Yamaha may have ended its MotoGP win drought at Phillip Island on Sunday, but going into the race many were tipping another manufacturer to break any even longer losing streak.

Suzuki hasn't taken victory since the 2016 British Grand Prix, but fourth place qualifier Andrea Iannone had shown exceptional pace and been fastest in final practice.

However, despite the dramatic exit of front-row starters Marc Marquez and Johann Zarco, two mistakes at Turn 4 hampered Iannone's challenge and he finished just 1.5s from Sunday's winner Maverick Vinales (the Suzuki winner in 2016).

"I started the race with a really strong feeling and for sure we had a really good potential to try to win the race," Iannone said. "But I made a mistake at Turn 4 and lost 4-5 positions.

"It was not a good situation! I tried to recover but I felt the tyre start to drop more than I expected and so I decided to remain in the group and manage the tyres as best I could."

That strategy allowed the Italian to make a late push for victory, taking chunks out of Vinales' lead until another Turn 4 error.

"I had a little more in the last four laps and I tried to push at 100%, I closed [on Vinales] but on the last lap I made another mistake at Turn 4 so Dovi nearly overtook me. But at the end it was a great fight - also with Vale, both Ducatis, Marc and Zarco.

"It was a difficult race and at the end we got second position. I'm happy. We will see in the future."

Iannone, who has now taken four podiums this season, has two more races on the GSX-RR before switching to Aprilia for 2019.

Team-mate Alex Rins finished fifth.