MotoGP: Rossi wins Australian Grand Prix for sixth time
PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — Valentino Rossi of Italy won his sixth Australian Grand Prix MotoGP — and first since 2005 — when he claimed a 10-second victory over Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo on Sunday.
The win by Rossi, who started eighth on the grid, was his 82nd in MotoGP, or its predecessor the 500 c.c. class, the most by any rider.
World champion Marc Marquez of Spain, who clinched the season title last weekend in Japan, crashed with 10 laps remaining while leading by four seconds on the 4.5-kilometer (2.7-mile) Philip Island circuit.
Marquez slide across the tarmac and in to a grassy area and was not injured.
Bradley Smith of Britain was third, with all podium finishers on Yamahas. Another British rider, Cal Crutchlow, was in line for second place before he crashed out on the final lap.
Crutchlow was one of nine forced retirements, including Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro and Pol Espargaro.
"I knew I had to start behind but I knew I had quite good pace," said the 35-year-old Rossi. "On the second corner I saw Marc and Jorge in front and I was still sixth — I thought `this will be hard’. But after I was able to overtake it was fine."
Rossi said it was meaningful to win again in Australia.
"On one of the best and more important tracks and beautiful tracks of the season … is a great achievement," he said.
The win gave Rossi control for second place in the championship — he now leads Lorenzo by eight points with two races remaining in Sepang, Malaysia next weekend and at Valencia, Spain on Nov. 9.
After having tire problems and being overtaken by Crutchlow, Lorenzo called his finish following the British rider’s crash "the luckiest second place of my life."
"On the wrong tire, it was impossible to fight for position," Lorenzo said.
Earlier, Maverick Vinales of Spain rode his Paginas Amarillas HP 40 entry to victory in the Moto2 race while Australian Jack Miller was the Moto3 winner.
Vinales finished the 25-lap Moto2 race in 39 minutes, 10.419 seconds, 1.329 seconds ahead of second-place Thomas Luthi of Switzerland, riding a Suter.
Series leader Esteve Rabat of Spain was third and his Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio fourth, giving Rabat a 41-point lead over his Finnish teammate in the series championship.
Miller, riding a KTM, won his 23-lap race to pull to within 20 points of series leader Alex Marquez, Marc Marquez’ younger brother. Alex Marquez was second in the Moto3 race Sunday.