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Race report
MotoGP Australian GP

MotoGP Australian GP: Zarco steals win from Martin on last lap

Johann Zarco finally scored his maiden MotoGP victory in a thrilling climax to the Australian Grand Prix, as he passed Pramac Ducati team-mate Jorge Martin on the final lap to win.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Zarco took his first top-class win - and his first in grand prix racing since his title-winning 2016 Moto2 campaign - in sensational style, passing a rapidly fading Martin on the 27th and last lap.

Poleman Martin had controlled the race up to that point, but began to struggle in the closing stages having been in a minority of riders to opt for a soft rear tyre.

On the other hand, Zarco had been circulating at the back of a four-rider pack vying for second in fifth place for most of the distance before turning up the wick late on.

He passed points leader Francesco Bagnaia for fourth at the start of lap 22 before repeating the trick on Fabio Di Giannantonio three laps later to grab third, and on lap 26 he made a forceful move at Miller Corner (formerly Honda) on Brad Binder for second.

Martin meanwhile had seen his lead advantage shrink from 2.4s to just four tenths in that time, and by the start of the final lap it was clear he stood very little chance of holding off Zarco, who like the majority was on a medium rear tyre, to the finish.

What felt like an inevitable move for the lead came at Miller Corner, and 33-year-old Frenchman Zarco was able to hang on by two tenths for a long-awaited first premier class win in his 120th attempt.

"It's hard to believe," said Zarco in parc ferme. "I was trying to save the rear tyre as well as possible because normally on the last few laps I can handle the tyre well. I was surprised to see Martin dropping down, so I thought something was possible.

"After so many races of trying to do it, it's a really high emotion. I need to swallow it, take it well and enjoy tonight."

Bagnaia meanwhile finished second to strengthen his title bid, taking advantage of Zarco forcing Binder wide on the penultimate lap before forcing his way through on Di Giannantonio and then picking off the struggling Martin with ease.

Gresini Ducati rider Di Giannantonio, who still doesn't have a ride for 2024, scored his first MotoGP podium in third, with Binder fourth and Martin limping home in fifth.

With Martin slipping to fifth Bagnaia now takes an enhanced championship lead of 27 points into Sunday's sprint race.

Some way behind the lead group, Marco Bezzecchi was sixth on the VR46 Ducati, followed by home hero Jack Miller on the second KTM and Aleix Espargaro on the best of the Aprilias.

Two more Ducati riders, Gresini's Alex Marquez and works man Enea Bastianini, completed the top 10.

Marc Marquez ran as high as fifth early on aboard his Honda, having joined Martin in gambling on the soft rear tyre, but began to plummet down the order and finally finished down in 15th behind the lead Yamaha of Fabio Quartararo.

Marquez's Honda team-mate Joan Mir and Tech3 GasGas rider Augusto Fernandez both crashed out.

MotoGP Australian Grand Prix - race results:

 
 
         
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 France J. Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 27

-

      25
2 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 27

+0.201

0.201

0.201     20
3 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 27

+0.477

0.477

0.276     16
4 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 27

+0.816

0.816

0.339     13
5 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 27

+1.008

1.008

0.192     11
6 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 27

+8.827

8.827

7.819     10
7 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 27

+9.283

9.283

0.456     9
8 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 27

+9.387

9.387

0.104     8
9 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 27

+9.696

9.696

0.309     7
10 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 27

+12.523

12.523

2.827     6
11 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 27

+13.992

13.992

1.469     5
12 Italy L. Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 27

+17.078

17.078

3.086     4
13 Portugal M. Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 27

+19.443

19.443

2.365     3
14 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 27

+20.949

20.949

1.506     2
15 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 27

+21.118

21.118

0.169     1
16 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 27

+32.538

32.538

11.420      
17 Italy F. Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 27

+37.663

37.663

5.125      
18 Spain P. Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 27

+37.668

37.668

0.005      
19 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 27

+37.758

37.758

0.090      
dnf Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 12

 

    Accident  
dnf Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 10

 

    Retirement  

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