Behind all the races, all the drama and all the action, there was a lot happening in the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Marc Marquez is the best, maybe ever
It’s one thing to win in MotoGP™ on the best bike. It’s something else to win not on the best bike. And then, to do it when you don’t have to is just inspiring.
Marc Marquez did all that and more at Phillip Island. He had to fight his way through to second, and then sat behind Maverick Vinales, waiting to see if he made a mistake. He didn’t, so Marquez jumped him on the final lap and Maverick was the one who faltered, falling three corners from the end of the race.
Marquez did all this two weeks after winning his sixth MotoGP™ title. The championship is over. But the winning is not.
Jack Miller is the real deal
Sometimes Jack Miller does things that make you wring your hands. And sometimes he does things that are really, really impressive.
In the last two Australian MotoGP™ races Miller has led early, burned up his tyres and dropped back to seventh – a still impressive performance on a track he clearly likes.
This time around, Miller qualified further back that he wanted, due to the Pramac Racing team making a mistake with a tyre. In the race he stayed out of trouble, bided his time and looked set to finish fourth.
That became third when Maverick Vinales fell on the final lap. The important thing was, Miller did what he said he would do – and no other Ducati finished in front of him.
They are brave, but they aren’t stupid
While the spectators present on Saturday were at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, at least in part, to see MotoGP™ qualifying, the riders took their responsibilities seriously.
According to sources, 19 of the riders voted to hold the sessions over until Sunday morning and three were in favour of getting on with it, though apart from Jack Miller, identifying who was in which camp is a bit tricky.
What is obvious though is that the decision was not taken lightly.
“There was no need to risk that much in qualifying, we were right on the limit of being able to ride,” said Marc Marquez.
When a guy saves a crash by recovering his Honda MotoGP™ racer from a lean angle of 70 degrees one day and feels it is too dangerous the next, you tend to listen.
Safety first, but the fans are important
While there are some who would criticise the riders for voting to delay qualifying, not many outsiders are qualified to judge what is needed to ride a 270-horsepower motorcycle at 340 km/h, in a crosswind gusting between 60 and 80 km/h.
One man with more, much more, to gain that many riders was Jack Miller but once the decision was taken, his first words were about his growing legion of home fans.
“Just being here at my home Grand Prix is great,” he said. “But missing out on the chance to qualify in front of the fans, that is a tough one. I just have to take my hat off to them, for standing around out there in a gale all day, that has been great.”
Jorge is struggling, but Jorge II is coming
It is hard to see much positive in the future of Jorge Lorenzo. The five-time world champion continues to struggle on his Repsol Honda, and a solution to his problems does not seem obvious.
But if you like Spaniard motorcycle racers named Jorge, hang on, help is on its way. Jorge Martin may be a rookie in Moto2™ but he looks like he is on the fast track to superstardom.
His 2018 Moto3™ season was a masterclass in consistency and there are signs that he could be the pick of what looks like a growing crop of Spanish racers.