A truly chaotic race.
Phillip Island's MotoGP race was shortened on race day to 19 laps.
A drama filled race, one where world championship leader Marc Marquez and crew miscalculated the number of laps needed before coming in to switch bikes. As a result Marquez was black-flagged and disqualified.
The start and first 2-3 laps were intense as riders pushed to the absolute maximum trying to get away. It's debatable--again--as to who got the best start, Lorenzo or Bradley Smith. The former has developed an incredible skill in 100% nailing holeshots on the Tech 3 bike.
Lorenzo rode a near perfect race and now heads to Japan just 18 points down on Marquez for the world championship. Lorenzo said after the contest that it had been "a crazy race". His margin of victory was 6.9 seconds.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was the first rider to pit and switch bikes. However he too made a crucial mistake by exceeding the speed of the pit entrance. He was penalized one position, effectively ending any chance he had for chasing down Lorenzo for the win.
Pedrosa had trouble--because the race had been so chaotic and intense--remembering how it had all played out. "It happened so fast," he said.
The most frightening moment of the race happened when Marquez finally re-entered the track after swapping bikes. In the middle of Phillip Island's infamous turn one Lorenzo encountered the slower Marquez and the two collided. Neither crashed, but parts were seen flying from Marquez's bike or his leathers. To anyone that has ridden at Phillip Island it was a predictable and regrettable incident.
Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista fought to the finish line over third place with Rossi finishing on the podium. After the race Rossi said the race was "good fun" and gave credit to his team's exceptional pit work which saw him re-enter the race in fourth place.
Rain drops began to drop on the final laps with race leader Lorenzo at one point taking his hand off the controls and displaying a WTF? gesture to either race control or the riders behind him.
Marquez was seen smiling--sheepishly--in the garage after the race. All of the crews were put under pressure in having to truly prepare two of their best bikes and have them both ready to race, plus the logistics of a hot bike swap in the pit lane.
There will be a search to find out how the communication failure happened at Honda but fate and chance played a huge part.
Phillip Island MotoGP 2013 may one day be known as the race where the control tire rule showed itself to be a mortally flawed concept, one that needs fixing if not outright abolishing.