Maverick Viñales led for the majority of the race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, pacing the field for 16 laps as he looked for a repeat of last year’s win at the track. But a last-lap crash while battling for the lead put an end to his attempt at back-to-back Australia wins.
Viñales was able to walk away from the incident without any injuries, but couldn’t finish the race.
Valentino Rossi registered a dream start to his 400th Grand Prix, rocketing to the lead from fourth on the grid before dropping back for an eighth-place finish.
Valentino Rossi: “It was a great start and a very good way to celebrate my 400th Grand Prix, being able to be in front for a bit. In the end, the race result for sure isn’t fantastic, but I was not so far behind Jack Miller, who arrived on the podium, and I was able to ride in a better way and was more competitive compared to the previous weekend. Anyway, we need more, and we need to be stronger. We need to work, and we’ll see. Racing at the Phillip Island track is always great, but in the end it was a hard battle.”
Maverick Viñales: “I started the last lap much tighter to the curb to have the chance, if Marc would overtake at the last moment, to brake later. But he overtook me before the finish line. Then I was planning to push to the maximum in sector 3 to overtake in Turn 10, and that’s what I did. So, before I crashed, I was ready to go in without braking to see what would happen, but I locked the rear. Maybe I made a mistake, I don’t know, and then I just fell down on the other side. Today was a race to win, not to be second. I had the chance, so I tried. Anyway, for me it was a very positive race, I crashed but I was satisfied. I gave my best on every lap and the bike was working in a really good way.”