Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) scored one of the most significant podiums of his career at Phillip Island today – his first since major surgery earlier this season and the 100th since he graduated to the premier-class in 2013.
The race was another thriller at this fast and flowing racetrack which encourages close racing and overtaking. Marquez started from a strong second place on the grid and was in the fight for victory throughout, spending the early laps in second, then battling back and forth with several rivals as the racing intensified in the final laps.
At the chequered flag of the first Australian Grand Prix since 2019 he was just 0.186 seconds behind the winner, proof that the 29-year-old Spaniard and his Honda RC213V are returning to their best. The top seven riders at the finish were covered by less than a second, with the top ten separated by 5.940 seconds, the second-closest premier-class top ten in seven decades of the MotoGP World Championship.
Untroubled by a low-speed fall in this morning’s rain-affected warm-up session, Marquez was the only rider to choose a hard/soft tyre combination for the race. His speed all the way to the finish illustrated his ability to ride at front-running speed, while using smooth throttle control to save his rear tyre for the vital final laps.
Marquez was overjoyed to be back where he belongs – fighting for victory – and showed his delight on the podium, throwing his racing boots to the fans in the podium crowd. At the moment Honda’s six-times MotoGP World Champion is just happy to be competitive, because he is still building strength and fitness after undergoing a fourth surgery to the upper right arm he broke at the start of the 2020 season. This was his first podium since he won last year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V).
Honda are also building strength, equipping Marquez with an aerodynamic update for this Grand Prix. Together they are working together to find the speed they need to fight for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship.
Espargaro led the second group to come home in 11th place, only 11 seconds behind the winner. The 31-year-old Spaniard rode strongly to work his way through from the fifth row of the grid after a complicated outing in qualifying yesterday.
Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) had a great weekend in Australia, until the ninth lap of the 27-lap race. The 26-year-old Spaniard was up with the fastest riders during practice and qualified on the fourth row.
In the race the former Moto2 and Moto3 World Championship was in the midst of the lead group, going for his best result of the year, with riders separated by centimetres rather than metres. On lap nine he was trying to attack rivals entering the Turn Four hairpin but ran out of room, colliding with local Jack Miller. The pair took a heavy tumble but were uninjured.
Honda MotoGP test rider Tetsuta Nagashima (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V), who replaced the injured Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) for the second race in a row, finished 19th. The 30-year-old from Kanagawa, contesting only his third MotoGP race, made steady progress through the weekend and will find out soon if he will again ride Nakagami’s bikes in next weekend’s Malaysian GP.
Nakagami is due to undergo a medical check in the next few days which will determine whether he is well enough recovered from the right-hand injury he sustained at last month’s Aragon GP to ride at Sepang,
Malaysia’s MotoGP round is the penultimate race of the 2022 season, which has its finale at Valencia, Spain, on 6th November.