2015 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix
|Race 16 of 18 races in the|
2015 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
|Date||18 October 2015|
|Official name||Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix|
|Location||Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit|
In his 130th start, Marc Márquez achieved his 50th Grand Prix win – becoming the ninth rider to reach that mark, and the youngest to do so, at 22 years, 243 days – with a final-lap pass on Jorge Lorenzo. The final podium position was taken by Andrea Iannone, despite striking a seagull during the early laps. With Valentino Rossi finishing in fourth place, Lorenzo cut the championship lead to eleven points with two races remaining. With Lorenzo's result, Yamaha clinched their first title for constructors championship; their first title since 2010. The race is considered to be one of the best in MotoGP history, many praising the battle between the top four riders as thrilling and unpredictable.
In the lower classes, Álex Rins took his second Moto2 victory of the season, finishing clear of Sam Lowes and Lorenzo Baldassarri; Baldassarri's result was his first podium finish in Grand Prix racing. In Moto3, Miguel Oliveira's fourth victory of 2015 maintained his mathematical chance of claiming the world championship title. Efrén Vázquez finished in second place ahead of Oliveira's teammate Brad Binder. Championship leader Danny Kent crashed out of the race, which meant that Oliveira reduced the championship lead to 40.
The Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was announced as the 16th race of the 2015 MotoGP championship by the global motorsporting body FIM in September 2014, with the race being conducted a week after the Japanese Grand Prix and a week before the race in Sepang, Malaysia. It was the 26th season that Grand Prix motorcycle racing has conducted a race in Australia and the 20th race conducted at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria. After the race in Japan from the previous week, Valentino Rossi was leading the championship 18 points ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez was 86 points behind Rossi and was mathematically out of championship contention going into Australia, with 75 points on offer in the final three races of the season. Dani Pedrosa was the previous race winner in Japan, with Rossi finishing in second and Lorenzo in third. In the teams championship, Movistar Yamaha conserved its lead in Japan to 192 points over Repsol Honda, making it also mathematically impossible for the team to be beaten, while the Ducati Factory Team sat in third place only 34 points away from Repsol Honda and still had an opportunity to take second place by the end of the season. The constructors championship showed Yamaha had a 57 point lead over Honda, although there was still a possibility for Honda to win the title, it was highly unlikely.
Due to injuries sustained at the Catalan Grand Prix earlier in the season, Karel Abraham announced that he would step aside from the rest of the season beginning with the Japanese Grand Prix, with Anthony West taking his place in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia. Alex de Angelis also announced that he would not compete the rest of the season after sustaining an injury during a free practice session in Japan, with Damian Cudlin replacing him for the Australian and Malaysian races.
Practice and QualifyingEdit
Despite warm and sunny conditions on Thursday, the weather on Friday turned to cold and rainy by Friday with an average temperature of 14°C throughout the day.
In the first practice session, after being cut short due to rain hitting the circuit, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa covered the top four spots, with Jack Miller completing the top five. Most of the session took place in overcast conditions, with belief that the weather would improve throughout the weekend.
The third practice session began early Saturday morning, a cross wind had developed across pit straight, which compromised riding times. Iannone took the lead within the first 10 minutes of the session, while Rossi became the first to improve on his Friday practice times. With 10 minutes to go, Marquez was the only rider able to pass the time set by Iannone with the track temperature increasing to 22°C and the sun beginning to make an impact, producing more tyre grip than yesterdays practices as riders changed to slick tyres. Despite nearly riding into the back of Pol Espargaró in turn four, Marquez set the quickest time of the weekend a lap later, with Cal Crutchlow finishing in second place and Lorenzo in third, Scott Redding set his fastest lap of the weekend finishing in fourth while Maverick Viñales completed the top five.
Pol Espargaro began Q1 by recording one of the fastest times of the weekend amongst the non-factory bikes, he set an even quicker lap time on his second attempt which secured his spot in Q2, while the battle for the second spot intensified as three riders including Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and Miller exchanged second place in quick succession, with Aleix taking the second spot on his Suzuki despite being held up by the Aprilia riders Stefan Bradl and Álvaro Bautista.
