Saving his fastest lap for his last lap, Marc Marquez passed Jorge Lorenzo in the third-to-last corner at the Phillip Island circuit to take the win Sunday in what likely will be called one of the most dramatic races of the year. Lorenzo finished second after leading portions of the contest and he narrowed the points gap to championship leader and teammate Valentino Rossi who finished fourth behind Andrea Iannone.
The race among the four leading riders remained in doubt until the very end with regular lead and position changes. Dani Pedrosa, who started the race from fourth on the grid, finished in fifth after a race-long battle with Maverick Vinales (6th) and Cal Crutchlow (7th). The Espargaro brothers grabbed the next two spots with Pol in eighth and Aleix in ninth. Bradley Smith completed the top 10.
Lorenzo now sits 11 points behind Rossi with two races to go, a swing of seven points since the last round. But the gap could have been narrower still if not for Marquez's record last-lap and surprise pass for the win.
Early in the race, the front four opened a slight gap and appeared to settle in for battle. With five laps gone, it was Lorenzo, Marquez, Rossi and Iannone (who briefly led the race early on). Lorenzo then began to open a slight gap and the three behind him fought for position on nearly every lap. Iannone passed Rossi with 21 laps to go, putting the Ducati's remarkable straight-line speed on full display. But a lap later, Rossi passed his fellow Italian and closed on Marquez. Two laps later, all three had locked in on Lorenzo.
When the race hit the halfway point, Marquez was on Lorenzo's tail and Rossi had settled into third. But he could not shake a dogged Ianonne. A couple of laps later, Marquez passed Lorenzo. Then Lorenzo returned the favor. Iannone the passed Rossi again.
Five laps from the end, Rossi again passed Iannone to take third behind Marquez. And two laps later, with all four of the riders closely bunched, Rossi cut inside Marquez to take second but a charging Iannone pushed inside and passed both riders at the same instant to leap from fourth to second. With two laps to go, Iannone held second behind Lorenzo and in front of Marquez.
Marquez passed Iannone and settled into his blistering final lap on Lorenzo's tail. On the Turn 10 hairpin, he caught Lorenzo mid corner and held on through Turns 11 and 12 to take the win. Rossi finished on Iannone's tail but was unable to take third a final time.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time / Diff.|
|18||76||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||48.677|
|20||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||50.262|
|22||24||Toni ELIAS||Yamaha Forward||+1'20.942|
|69||Nicky HAYDEN||Honda||18 Laps|
|55||Damian CUDLIN||ART||18 Laps|