Honda superstar takes Phillip Island victory

ON TRACK: Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain (left) on his way to winning the Australian MotoGP.
ON TRACK: Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain (left) on his way to winning the Australian MotoGP. PAUL CROCK

Honda superstar Marc Marquez has one hand on the 2017 title after winning a breath-taking Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

The defending MotoGP champion crossed the line 1.8 seconds ahead of evergreen Valentino Rossi who held on to see off the challenges of teammate Maverick Vinales and Frenchman Johann Zarco.

Australian Jack Miller gave local fans plenty to cheer, giving it a red-hot go and leading the race in the first four laps.

The Marc VDS team Honda rider still finished a credible seventh as his rear tyre lost grip. The race lead changed several times as the first seven riders shuffled positions, often bumping into each other and making passing moves in all corners of the track.

It was Rossi's 17th podium in 21 visits to Phillip Island.

Last year's winner Cal Crutchlow finished fifth ahead of the LCR Honda, followed by Suzuki's Andrea Iannone who was second in the closing stages.

A group of eight led most of the race, with a mere 1.2 seconds covering them.

Marquez only gained the upper hand with five laps left, but the dogfight continued behind him.

Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso disappointed in 13th position, and Marquez extended his lead of the Italian to 33 points.

Australian Broc Parkes finished 22nd on the Tech3 Yamaha, filling in for the sick Jonas Folger.

Marquez said it was an amazing race and waiting for an opportunity to get clear.

"During the race I was just waiting, waiting, waiting.

"Then I could push really hard for three or four laps and the bike was really good."

News Corp Australia

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