PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia: World champion Marc Marquez secured his 11th victory of the season at the Australian MotoGP after disaster struck fellow Spaniard Maverick Vinales, who crashed on the last lap.
The Monster Energy Yamaha rider had dominated at Phillip Island all weekend and was leading for most of the race until Honda’s Marquez darted past him in the dying stages after applying some serious pressure.
In desperate bid to retake the lead on the final lap, Vinales pushed too hard and skidded out to hand Marquez his fifth win in a row.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow came second with Australian Jack Miller third.
Italian veteran Valentino Rossi, racing in an incredible 400th Grand Prix, was eighth.
“Vinales was pushing a lot, very hard and fast,” said six-time MotoGP world champion Marquez. “But I knew it would be possible to (pass him).
“The whole weekend has been crazy,” he added, after qualifying was called off on Saturday due to high winds and instead run on Sunday morning.
It was a crushing loss for Vinales, who won in Australia last year and started from pole, having reigned supreme through practice and qualifying.
He had a horror start, slipping to sixth as Rossi powered to the lead and there was disaster for exciting French rookie Fabio Quartararo in an incident-packed first lap.
Quartararo, who was second in Japan last weekend, and Danilo Petrucci collided and crashed out at turn two.
It was a disappointing end for the 20-year-old, who was second on the grid after having to go through preliminary qualifying (Q1) for the first time following a nasty spill in Friday practice.
By lap four Crutchlow had moved into the lead, but Vinales and Marquez were starting to apply pressure and by lap 10 Vinales was in front with his fellow Spaniard following in his slipstream.
They began to put the hammer down and pull clear of the field as it turned into a two-horse race, leaving the rest in a dog fight for third.
Marquez was riding on the limit, giving everything he had to stay in touch and finally edged past Vinales before the last lap drama.
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Marquez wins Australia MotoGP thriller as Vinales crashes