Jorge Lorenzo (99) closed the gap to World Championship leader Marc Marquez (93) with a dramatic Australian GP win over Dani Pedrosa (26). Jorge Lorenzo (99) closed the gap to World Championship leader Marc Marquez (93) with a dramatic Australian GP win over Dani Pedrosa (26). Photo courtesy motogp.com

Lorenzo wins as Marquez is disqualified

Written by  on Monday, 21 October 2013 07:35

Jorge Lorenzo inflicted maximum damage on the day Marc Marquez could have clinched the MotoGP™ crown, as the current title holder claimed his 50th career race victory in a Tissot Australian Grand Prix including mandatory bike changes. Failing to acknowledge the pre-determined pit window, Marquez was shown the black flag.

Prior to the race, it was announced that the duration would decrease from 27 to 19 laps on the grounds of safety, with tire degradation throughout practice having been significantly higher than expected on the newly-resurfaced Phillip Island circuit. Furthermore, all riders would be obliged to pit for bike changes on either the ninth or 10th laps of the race, while also running the harder available compound throughout.

A clean start saw no fallers, with Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) attacking Lorenzo at the Honda hairpin but the Yamaha Factory Racing man immediately retaking the top spot on the run into Siberia. The sensation would come with the mandatory pit window, with Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa first to peel off from third place at the end of lap nine and followed by numerous other riders.

Lorenzo would pit at the end of the 10th tour but, having expected a pit lane duel with Marquez, saw the 20-year-old rookie continue for another circulation of the circuit. Marquez then came in at the end of lap 11, outside the pre-determined window of pitting by lap 10 at the latest. In a remarkable twist for the 2013 World Championship battle, Marquez was disqualified as was Australian Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) as the same error had been committed.

Having escaped a touch with Marquez as the latter rejoined from the pits, Lorenzo went on to claim win number six of the season; this also marked the first time since 2006 that a rider other than the now retired Casey Stoner had clinched victory at Phillip Island.

"It was a crazy and chaotic race, the first time we have changed bikes in a dry race,” Lorenzo said. “It needed a lot of attention from all of us and the mechanics to be ready, as anything could happen.

"We practiced the bike changes a lot and that was one of the keys to the victory. I was slow in warm up and we had to change some things. We changed the strategy and made some improvements. I was so fast in the race, but Marc and Dani (Pedrosa) were really quick too."

 Giving his opinion on the incident where contact occurred between the two riders, as Marquez left pit lane on his second bike, and the black flag which was to come for his title challenger, Lorenzo continued:

"I braked too late and Marc was coming out of the pit lane so we touched and we were lucky to avoid crashing. We were both at fault. He did not look who was coming, but it was 50/50. The one who is already on track should have the priority. I don’t know exactly what happened to Marc today, if it was a mistake from him or his team, or whether he did not see the pit board.

"We’ve been very lucky. Without the mistake from Marc I think he would have been first or second. Now the championship has changed so much. Before the race we had no chance, a 2% or 3% chance and now it’s 20% or 30%. But Marc is very competitive at every track, so we need to go as hard as possible at Motegi and Valencia."

The MotoGP™ fight now rages on to Motegi Twin Ring and the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan, with the championship lead having been decreased from 43 to 18 points. The season will then end at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain on November 10.

Marquez admitted he and his team misunderstood the timing of the mandatory bike change.

The Repsol Honda rider started the day knowing that he could secure the 2013 MotoGP™ title by outscoring Lorenzo by eight points or more in the shortened 19-lap race but he ended the day having conceded the maximum 25 points to the World Champion.

After the race Marquez explained his team as a whole had believed completing lap 11 was permitted.

He stated, "The plan we had was not correct, we thought that we could do that lap. We thought we could go into the pit at the end of lap 11. The problem was not with the pit board, that was fine, when I saw ‘Box’ I came in. Now we need to forget about it and just concentrate in Motegi."

Asked whether he is still confident of winning the championship in what has been a remarkable rookie season, a smiling Marquez concluded, "I said on Thursday that the championship is very long. Today this happened and maybe in Motegi it’s something else. I know we’re going in the right way, I feel so good on the bike. I could have fought for the podium or the victory today."

Pedrosa finished second to maintain his own title aspirations, as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi beat Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in a thrilling contest for third, while light rain began to fall as proceedings drew to a close.

Bradley Smith was sixth for Tech3, having run as high as fourth thanks to a rapid start, while the top 10 was rounded out by Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) who ended a race as lead CRT for the first time this year.

Behind him, Aleix Espargaro secured enough points to clinch overall CRT honours for the second year in succession.

Pol Espargaro retook the Moto2™ World Championship lead, winning Sunday’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix in the absence of Scott Redding. Tom Luthi and Jordi Torres completed the podium, with Tito Rabat sinking to eighth.

Redding’s chances took a major blow on Saturday, with the Englishman and long-time championship leader being ruled out of action as he fractured his left wrist. Following an operation on Saturday night, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider was left helpless on the sidelines.

Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40) started from his fifth pole of the season, joined on the front row by teammate and last weekend’s Sepang winner Tito Rabat. A reduced race distance saw the riders tackling only 13 laps of the southern Australian venue, with fears over tires having seen changes to the duration following the qualifying session on Saturday.

It would prove to be a lights-to-flag victory for Espargaro, his fifth of the season and allowing the Catalan to win at Phillip Island for the second consecutive year; in the process, he snatched back the championship lead for the first time since after the season-opening race in Qatar. In a brilliant day for Espargaro’s championship situation, teammate Rabat finished only eighth after running off the circuit.

