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24/10/2023 News

An upside down Grand Prix

Phillip Island, Australia, October 24th 2023 - A long race on Saturday, a Sprint on Sunday... It was ‘down under’ this year in Australia for the sixteenth round of the MotoGP championship. In Moto2, Tony Arbolino returned to his winning ways.


With a forecast of heavy rain and gusts of wind in excess of 60 km/h, the organisers of the Australian Grand Prix decided to swap round the Saturday Sprint race with the Sunday long race. A wise decision, as the MotoGP riders were unable to take to the track on Sunday afternoon. The Australian Grand Prix therefore took place in satisfactory conditions, though they failed to benefit the two GASGAS Tech 3 riders. Eleventh on the grid, Pol Espargaro took the risk of starting the 27-lap race on the soft rear tyre. And like Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez, the Spaniard bitterly regretted his decision. “It wasn't a good idea," admitted Espargaro. “My tyre degraded much more quickly than I'd imagined it would.” The GASGAS Tech 3 rider was eleventh for a long time before taking the chequered flag in 18th position. Augusto Fernandez didn't make it that far. The MotoGP rookie fell as he battled with Luca Marini in 17th position, the position he occupied on the grid after receiving a three-place penalty for having inadvertently impeded Quartararo during qualifying. “There are still some positive things to take away from the weekend," said the Spaniard. “We've made further progress in terms of pace and speed and I'm getting closer and closer to the top riders.”


Tony Arbolino won the Australian Grand Prix but had to settle for half of the 25 points usually awarded to the winner, as the race was stopped on the ninth lap, before the halfway point. The Phillip Island circuit was drenched in rain and swept by violent gusts of wind. Ten riders crashed, including Sam Lowes. The Brit was in second place, just behind his team-mate. “The conditions were really bad," explained the Elf Marc VDS Racing rider. “It's a real shame that the race couldn't restart because I had the speed to fight for a top spot.” Tony Arbolino won the race from the third row of the grid. In just eight laps, however, he managed to build up a lead of 14 seconds over his rivals. “We've had three races in the rain in the last two years and I've won them all," said the Italian with satisfaction. “Unfortunately, this victory didn’t bring enough reward in my opinion. Given the conditions, we should have pocketed double the points, not half.” Arbolino still managed to reduce his gap to the championship leader to 56 points.


In the introductory category, the big surprise of the weekend came from Joel Kelso. The Australian rider from the CFMotos team took his first Grand Prix podium in front of his home crowd, finishing third. The result moved him up from 22nd to 17th in the overall standings. Less comfortable in the rain, his team-mate Xavi Artigas finished 16th, just outside the points. For the KTM Tech3 team, Dani Holgado had a big scare when he crashed heavily on the formation lap. Thanks to his mechanics’ quick reaction time, the Spanish rider was able to get back onto the starting grid and finish the race in thirteenth position, thus avoiding losing too many points to his rivals in the title race. “We hadn't raced in the rain since the Argentine Grand Prix and I got caught out stupidly when I came out of the pits," he explained. “From then on, it was hard for me to regain my confidence.” Filippo Farioli crashed out of the race.


Pol Espargaro

- and

23rd (12 points)

Augusto Fernandez

- and DNF

15th (67 points)


Sam Lowes


13th (80 points)

Tony Arbolino


2nd (224.5 points)


Dani Holgado


3rd (195 points)

Filippo Farioli


25th (7 points)

Xavier Artigas


13th (65 points)

Joel Kelso


17th (36 points)