Aussie MotoGP 10 Great Moments! | Events
With just days to go until the action starts at Phillip Island, we look back at 10 of our most memorable moments of the Australian Grand Prix.
10: Donna Gardner’s high-heeled run down the main straight
Wayne Gardner had worked tirelessly to bring the MotoGP circus Down Under and it was the series’ maiden year on Australian soil. It was 1989 and Gardner was on the last lap of an epic race-long battle with Wayne Rainey, Christian Sarron and Aussie Kevin Magee. It was a spectacular race in which Gardner finished victorious, an emotional ending to the enormous effort which ended with Gardner’s then-wife Donna running down the main straight to congratulate the 1987 world champ on his win.
9. Guts and Glory
Wayne gardner braved a freshly broken scaphoid and a flapping-in-the-wind fairing to take a hugely popular victory at Phillip Island in 1990. Grand Prix legend Daryl Beattie was granted a wildcard entry in the 250cc grand prix on board a Honda and his local knowledge and raw talent saw him miss the podium by less than three seconds behind race winner John Kocinski. His fourth-place finish was a huge improvement on his first wildcard entry the year before where he finished 12th. Gardner and Beattie provided a fitting farewell tribute the picturesque circuit before the grand Prix moved to Eastern Creek in 1990.
8. Some bloke named Troy
A 30-year-old Australian wildcard rider on an underpowered Suzuki 250 rode a gritty race to finish sixth place in the Australian round of the 1997 250cc World Championship. His name was Troy Bayliss. Following that race, Taree-born Bayliss had to wait six years before grinding up in another Grand Prix, it was the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix.
7.And the win makes five
With the memory of crashing out of the lead the year before haunting him, Australia’s Mick Doohan won the Australian round of the 1998 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix and sealed his fifth consecutive title in front of an adoring home crowd. The victory dampened retirement ideas and he announced he would be back to defend the title in 1999. The same year he was named the Australian Sports Personality of the Year.
6. Last but not least
On Sunday 14 October 2001, Valentino Rossi pipped Max Biaggi to the finish line of the 2001 Australian Grand Prix 0.013 seconds to take the last-ever 500cc Grand Prix World Championship before four-stroke bikes were introduced to the grid the following year. The victory marked the Italian’s maiden premier-class title.
5. For Barry
in 2003, Phillip Island played host to one of the most memorable races of Valentino Rossi’s career. Rossi was imposed a 10-second penalty for passing under a yellow flag while fighting to overcome a poor start which saw him down in sixth position on the opening lap. Once alerted, Rossi put his head down and reeled off four consecutive record-breaking laps and kept the pace until he finished the race with a 15-second lead over second-place finisher Loris Capirossi, winning the race by over five seconds. Rossi’s victory lap saw him carry a flag bearing the number seven as a tribute to barry Sheene who passed away the same year.
Although the flag-to-flag rule had been in place since 2005, the Australian round of the 2006 MotoGP world championship was the first race in history where riders pitted to change bikes. And what mayhem proceeded. It was an amazing race of changing fortunes and the 45,000-strong crowd was treated to an Aussie on the podium when Chris Vermeulen finished second. He was the first Aussie to stand on his home GP rostrum since Mick Doohan in 1998.
3. Home-grown hero
For the first time since Mick Doohan, Aussie fans had the pleasure of witnessing their first very own world champion racing in the premier class during the 2007 Australian round of the MotoGP. Casey Stoner had clinched his maiden world championship the round before in Motegi, Japan and treated home fans to a truly dominant win over Loris Capirossi by almost seven seconds. It happened two days before his 22nd birthday. “This was the most special of my wins,” he said that day. “I’ve worked a long time to win this race.”
2. Three Kings
The Australian round of the 2012 world championship was a special one. Not only was it the last time Casey Stoner would ride on home soil before his retirement, but Aussie fans were treated to three Aussies on the podium on race day. Casey Stoner blitzed the MotoGP field to win by a massive 9.223sec ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Grand Prix veteran Anthony West put in a blinder to take second place behind Pol Espargaro and ahead of Marc Marquez, while Aussie Arthur Sissis nabbed his first-ever grand prix podium after a tense last-lap battle for third place among six riders.
1. Miller magic
Jack Miller had 40-something-thousand Australian fans on their feet during the Australian round of the 2014 Moto3 World Championship. Still in with a chance to win the 2014 championship from title leader Alex Marquez, Jack Miller fought hard for a do-or-die home victory. What started as an 11-bike battle in the early stages of the race, rider after rider crashed out which saw the leading group reduced to six riders by the closing stages. It was an epic win by Miller by the narrowest of margins ahead of Marquez, and to illustrate why 40-something-thousand Australian fans were on their feet, Jack crossed the line in first place, Alexis Masbou crossed the line in sixth place and only 0.242 seconds separated them.