Tom Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) pushed Espargaro all the way, finishing only half a second behind Espargaro for a fifth rostrum of the season and his second within the space of a week. Jordi Torres was third for Aspar Team Moto2, collecting his first podium finish since winning the German Grand Prix in July.

The top five was completed by NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi and former Phillip Island winner Alex de Angelis, who ran second for NGM Mobile Forward Racing in the early stages of the race.

With just the Japanese and Valencian rounds of the season remaining, Espargaro leads Redding in the championship by 16 points. Rabat sits third, 36 points behind the leader with a maximum of 50 left on offer.

Alex Rins won a thrilling Moto3™ Tissot Australian Grand Prix, coming out of top of a multiple-rider battle to beat Maverick Viñales by just three thousandths of a second. Both riders decreased the championship-leading advantage of pole-sitter Luis Salom, who completed the podium at Phillip Island.

Rins’ latest victory of 2013 was surely his most dramatic to date, ensuring he has now matched Salom on six race wins this season as well as having won three of the last four Grands Prix. Remarkably, the top seven riders were covered by just over one second, with Niccolo Antonelli only a further 1.1 in arrears.

A titanic battle at the forefront saw a selection of riders enjoying time in the lead, whereas Salom ran as low as seventh but looked to be making his customary climb to the very sharp end in the closing minutes of the race. However it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who stole the limelight as the final lap began, shooting into the lead at Doohan curve only to run wide and drop to sixth three corners later.

The run to line resulted in the closest finish so far this year in the World Championship, with Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) pipping Viñales (Team Calvo) after having both started on the second row of the grid. The winner now moves to within just five points of championship leader Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) with a pair of races remaining in Japan and Valencia, whereas Viñales is also in contention and 22 in arrears of the overall leader.

MotoGP Race Results

1

25

99

Jorge LORENZO

SPA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

174.1

29'07.155

2

20

26

Dani PEDROSA

SPA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

173.4

+6.936

3

16

46

Valentino ROSSI

ITA

Yamaha Factory Racing

Yamaha

172.9

+12.344

4

13

35

Cal CRUTCHLOW

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

172.9

+12.460

5

11

19

Alvaro BAUTISTA

SPA

GO&FUN Honda Gresini

Honda

172.8

+12.513

6

10

38

Bradley SMITH

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Yamaha

171.3

+28.263

7

9

69

Nicky HAYDEN

USA

Ducati Team

Ducati

170.9

+32.953

8

8

29

Andrea IANNONE

ITA

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing

Ducati

170.7

+35.062

9

7

4

Andrea DOVIZIOSO

ITA

Ducati Team

Ducati

170.7

+35.104

10

6

14

Randy DE PUNIET

FRA

Power Electronics Aspar

ART

170.4

+37.426

11

5

41

Aleix ESPARGARO

SPA

Power Electronics Aspar

ART

169.6

+46.099

12

4

5

Colin EDWARDS

USA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

FTR Kawasaki

169.4

+48.149

13

3

68

Yonny HERNANDEZ

COL

Ignite Pramac Racing

Ducati

169.2

+49.911

14

2

8

Hector BARBERA

SPA

Avintia Blusens

FTR

169.2

+49.998

15

1

9

Danilo PETRUCCI

ITA

Came IodaRacing Project

Ioda-Suter

168.4

+58.718

16

23

Luca SCASSA

ITA

Cardion AB Motoracing

ART

168.4

+58.791

17

71

Claudio CORTI

ITA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

FTR Kawasaki

167.6

+1'08.105

18

70

Michael LAVERTY

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART

165.8

+1'27.230

19

52

Lukas PESEK

CZE

Came IodaRacing Project

Ioda-Suter

165.5

+1'31.093

20

7

Hiroshi AOYAMA

JPN

Avintia Blusens

FTR

162.5

1 Lap

21

50

Damian CUDLIN

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

146.9

2 Laps

Excluded

67

Bryan STARING

AUS

GO&FUN Honda Gresini

FTR Honda

0 Lap

93

Marc MARQUEZ

SPA

Repsol Honda Team

Honda

0 Lap

MotoGP Point Standings

1

Marc MARQUEZ

Honda

SPA

298

2

Jorge LORENZO

Yamaha

SPA

280

3

Dani PEDROSA

Honda

SPA

264

4

Valentino ROSSI

Yamaha

ITA

214

5

Cal CRUTCHLOW

Yamaha

GBR

179

6

Alvaro BAUTISTA

Honda

SPA

147

7

Stefan BRADL

Honda

GER

135

8

Andrea DOVIZIOSO

Ducati

ITA

127

9

Nicky HAYDEN

Ducati

USA

111

10

Bradley SMITH

Yamaha

GBR

99

11

Aleix ESPARGARO

ART

SPA

88

12

Andrea IANNONE

Ducati

ITA

55

13

Michele PIRRO

Ducati

ITA

50

14

Colin EDWARDS

FTR Kawasaki

USA

36

15

Randy DE PUNIET

ART

FRA

33

16

Hector BARBERA

FTR

SPA

31

17

Danilo PETRUCCI

Ioda-Suter

ITA

24

18

Yonny HERNANDEZ

Ducati

COL

20

19

Hiroshi AOYAMA

FTR

JPN

13

20

Claudio CORTI

FTR Kawasaki

ITA

11

21

Ben SPIES

Ducati

USA

9

22

Alex DE ANGELIS

Ducati

RSM

5

23

Karel ABRAHAM

ART

CZE

5

24

Michael LAVERTY

PBM

GBR

3

25

Bryan STARING

FTR Honda

AUS

2

26

Javier DEL AMOR

FTR

SPA

1

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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