Rins wins last-lap duel with Marquez as Quartararo’s title hopes take a big hit

Alex Rins has won his first race of the season after a brilliant last-lap duel with Marc Marquez and new championship leader Francesco Bagnaia at the Australian MotoGP.
Alex Rins, Suzuki MotoGP Phillip Island
Alex Rins, Suzuki MotoGP Phillip Island

Starting from pole for the third time this season, Jorge Martin made a sensational getaway as he led from six-time MotoGP champion Marquez into turn one. 

The same couldn’t be said for Bagnaia as the Italian dropped from third to seventh heading into turn one, however, the Italian made up for his poor launch with brilliant moves under braking on Jack Miller, Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro.

As Martin and Marquez began to pull clear, the action behind was intense as Quartararo came under immediate pressure from the Ducatis of Miller and Luca Marini.

Back in the position he started the race in, Quartararo then lost fifth as Miller’s podium charge began.

Quartararo was then attacked by Marini before making a crucial mistake in the title fight. Quartararo got out of shape under braking for turn four before running off track and dropping out of the points. 

Miller, who was now fourth, once again showed that no team orders were being had at Ducati as he overtook Bagnaia for third. 

But after seemingly losing pace as the home favourite dropped back down to seventh, Miller’s race and title hopes came to a shocking end as he was taken out by Alex Marquez at turn four. 

The same corner that Quartararo got wrong, Marquez was out of control in a similar way but this time it resulted in hiting another rider. 

Then came the biggest moment of the race as Quartararo, who was the quickest rider on track as he attempted to recover from his error, crashed out at turn two. 

With Quartararo out, Bagnaia began to make a charge towards the front but not before Rins’ brilliant performance was continuing.

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October

Starting tenth, Rins made sensational progress after moves on Bagnaia, Marquez and eventually the race leader Martin. 

Rins quickly lost the lead as Bagnaia pounced heading into turn one as Marquez followed the Ducati rider through. 

Looking to get his first win in over a year, Marquez saw his attempts instead begin to fade as Rins, Martin and Marco Bezzecchi all came through. 

After several laps behind Bagnaia, Rins made another attempt at claiming the lead - his latest overtake came off but the Suzuki rider then lost out in quick fashion to Bagnaia, Bezzecchi and Marquez.

Somehow managing to control the pace at the front and not lose the lead in what was a wild race, Bagnaia continued leading with just three laps to go.  

As the last lap began, Bagnaia saw his lead destroyed in just one corner as Rins and Marquez both came through at turn two. 

Not giving up on the win, Marquez then tried everything to get ahead of the Suzuki rider, but Rins remained perfect throughout the lap to win his and the team’s first race of the year. 

With his third place finish Bagnaia has taken over the championship lead for the first time in his career. 

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