MotoGP™ 2017 - AUSTRALIA - MICHELIN’S Grand Prix serves up a classic along with a Marquez masterpiece
The MICHELIN® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix from Phillip Island served up one of the greatest races in MotoGP™ history as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took a stunning victory following a breath-takingrace-long battle between eight riders.
Marquez qualified on pole yesterday for today’s 27-lap race, but was beaten off the line and into the first corner by local hero Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). In-front of his home fans the Australian kept first place until he was over taken by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™) on lap-five. The nine-time World Champion then held the lead for four-laps, before Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), took to the front. The rookie stayed at the head of the pack for five laps, before the lead returned to Rossi, then went the way of Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™) and then finally to Marquez, in what was a titanic battle between some of the greatest racers in the world. The full-on encounter for the top positions featured the five riders that led the race at some point, plus Cal Crutchlow(LCR Honda), Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), all of whom produced some incredibly close racing and daring overtaking throughout the whole race, with manoeuvres that showed the trust the riders had in their MICHELIN tires.
Weather had been an issue at Phillip Island all weekend, with cold sessions, wet practices and intermittent sunshine meaning the riders had to leave the choice of MICHELIN Power Slick tires to the very last moment as they all tried to gauge the weather for the race. When the event got underway in bright and windy conditions, which also produced the warmest temperatures of the weekend, Marquez took the decision to go with a medium front compound slick tire, matched with a soft rear and he managed it superbly as he took the chequered flag to secure his sixth win of the season and strengthen his championship lead. Second was Rossi, who paired front and rear medium compound tires, whilst third-placed Viñales used the medium front and soft rear configuration. Zarcotook fourth-place on the line—setting the fastest-lap of the race in the process—a result which secured the First Independent Rider position and reinforcedhis lead in that championship and gave him the honour of being crowned Rookie of the Year. Fifth was Crutchlow, narrowly holding off Iannone at the finish, with home-boy Miller taking seventh and Rins eighth. The top-10 was rounded out by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith respectively.
The MICHELIN® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix also saw a very important announcement during the weekend’s proceedings, as a press conference was called featuring the CEO of Dorna Sports, Carmelo Ezpeleta and Director of MICHELIN Motorsport, Pascal Couasnon. This was held to confirm an extension to the partnership which will see MICHELIN as the ‘Official Tire Supplier to MotoGP™ for at least a further five-years, taking the Clermont-Ferrand based manufacturer to 2023 as the sole provider of race tires for the premier-class.
MICHELIN now returns north of the Equator for the final of the three fly-away races, as MotoGP™ heads to Sepang for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday 29th October,arace that signals the17thandpenultimate roundof the season and with the championship still to be decided it looks all set for being another thrilling event.