MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow takes 2nd win as Luthi takes Moto2 thriller


In true London bus style, Cal Crutchlow won his second grand prix with an outstanding victory at the Michelin Australian Grand Prix at the legendary Phillip Island circuit this afternoon. Two months ago he became the first British premier-class winner for 35 years with victory in the Czech Republic which he has followed with this Australian win.

After World Champion Marc Marquez crashed out of the lead, the 30 year old Isle of Man –based midlander dominated the race riding the LCR Honda winning impressively from Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding won a big fight for seventh in front of Bradley Smith in eighth on just his second ride on his return to the saddle after injury. Irishman Eugene Laverty picked up some valuable points in 14th place.

It was not such good news elsewhere. Sam Lowes crashed on the third lap of the Moto2™ race and was followed by Danny Kent with three laps remaining. Scotsman John McPhee was involved in a horrendous three bike accident in the Moto3™ race which was red flagged.

Crutchlow blitzes Phillip Island for win number 2

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) has taken a stunning second MotoGP™ win at Phillip Island, as the Brit kept calm at the front ahead of P2 finisher Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales completing the podium.

It was Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who got the holeshot from P3 on the front row, with polesitter Marquez the biggest loser off the line – before the 2016 MotoGP™ World Champion swept back around the outside of Doohan Corner to take back P2 and then fight off Espargaro through Lukey Heights and down into T10. Once at the front, the Motegi and Aragon winner set off in his rhythm – soon seconds clear.

The fight for P2 between Crutchlow and Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) saw the Brit emerge on top, as Rossi was charging through the field – picking off Pol Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) as the rider from Tavullia entered podium contention, then setting his sights on Aleix Espargaro and soon getting past.

Nearly three seconds clear at the front, there was suddenly a Repsol Honda sliding through the gravel at Turn 4 – and Marc Marquez was out of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Crutchlow then found himself in the lead, hoping the 2014 flashback for Marquez wouldn’t touch him after a last lap crash two years ago – as Rossi began his hunt for the LCR machine. As the British rider continued pulling away, Rossi then got a warning shot at Turn 4 that saw him run deep and lose ground, as the new fight for the final podium spot saw Aleix Espargaro locked in battle with Dovizioso – and Viñales soon getting involved.

Turn 4 then claimed another victim as Aleix Espargaro lost his Suzuki machine with 5 laps to go, and teammate Viñales broke the resolve of Dovizioso to take the final place on the podium and head the Italian home.

After his storming start, Pol Espargaro took a solid result as he crossed the line in P5, ahead of a struggling Jorge Lorenzo – who was unable to make up big ground after his good start.

Further back saw Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) lead compatriot Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) over the line for P7, with the top ten completed by Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS).

‘Kentucky Kid’ Hayden, standing in for injured Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda, put in an impressive one-off return to his 2006 championship winning colours, before Miller took Turn 4 a little overenthusiastically and Hayden was the casualty, sliding out.

He who dares: Luthi takes a stunning photo finish

Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) has taken his first ever back-to-back victories in the world championship, as he slipstreamed Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli to the line in Australia – taking the Italian in a stunning photo finish only a week after his victory at the Twin Ring Motegi. Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese completed the podium for his first rostrum in over a year, bouncing back from a tough season marred by injury.

Blue skies, good weather and finally a completely dry track at Phillip Island saw Moto2™ line up, with Luthi getting the holeshot from pole – with a key loser off the line proving championship leader and reigning Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport).

From a tough starting position of P15 for Championship contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40), the Spaniard was up into P6 with 20 laps to go – with Zarco back in P13. Then Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was the first big name to crash out as the Brit suffered his fifth fall of the weekend, before Rins saw his title chances take another big hit as he ended up in the gravel soon after.

The front group of Luthi, Morbidelli and Pasini remained clear in the lead, with the three keeping pace with each other while Cortese continued his stunning pace and ride through the field to a podium finish, after Pasini crashed in the closing stages.

Baldassarri finished the race in P4, ahead of Nakagami by the flag, with Folger hanging on to P6. Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) had a solid ride to P7, with Axel Pons (AGR Team) taking eighth ahead of an impressive performance from Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing), who came home in ninth. Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team) completed the top ten. Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team) headed reigning Champion Zarco, as the Frenchman finished the race in P12.

With Lowes and Rins both crashing out, and Zarco down in P12, Luthi was the big winner in Phillip Island – cutting his deficit in the title fight significantly as the penultimate round of the year at Sepang International Circuit approaches. He took over in P2 in the title, now only 22 points down.

Binder wins a battle of attrition at Phillip Island

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took a stunning win from pole at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, clear at the front of Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing) in second, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) taking his first career podium in third.

After a weekend of rain, wind and grey skies, Sunday finally dawned bright at Phillip Island, and the skies remained perfect blue above the Moto3™ grid lining up to race.

An original race saw crashes early on for some of the frontrunners – including key protagonists of the Rookie of the Year battle Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) – with a crash at Lukey Heights then seeing John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) highside out and collect a number of other riders – including Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3). The red flag came out, with a re-started race set for a distance of ten laps.

The restart saw Binder and Locatelli escaping at the front, before the South African 2016 Moto3™ World Champion began to pull away, leaving Locatelli in a lonely P2. Further back, the battle for third saw riders heading into Doohan Corner eight wide, with the classic Moto3™ freight train creating a 16 rider battle to complete the podium.

On the penultimate lap of the race, Brad Binder’s younger brother Darryn (Platinum Bay Real Estate) was in a duel for the podium with Aron Canet. Canet just took the honour with a slipstream over the line, with Darryn Binder still taking his career best finish in P4.

The top five was completed by Livio Loi (RW Racing BV GP), ahead of Jorge Martin (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) and Darryn Binder’s teammate Marcos Ramirez. Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) were P8 and P9, with Bendsneyder locking out the top ten.