LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow romped to victory at the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, as world champion and pole-sitter Marc Marquez crashed out.
Marquez slid off at Honda corner on Lap 10, clearing the way for the British rider to grab only his second win in first class racing. Crutchlow finished ahead of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who begun in 15th, and Suzuki star Maverick Vinales, who were second and third, respectively.
Here’s the moment the Englishman clinched victory in Australia, per the MotoGP Twitter feed:
It was another absorbing chapter in a fascinating 2016 MotoGP season. Here are the results in full from Phillip Island and a closer examination of how this race transpired.
|MotoGP 2016: Australian Grand Prix Results|
|1||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||27||40:48.543|
|5||Pol Espargaro||Tech3 Yamaha||27||14.299s|
|7||Scott Redding||Pramac Ducati||27||28.369s|
|8||Bradley Smith||Tech3 Yamaha||27||28.781s|
|9||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||27||28.792s|
|10||Jack Miller||Marc VDS Honda||27||28.815s|
|13||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Ducati||27||47.749s|
|14||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Ducati||27||54.311s|
|15||Mike Jones||Avintia Ducati||27||55.875s|
|16||Tito Rabat||Marc VDS Honda||27||1:06.395s|
|-||Loris Baz||Avintia Ducati||0||Retirement|
|MotoGP 2016: Rider Standings|
Crutchlow Keeps his Cool
After winning the Japanese Grand Prix last time out to secure his third world title in MotoGP, it was little surprise to see Marquez get off to a strong start in Australia, too.
Initially, Pol Espargaro moved to the front after being sharpest off the line, before the Honda champion slowly worked his way to the head of the pack, building up a decent buffer to the chasing riders.
However, in a season of memorable moments for Marquez, the Australian race quickly became one to forget. He misjudged his approach to Honda corner on Lap 10, resulting in a spectacular crash and his subsequent retirement from the race.
The man himself posted the following snap after the event, capturing the moment he made the error:
After a tussle with Espargaro for what was previously second place, Crutchlow now found himself in the lead and with a brilliant chance to clinch his second win of the season. He was able to quickly put distance between himself and the rest of the field, with the LCR Honda thriving in clean air.
Further back, Rossi was showing all of his experience with another masterful display. Having started in 15th place, the Yamaha man had been cutting through the field superbly in the early part of the race and was quickly up into a battle for a podium spot.
As we can see here, the man known as the Doctor wasn’t hanging about, as he executed some superb overtakes at Phillip Island:
Up into second, he had Crutchlow in his sights, although as the race rumbled on, the Italian’s desperation to chop down his lead led to mistakes, and an error at Turn 4 ended any chances of a memorable win for the veteran.
The scrap for third was a fascinating one, though, with Vinales moving through to join Andrea Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaro in the mix for the final spot on the rostrum.
It was the latter who looked the raciest in the final stages, although he was a little too aggressive at Turn 4, making an error and crashing out. It allowed Vinales to eventually take a hard-earned podium.
For the 21-year-old Suzuki rider, this was another strong performance in a prosperous year. Motorsports journalist Neil Morrison has been very impressed with his efforts in 2016:
Meanwhile, Crutchlow was pretty flawless up top, maintaining a comfortable distance between him and Rossi. After winning for the first time ever in MotoGP earlier in the year at Brno, this was the ride of a man who knows what’s needed to secure victories in this unforgiving sport.
Here’s a listen to what Crutchlow had to say after the race in Australia:
Meanwhile, the world champion lamented an opportunity missed. “I braked too late, and instead of going wide, I tried to keep the line,” Marquez said of his error, per Mitchell Adam of Autosport. “I took a lot of risks to lead from the beginning.”
Just two races remain on the 2016 calendar. The riders head to Malaysia in a week’s time, while the climax of the the campaign will be in Valencia on November 13.