A win for The Doctor on his 250th GP start, a clean sweep on the podium and a first trip to the steps for an awesome young prospect. Not a bad MotoGP weekend huh?
The fastest sport on two wheels headed Down Under this weekend to Phillip Island and it was the old master that prevailed at the end of yet another nerve-shredding race.
2014 world champion Marc Marquez qualified on pole with Monster Energy’s Cal Crutchlow surprisingly starting second on the grid after squeezing everything out of his Ducati GP14 on Saturday.
Marquez charged ahead from the opening lap but Crutchlow dropped to eighth, which put Movistar Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo in the podium positions.
Those two great champions were going bar-to-bar for second place but it was Rossi in position to take advantage when Marquez lost the front of his Honda on lap 10 – and now Jorge had Crutchlow to contend with too.
The weekend’s surprise package rode an awesome race to drag himself up into third and with five laps to go he made his move at the hairpin. With Valentino puling a comfortable lead it looked like the podium places were set, but disaster struck for Cal when he slipped off in the exact same place he passed Lorenzo just a few laps before.
That opened the door for another M-claw representative – Bradley Smith. The Monster Energy Yamaha Tech-3 man has been knocking on the door all year and he finally got his rewards by moving up into third – and securing his first ever MotoGP podium finish.
But the credit must go to Rossi, who took victory in Australia for the first time since 2005 and on his 250th MotoGP start too.
He now holds an eight-point lead over Lorenzo in the battle for overall second and he was one happy man after the race.
“On the second corner when I saw Marc and Jorge in front, and I was still in sixth, I thought it would be hard. Afterwards I was able to overtake and I was fast, but when I was behind Jorge it was very difficult.
“I tried to focus on him and to gain a little bit. I was a little bit faster and when I arrived there was a great battle because we overtook a lot of times, but today I was a little bit faster so I could stay in front.
“Marc was not too far ahead but it was already two seconds, so I tried to focus on second place for the championship, but it was great to come back to first position on the Island 9 years from my last victory. It is a great achievement.”
Moto2; it’s official – the Marc VDS Racing team are Moto2 world champions and will produce the overall series winner of 2014.
The Belgian team have had a dream year in the Moto2 category and their results in Australia was enough to guarantee a world champion, with Esteve ‘Tito’ Rabat now just inches away from winning the title. The Spanish racer continued his awesome run of podium finishes by running a third, and with team-mate Mika Kallio one place back that meant Rabat’s lead is now a mammoth 41 points with two races to go.
Tito knows the job isn’t done yet though, he said: “ I am happy for the team today, because they have done a great job and I’ve never had the feeling before that I have here at Marc VDS, so they deserve to be team champions.
“Now I have just two races to try and ensure the team rider crowned as champion is the one with number 53 on his bike!”