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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013

Round 16: Australia

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
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Australia
Australia
October 20, 2013

Pedrosa Second, Marquez Out of Freakish Australian GP

Repsol Honda RC213V rider Dani Pedrosa kept his head in an extraordinary Australian grand prix today to claim a valuable second place in a race that was shortened twice and run in a flurry of rule changes, black flags, penalties, and pit-lane mayhem in the first-ever grand prix with a compulsory mid-race change of motorcycle.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Unfortunately for second Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez, he was one of three riders to suffer the black flag penalty, after missing the brief window for his compulsory pit stop.

Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Gresini Honda RC213V) was fifth, and with Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) ruled out by injury and Bryan Staring (GO & FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) also black-flagged, he was the only other Honda finisher in the premier class.

The “flag-to-flag" race rule was designed to allow bike changes if weather conditions should change mid-race. After high-level meetings by the controlling Grand Prix Commission followed by drastic revisions to the rule book, it was invoked as a compulsory measure at this race in response to a crisis in tire safety.

The 4.448-km track had been fully resurfaced, while conditions were unexpectedly warm. A combination of faster lap times and corner speeds, higher grip levels and higher temperatures than anticipated proved disastrous for the control tires in both the MotoGP and Moto2 classes. Suppliers Bridgestone (MotoGP) and Dunlop (Moto2) both informed Race Direction that due to severe overheating issues they could not guarantee the safety of their tires over full race distance. Surprisingly neither tire provider had tested at the circuit in preparation for racing on the relaid surface.

While the Moto2 race was all but halved, from 25 laps to 13, MotoGP elected to apply flag-to-flag rules to MotoGP, along with other strictures including compulsory use of the hardest tire option. Race distance cut from 27 laps to 22. Bridgestone had put their safety margin at 14 laps. Then after further issues in race-morning warm-up they cut it back still further to ten laps. Race distance was reduced once more, to 19 laps.

Pedrosa's tactics were perfect. Running a very close third to Lorenzo and Marquez from the start, he decided to pit one lap earlier than the others, to take advantage of a clear pit lane. Unfortunately he too suffered a penalty, being later obliged to drop one position on track after he was judged to have run over the pit-lane limit. He served this without losing much time, dropping behind Marquez.

After the change, his clear hopes of a second successive race win faded when his second bike lacked the extreme handling finesse of his first, and he was unable to push as hard as before.

He gained another 20 points as he demonstrates his return to top form and full strength, and regained a mathematical chance of winning the title.

Marquez was well-placed in the race, but for leaving his pit stop one lap too late, and looked certain of his 15th rostrum finish of the year as he ran with the leading pair … until the penalty was applied. It was the result of a team misunderstanding of the hastily rewritten rules, altered on race eve then again on race morning, over the method of counting the laps.

Disqualification meant a zero points score at a race where the 20-year-old Spaniard had a mathematical chance of securing the World Championship at his first attempt, and cut his lead over race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) from 43 to 18 points. With two rounds remaining, he will have to be sure of strong results in Motegi and Valencia if he is to succeed in what, before this misfortune, seemed almost a certainty – becoming the youngest premier-class World Champion in history.

Bautista had another strong race, jousting throughout with the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow. The three riders were changing places right up until the last lap, and the Spanish former 125cc World Champion's fifth place missed a top-three rostrum by less than two tenths of a second, as they flashed across the line all but line abreast.

Bautista is the only rider to use Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, in his role as race-developer for the Japanese companies, closely associated with Honda. This position continues a strong run in the latter part of the season: this was his fourth time in fifth place in the last six races.

The all-Honda-powered Moto2 class, also run in dry conditions, was a frantic 13-lap sprint, with no room for tactics. This made for an even more hectic battle than usual, in a class where close and reliable racing is ensured, with all competitors furnished with identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines by the organizers, fitted into full-race prototype chassis.

