From the very beginning the 2015 MotoGP season had all the elements that promised it to be exciting. With the Suzuki’s back on the grid, Ducati bringing their all new Desmosedici GP15, the concessions in the regulations and Valentino’s coming back of form during the end of the 2014 season, the fans could not ask for a better setting for this season.
The very first race put a crazy spin to the 2015 MotoGP season. It gave a ray of hope that this season could turn out to be something special. The whole season till the Australian round, we saw amazing races with amazing battles from the likes of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and even Dani Pedrosa. But it was usually between two riders or Lorenzo taking the hole shot and never looking back. The only thing that was missing in this season so far was an all out battle involving more than two riders.
With the championship at a crucial stage and Rossi having an 18 points advantage over Lorenzo, MotoGP arrived at Phillip Island. The coast-side track has seen many championships being settled here and has been host to many amazing races in the past. The Phillip Island track always has something special in store every time, every year. The fans hoped for an all out battle between the title contenders Rossi and Lorenzo coming from the spectacular previous race at Motegi.
But, the race at Phillip Island had more to give to the fans than they had even wished for. The race turned out to be an exhilarating battle involving Lorenzo, Marquez, Iannone and Rossi from the time the lights went out till the checkered flag was waved. The start saw Andrea Iannone burst out into the lead with Lorenzo and Marquez trying to keep up with the Ducati. Lorenzo was quick to respond and took the lead. Iannone used the Ducati’s raw power to make sure Lorenzo stayed back and denied him a runaway victory as he always does. But Lorenzo would not make Iannone’s job easy.
The following laps saw a fierce battle between the two while Marquez was playing catchup. In the meanwhile Rossi was right behind Marquez making his way up from seventh from the grid wanting to be part of the hot action at the front. Every lap saw a drag race down the Gardner Straight into the Doohan Corner. The Desmodronic Ducati of Iannone slaying not just the Yamaha of Lorenzo and Rossi, but also the Honda of Marquez down the start finish straight. The intense battle continued between the four with the Honda and Ducati coming out stronger on the Gardner straight with the Yamahas fighting back with precision through the rest of the track.
To add to the drama, Iannone was caught off guard by a seagull at MG corner which ripped a hole in the Ducati’s fairing while battling in the lead with Lorenzo. On lap 25, Iannone was in fourth behind Rossi and Marquez while Lorenzo was trying to open up a gap at the front. At turn 11, Rossi tried to make a move on Marquez for second place and left the door slightly open. Iannone, not needing any invitation slipped past both Rossi and Marquez blocking them at turn 12 to take second place. The move was the pass of the race. Even the King of the Island, Casey Stoner would be impressed by Iannone’s brutal double pass.
By the last lap Lorenzo led the race and was followed by Marquez a second behind. Rossi was battling with Iannone for third. Marquez put in a record breaking lap to take the lead from Lorenzo at MG corner and win at the Phillip Island race for the first time in his MotoGP career. Rossi was overtaken by Iannone at Lukey Heights and had to settle for fourth.
In total there were a staggering 52 passes between the top four riders. The 2015 Phillip Island race would easily be one of the best races in the last decade coming at the top of the ranks compared to races like 2006 Estoril, 2008 Laguna Seca, 2009 Catalunya, 2012 Brno and 2015 Assen. Rossi’s fourth place saw his championship lead reduce to 11 points.
With two more races left, and with Iannone, Marquez and also Pedrosa trying hard to make sure they have a significant say as to how the championship ends. It becomes really difficult to predict anything. All we can hope for is to get to witness another exciting race like this. Because with races like this, I think fans wouldn’t care who becomes the champion in the end.
2015 MotoGP Phillip Island results
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 40’33.849
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 00.249
3. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team + 00.930
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 1.058
5. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 5.062
6. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar + 6.800
7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda + 9.375
8. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 18.401
9. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar + 20.039
10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 20.657
11. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS + 21.846
12. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing + 22.840
13. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 29.168
14. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 37.244
15. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda + 40.192
16. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 48.263
17. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing + 48.572
18. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing + 48.677
19. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team + 50.201
20. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 50.262
21. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 50.277
22. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing + 1’20.942
23. Anthony West (AUS) AB Motoracing + 1’23.454
24. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team N.C. (18 laps)
25. Damian Cudlin (AUS) E-Motion IodaRacing Team N.C. (18 laps)