Jorge Lorenzo takes his 50th GP victory in Phillip Island thriller
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo delivered a stunning ride today to win the Australian Grand Prix in a thrilling spectacle filled with drama. Teammate Valentino Rossi delivered another exciting performance, fighting to take third on the podium.
Following concerns over the safety of the Bridgestone tyres to last full race distance the race was changed to incorporate a bike change at the ten-lap mark, with the total laps reduced to 19.
The start saw Lorenzo take the hole-shot from his pole position with riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in hot pursuit. The reigning champion gave no quarter but was unable to pull away, the rivals staying within 0.5 of a second as they counted down to the pit stop.
This itself turned into a bizarre event with potential consequences for the championship. Pedrosa pitted a lap early, Lorenzo pitted at the ten-lap mark and Marquez pitted a lap too late. As a result Marquez was given a black flag and disqualified and Pedrosa was forced to drop a position after crossing the white line on his pit lane exit.
Further disaster was also narrowly avoided when Marquez exited the pits just as Lorenzo passed down the straight at high speed, the two making contact into turn one. Luckily both were able to stay upright and continue. Lorenzo kept the pressure on and held the top spot for the remaining nine laps to claim the race win.
The result leaves Lorenzo now on 280 points, 18 behind Marquez as they head to Motegi for the final of the triple-headers. Rossi stays secure in fourth position on 214 points, 35 ahead of Crutchlow in fifth.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st | 29’07.155 | 19 Laps
“I’m really happy with this win, we’ve also been lucky because Marc made this mistake. Without that he would have been second or first because he was really fast today. So we’ve been lucky but we were unlucky in the middle of the championship so today is a balance. When I was entering the first corner Marc was exiting the pit at exactly the same time, the situation was almost impossible to avoid. I was braking a little later to open the line and I don’t think he was looking so much entering the corner so it was both our fault. Now we have options, if Marc keeps constant on the podium then it is impossible to win the championship but there are a lot of laps to go so anything could happen.
It’s unbelievable to have 50 Grand Prix victories at 26 years old. It seems like only yesterday when I won in Brazil in 2003 but it’s been ten years. I’m very proud of it and hope to win some more in the future!”