There was a lot to do and see at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, in all three classes of the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019.
Here are some of the highlights of the weekend.
Quartararo Crashes on Friday
Fabio Quartararo came to Australia as one of the hottest men in MotoGP™ but when he flew over the handlebars of his Petronas SRT Yamaha in Friday’s first practice session, he was forced to play catch up for the rest of the weekend.
So he had to go through the first qualifying session (for the slower group of riders) to get into Q2, from where he qualified second on the grid.
All that came to nothing when he clashed with the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci at the second corner of the race, but Fabio showed that he has the ticker as well as the speed.
Maverick Falls at MG
What a performance from Maverick Vinales. He dominated practice, wet or dry, and qualified on pole by more than half a second. Even Marc Marquez doesn’t do that very often.
It took Maverick time to work his way into the lead, but once he did, he looked every inch a winner of the Australian MotoGP™. It took Marquez at his very best, and a destroyed soft Michelin rear tyre, to stop Vinales in his tracks, with a heartbreaking fall on the final lap.
Once he hit the deck, you could almost feel everyone in the crowd exhale...
Andrea Iannone Leads!
Andrea Iannone has a legion of followers around the world on social media, and while some of his posts are more notable for his glamorous surroundings, there is no question that the Italian is fast at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
The 4.4 km track suits the Aprilia more than most, but even so, Iannone was in fine form, even leading the race at one point in the first six laps. But it didn’t last – ‘Joe’ dropped back to sixth at the flag.
But the man who has taken both a Ducati and a Suzuki onto the podium on the Island still has the speed. If Aprilia’s 2020 MotoGP™ racer really is a step up, Iannone might just upset a few riders next season.
Dalla Porta Seals the Moto3™ Title
A year ago, Lorenzo Dalla Porta had the look of a world champion in waiting. Fifth in the Moto3™ championship, when the four men ahead of him stepped up to Moto2™ many expected he would be the man to beat in 2019.
But few expected what ‘LDP’ did this season; three wins and six second places, winning the critical races when his title rivals faltered.
Dalla Porta qualified sixth at Phillip Island, and dropped as far back as ninth over the early laps. But while as many as 20 Moto3™ bikes ran nose to tail, Lorenzo used his head, stayed out of trouble and moved up, to lead across the line for every one of the last eight laps of the race. Over the final sector of the lap, he was just too fast – no one was going to pass him on the run to the flag.
He knew he had the speed to win and he made sure that the opposition knew it.
Binder Takes Over in Moto2™
If every Moto2™ round was run on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Brad Binder would have two world titles by now. And in his final two races in Moto2™, he might just win one.
The Red Bull KTMs dominated the race and once he won the start, Binder was untouchable, particularly since teammate Jorge Martin was running tail gunner right behind him.
While long-time points leader Alex Marquez is struggling, the South African is on fire. In the last 10 Grands Prix he has scored three wins and four other podium finishes. He goes to Malaysia this weekend with a mathematical chance of snatching the title, and Marquez is starting to look shaky.
Whatever happens, Binder looks ready to move up to his Red Bull KTM MotoGP™ seat for 2020.