A FIGHTING win in a lesser category for an Aussie rising star, and the return to the top of the podium for the one they call the Doctor – Valentino Rossi, in the main game – rounded out an action packed, accident riddled Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix weekend.
Let’s start with the young Aussie, 19-year-old Jack Miller (pictured), who rides for KTM in Moto3 (the third tier feeder series to MotoGP), who snuck home to victory by just 0.029 of a second, to keep his hopes in the Moto3 World Championship alive (hopes that hung in the balance prior to the Phillip Island event).
Win, lose or draw, the talented youngster being hailed as the next Casey Stoner is off to MotoGP next year, after landing a multi-year deal with Honda, that will catapult him into a series dominated already by runaway championship leader (who can’t lose the world title) and fellow Honda rider Marc Marquez.
In MotoGP, 23 riders took the green flag, with just 14 finishing the crash marred race, which saw champion elect Marquez and Ducati star Cal Crutchlow both crash out in separate incidents, and crowd favourite Dani Pedrosa suffer mechanical failure.
But the crashes and mechanical failures did have one benefit, especially if you’re currently sitting second in the championship, and a victory would essentially cement that spot for you with just two rounds remaining.
For Valentino Rossi, aboard the number 46 machine, it was a return of the legend, with the missing major rivals allowing Rossi to put on a riding display as he stormed to victory by more than 10 seconds, dedicating his win to the fans, and securing him his 108th race victory (82 in MotoGP).
In Moto2, the main support series to MotoGP, the aptly names Maverick Vinales outshone more fancied rivals to secure the race win by just under 1.5 seconds, in what can best be described as an error packed race, with a number of riders making costly mistakes on the tricky Victorian circuit.