In what was described as “perfect track conditions”, Marquez won his eighth pole position for the season, leading throughout the entirety of the qualifying session, setting the fastest time of the weekend on his first attempt. Aleix Espargaro came close to equalling Marquez's first qualifying record target, losing time in the final sector staying in second place at the halfway point of the session, while Lorenzo remained in third place after one attempt with Iannone in fourth. Marquez made a strategic decision to complete three runs within the session and had the entire track to himself in his second run, allowing him to improve his time drastically. During the last three minutes, everyone began improving their sector times, with no one being able to catch Marquez at the top. In an unprecedented and rare moment for the sport, Iannone and Lorenzo tied for second place, with both men setting the exact same top qualifying time, Iannone declared the winner of the tiebreaker from his second fastest qualifying time, while Lorenzo only set one lap. Despite qualifying in second, Iannone's tactics came underfire as he consistently tagged Lorenzo and followed him around the track lap after lap, a tactic that angered Lorenzo, Yamaha and journalists covering the event. Iannone acknowledged that tagging Lorenzo helped his time, but stopped short of calling it cheating, stating he felt he could still achieve the same time without him, while Lorenzo and journalists disagreed with Iannone's statement. Pedrosa qualified in fourth, despite being in the front row position throughout the session. Crutchlow was crowned the top independent rider for the session, placing fifth and Vinales finishing sixth. Championship leader, Rossi performed his worst qualifying session since Indianapolis, finishing in seventh place and on the third row. Aleix and Pol Espargaro qualified eighth and ninth respectively. After sweeping the weekend in practice and qualifying, fans and journalists began predicting how big a margin Marquez would win by and whether any other rider had a chance of victory, not anticipating the incredible race that would unexpectedly unfold the next day.
The race began at 4pm local time, with Iannone lead the field going into turn one, although the lead didn't last long as Lorenzo took over the lead by turn eight. The beginning of the second lap, Iannone had retaken the lead but was bizarrely hit by a seagull flying on the track causing body damage to his bike, he briefly lapsed in concentration allowing Lorenzo to retake the lead and Marquez to join them the leading battle pack. The battle began to heat up between the top three riders with obvious advantages and disadvantages between the Honda, Yamaha and Ducati. Iannone's Ducati had incredible straight line speed which allowed him to pass his competitors on the main straight with ease, while despite having the weakest straight line speed Lorenzo's Yamaha had the best corner speed of the three riders and Marquez's Honda being the most consistent in both the corners and the straight line speed. The constant passing between the top three riders allowed Rossi and Crutchlow to catch up to the leading battle pack, although Crutchlow - whose LCR Honda was suffering from wheel spin - was not able to keep the same pace as the top four and began to drop away from the leaders. When Rossi joined the leading battle pack, Lorenzo began to establish a dominant lead leaving Marquez, Iannone and Rossi in a three-way battle for second place.
Lap 25, Lorenzo still had an established lead with Marquez, Rossi and Iannone still chasing when Rossi attempted to pass Marquez, the manoeuvre left open space for Iannone to pass both riders moving him from fourth to second, which was praised as one of the best overtakes of the season. As the final lap began, Lorenzo was running first, Iannone in second, Marquez third and Rossi fourth. Incredibly, Marquez completed his fastest lap of the race, managing to overtake Iannone, as well as Lorenzo halfway through the lap to win. While Lorenzo was devastated, Iannone managed to pass Rossi on the final corner to take third place, shrinking Lorenzo's championship deficit to eleven points to his visible delight.
Tammy Gorali, the MotoGP commentator for Sport 5 Israel, counted 52 passes between the top four riders including 13 lead changes throughout the race with Iannone completing the most of the riders with 18 overtakes.
The race has been applauded by fans, journalists and riders for its unpredictable nature and thrilling racing between race winner Marquez, eventual world champion Lorenzo, Iannone and Rossi, journalists calling it "the race we had been waiting for" and one of the best since the beginning of the 4-stroke era. Marquez expressed surprise when he passed Lorenzo on the final lap and didn't believe he could catch him as the front tyre of his bike began overheating towards the end of the race, also calling his race win one of the best in his career. Lorenzo also admitted he was surprised when Marquez passed him, but praised him for his "unbelievable last lap". He also praised the race calling it "the best this year and probably in the last five or 10 years." Commentator Matt Birt, compared the finish between Marquez and Lorenzo to the finish of Lorenzo and Rossi at the 2009 Catalunya Grand Prix, describing the race as "breathless and fearless". Iannone's incident with the seagull went viral on social media websites hours after the race, with memes and Facebook pages dedicated to the event. Iannone saw the humorous side of the situation commenting at the press conference, "The seagull waited for the kiss". Despite the seagull mishap, Iannone's performance is described as the best race of his MotoGP career. The event trended worldwide on social media website Twitter, with celebrities such as Mark Webber, Pau Gasol and Ewan McGregor praising the race as one of the best.
