The riders themselves hailed last year’s 2015 Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix race as one of the best in recent memory – with 52 overtakes among the top four riders and 13 lead changes.It was the race that had it all: four riders on three different makes of bikes in winning contention, non-stop passing – even for the lead, jaw-dropping overtakes and a winner few would have predicted even at the start of the final lap. And that’s before we get to the seagulls.
For many, the epic four-way battle down under between Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, and Valentino Rossi was the best MotoGP™ race they had witnessed for many years, and even the riders themselves were aware of the gravity of the contest they had participated in.
Marquez, who went from third at the start of the final lap to take a memorable win, reflected: “When I was looking at the Moto3™ race, I say, ‘I want to be there’, because normally in MotoGP™ this never happens.
“But this race was one of the best in MotoGP™ and in my career, and to get my 50th victory with this kind of race is even more special.”
The defeated Lorenzo meanwhile reflected: “In the last laps I gave everything I have and it reminds me a little bit like old times in 125cc, when it was similar.
“For the people watching, it was the best [race] this year and probably in the last five or ten years.”
Certainly, the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix race has to rank very highly among the best races since the start of the MotoGP™ era in 2002. And this year’s promises to kick off an end-of-term feel to the 2016 series after Marquez sealed the title in Motegi last time out.
We’ve seen some true genius on two wheels through the years – names like Geoff Duke, Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi – but has MotoGP™ ever witnessed such a precocious talent as Marquez?
At the tender age of 23, the Spaniard claimed his third MotoGP™ title at Motegi – with three races to spare – to go with his previous 125cc and Moto2™ crowns. But what makes this extra-special is, although Marquez rides for the hallowed Repsol Honda works team, there is no way on earth that his bike is better than his rivals. In fact, in many respects, it’s not even a match for them.
He was given a brutal reminder of this when teammate Dani Pedrosa was fired from his bike in free practice in Japan, and broke his collarbone. That Honda is a beast.
And the way Marquez has tamed it is to lean back from his usual 100-percent-aggression style. He’s left a margin of error this year that he certainly didn’t in 2015 – when he paid the price. But the way he’s learned from that shows a new side to him.
He’s an awesome talent, who can ride the wheels off anything. Now he’s proven he’s got the smarts to cope with adversity, to ride around a lack of outright speed in his machinery with guile.
The organisers suggest you ‘Get Your Island On’ to see this guy for yourself on one of the fastest and most picturesque tracks on the calendar.
They’re even throwing in prizes for racegoers throughout the weekend, with behind-the-scenes experiences up for grabs. It’s set to be an epic weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.