Crucially for the championship, pre-race points leader Scott Redding was absent. The British Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider was eliminated after a heavy crash in qualifying yesterday. He broke his wrist and underwent immediate corrective surgery, but is a doubtful starter also for next weekend's Japanese GP.

Spanish star Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) had closed to within nine points of Redding in the title charts, and now took over the championship lead with a determined start-to-finish victory. He now leads the championship with 240 points to Redding's 224, with his Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex team-mate Esteve Rabat still in with a mathematical chance on 204.

Espargaro was obliged to fend off a strong early attack from Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), who later set a new lap record. In the closing laps came another fierce attack from Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter).

Luthi crossed the line just over half-a-second adrift for his best result of the year, himself fending off a last-lap attack from German GP winner Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), less than a tenth behind. Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) was almost as close to him, with De Angelis on his back wheel, and the top five covered by 1.1 seconds.

Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) lost touch in the final stages in sixth while battling with Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who finished less than two-tenths behind.

Rabat came back to eighth, after running off the track and dropping out of the leading group, while holding third place, putting two-race winner Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) ninth.

Australian rider Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) fought through to tenth in a crowd-pleasing ride after finishing the first lap in 20th. Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) Ricard Cardus (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up). Danny Kent (Tech 3), Gino Rea (Argiñano & Gines Racing Speed Up) and Doni Tata Pradita (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) claimed the remaining points.

The Moto3 race was the only one of the day to run to full scheduled distance, set at 23 laps. In a class where Honda-powered machines are up against rival factories in a variety of prototype chassis, the top Honda rider Jack Miller came heartbreakingly close to a first rostrum finish. The Australian finished fifth in a tight pack, but less than three-quarters of a second off third place, and only six tenths behind the winner. The top seven places were covered by just 1.1 seconds.

Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) had played a popular role in a lead group that was eight-strong for much of the race, moving up to third in the closing stages. He was still pushing out of the last corner, but lost out in the run to the finish line.

The usual gang of Spanish KTM riders dominated the rostrum, with Alex Rins winning by inches from Maverick Vinales and Luis Salom. Rins closed to within five points of long-time title leader Salom, with Vinales another 17 behind, ensuring an exciting championship finale.

Niccolo Antonelli (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda) narrowly lost touch with the leading group to finish eighth.

Honda riders played a strong role in a fearsome battle for the next title points, the gap from ninth to 18th place only just over two-and-a-quarter seconds, with places changing corner by corner. Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) was tenth; Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) 13th, Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) 14th, and John McPhee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) just out of the points in 17th.

The next race is the Japanese GP at the Honda-owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit, in one week, with the season finale a fortnight later at Valencia in Spain.

Alvaro Bautista(GO & FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro Bautista(GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“Today's race was very stressful -above all before the start, as the rules were being changed every five minutes. Everything was turned on its head and it was very difficult to adapt first time, without making any mistakes. Marc made mistakes and I did too. Everything was going so fast and it was confusing for both the riders and the mechanics. We had to be clear about which lap to enter the pits, as it wasn't obvious which was lap nine and which was lap ten. The two bikes needed to be prepared and the tires as well, the pit lane was much longer than normal... it was all so strange today. The exit line from the pits wasn't clear, and neither could you see the entry line very well, so it was all a bit improvised. In my case I was able to rectify my mistake on the track and, although the second bike wasn't the same for me as the first, I managed to take second in the race and be very competitive.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO & FUN Honda Gresini, 5th
“We have managed to salvage a race that we knew was going to be difficult for us because of the enforced tire choice. We knew it didn't work with our bike but we fought hard and thanks to the exceptional work of the team we have come away with a result we didn't expect. I gave my best, did everything I could on the bike and I have to be happy because I was fighting for a podium finish until the very end. Unfortunately on the last lap I just felt that I couldn't push the tire any harder and it's a shame because I know that on the soft option we would have been able to get on the podium and achieve the objective we have set ourselves for before the end of the season.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, DNF
“Today was our first experience of a Flag-to-Flag race, and suffice to say it wasn't a good one. My team and I had set out a strategy and we thought that we could come in after lap 10, but in reality this counts as an extra lap. We hadn't had that in mind and this was a huge mistake. We had everything well planned and I followed the instructions on my pit board. You learn from these things though, so now we have to move on and focus on the race in Japan”
Bryan Staring, GO & FUN Honda Gresini, DNF
“Today couldn't have gone worse. I was hoping for a good race in front of my home crowd and instead it has ended prematurely with a black flag.”

