Moto GP

Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style

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Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‰Ûªs Valentino Rossi raised the roof in Australia, delivering a stunning race victory at Phillip Island at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Doctor made a great start to his 250th Grand Prix race in MotoGP as he jumped two places to sixth on the opening laps. He fought off Dani Pedrosa as he continued to battle his way to the front of the field, passing Bradley Smith and Pol EspargarÌ_ for third place.

Starting from third on the grid Lorenzo was not shy in grabbing the hole shot into turn one. He initially led the race, before falling back behind rival Marc Marquez. Lorenzo pushed to the limit but was unable to match the race leader‰Ûªs pace.

Meanwhile Rossi gradually closed down the gap to reach the rear end of Lorenzo‰Ûªs M1 on lap nine. What happened next was a flurry of activity.

With 17 laps to go Rossi set a fastest lap of 1‰Ûª29.605 and made his first overtaking move at the hairpin and then Lorenzo fought back and retook second place in the first corner of the following lap.
Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Marc Marquez had built a big lean when he crashed handing the race lead over to the dueling Yamaha pair - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
Over the next seven laps the teammates continued to swap places, when suddenly race leader Marquez crashed out of the race on lap 18 and they were left fighting for first and second place.

Rossi then put the hammer down and created an unbridgeable gap, while Lorenzo‰Ûªs front tyre started to drop dramatically, forcing him to hand over second place to Cal Crutchlow. He kept pushing in his efforts to manage the gap to the following riders.

Oblivious to the drama behind him, Rossi had increased his lead to 10.836 seconds and took an amazing victory as he wheelied over the finish line to celebrate his 108th Grand Prix win in all classes.

The stunning win cements Valentino Rossi‰Ûªs reputation as one of the greatest riders to grace the Phillip Island circuit.
Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo went head to head before Rossi took control of the race - Credit: Yamaha Racing
Thanks to this amazing result, Rossi stays in second place in the championship with a points total of 255. He thereby increases the advantage over his teammate Lorenzo to eight points, whose third place sees him rise to third in the championship with 247 points.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm so happy because Phillip Island is one of the most important and most beautiful tracks of the season." Rossi commented. "I won here many times in the past, but over the last few years I was only able to get onto the podium without winning the race.

"To comeback and take the first position after ten years is great. It's also great to see three Yamaha's on the podium!

"The race was tricky. The work that we did during the weekend with the team was very important. We did a fantastic job and made the right front tyre choice. Marquez was not too far in front of me but he had a two second gap, so I decided to focus on my pace and on Jorge.

"He was very fast during the whole weekend, but for the second position in the championship it was very important to finish in front of him. When I was in front Marquez crashed and I said to myself ‰ÛÏvictory!"
Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Jorge Lorenzo raced to a second place finish at Phillip Island - Credit: Aaryn Minerds
Behind Rossi more drama struck on the final lap Factory Ducati rider Crutchlow crashed, handing Lorenzo a lucky but well fought second place, his tenth podium finish of the season.

‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs a great result for Yamaha, because there are three of us on the podium." Lorenzo enthused. "Our race on the other hand did not go as I expected to.

"We struggled a lot to get the best set up for the race. Everything needs to be perfect, but if you put on the wrong tyre the race is over. I‰Ûªm happy for the second place. This has been the luckiest second place in my life, because there were a lot of riders that could have finished in front of me.

"Honestly I‰Ûªm a bit disappointed because with a different tyre it would have been possible to stay with Marc and fight for the race. We'll keep on doing our best to be in the best possible shape in Malaysia and try to win the race.‰Û
Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Bradley Smith celebrates his first ever MotoGP podium result - Credit: Yamaha Racing
Rounding out the podium at Phillip Island was Bradley Smith racing to his first ever MotoGp podium on the back to his Luckless British counterpart Crutchlow.

"For sure it is a fantastic feeling to clinch my debut podium in the MotoGP class and I am so pleased to reach this milestone." Smith said. "Honestly, I wasn‰Ûªt too happy with how I was riding at the beginning of the race, I made several mistakes and lost a few positions.

