Skip to content


Miller taken out, Quartataro fumbles and Bagnaia takes title lead for the first time at the 2022 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

What Phillip Island and MotoGP lost to Covid during the last three years, it more than made up for in this year’s 27-lap race when the lights went out to signal the start of the 2022 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday 16 October.


And not just because under bright blue Aussie sunshine, the best riders in the world would race to what was the second-closest top seven finish in premier-class history with just 0.884sec separating them after more than 120km of hard and fast racing. But because – as it so often does – the Australian Grand Prix had each and every one of the 40,000 Aussie fans in attendance on their feet, as the three championship protagonists battled, fought, and even fumbled, setting up an enthralling end to one what’s already been a highly intriguing season.

Jack Miller, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP 15 October 2022

The scene was set when Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Ducati) finally broke five-time world champ Jorge Lorenzo’s nine-year-old lap record to claim pole position ahead of five-time Aussie GP winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) – two men not figuring in the title fight but both with plenty to prove and desperate for race-day glory. While behind them in third, fourth and fifth, the three title rivals in Pecco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Yamaha). Aussie star Jack Miller (Lenovo Ducati) – who just one day earlier was celebrating the newly named Miller Corner at the circuit’s Turn 4 – couldn’t replicate the pace of the previous rounds and found himself starting from the middle of the third row in eighth.

Jorge Martin

And while it was Martin who led from Marquez for the first 10 laps of the race, it was what unfolded behind them that will be talked about for years to come. It started when Bagnaia couldn’t engage his front holeshot device and was mired down the pack before Turn 1, but the first significant talking point came when championship leader Fabio Quartararo missed his braking marker into Miller Corner on lap four and rejoined the race down in 22nd position.

Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP 16 October 2022

But as onlookers processed the consequences, Miller began to find his rhythm – and eased passed teammate Bagnaia, who had regrouped after a poor start, and the Aussie was now perfectly poised in third with 22 laps still left to run. Except further back, from 10th on the grid Alex Rins was on the move, passing a rider ahead of him with each passing lap; the fast and flowing nature of the Phillip Island circuit perfectly suited to his riding smooth style and the GSX-RR’s sweet-handling chassis. The Spaniard had muscled his way up into third by just lap eight.

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October 2022

But one lap later, attentions were tugged yet another direction when another fast starter in Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) also missed his braking marker, but this time went careering into the back of home favourite Miller – at Miller Corner, no less – ending both rider’s races then and there.

Jack Miller, Australian MotoGP

That was nearly forgotten just another lap later when Fabio Quartararo’s plight to claw himself back into the point-scoring positions also ended in the gravel when he lost the front in the entry to Southern Loop. And as onlookers caught their breath from the unfolding drama behind, Rins eased into the lead for the first time at half race distance.

Alex Rins, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October 2022

With a title on the line and his main rival out of the running, Bagnaia’s strategy would eventually shift – but not straight away. By lap 16, the Italian showed the resolve of a champion when he put his GP22 at the front of the pack and held firm in the lead for a handful of laps. But Rins had some different fish to fry; after six years with the factory Suzuki effort and just three races left before the Japanese factory’s official withdrawal, there was plenty to fight for. And plenty to prove.

Alex Rins, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP, 16 October 2022

With eight laps to go, he was back in front. But by now, Bagnaia’s fellow Ducati rider and great mate Marco Bezzechi (Mooney VR46 Ducati) had also found himself in the mix. It was Rins from Bagnaia, Bezzechi, Marquez and Martin. And if that wasn’t enough to take in, the late-race form of Enea Bastianini had also joined the leading group and the race – literally – was anybody’s.

Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP 16 October 2022

But while Bagnaia led comfortably over the line to start the final lap of race, Rins and Marquez – both hugely experienced and with nothing to lose – were both past the Italian by the exit of Turn 2. And while it never looked as if he gave up the fight for the win in any one of those last 10 corners, he later admitted he was happy to let the two Spaniards fight for race-day glory, banking 16 valuable points with two rounds left to run.

Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP 16 October 2022

Marquez, on course to finally celebrate his 100th premier-class podium after two-and-a-half years battling injury, did everything he could to celebrate that milestone from the top step, but Rins defended each and every corner brilliantly, and crossed the line to become the seventh different winner of the 2022 season.

Jack Miller, MotoGP race, Australian MotoGP 16 October 2022

Bezzechi finished fourth, enough to see him seal the 2022 Rookie of the Year title, with Bastianini, Mooney VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini and Martin completing the top-seven. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Ducati) passed Aleix Espargaro for eighth in the closing stages, with Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder completing the top 10.

Alex Rins, Marc Marquez, Francesco Bagnaia

Bagnaia (233pt) is now 14 points clear of Quartararo (219pt) with two races left to run. Espargaro (206) failed to capitalise on Quartararo’s non-score and stays in third. Bastianini (191pt) remains in unlikely contention, while Miller’s (179pt) title hopes are now extinguished.

Alex Rins, Australian MotoGP 2022