquez had to battle hard for this win
Marquez had to battle hard for this win

With some of the tightest lines ever ridden around the Island at times on that final lap, Rossi was able to take it – but all three were almost neck and neck over the line. And over that line, it was Vinales just edging ahead of the Tech 3 of the Frenchman – taking third for a return to the rostrum but a definite end to his chance at the title. Zarco's fourth, meanwhile, confirmed him as Rookie of the Year in 2017.

After Iannone getting pushed back in the latter stages, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) took fifth ahead of the Italian, with Miller, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and another double delight for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing completing the top ten; Espargaro just pipping Smith. Dovizioso suffered late heartbreak after losing out on the drag to the line to both Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and coming home 13th, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) completing the top fifteen.

Sepang is now ready for business, with the next round soon on the horizon and 33 points swinging the pendulum in Marquez’ favor. But not everything goes to script, as Dovizioso found out at the Island – and the Italian won at Sepang last season. It’s time for a final stand.

Marc Marquez

The battle for the lead thrilled the crowd
The battle for the lead thrilled the crowd
“It was such an amazing race, I think we put on a fantastic show for the fans! I’m very happy, as I knew that today was important. Dovi was struggling a little this weekend, while I was feeling really good on the bike and had to make the best of it. When the race started I was thinking I had to stay calm and manage the tires, but then Zarco hit me and I realized it was going to be a battle. I was in a group of fighters. I knew I had to push and defend, but also to attack. So I just tried to control the situation and then, with around eight laps to go, I just gave it my all. I pushed really hard for three or four laps and that was it. I’m happy with the win of course, but even more with going to Malaysia with a 33 point advantage!”

"I tried to go out and warm the tires and stay calm," says Marquez, "but then after only a few laps there was the first contact and I thought ok...this will be tough! It was a big group, like Moto3. I realized halfway through I had to attack, or they would overtake me. I have some marks on my leathers and my bike, but I was aggressive too! A crash or a zero would have been a disaster but it was time to attack and I knew it was an important race to increase the distance in the Championship."

Marquez celebrates
Marquez celebrates

Attack he did, as an incredibly aggressive fight ripped through the front - battling for the lead as well as trying to keep one eye on Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team).

“We had a meeting before the race and they asked me if I wanted to know where Dovi was,” said Marquez, “And I said no. Then in the middle of the race I had a question mark but then I saw when I was in Turn 4 he was at Turn 3, so I controlled it. I was trying to control where Dovi was and calculate everything, then with eight or so laps to go I said ok, and was able to be a few tenths quicker and open a small gap."

Able to pull away as the three men on the chase - Valentino Rossi, the Italian’s teammate Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) - began to battle, it was enough to write Marquez’ name in the history books as the victor in one of the all-time greats. It was also enough to give the rider from Cervera a lead of 33 points in the standings.

“Victory was important,” affirms the number 93. “It was like the 2015 race with lots of overtakes, and the points advantage makes me very happy. There’s time to breathe and understand our options now. Now it’s time to take points."


1MARQUEZ Marc93SPA25Honda40'49.772
2ROSSI Valentino46ITA20Yamaha1.799
3VINALES Maverick25SPA16Yamaha1.826
4ZARCO Johann5FRA13Yamaha1.842
5CRUTCHLOW Cal35GBR11Honda3.845
6IANNONE Andrea29ITA10Suzuki3.871
7MILLER Jack43AUS9Honda5.619
8RINS Alex42SPA8Suzuki12.208
10SMITH Bradley38GBR6KTM16.262
11REDDING Scott45GBR5Ducati21.652
12PEDROSA Dani26SPA4Honda21.668
13DOVIZIOSO Andrea4ITA3Ducati21.692
14ABRAHAM Karel17CZE2Ducati26.110
15LORENZO Jorge99SPA1Ducati26.168
16RABAT Tito53SPA0Honda26.252
17BAUTISTA Alvaro19SPA0Ducati36.377
18BAZ Loris76FRA0Ducati39.654
19LOWES Sam22GBR0Aprilia40.400
20BARBERA Hector8SPA0Ducati45.901
21PETRUCCI Danilo9ITA0Ducati48.768
22PARKES Broc23AUS0Yamaha57.711

Rider Standings

1MARQUEZ Marc93SPA269Honda
2DOVIZIOSO Andrea4ITA236Ducati
3VINALES Maverick25SPA219Yamaha
4ROSSI Valentino46ITA188Yamaha
5PEDROSA Dani26SPA174Honda
6ZARCO Johann5FRA138Yamaha
7LORENZO Jorge99SPA117Ducati
8PETRUCCI Danilo9ITA111Ducati
10FOLGER Jonas94GER84Yamaha
11BAUTISTA Alvaro19SPA70Ducati
12MILLER Jack43AUS65Honda
13ESPARGARO Aleix41SPA62Aprilia
14REDDING Scott45GBR61Ducati
15IANNONE Andrea29ITA60Suzuki
17RINS Alex42SPA46Suzuki
18BAZ Loris76FRA45Ducati
19ABRAHAM Karel17CZE30Ducati
20RABAT Tito53SPA29Honda
21BARBERA Hector8SPA25Ducati
22SMITH Bradley38GBR20KTM
23PIRRO Michele51ITA18Ducati
25LOWES Sam22GBR5Aprilia
26NAKASUGA Katsuyuki21JPN4Yamaha
27GUINTOLI Sylvain50FRA1Suzuki

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