Rossi rolls back the years

2014-10-19 09:30
Valentino Rossi (AFP)

Phillip Island - Italian legend Valentino Rossi has won his first Australian MotoGP in nine years after world champion Marc Marquez crashed out while holding a big lead at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Rossi, one of the sport's greats with nine world championships across all classes, swept to the front when Marquez came off his bike on the 18th lap, to beat home teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Britain's Bradley Smith in an all-Yamaha podium.

It was a popular victory for the 35-year-old Italian, who celebrated his 250th premier-class race with his 82nd victory at one of his favourite tracks.

It was Rossi's sixth premier-class win at Phillip Island and his first since 2005 to extend his phenomenal record to 15 podium finishes in 18 trips to Australia.

Marquez, who clinched back-to-back world titles last weekend in Japan, had looked set to comfortably win his first MotoGP at Phillip Island with a massive four-second advantage on his dominant Repsol Honda bike.

But the Spanish ace lost control of his front wheel on lap 18 of the 27-lap race and crashed out, leaving Rossi to take over and go on and win by 10.836 seconds.

"When I saw Marc crash it was a surprise, and to finish first at Phillip Island after my last victory here in 2005 is a great achievement," Rossi said.

"I love this track and I've won the two most important world championships of my career in 2001 and 2004.

"I won again here in 2005 but I have done a lot of podiums since then and never won."

Rossi's victory pushed him out to an eight-point lead over Lorenzo in the fight for second place in the world championship standings behind Marquez, with two races remaining at Sepang and Valencia.

"I was focused on the second place in the championship and I am able to gain some points over Jorge, but it's so close with two races to the end," Rossi said.

Marquez's Spanish Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa retired from the race in the early stages to finish with zero points. He looks to have lost his chance of finishing second overall, currently trailing Rossi by 25 points in fourth spot.

Rossi came off the third row of the grid -- his worst qualifying position since 12th at Assen in late June -- and diced with Lorenzo for second spot as Marquez extended his lead with every lap.

But the race took a dramatic turn when Marquez, looking set for his 12th GP triumph this season, lost his front wheel and tumbled onto the trackside grass, his race over.

"It's a fantastic result for Yamaha, it's been a long time, but to be honest I'm very disappointed because you work hard for the best set-up of the bike but sometimes you get this type of tyres that are a complete disaster," said Lorenzo, who won last year's Australian MotoGP.

"Over the last few laps it was a drama just to stay on the bike in the fast corners, but I managed to finish the race and I was very lucky, it's probably been my luckiest second place."

It was Smith's first podium finish in two seasons of MotoGP. Fellow Briton Cal Crutchlow crashed out on his Ducati while in second place on the final lap.

Results from the motorcycling Grand Prix of Australia on Sunday:


1. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 40min 46.405sec, 2. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) at 10.836, 3. Bradley Smith (GBR/Monster Yamaha Tech) 12.294, 4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 14.893, 5. Hector Barbera (ESP/Ducati) 30.089, 6. Alvaro Bautista (ESP/Honda) 30.154, 7. Scott Redding (GBR/Honda) 30.158, 8. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN/Honda) 33.166, 9. Alex De Angelis (RSM/Yamaha) 33.577, 10. Nicky Hayden (USA/Honda) 34.144

World Championship standings (after 16 of 18 races)

1. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 312, 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 255, 3. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 247, 4. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 230, 5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 166, 6. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Forward Yamaha) 117, 7. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Yamaha Tech3) 116, 8. Bradley Smith (GBR/Yamaha Tech3) 108, 9. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Ducati Pramac) 102, 9. Stefan Bradl (GER/Honda-LCR) 96.


1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Kalex) 39min 10.419sec, 2. Thomas Luthi (SUI/Suter) at 1.329sec, 3. Esteve Rabat (ESP/Kalex) 1.504, 4. Mika Kallio (FIN/Kalex) 1.843, 5. Sam Lowes (GBR/Speed Up) 3.292, 6. Sandro Cortese (GER/Kalex) 11.697, 7. Marcel Schrotter (GER/Tech 3) 11.777, 8. Dominique Aegerter (SUI/Suter) 18.276, 9. Xavier Simeon (BEL/Gresini Suter) 18.282, 10. Jordi Torres (ESP/Suter) 18.478

World Championship standings (after 16 of 18 races)

1. Esteve Rabat (ESP/Kalex) 310, 2. Mika Kallio (FIN/Kalex) 269, 3. Maverick Viales (ESP/Kalex) 249, 4. Thomas Luthi (SUI/Suter) 161, 5. Dominique Aegerter (SUI/Suter) 151, 6. Johann Zarco (FRA/Caterham Suter) 117, 7. Simone Corsi (ITA/Kalex) 100, 8. Sandro Cortese (GER/Kalex) 76, 9. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Kalex) 75, 10. Luis Salom (ESP/Kalex) 67.


1. Jack Miller (AUS/KTM) 37min 25.209sec, 2. Alex Marquez (ESP/Honda)at 0.029sec, 3. Alex Rins (ESP/Honda) 0.032, 4. Efren Vazquez (ESP/Honda) 0.044, 5. John McPhee (GBR/Honda) 0.134, 6. Alexis Masbou (FRA/Honda) 0.242, 7. Miguel Oliveira (POR/Mahindra) 2.753, 8. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE/KTM) 3.455, 9. Niklas Ajo (FIN/Husqvarna) 18.118, 10. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA/KTM) 18.119

World Championship standings (after 16 of 18 races)

1. Alex Marquez (ESP/Honda) 251, 2. Jack Miller (AUS/KTM) 231, 3. Alex Rins (ESP/Honda) 210, 4. Efren Vazquez (ESP/Honda) 187, 5. Romano Fenati (ITA/KTM) 174, 6. Alexis Masbou (FRA/Honda) 150, 7. Isaac Vinales (ESP/Calvo KTM) 121, 8. Enea Bastianini (ITA/KTM) 116, 9. Danny Kent (GBR/Husqvarna) 103, 10. Brad Binder (RSA/Mahindra) 102.

Read more on:    valentino rossi  |  moto gp

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