The 2015 Australian GP will go down in history as one of the greatest races ever in MotoGP. It was truly epic and that’s no overstatement. As we’re entering the final lap, Yamaha‘s Jorge Lorenzo leads, ahead of Ducati‘s Andrea Iannone, Honda‘s Marc Marquez and teammate Valentino Rossi. Marquez is 0.778 seconds down from 1st position and not only does he need to fight a Lorenzo desperate for the win to close the gap on championship leader Rossi, but also a very determined Iannone. And he does just that! In one lap, Marc Marquez makes up the time difference, passes both Iannone and Lorenzo, and wins with 0.249 seconds to spare. It was the fastest lap of the day and secured the factory Honda rider’s 50th GP win and his 5th this year. Still only 22, Marquez became the youngest driver ever to reach this many wins.
The final lap was just the icing on what had already been an amazing race. It was a four-way brawl that kept the 30,000+ spectators at Phillip Island on their feet, not just at the edge of their seats. Iannone produced one of the best overtaking maneuvers I’ve seen in years to pass both Rossi and Marquez in the same turn! That’s two riders with nine World Championships between them, if we count just the premier class titles. Lorenzo was more aggressive than ever as he managed to cut Rossi‘s lead at the top of the standings to 11 points, with just two GPs left this season. And don’t think Rossi was a simple spectator to the fight, settling for a cushy 4th. No chance of that. He got past Iannone into 3rd at turn 4, on the final lap, before his fellow countryman won back the position. In the end, “The Doctor” was only a second behind Marquez as he crossed the finish line in 4th. Still, Rossi would have wanted to get more out of the Australian GP. Lorenzo too, even if he did finish 2nd. A win would have meant making up 12 points on Rossi in the standings, instead of settling for seven.
Yamaha have secured the Constructors title in Australia, thanks to another great display from both their riders. It was only the second time this season that Rossi failed to finish on the podium, while Lorenzo has been in the top three in 10 out of 16 rounds in 2015. Rossi knows he has to play it cool and smart these last couple of races. Even if Marquez manages to win both of them, as long as Rossi finishes right behind him he’ll still be World Champion. And out of the two remaining rounds, Marquez has never won at Sepang in MotoGP. The Spanish rider was 3rd last season, as his Italian teammate came in 2nd.
There was also an odd moment at Phillip Island, as Iannone crashed head-first into a flying seagull. The Ducati rider managed to escape unscathed, but the same can’t be said for the bird. All in all, an exciting and eventful race that has every reason to be remembered for years to come.