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Action shots from 2017 MotoGP Phillip Island, Australia
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Maverick & Ice-Man Rossi touchdown on Aussie MotoGP podium after seven-man thriller

Oct 222017

Was it Moto3 or MotoGP? The bumping, barging, invasion of personal space and all-out action with a group of seven-eight riders gunning for spoils in the sixteenth and latest episode of Grand Prix was nothing short of spectacular at one of the most sumptuous racing courses in the world. The Michelin Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island was another one for the ages.

Ultimately World Champion Marc Marquez had enough grip and guile to pull free for his sixth victory of the year and to place one hand on a fourth MotoGP crown but the experienced calculating coolness of Valentino Rossi helped the Movistar Yamaha ace to his first podium finish since breaking his leg prior to Misano and teammate Maverick Viñales made it through the melee to deny Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco by just two hundredths of a second at the flag.

A day of sun then a day of rain down under but finally Sunday was chilly and dry for another spellbinding affair at ‘PI’ and in a 2017 campaign that has twisted and turned. Marquez, Rossi, Viñales, Zarco, Andrea Iannone, Jack Miller, Cal Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro – prior to the Catalan’s crash – cut-and-thrust, jibbed and jibed and disputed leading positions in a 27 lap dash that saw five different riders hit the front at one stage or another.

“I enjoyed the race very much,” said Rossi, whose runner-up slot was his seventh podium at Phillip Island and contributed towards the fourth ‘double’ top three of 2017 for Movistar Yamaha. “This track is unbelievable and it was a great race! All the riders in front were very aggressive, so you need to be more 'stupid', more aggressive, than they are. It was a great battle with Zarco, Iannone, Marquez and Viñales. I wanted to try the maximum to be on the podium. In the end I'm in second place and I'm very happy.”

“I was quite far back from where I needed to be in the last corner but the bike accelerated really well and I even thought I could pass Valentino,” Viñales offered after his seventh podium for Yamaha. “In the end he was a bit too far ahead, but I‘m still really happy. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, especially on the soft tyre. The championship challenge is gone, this is not good news, but we already knew all season it was going to be difficult, especially during the second part. We have to try to be strong, as always, and try to be on the podium again in Malaysia.”

“It is a good feeling to achieve this target,” the Frenchman commented. “There were a lot of fast riders who came from Moto2 in 2017, including my teammate Jonas, Alex Rins and Sam Lowes. The main aim was to be Rookie of the Year and I am happy to have done this. I was a bit more consistent which helped me to get the points. Now, I need to keep the 6th position in the championship and it will be fantastic if I can do this.”

Franco Morbidelli was third in Moto2 for the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider’s tenth trophy of 2017 and crucially the points give the Italian a breather of 29 over Thomas Luthi at the top of the championship. Joan Mir owned Moto3 to become a very worthy world champion.

 

The final stage of the MotoGP triple heads to Sepang next week before a deserved break back in Europe and the trip to the compact Ricardo Tormo circuit in November.

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