Due to rain and wind, the Tissot Sprint at the MotoGP Guru by Gryfyn Australian Grand Prix was cancelled. Fans would have been gutted, after an already chaotic weekend, but at least we had Joel Kelso on the podium, a first Aussie Moto3 podium since Jack Miller in 2014. Report: MotoGP Press

With the forecast to worsening throughout the day further track activity following the conclusion of the Moto2 race was cancelled.

With the forecast to worsening, further track activity – following the conclusion of the Moto2 race – was cancelled.

Before all that, the riders also headed for the Hero Walk after the Warm Up session. Then riders headed out again to greet fans as the weather closed in on the Island. 

Dorna Chief Sporting Officer, Carlos Ezpeleta: “As we expected the conditions today were not the most favourable, which is why we had the GP yesterday. It’s not an easy decision, for sure. This morning actually the feedback was positive from the MotoGP class riders, it was not negative, more positive than the other classes actually, and so Moto3 were difficult conditions but the race was able to go ahead, and then we had to red flag Moto2 because of some gusts of wind and the forecast was that it was only going to get worse during rest of day.

“We spoke with the teams and that was more or less the feedback. It wasn’t all the teams, but that was more or less the consensus. You know it’s always hard to make a decision like this. It’s really important to say thank you to the fans for enduring the conditions of cold and wind who came to see how great MotoGP™ is and we hope to be here next year and complete our schedule. There are still four great race weekends to look forward to on the MotoGP calendar.”

“Clearly in hindsight it was the correct decision to move the main MotoGP race, but hindsight is always a tricky thing, because this time it’s in our favour, and clearly we were able to complete the greatest and most important part of the weekend’s schedule, the fans were able to see a fantastic race yesterday. Today has been a little harder, the conditions have just been quite hard, but this is part of what Phillip Island is. It’s a great circuit with great fans, but sometimes we have these conditions.”

Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) went a stunning 15 seconds clear in a shortened and rain-soaked Moto2™ race at the MotoGP Guru by Gryfyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. The red flags came out with 14 laps remaining as conditions worsened and half points were awarded, but the drama had already hit for Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the number 37 crashed on the sighting lap and had to start the race from the back of the grid. Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) and Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp) took second and third , the former aiming for a top three overall in 2023 and the latter taking back to back podiums for the first time.

The race got underway and it was Canet that led the charge into Turn 1, but not long after the Pons machine dropped to fourth after the two Boscoscuro riders of Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp) and Aldeguer pushed their way through, with Arbolino also on an early charge. It was a short-lived story for Lopez however, who crashed out of the race lead not long after, rider ok but out of the race at the venue he’d reigned in 2022 in the dry. He rejoined but was ultimately four laps down.

Arbolino tames the Island in shortened showdown as drama hits for Acosta.

Arbolino tames the Island in shortened showdown as drama hits for Acosta.

That gave the race lead to rookie Sergio Garcia (Pons Wegow Los40), with Arbolino and Filip Salač (QJMOTOR Gresini Racing Moto2) rounding out the top three early doors. The order quickly changed once again though, and this time it was Garcia who crashed out of the race lead, with Salač going down nearly simultaneously from third. The laps ticked away as the riders braved the tricky conditions, but Arbolino had checked out already as he stretched out a 15-second lead. That was ahead of Canet and Aldeguer after crashes for Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) and Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) reshuffled the order in the chasing pack once more. 

With 14 laps to go, however, the conditions were worsening and the Red Flag came out. The race was initially set to be restarted as a six-lap dash but with the conditions failing to improve, the result was declared and half points awarded. Arbolino, Canet and Aldeguer took the rostrum, with Jeremy Alcoba (QJMOTOR Gresini Racing Moto2) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) completing the top five ahead of rookie Izan Guevara (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team).

Acosta made a fair charge from the back, but with ninth position and half points the advantage is down to 56 points. Still, that’s enough for the number 37 to have his first shot at the crown in Buriram! Tune in for match point Acosta at the OR Thailand Grand Prix!

Moto2 Race Results…

Moto3, Kelso scores podium
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is right back in the title fight after defeating Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) in a very wet duel Down Under, with the Turkish rider taking those valuable 25 points after a stunning last lap lunge. Sasaki’s second place sees him close back in on Championship leader Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), however, as the Spaniard had a tougher one to come home in P8. Third, meanwhile, was a very first podium for Joel Kelso (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) as the home hero converted a dry front row to a soaked P3, impressive all weekend.

There was drama on the sighting lap for a number of riders as Championship contender Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3), winner in Indonesia Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) and replacement rider Vicente Perez (BOE Motorsports) all crashed out. They were all able to start, but for Moreira it was from pitlane and the Brazilian then later retired from the race. 

Öncü makes last lap lunge to defeat Sasaki in wet weather duel Down Under.

Öncü makes last lap lunge to defeat Sasaki in wet weather duel Down Under.

Once the lights went out though, it was a nervy but clean start for the field as they made their way through Turn 1, with no dramas early on but Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) immediately got the hammer down as Öncü charged up into second. The first and sole crasher in the early stages was David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and he rejoined, pitted and then rejoined again, with plenty of laps still to go. But the Colombian then later pulled back into pitlane again, forced to watch from the sidelines as some key title rivals rode on in the front.

Fernandez led Öncü, Kelso, and the two Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP machines of Sasaki and Collin Veijer. The Leopard in the lead was unthreatened lap after lap, with Fernandez putting in a seriously impressive performance as the front gaggle pulled out a mountain of time on the rest of the field. But with five laps to go, heartbreak hit at Turn 11 and the number 31 slid out. With the unbelievable margin the front group had pulled out, however, he was able to rejoin in fifth.

By the latter stages, Veijer had dropped off the leaders and with Fernandez’ crash, it became a three-rider fight for the win: Sasaki, Kelso and Öncü. But as the metres ticked down, Sasaki and Öncü started to pull the pin and Kelso got dropped, left to race himself for his very first Grand Prix podium, with the conditions tricky but some time in hand behind him.

And so it was a duel, and a familiar one: Sasaki vs Öncü.  The duo were locked together in a private battle for 25 points, with the Japanese rider ahead as they crossed the line for the final lap. Sasaki played defense to perfection over the first part of the lap, but at Turn 10 Öncü went for it – and pulled it off. All that was left to do was keep it tidy to the line, and the Turkish rider had no trouble doing just that, taking a stunning victory and those valuable 25 points to take him back to within 25 of the top.

For Sasaki, second place may have been a little too familiar in 2023, but he also needed those 20 points – bringing his deficit to Masia back down to just four. Kelso, meanwhile, celebrates a first visit to the rostrum and on home turf too.

Moto3 Race Results…

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