Michelin saw its named MotoGP™ race in the Australian state of Victoria produce an exciting contest today as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took victory in the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
The whole weekend at the 4,448m circuit had been shaped by strong, gusting winds and cold track temperatures, which caused all the riders and manufacturers difficulties in set-up and choosing the best compound of MICHELIN Power Slick tyres for today’s race. As the start drew close, four of the six available compounds were chosen, with just the hard front and medium rear not making the grid. Pole-setter and World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went with a medium front and rear hard slick, but it was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) - soft front and hard rear - that got the holeshot and led into the first corner. After the first lap, local hero Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) led the field over the line, before the race lead then changed hands several times over the ensuing laps. Unfortunately, a collision between Marquez and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) saw the champion retire and the Frenchman crash out, but that didn’t stop the excitement as the riders pushed their tyres to the limit on the cold surface, with their MICHELIN Power Slicks giving them the confidence to drive their machines through Phillip Island’s fast corners.
Viñales took the lead on lap-eight and he controlled the attack on his Yamaha - shod with a soft front compound tyre and hard rear - to perfection as he never came under threat from the chasing pack. His victory sealed Yamaha’s first win in MotoGP since June last year and saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP close the gap on the Repsol Honda Team at the top of the Team Championship. The intense battle for the remaining podium positions saw a five-way conflict, which eventually led to Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) taking second, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in third, both using a medium front and hard rear configuration. Fourth went to Alvaro Bautista (Ducati Team), who was riding for the Factory Ducati team as a substitute for the injured Jorge Lorenzo. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) just edged out Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) to take fifth, with Miller securing seventh and the position of First Independent Rider. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) scored his best result of the season so far to take eighth, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing
Team Gresini) in ninth. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), finished tenth, meaning that all six manufacturers finished in the top-ten for the first time this season.
With high winds and cold track temperatures all weekend, along with a wet session on Friday, the Michelin Technicians had to work to the highest degree of their ability to get the optimum performance in the difficult and challenging conditions, Today’s race in-front of 36,600 fans at trackside demonstrated Michelin’s knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the conditions, the challenging Phillip Island circuit and the tyres, all of which enabled them to give the best advice to all riders and teams, which facilitated towards the excitement at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Michelin and the MotoGP paddock now return to Asia for the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour, as the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia will play host to the penultimate round of the season on Sunday 4th November.