Johann Zarco Wins Australian GP in Dramatic Fashion

Johann Zarco Wins Australian GP in Dramatic Fashion

Johann Zarco of Pramac Racing achieved a remarkable victory at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, marking his first MotoGP race win in nearly seven years within the premier class. Meanwhile, his teammate and championship contender, Jorge Martin, faced a dramatic turn of events, losing the lead on the final lap.

Martin had claimed pole position by smashing the lap record, showcasing an unrivaled pace among all riders on the grid. However, he struggled to maintain grip in the final laps, missing out on a podium finish as Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia surged to second place. Fabio Di Giannantonio, who is currently without a seat for the following year with Gresini Racing, secured the third spot, while Martin settled for fifth, resulting in a 27-point deficit behind Bagnaia in the riders’ championship.

Speaking about his victory, Zarco expressed, “It’s a good feeling, it’s hard to believe. After so many races, I finally won. I have to savor this moment. I want to cry, but not right now.”

The race took place on Saturday as MotoGP organizers rescheduled it due to adverse weather forecasts at Phillip Island for Sunday. This marked the first time the race had been moved since the Dutch Grand Prix in 2015.

Martin had an exceptional start, swiftly pulling away from the field and establishing a substantial lead. He extended his advantage over Brad Binder to over two seconds in the following laps, while Bagnaia slipped to fourth place. Di Giannantonio made an impressive move from sixth to claim the third position, applying pressure on Binder, who couldn’t match the pace of the leading rider.

Di Giannantonio, who had not previously secured a podium finish this season, eventually overtook Binder and moved into the second position with nine laps to go. However, he faced a challenge in the final laps as both Binder and Zarco made their moves.

With three laps remaining, Martin, who had been leading comfortably, found himself desperately seeking grip on his tires as a group of riders closed in, frequently changing positions. Zarco advanced to the second position and saw an opportunity to pass his teammate, with Bagnaia following suit. This turn of events left Martin shaking his head in disbelief.

Recalling his race strategy, Zarco stated, “Martin totally went away in the lead. I was conserving the tires. Then I tried to attack and was surprised to see Martin dropping down, so I knew something was possible.”

As they crossed the finish line, Di Giannantonio and Binder also managed to overtake Martin, leaving the Spanish rider to contemplate what might have been, reminiscent of his crash while leading the Indonesia Grand Prix the previous weekend.

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Hiroshi Tanaka

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