Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) produced a sublime front-running performance to win a dramatic 27-lap MotoGP™ race at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018.
Vinales’ fifth MotoGP™ victory, and his first since the third round of 2017, came after hitting the lead on lap eight and then breaking clear of the pack with a succession of searing lap times.
After extending his lead out to about four seconds, Vinales then went into race management mode for the last few laps, crossing the finish line 1.543 seconds clear of Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone.
Vinales’ triumph also broke Yamaha’s longest-ever winning drought of 25 races.
“This is the best feeling ever, honestly! We‘ve been in the dark all year, and suddenly we came into the light! I couldn‘t show my potential in the previous races, but today I could,” said Vinales.
“Being first in Australia is always amazing! It’s the best track ever, and I like to be at the front there. To win here and break this long winning drought period of Yamaha is unbelievable!
“I was riding on the bike like I was in FP4. I got a really good feeling from the bike, so I knew I could maintain 1‘29s. That‘s what I did for most of the middle of the race. I tried to escape as far as I could, because I knew my tyre wasn‘t going to last until the end.
“I knew opening that gap would be difficult, I had some moments with some riders, and some shaking on the bike – I was struggling, but I still made it through anyway.
“It was amazing! I have to say ‘thank you’ to the team, because this weekend they worked for the win. We will try to be the best and we’ll try to work in a good way.”
Australia’s Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Ducati), who led briefly on the opening lap, was seventh, behind Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), while world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) failed to finish after Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) collided with him on Lap 6.