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October 21, 2013 | By MotoGP.com
Jorge Lorenzo has inflicted maximum damage on the day Marc Marquez could have clinched the MotoGP crown, as the current title-holder clinched his 50th career race victory in a Tissot Australian Grand Prix including mandatory bike changes. Failing to acknowledge the pre-determined pit window, Marquez was shown the black flag.
Prior to the race, it was announced that the duration would decrease from 27 to 19 laps on the grounds of safety, with tyre degradation throughout practice having been significantly higher than expected on the newly resurfaced Phillip Island circuit. Furthermore, all riders would be obliged to pit for bike changes on either the ninth or tenth lap of the race, while also running the harder available compound throughout.
A clean start saw no fallers, with Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) attacking Lorenzo at the Honda hairpin, but the Yamaha Factory Racing man immediately retaking the top spot on the run into Siberia. The sensation would come with the mandatory pit window, with Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa first to peel off from third place at the end of Lap 9 and followed by numerous other riders.
Lorenzo would pit at the end of the tenth tour but, having expected a pit lane duel with Marquez, saw the 20-year-old rookie continue for another circulation of the circuit. Marquez then came in at the end of Lap 11, outside the pre-determined window of pitting by Lap 10 at the latest. In a remarkable twist for the 2013 World Championship battle, Marquez was disqualified, as was Australian Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) as the same error had been committed.
Having escaped a touch with Marquez as the latter re-joined from the pits, Lorenzo went on to claim win number six of the season; this also marked the first time since 2006 that a rider other than the now retired Casey Stoner had clinched victory at Phillip Island. Pedrosa finished second to maintain his own title aspirations, as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi beat Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in a thrilling contest for third, while light rain began to fall as proceedings drew to a close.
Bradley Smith was sixth for Tech3, having run as high as fourth thanks to a rapid start, while the top ten was rounded out by Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) who ended a race as lead CRT for the first time this year. Danilo Petrucci finished 15th for Came IodaRacing Project, denying a first point for Luca Scassa as the Cardion AB Motoracing rider finished less than one tenth of a second behind. On the same day, Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro collected honours of top CRT for the season.
After the race, the Repsol Honda Team put Marquez’s disqualification down to a misunderstanding in the team, saying that it thought he was able to run ten whole laps before pitting in, which is why he entered in the 11th.
The MotoGP fight now rages on to Motegi Twin Ring and the Grand Prix of Japan, with the championship lead having been decreased from 43 to 18 points. The season will then end at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain on Nov. 10.
MotoGP Race Classification
1- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 29:07.155
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda +6.936
3- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha +12.344
10- Randy de Puniet FRA ART +37.426