Features 17 Oct 2023

Rewind: Australian MotoGP 2022

Reflecting on most recent GP contested at Phillip Island.

As the build-up towards the fast-approaching 2023 Australian MotoGP continues, CycleOnline takes a look back in this Rewind feature to when the GP paddock last visited Phillip Island, in October 2022, prior to action getting underway on Friday for the 16th round of this year’s season.

Team Suzuki Ecstar mounted at the time, Alex Rins won the 2022 Animaco Brands Australian MotoGP in a dramatic race that saw title leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) fall and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) taken out at the iconic 4.445km circuit.

Pole-setter Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) grabbed the holeshot, followed by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who was equipped with the soft option rear.

The pair stretched out a slim advantage before they were reeled in by the chasing group behind, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Alex Rins moving their way forward.

Unfortunately, Miller was collected by Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) at Miller Corner in what was a heavy impact that ruled both riders out of the race, while running in the lead group.

Quartararo then fell two laps later at turn two, bringing an end to his race after he suffered earlier dramas at turn four and ran off the track.

Image: Supplied.

With 10 laps to go the top 10 riders were still in touch with the lead group as the battle royale at the front of the field continued to intensify. Entering the closing stages of the race Bagnaia led Rins, Marquez and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing), with Rins moving to the front into turn two on the last lap.

Marquez soon found his way back to second but was unable to pass the number 42 and crossed the line P2 in hot pursuit. Bagnaia finished third to take over the championship lead, with Bezzecchi P4 to take Rookie of the Year honours and Enea Bastianini progressively elevating throughout the race to finish fifth.

Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing) was sixth ahead of Martin in P7 – the top seven separated by less than a second. Friday pace-setter Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) completed a 27-lap outing in eighth with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) fading in the second half of the race to P9. Top KTM was Brad Binder (KTM Factory Racing) who rounded out the top 10, as Australia’s Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) finished his first home GP in the premier class P15.

Image: Supplied.

Displaying unrivalled pace, Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez overcame a long lap penalty to take a dominant Moto2 win at the Australian GP last year.

Lopez wasted no time in stretching out an advantage at the front of the field, and by the time he served the long lap at Miller Corner on lap four he already had a 2.8-second lead.

The number 21 rejoined at the front with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing) in second, but unfortunately, Arbolino crashed out of contention at the Hayshed shortly afterwards.

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) worked his way forwards to challenge teammate and championship leader Augusto Fernandez, the pair engaged in combat until disaster struck for Fernandez with a high-speed fall at turn two.

Acosta then rode unchallenged to P2, as Jake Dixon (Inde GasGas Aspar Team) completed the top three. Pole-setter Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) was unable to deliver on the podium potential he showed throughout the weekend and finished fourth, and Manuel Gonzalez impressed in P5.

Positions six to 10 were occupied by Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) Somkiat Chantra (Idemistu Honda Team Asia), Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) and Bo Bendsneyder (Petramina Mandalika SAG Team). Despite a challenging weekend, Ai Ogura was able to take the championship lead following P11 at Phillip Island.

Image: Supplied.

Gaviota GasGas Aspar rider Izan Guevara claimed the 2022 Moto3 World Championship in the most convincing fashion at the venue last year, taking victory in a thrilling Phillip Island lightweight class encounter.

An eight-rider battle broke away at the front of the race in the early stages, including home hero Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) who charged forward from the fifth row.

With 15 laps to go Guevara and teammate Sergio Garcia began to stretch away, but Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and pole-setter Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) were able to claw them back in, making it a four-rider battle for the lead.

The leading quartet swapped places multiple times in the remaining laps, but Guevara returned to the front early in the final lap and maintained to take the chequered flag ahead of Oncu, and Garcia, with Sasaki in P4.

Coming out best in the second group was Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) ahead of John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Kelso in a career-best P8, as Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) and Riccardo Rossi completed the top 10.

Action commences at the 2023 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix with Moto3 practice one, scheduled for 8:00am local time.