Rossi did not share the same positive views of the race as his fellow riders accusing Marquez and Lorenzo of conspiring against him to ensure that Lorenzo won this year's world title at his expense, a claim Marquez and Lorenzo both strongly denied. He also accused Marquez of sandbagging the race to ensure that Lorenzo gained an unassailable lead to ensure he has a stronger chance of being able to catch up to Rossi's then eighteen point lead. Marquez took offence to these comments which lead to their famous incident in Malaysia which resulted in Rossi receiving a last place grid penalty for Valencia, losing the world title to Lorenzo as a result. Rossi has since admitted regret in making the comments but has never apologised.
|1||93||Marc Márquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||27||40:33.849||1||25|
|2||99||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||27||+0.249||3||20|
|3||29||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||Ducati||27||+0.930||2||16|
|4||46||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||27||+1.058||7||13|
|5||26||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||27||+5.062||4||11|
|6||25||Maverick Viñales||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki||27||+6.800||6||10|
|7||35||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||27||+9.375||5||9|
|8||44||Pol Espargaró||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||27||+18.401||9||8|
|9||41||Aleix Espargaró||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki||27||+20.039||8||7|
|10||38||Bradley Smith||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||27||+20.657||12||6|
|11||45||Scott Redding||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||27||+21.846||11||5|
|12||9||Danilo Petrucci||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||27||+22.840||13||4|
|13||4||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati||27||+29.168||10||3|
|14||19||Álvaro Bautista||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||27||+37.244||18||2|
|15||43||Jack Miller||LCR Honda||Honda||27||+40.192||15||1|
|16||8||Héctor Barberá||Avintia Racing||Ducati||27||+48.263||14|
|17||68||Yonny Hernández||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati||27||+48.572||17|
|18||76||Loris Baz||Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||27||+48.677||19|
|19||50||Eugene Laverty||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||27||+50.201||16|
|20||63||Mike Di Meglio||Avintia Racing||Ducati||27||+50.262||22|
|21||6||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||27||+50.277||21|
|22||24||Toni Elías||Forward Racing||Yamaha Forward||27||+1:20.942||24|
|23||13||Anthony West||AB Motoracing||Honda||27||+1:23.454||23|
|Ret||69||Nicky Hayden||Aspar MotoGP Team||Honda||9||Mechanical||20|
|Ret||55||Damian Cudlin||E-Motion IodaRacing Team||ART||9||Retirement||25|
|2||22||Sam Lowes||Speed Up||25||+6.633||3||20|
|8||36||Mika Kallio||Speed Up||25||+21.883||5||8|
|12||23||Marcel Schrötter||Tech 3||25||+36.583||20||4|
|18||60||Julián Simón||Speed Up||25||+47.305||10|
|19||97||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||25||+47.382||25|
|23||96||Louis Rossi||Tech 3||25||+59.229||22|
|Ret||94||Jonas Folger||Kalex||21||Flat Tire||14|
|Ret||66||Florian Alt||Suter||10||Knee Pain||28|
|DNS||1||Esteve Rabat||Kalex||Did not start|
|OFFICIAL MOTO2 REPORT|
|Ret||48||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Husqvarna||15||Accident Damage||21|
|Ret||55||Andrea Locatelli||Honda||13||Neck Pain||34|
|Ret||58||Juan Francisco Guevara||Mahindra||6||Accident||16|
|DNS||20||Fabio Quartararo||Honda||Did not start|
|OFFICIAL MOTO3 REPORT|
Championship standings after the race (MotoGP)Edit
Below are the standings for the top five riders and constructors after round sixteen has concluded.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for all sets of standings.
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2015 Japanese Grand Prix
|FIM Grand Prix World Championship
2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
2014 Australian Grand Prix
|Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix||Next race:|
2016 Australian Grand Prix