Overshadowed by Fabio Quartararo for much of the season, fellow rookies Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir claimed their best MotoGP results so far at Phillip Island on Sunday.

While front-row qualifier Quartararo ran wide before being taken out on the opening lap, Bagnaia fought all the way up from 15th to fourth, crossing the line less than almost level with Pramac Ducati team-mate Jack Miller and a podium place.

"For sure, very happy. Very close to the podium, but I lose it by just 0.050s! A very small distance to Jack, who made a great last three laps," Bagnaia said.

Bagnaia had taken over what was then fourth place, ahead of Miller and fellow GP19 rider Andrea Dovizioso, on lap 20 of 27.

"Starting P15 is never easy but when I overtake all the other riders in the group I tried to push and my pace was very good. At that moment Vinales had not crashed so I was fourth, but the gap to Crutchlow was too high," said Bagnaia, who rides a year-old GP18.

"I was very strong in the fast corners and my pace was better for this because in the fast corners your times remain more constant. But in Turn 10 I was slow and on the straight I lost a bit of time compared to the factory Ducatis.

"But in any case I am happy, also for Jack, because to finish on the podium at home is something special."

Suzuki's Mir was in turn only 0.250s behind Bagnaia at the chequered flag for his best result of the season.

“I'm so happy. It looks like the results are coming finally," said the Spaniard, who beat team-mate Alex Rins by four places. "From Motegi I felt we made a step in the last laps and here it was the same. "I wish there had been one more lap today - I was getting close to the podium!"

Quartararo has already secured the 2019 rookie of the year title with 163 points. Mir is second on 77 followed by Bagnaia on 50 and Tech3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira, who was absent from the Phillip Island race due to hand injuries, on 33.

 

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