PHILLIP ISLAND: Spanish Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez slipped past Jorge Lorenzo on the final lap to win a thrilling Australian MotoGP as the race for the world championship tightened at Phillip Island on Sunday.
Defending world champion Marquez, coming off the pole, pipped his fellow Spaniard by 0.249sec for his fifth win of the season, with Italian Ducati rider Andrea Iannone third.
Valentino Rossi finished fourth and had his championship lead cut to 11 points over his Movistar Yamaha teammate Lorenzo with two races left at Malaysia’s Sepang and Valencia.
Lorenzo had looked as if he would hold on for victory until Marquez swept beneath him on turn 10 and went on to win his first premier-class race at Phillip Island.
“Marc made an unbelievable last lap,” said Lorenzo. “I tried to close the door but I just couldn’t win. Here, with the rear tyre that spins so much, it’s always difficult to have grip in the corners. So this result was very good.”
Last year Marquez crashed out on the 19th lap while leading off the pole. In the 2013 race he was disqualified after ignoring a mandatory pit stop in the middle stages of the race.
“I had a great last lap. I don’t know where I pulled that time out from but it was what made the difference for us,” said Marquez. “My plan on the last two laps was to try to push a little bit more… but it was difficult to manage and honestly I didn’t believe that I would get to Jorge.”
The top four riders staged an exhilarating tussle, with wheel-on-wheel passing manoeuvres on the sweeping turns thrilling the 32,000-strong Phillip Island crowd in one of the best races in recent years.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.
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