Marquez wins Australian MotoGP as Miller claims third
World champion Marc Marquez won his third Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix but Aussie Jack Miller won the hearts of the Phillip Island crowd with a bold third place in an eventful and memorable afternoon.
Miller's third was his fourth podium of 2019 and his best MotoGP result at the island, cemented his hero status among Aussie fans.
The 24-year-old Queenslander produced a controlled performance, sitting in the pack, conserving his tyres and moving through the pack late in the race.
Race winner Marquez had stalked pole-sitter Maverick Vinales in the second half of the race, then stole the lead at the start of the final lap.
As Vinales tried to get the Yamaha back in front he crashed at Lukey Heights with just a few turns to go leaving Marquez a clear run to the line.
Brit Cal Crutchlow inherited second on the Honda while Miller held off Pramac Ducati teammate Pecco Bagnaia for third.
"It's a great day. It's not a win, but it feels like it a little bit,'' Miller said.
The latter stages of the race were held with rain clouds looming over the coastal circuit and drizzle fell on the riders' slowdown lap.
The rookie Bagnaia picked up his best result in fourth, from Joan Mir (Suzuki) and surprise packet Andrea Iannone on the factory Aprilia.
Valentino Rossi, in his 400th grand prix, burst from fourth place on the grid to lead into the first turn. But he couldn't sustain the pace and finished eighth.
Factory Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci crashed at the second turn of the 27-lap event, tumbling into and bringing down Fabio Quartararo who endured a tough weekend on the Yamaha.
The Frenchman had recovered after a nasty fall on Friday when he injured his left foot and came through the Q2 session to make the front row.
The opening laps of the race were breathless with Rossi, then Crutchlow and even Iannone taking the lead.
Vinales hit the front on the seventh lap but Marquez tracked the Yamaha man, ensuring he had his measure before making the decisive move.
Marquez's win was his fifth straight victory and his 55th overall, passing Mick Doohan and Dani Pedrosa for most wins on a Honda.
"The usual weekend here at Phillip Island - rain, cold and wind but the team did a great job. It was incredible,'' Marquez said.
Crutchlow broke his ankle in last year's race so was delighted with his third top-three result for 2019.
"It's unfortunate that Maverick fell off but I'm still on the podium and we have to be happy with that.
"I'm so glad to get a podium here in Australia after what happened last year. At one point I didn't know if I was coming back.''
Earlier, Vinales blitzed the field to qualify on pole, a half second ahead of Quartararo.
The Spaniard had dominated most practice sessions of the weekend, hoping to repeat his 2018 success at the island.
Qualifying was held yesterday morning after strong winds forced the postponement of Saturday's sessions.
The next race will be at Sepang in Malaysia next weekend.
In Moto3, Italian Lorenzo Dalla Porta wrapped up the 2019 title with a stunning triumph in a typically chaotic race at Phillip Island.
The Leopard Racing rider saw off all challengers and only had to stay upright - not always easy in the Moto3 swarm - after Aaron Canet crashed at the first corner of the third lap.
He became the first Italian to win the 125cc/Moto3 title since Andrea Dovizioso in 2004.
Dalla Porta's teammate Marco Ramirez sneaked through to finish second, with Albert Arenas third.