PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia - Marc Marquez, the 2014 MotoGP title already tucked into his leathers, crashed out of the Oz MotoGP on Sunday to hand the race to Valentino Rossi.
SMOOTH OPERATOR: Valentino Rossi - The Doctor - won the 2014 Australian MotoGP after Marc Marquez crashed. Image: AFP / Rob Griffith
He was one of four fallers in the race, one of them team mate Dani Pedrosa – their first double DNF of the season.
Rossi, racing his 250th GP race, was followed home by Jorge Lorenzo and Bradley Smith, the latter taking the first podium place of his career.
Reuters NICK MULVENNEY reports: Valentino Rossi rolled back the years to win his sixth premier-class Australian MotoG on Sunday (Oct 19 2014) after 2014 champion Marc Marquez's cruise to a pole-to-flag victory was ended by a crash on lap 18.
With a second successive MotoGP title secured in Japan a week earlier, 21-year-old Honda rider Marquez looked destined to match Mick Doohan's record of 12 race wins in a single season when he led by four seconds.
Ten laps from the end, though, his front end was snapped away from under him and he slithered along the asphalt and on to the trackside grass.
'ONE OF THE BEST'
Seven-times champion Rossi was racing in his 250th premier class GP and had won a ding-dong battle with team mate Jorge Lorenzo for what he thought would be second place only to claim his first win in Australia since 2005.
"It is one of the best," said the 35-year-old Italian Yamaha rider. "To come from third to win on the island after 10 years… I'm very happy."
Spaniard Lorenzo was second, Briton Bradley Smith third in a Yamaha 1-2-3 sweep, the Briton securing his first podium, after compatriot Cal Crutchlow fell off his Ducati while in second on the last lap.
The final list of fallers was Cal Crutchlow (Ducati), Pol Espargaro (Yamaha), his brother Aleix (Yamaha), Stefan Bradl (Honda) and Marc Marquez (Honda).
Tito Rabat had been hoping to wrap up the Moto2 title at Phillip Island but had to settle for third behind compatriot Maverick Vinales and Swiss Thomas Luthi after an error-strewn race.
Spaniard Rabat had needed a victory combined with his team mate Mika Kallio finishing lower than third to take his first title but had to be satisfied with extending his championhship lead over the Finn, who was fourth, to an imposing 41 points.
"I pushed until I made some mistakes," said Kalex rider Rabat, who needs to finish in the top six in Malaysia a week from now to clinch the title. "So I said to myself, 'try to finish ahead of Mika and think of the championship'."
KTM rider Jack Miller gave the locals something to cheer when he won a thrilling Moto3 race ahead of Marquez's brother Alex and cut the Spaniard's lead in the title race to 20 points with 50 up for grabs in the final two rounds.
The Australian teenager, who had started eighth,, swept past the Hondas of Marquez and Alex Rins on the final lap to take the chequered flag and leave the Spaniards second and third.
