Moto GP

280km/hr close call for world champ

THE Phillip Island MotoGP track has had a few demons for riders with several crashes souring the day.

The biggest name taken out was newly-crowned MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez.

While he wasn’t dethroned, it was a lucky escape for Marquez despite his bike was taken out of commission. When competitor Johann Zarco spectacularly crashed out of the race after a Marquez move in front of him, his bike flipping up and slamming down on the back of Marquez’s bike, mangling his back seat and damaging his suspension.

It was on the straight on lap six with the speeds at 280km/hr.

Zarco slid off on his back but gave a thumbs up to show he was unhurt.

Marquez now has the bizarre record now of failing to finish in Australia on three occasions after winning the world title in Japan (2014, 2016 and 2018).

Maverick Vinales celebrates his victory at the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix.Source:AFP

It was his first non-finish of the season, having won the last three races, but he refused to blame Zarco.

“I feel very lucky. I will not complain because it was a racing incident,” he said in the pits.

“The most important thing is that we are both okay. Luckily I won the championship last week, but unfortunately another non-finish for me at Phillip Island.”

Marquez started from pole, and in dry conditions on the demanding and picturesque circuit he was super aggressive from the word go.

Maverick Vinales powered to a dominant victory at the Australian MotoGP.

The Spanish Yahama rider, who started second and took the lead after Marquez retired, scored his first win of the year, taking the chequered flag ahead of Andrea Iannone.

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was third, strengthening his bid to finish runner-up in the world championship as his nearest rival, Valentino Rossi, could only manage sixth.

“It feels amazing,” said Vinales. “I didn’t think I could win, but the bike was perfect. It means a lot to me, particularly in Australia because it’s a place I love to be.”

Jaume Masia has a big crash on turn three in Moto3.Source:News Corp Australia

The Moto3 race also had its share of spills including a spectacular crash between teammates.

Marcos Ramierez caused the crash, sliding out with his teammate Jaume Masia hitting his bike at high speed.

It wasn’t the only spill with Tony Arbolino and Dennis Foggia wiped each other out on the second last lap, while Marco Bezzecchi was taken out by Gabriel Rodrigo.

The race was stunning however with less one second separating the first 14 riders.

Nasty crash in Moto3 race0:00

Moto3: Marcos Ramierez crashed at Stoner Corner and left Jaume Masia nowhere to go during the Moto3 Australian Grand Prix.

— with AFP

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