Rossi takes 2nd as Marquez crashes out; Crutchlow is the hero

By | October 24, 2016
Phillip Island (Australia), 23rd October 2016
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi took the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to another level today, with a charge through the field from 15th on the grid to a stunning second place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzoovercame the challenges thrown at him this weekend by pushing hard from 12th on the grid and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in sixth place.

Pole starter Marc Marquez suffered his first DNF of the season, crashing out of the Australian GP unhurt on lap 10. The Spaniard was leading the race ahead of fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who took his second victory of the season. Crutchlow also gave Honda its seventh win in the last nine races and extended its advantage in the Constructors Championship to 33 points.

Rossi made a good start to the race at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he jumped two places to 13th on the opening lap. Overtaking Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales, the Doctor fought his way past Nicky Hayden as he continued to battle his way to the front of the field. Having climbed up to eighth, he was trailing teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who he quickly overtook on lap three and then the pair smoothly pulled ahead of Danilo Petrucci.

Rossi gradually closed down the 0.4s margin to tack onto the back of Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaró‘s bikes. He then put the hammer down and set a provisional fastest lap of 1‘29.795s, leaving behind his two rivals a lap later. He kept pushing in fourth place, trying to bridge the 0.4s gap to Aleix Espargarò and a podium finish.

As Rossi wrestled his way past Aleix Espargaró, drama struck as Marc Marquez crashed out of the lead on lap nine, handing the Italian second place.

The fight for the win was now between the nine-time World Champion and Cal Crutchlow, who was a little more than two seconds ahead of him. The Doctor was eager to hunt down the Briton, but the chase to the front of the field in the early stages of the race had taken its toll on his soft front tyre. Rossi decided to focus on maintaining his position after a small mistake on the brakes and cruised to a stunning second place, +4.218s from the front.

Lorenzo had a superb start from twelfth on the grid and quickly stormed to ninth in the opening laps. The Mallorcan was fully aware that his teammate and Viñales would be soon joining him at the front of the pack and hurried to deal with Stefan Bradl and Jack Miller two laps into the race for seventh place. A lap later Lorenzo was forced to letRossi and Viñales through and followed them past Petrucci, but was unable to keep up with their pace.