Back-to-back titles loom for Marquez after winning Phillip Island thriller

By Sacha Pisani 22 October 2017 439
Back-to-back titles loom for Marquez after winning Phillip Island thriller

Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez put one hand on the world title after claiming a thrilling Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Championship leader and polesetter Marquez survived a breathtaking race in Victoria to finish ahead of Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Marquez, seven-time world champion Rossi, Vinales, Honda's Jack Miller and Yamaha rider Johann Zarco all led in a pulsating contest in dry conditions at the scenic track but the former eased clear of the madness in the closing laps.

Honda star Marquez is now within touching distance of back-to-back MotoGP titles having moved 33 points ahead in the standings with two races remaining after Ducati rival Andrea Dovizioso was overlapped at the death to finish 13th.

Marquez snatched pole position as Dovizioso struggled during qualifying on Saturday, but it was all about local Miller early in the race.

Starting from fifth, Miller overtook Marquez after the first turn to take the lead, while it was an horrendous start from Dovizioso – who dropped down to 20th as his title chances slipped away.

Zarco's high-octane style of riding saw him clip Marquez with 25 laps remaining, allowing Vinales and Rossi into second and third respectively.

The topsy-turvy race continued after Vinales eventually moved into the lead as Miller dropped to fourth in front of a vocal Australian crowd.

Marquez, however, was working his way through the pack and he overtook Vinales, closing in on the lead with 21 laps to go.

And while Marquez was momentarily relegated to third by the red-hot Zarco – who hit the front after Rossi ran wide – the Spaniard was not to be denied his second Australia victory and first since 2015.



1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 40:49.772
2. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) +1.799s
3. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) +1.826s
4. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +1.842s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +3.845s
6. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) +3.871s
7. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +5.619s
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +12.208s
9. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +16.251s
10. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +16.262s
11. Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Racing) +21.652s
12. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) +21.668s
13. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +21.692s
14. Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) +26.110s
15. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) +26.168s



1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 269 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 236 points
3. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) 219 points
4. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) 188 points
5. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 174



Marquez and the title race moves to Sepang next week for the penultimate race of another thrilling MotoGP season.

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Sacha Pisani