"It‰Ûªs a bit unexpected to be on the podium in all honesty, but after having great pace all weekend, it is the dream way to complete all of the good work we have done recently. I passed the chequered flag and saw the team on the wall, so I thought that I was in 4th or 5th, but then I saw my name in 3rd on the board as I came around the corner, which was an amazing feeling.

"Now we have closed the gap in the championship to 6th quite considerably, so we need to focus on this for the next two races. There is only a small gap between myself, Pol and Aleix in the standings, so we will aim to continue this great run in Malaysia and try to climb two more positions in the final standings.

"I must say a big thanks to the team who did a great job this weekend as well as to my sponsors for their support. Moreover, it's a fantastic experience to complete an entire Yamaha podium and I can't be anything other than grateful for their assistance!"

In a race of high attrition only 14 of the 23 starters finished the race, Factory Ducati Andrea Dovizioso finishing in fourth and Avintia Racing's Hector Barbera rounding out the top five.

Unfortunately the sole Australian in the race, Brock Parkes was one of the 9 riders to finish the race with a DNF by his name with the list also including Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who has now slipped to fourth in the championship standings behind the Factory Yamaha duo of Rossi and Lorenzo.
Valentino Rossi Marks 250th GP Start In Grand Style
Yamaha made a clean sweep of the podium at the Australian GP - Credit: Yamaha Racing
Phillip Island MotoGP Race Results:
1 Valentino Rossi 40'46.405 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Jorge Lorenzo 10.836 ESP YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Bradley Smith 12.294 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Andrea Dovizioso 14.893 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
5 Hector Barbera 30.089 ESP AVINTIA Avintia Racing
6 Alvaro Bautista 30.154 ESP HONDA GO&FUN Honda Gresini
7 Scott Redding 30.158 GBR HONDA GO&FUN Honda Gresini
8 Hiroshi Aoyama 33.166 JPN HONDA Drive M7 Aspar
9 Alex de Angelis 33.577 RSM FORWARD YAMAHA NGM Forward Racing
10 Nicky Hayden 34.144 USA HONDA Drive M7 Aspar
11 Yonny Hernandez 39.468 COL DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Danilo Petrucci 56.684 ITA ART IodaRacing Project
13 Michael Laverty 1'12.813 WAL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
14 Mike De Meglio 1'28.050 FRA AVINTIA Avintia Racing
15 Cal Crutchlow DNF GBR DUCATI Ducati Team
16 Pol Espargaro DNF ESP YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
17 Aleix Espargaro DNF ESP FORWARD YAMAHA NGM Forward Racing
18 Stefan Bradl DNF GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
19 Marc Marquez DNF ESP HONDA Repsol Honda Team
20 Broc Parkes DNF AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
21 Dani Pedrosa DNF ESP HONDA Repsol Honda Team
22 Andrea Iannone DNF ITA DUCATI Pramac Racing
23 Karel Abraham DNF CZE HONDA Cardion AB Motoracing

MotoP Championship Standings
1 Marc Marquez 312 pts
2 Valentino Rossi 255 pts
3 Jorge Lorenzo 247 pts
4 Dani Pedrosa 230 pts
5 Andrea Dovizioso 166 pts
6 Aleix Espargaro 117 pts
7 Pol Espargaro 116 pts
8 Bradley Smith 108 pts
9 Andrea Iannone 102 pts
10 Stefan Bradl 96 pts
11 Alvaro Bautista 89 pts
12 Scott Redding 70 pts
13 Cal Crutchlow 63 pts
14 Hiroshi Aoyama 62 pts
15 Yonny Hernandez 44 pts
16 Nicky Hayden 43 pts
17 Karel Abraham 33 pts
18 Hector Barbera 14 pts
19 Alex de Angelis 14 pts
20 Danilo Petrucci 13 pts

Top Image: Valentino Rossi made his 250th GP race one to remember at Phillip Island

Credit: Aaryn Minerds

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