Jorge Lorenzo wins dramatic Australian GP while Marc Marquez is disqualified
The Australian round of the 2013 MotoGP Championship at Phillip Island will arguably be one of the races that will long be talked about thanks to the sturm and drang that surrounded the entire race weekend.
Jorge Lorenzo was able to take a highly important victory as he re-opened his title challenge for the crown, following standings leader Marc Marquez disqualification.
Marquez was highly expected to be crowned the World champion yesterday, but his disqualification means that his lead over Lorenzo is now cut down to 18 points with just two rounds left in the season.
The controversial round all started with a significant judgement error by Bridgestone.
The tire supplier did not take into account last year's resurfacing of the Phillip Island circuit, which is now more abrasive and offers a much higher grip.
The new asphalt conditions and unusually higher ambient temperatures took a toll on the rear tires, that overheated, blistered and chunked , putting the riders in serious jeopardy.
Due to the concern over safety issues, Bridgestone, Dorna and the FIM decided after qualifying on Saturday, that the race would have to be cut from 27 laps to 26 laps, with a mandatory pit stop for the riders who would have change bikes by the end of the 14th lap, making it a flag-to-flag race, even if the conditions were dry.
However, after warm-up practice on Sunday morning, Bridgestone found that the tires after a few laps were even worse conditions and would not last even last 14 laps, so the Race Direction, just a few hours before the race, was forced to slash the race to just 19 laps, with the riders obliged to ride only 9 to 10 laps before pitting, and this new rule turned into a nightmare, for Marquez and his Repsol Honda team.
Sitting on pole was Lorenzo who got off to another of his lightning starts followed by Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in hot pursuit, as Marquez suffered a huge moment that fortunately did not throw him off balance, as the the three Spaniards once again began breaking away from the rest of the field.
The three riders were never separated by more than half a second, as race headed into the end of the 9th lap, when the first to peel into the pitlane to change machines was Dani Pedrosa and few others, and one lap later Lorenzo and the rest of the riders also pitted, but not Marquez who came in after the completion of the 10th lap.
However when Marquez exited from the pitlane to head into the first corner – barely looking and not conceding the line - he found Lorenzo preparing to brake and take on the corner.
The two clashed so hard that Marquez lost a protector off his glove, and the result of the contact saw the rookie forcibly bounced into third behind his team mate.
Admist the excitement and onsuing drama, the Race Direction then flashed position penalty to Pedrosa, because he had broken the pit lane speed limit when rejoined the race after his pit stop, and he had to concede his second spot to Marquez, who was still in the hunt.
However with five laps still remaining Marquez was shown the black flag - as he had exceeded the lap limit set out in Race Direction's earlier instructions - and had to ruefully return to his garage with no title, and a big fat zero next to his name.
After Marquez’ black flag, Lorenzo easily pulled clear of Pedrosa to take the victory as the Repsol Honda veteran finished second and more than six seconds down, while Valentino Rossi grabbed third, after a huge battle with Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista, that went to the line.
Marquez wasn't the only rider to be disqualified, Bryan Staring and Damian Cudlin were also black flagged for the same reason, while Aleix Espargaro was crowned the 2013 CRT class champion after finishing 11th.
2013 MotoGP Phillip Island Race Results:
- 01- Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – 19 laps in 29’07.155
- 02- Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Honda RC213V – + 6.936
- 03- Valentino Rossi – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 12.344
- 04- Cal Crutchlow – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 12.460
- 05- Alvaro Bautista – GO&FUN Honda Gresini – Honda RC213V – + 12.513
- 06- Bradley Smith – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 28.263
- 07- Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 32.953
- 08- Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 35.062
- 09- Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 35.104
- 10- Randy De Puniet – Power Electronics Aspar – ART GP13 – + 37.426
- 11- Aleix Espargaro – Power Electronics Aspar+46.099
- 12- Colin Edwards – NGM Mobile Forward Racing+48.149
- 13- Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 49.911
- 14- Hector Barbera – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – + 49.998
- 15- Danilo Petrucci – CAME Iodaracing Project – Ioda Suter BMW – + 58.718
- 16- Luca Scassa – Cardion AB Motoracing – ART GP13 – + 58.791
- 17- Claudio Corti – NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR Kawasaki – + 1’08.105
- 18- Michael Laverty – Paul Bird Motorsport – ART GP13 – + 1’27.230
- 19- Lukas Pesek – CAME Iodaracing Project – Ioda Suter BMW – + 1’31.093
- 20- Hiroshi Aoyama – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – 1 lap