Australian MotoGP result
1 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha 40min46.405
2 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha 40min57.241
3 Bradley Smith (Britain) Yamaha 40min58.699
4 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati 41min01.298
5 Hector Barbera (Spain) Avintia 41min16.494
6 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda 41min16.559
7 Scott Redding (Britain) Honda 41min16.563
8 Hiroshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda 41min19.571
9 Alex de Angelis (San Marino) Yamaha 41min19.982
10 Nicky Hayden (US) Honda 41min20.549
11 Yonny Hernandez (Colombia) Ducati 41min25.873
12 Danilo Petrucci (Italy) ART 41min43.089
13 Michael Laverty (Britain) PBM 41min59.218
14 Mike Di Meglio (France) Avintia 42min14.455
2014 MotoGP points
1 Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda - 312Australian Moto2 result
2 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha - 255
3 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha - 247
4 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda - 230
5 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati - 166
6 Aleix Espargaro (Spain) Yamaha - 117
7 Pol Espargaro (Spain) Yamaha - 116
8 Bradley Smith (Britain) Yamaha - 108
9 Andrea Iannone (Italy) Ducati - 102
10 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda - 96
11 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda - 89
12 Scott Redding (Britain) Honda - 69
13 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Ducati - 63
14 Hiroshi Aoyama (Japan) Honda - 62
15 Nicky Hayden (US) Honda - 44
1 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Kalex 39min10.419
2 Thomas Luethi (Switzerland) Suter 39min11.748
3 Esteve Rabat (Spain) Kalex 39min11.923
4 Mika Kallio (Finland) Kalex 39min12.262
5 Sam Lowes (Britain) Speed up 39min13.711
6 Sandro Cortese (Germany) Kalex 39min22.116
7 Marcel Schroetter (Germany) Tech 3 39min22.196
8 Dominique Aegerter (Switzerland) Suter 39min28.695
9 Xavier Simeon (Belgium) Suter 39min28.701
10 Jordi Torres (Spain) Suter 39min28.897
11 Takaaki Nakagami (Japan) Kalex 39min28.933
12 Louis Rossi (France) Kalex 39min28.979
13 Franco Morbidelli (Italy) Kalex 39min29.253
14 Lorenzo Baldassarri (Italy) Suter 39min29.643
15 Jonas Folger (Germany) Kalex 39min29.856
Australian Moto2 points
1 Esteve Rabat (Spain) Kalex - 310
2 Mika Kallio (Finland) Kalex - 269
3 Maverick Vinales (Spain) Kalex - 249
4 Thomas Luethi (Switzerland) Suter - 161
5 Dominique Aegerter (Switzerland) Suter - 151
6 Johann Zarco (France) Caterham Suter - 117
7 Simone Corsi (Italy) Kalex - 100
8 Sandro Cortese (Germany) Kalex - 76
9 Franco Morbidelli (Italy) Kalex - 7
10 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex - 67
11 Marcel Schroetter (Germany) Tech 3 - 6
12 Anthony West (Australia) Speed up - 65
13 Sam Lowes (Britain) Speed up - 60
14 Jonas Folger (Germany) Kalex - 53
15 Xavier Simeon (Belgium) Suter - 52
1 Jack Miller (Australia) KTM 37min25.209
2 Alex Marquez (Spain) Honda 37min25.238
3 Alex Rins (Spain) Honda 37min25.241
Efren Vazquez (Spain) Honda 37min25.253
5 John McPhee (Britain) Honda 37min25.343
6 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda 37min25.451
7 Miguel Oliveira (Portugal) Mahindra 37min27.962
8 Jakub Kornfeil (Czech Republic) KTM 37min28.664
9 Niklas Ajo (Finland) Husqvarna 37min43.327
10 Niccolo Antonelli (Italy) KTM 37min43.328
11 Francesco Bagnaia (Italy) KTM 37min43.413
12 Jorge Navarro (Spain) KTM 37min43.435
13 Karel Hanika (Czech Republic) KTM 37min43.487
14 Alessandro Tonucci (Italy) Mahindra 37min43.753
15 Brad Binder (South Africa) Mahindra 37min45.677
1 Alex Marquez (Spain) Honda - 251
2 Jack Miller (Australia) KTM - 231
3 Alex Rins (Spain) Honda - 210
4 Efren Vazquez (Spain) Honda - 187
5 Romano Fenati (Italy) KTM - 174
6 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda - 150
7 Isaac Vinales (Spain) KTM - 121
8 Enea Bastianini (Italy) KTM - 116
9 Danny Kent (Britain) Husqvarna 103
10 Brad Binder (South Africa) Mahindra - 102
11 Miguel Oliveira (Portugal) Mahindra - 102
12 Jakub Kornfeil (Czech Republic) KTM - 86
13 John McPhee (Britain) Honda - 77
14 Niklas Ajo (Finland) Husqvarna 52
15 Francesco Bagnaia (Italy) KTM - 50