Marquez managed to scrap through a four-way battle against the ‘Usual Suspects’ to come up tops to maintain third in the standings, which he’ll most likely to remain with just two races left.
In the qualifiers, Marquez snatched his eighth pole of the year; finishing just three tenths of a second ahead of Iannone. Lorenzo made the cut to join the front row with his third quickest lap time as he beat out the second Repsol Honda of Pedrosa.
Marquez’s blistering pace underlined his intentions through the qualifiers. With all chances of a third straight championship having gone, the double MotoGP Champion has nothing to lose as he aims to add to his tally of four wins so far this year, already equalling championship leader Rossi.
Third best qualifier Lorenzo, who holds the track’s best record of 1:27.899, held second place in the early part of the 15-minute shootout. On his second run, the twice champion was back out and his second attempt saw him post a 1:28.839s lap, briefly moving him up to second position, until Iannone took over his place just moments later. Falling to fourth, he went out for a final run in the last 2 1/2 mins and posted a 1:28.680s lap for second position, but soon became third as Iannone again finished ahead.
Rossi could only manage seventh at the conclusion of the qualifiers, although his first flying lap of 1:30.023 gave him third place. His second attempt wasn’t a consistent one as he pulled off a seventh and on his final attempt, the 9-time champ improved to sixth and was eventually pushed down to seventh.
The front-row starters Iannone, Marquez and Lorenzo immediately got into it at the race onset. Iannone pulled out to lead everyone, followed by Lorenzo who got the edge on Marquez. Before the first lap was completed, Lorenzo picked off Iannone for the race lead at turn 8. Over the next two laps, the race leaders were going hard at it and it was Lorenzo who came up tops. Lorenzo apparently had the edge as the race dwindled down to 25 laps or less.
It looked like the race leader was soon to be visited by Rossi, Marquez and Iannone once more, until the chasing group started to fight amongst themselves. Lorenzo put his head down one more time and increased the gap to 1.2s with 15 laps to go. However, despite his consistency, Marquez reached the back of his bike two laps later and the following swapping of places between the Spaniards allowed Iannone and Rossi to catch up.
Realizing the threat that came from behind Lorenzo put in a brave move in Lukey Heights and took over the lead with six laps to go. He tried to build up a solid lead, but again it wasn’t to last. He defended his leading position the best he could, but was caught in the end and had to settle for second, +0.249s from the front. Lorenzo had to yield to Marquez who regained the lead with a searing last lap; the fastest of the race.
Iannone was in the leading group mix on numerous occasions, giving rise to one of the most spectacular GPs in recent years. On the last lap Iannone, who had also led the race for several corners, was able to hold off the attacks from Rossi and he flashed across the line in third place, just 0.930 of a second behind the race winner, Marquez.
Rossi climbed up from sixth in the early stint, then made a push for the lead group. Chasing Marquez, Rossi set the fastest lap at that time of the race with nine laps to go. The young Spaniard went wide in Doohan Corner, allowing Rossi to catch up, but soon a scrap between him and Iannone gave Marquez a chance to break away and reel in Lorenzo. Four laps from the end, Rossi actually got ahead of Iannone and came up side-by-side to Marquez. The Doctor couldn’t quite make it stick, and Iannone took the opportunity to re-pass for the third spot. Rossi had to settle for fourth, +1.058s from the front. Fifth place went to Pedrosa, who had to work hard to get to the front of the pack, and the points earned for his fighting fifth reinforced his fifth place in the standings.
Sixth through tenth spots featured Maverick Viñales, Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro, Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Iannone’s team mate Andrea Dovizioso had a difficult session at Phillip Island, ending up 13th. The Italian, who started from row 4 in tenth position, crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in tenth and then scrapped with Espargarò and Smith until lap 14, but lost ground over the next few laps. He eventually finished thirteenth, behind Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci.
Lorenzo and Rossi’s second and fourth places ensured Yamaha their 37th manufacturers’ crown, thanks to an accumulated 362 points, thus far. This occasion meant that the outfit take the Manufacturers’ title on Yamaha’s 60th anniversary year, adding to the Japanese constructor’s extensive list of milestones in the history of MotoGP, which dates back to 1949 when the first Grand Prix race was held. Fifteen years later Yamaha won its first manufacturers’ title in the 250cc class, marking the start of Yamaha’s legacy. In total, the company has won 37 manufacturers’ titles (5xMotoGP; 9x500cc; 14x250cc; 4x125cc; 5x350cc), including the one in 2015. This year’s victory has Yamaha tied with MV Augusta for second place in the rankings of most successful manufacturer ever over all classes.
Yamaha’s looking to add the Riders’ crown into the trophies cabinet ahead of the season’s last two races. The last time Yamaha won the Rider Title in the MotoGP class was in 2012 with Jorge Lorenzo, who also scored the title in 2010. He brought Yamaha’s premier class rider titles tally to 16 wins so far, of which four were secured by Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP class (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009), three by Wayne Rainey (1990, 1991, 1992), three by Eddie Lawson (1984, 1986, 1988), three by Kenny Roberts (1978, 1979, 1980) and one by Giacomo Agostini (1975) in the 500cc class. With the certainty that either Rossi or Lorenzo will wrap up the coveted Triple Crown in one of the final two races in Sepang (Malaysia) and Valencia (Spain), Yamaha is looking forward to a lively end to the season.
By the end of the year Yamaha should have their fifth MotoGP Triple Crown since the team category was included in 2002. Yamaha previously scored the triple crown three years in a row, from 2008 to 2010.
2015 MotoGP Phillip Island, results
1 Marc Marquez Honda 40:33.849
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha +0.249
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati +0.930
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +1.058
5 Daniel Pedrosa Honda +5.062
6 Maverick Viñales Suzuki +6.800
7 Cal Crutchlow Honda +9.375
8 Pol Espargaro Yamaha +18.401
9 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki +20.039
10 Bradley Smith Yamaha +20.657
11 Scott Redding Honda +21.846
12 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +22.840
13 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +29.168
14 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia +37.244
15 Jack Miller Honda +40.192
16 Hector Barbera Ducati +48.263
17 Yonny Hernandez Ducati +48.572
18 Loris Baz Yamaha +48.677
19 Eugene Laverty Honda +50.201
20 Mike Di Meglio Ducati +50.262
1 Marc Marquez 1:28.364
2 Andrea Iannone 1:28.680
3 Jorge Lorenzo 1:28.680
4 Dani Pedrosa 1:28.712
5 Cal Crutchlow 1:28.912
6 Maverick Vinales 1:28.932
7 Valentino Rossi 1:29.014
8 Aleix Espargaro 1:29.015
9 Pol Espargaro 1:29.222
10 Andrea Dovizioso 1:29.267
1 Valentino Rossi 296
2 Jorge Lorenzo 285
3 Marc Marquez 222
4 Andrea Iannone 188
5 Daniel Pedrosa 165
6 Bradley Smith 158
7 Andrea Dovizioso 153
8 Cal Crutchlow 107
9 Danilo Petrucci 97
10 Pol Espargaro 96
11 Aleix Espargaro 88
12 Maverick Viñales 84
13 Scott Redding 78
14 Yonny Hernandez 49
15 Hector Barbera 30