Moto2

Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP 40, 1st
“All my life I had a dream – to be World Champion, sooner or later. It is not done, yet, but it is close ... I can't believe where we are and what we did. I'm not 100 percent happy because while I have overtaken Redding in the championship points, he was not on track, and this is not good. But this is racing, where every lap and corner can be dangerous. Anyway, we are not still champion. For sure we are going to work hard as we did all season”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock Moto2, 2nd
“With just 13 laps there was just one strategy: full throttle from the go. Such a short race... actually, too short for me, because I had quite a good set-up and was not scared at all by a full length. Due to safety reasons we had to do this short race, so I had to change the strategy. The target was to get a good start and push straight from the beginning. After one lap Pol opened a gap, then he made a small mistake, and I was there immediately, but afterwards I made a mistake, and at the end it was not possible to catch up and fight for a victory. I had to battle to keep the other guys behind me, not easy, but at the end second is great. I didn't struggle at all with the tires during all the weekend with lost rubber or anything like that.”
Jordi Torres, Aspar Team Moto2, 3rd
“We had a good weekend. In the race we tried to push hard to stay at the top, but midway through the race I lost the rear wheel of Luthi and had to fight with de Angelis. But my bike worked well with used tires. I'm happy. We are going to do our best to replicate the result in the next two races, but it's going to be pretty difficult, in a class where the difference between riders is so small.”

Moto3

Jack Miller, Caretta Technology - RTG, 5th
“Missed it by a whisker, but it was a good race even if I didn't get on the podium. I had to fight back from the start. I could stay there in the group, and also make the passes to get to the front, so that was quite good. In the same point, the bike on the straight was not what we needed. We missed just a little bit of speed. I knew it was going to be difficult to make the podium.”
Niccolo Antonelli, GO & FUN Gresini Moto3, 8th
“A great week-end, except for what happened this morning, when I crashed in fifth gear at more or less 200 km/h. I am a bit bruised, but the bike is great, the team did a great job. We were able to fight with the top riders all the race. Maybe I could have risked something more, but I had problems with the tires at the end and already crashed out at Sepang, so I told to myself: ‘Let's bring home some points.' Our results have been improving, and I hope to be able to continue like that.”
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold, 10th
“A tough race, at the end of a tough week-end. The first day we were far from the best riders, while in the race my fastest lap was not very distant from the fastest race lap. So, mixed feelings: from one side, I'm happy for the result, from the other I wonder what it could have been with a better qualifying, and a better place on grid.”
Marc MARQUEZ & Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ & Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix
Round 16: Australia

MotoGP
Rank Rider (Team)
1Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
2Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)
4Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)
6Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
8Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
9Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
10Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)
11Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
12Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
13Yonny HERNANDEZ (Ignite Pramac Racing)
14Hector BARBERA (Avintia Blusens)
15Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)
Moto2
Rank Rider (Team)
1Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)
2Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)
3Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)
4Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)
5Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
6Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)
7Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
8Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)
9Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)
10Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)
11Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
12Ricard CARDUS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
13Danny KENT (Tech 3)
14Gino REA (Argiñano & Gines Racing)
15Doni Tata PRADITA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
Moto3
Rank Rider (Team)
1Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
2Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)
3Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)
6Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
7Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)
8Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)
9Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno)
10Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
11Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
12Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)
13Isaac VIÑALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
14Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)
15Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)

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