Enea Bastianini crossed the line in fifth place in the MotoGP race on Phillip Island on Sunday. It was a very difficult result for the Italian who started from 15th, went back to 20th and finally crossed the finish line in 5th.
The Australian Grand Prix is a race that Ina Bastianini will probably not soon forget. After finishing Friday with a good time on lap nine, he was less than ten tenths of Saturday’s top ten in FP3, forcing him to move into Q1.
Bastianini was quick on this, but Miguel Oliveira held him back at least twice, as he thought the session was already over. The Portuguese stopped the test start while Bastianini was still making a fast lap, causing the yellow flag to be waved and the Gresini Racing driver’s lap time reduced.
Oliveira then slowly moved towards the pits, thinking the session was already over, while Bastianini worked on one more lap to secure a spot in Q2. As a result, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing driver stopped Bastianini, who failed to secure a place in the second quarter and had to start from 15th. Oliveira was penalized with a three-position penalty which forced him to start from last, in addition to executing a long lap penalty during the race.
Of course, these penalties didn’t make sense to Bastianini as he had to start from 15th place anyway. The Italian didn’t get off to a great start and fell back to 17th before receiving a big tank slap at the end of the second lap coming out of the last corner before start/finish. It was so severe that the airbag in the motorcycle’s suit exploded and the four-time MotoGP winner had to drive a lap and a half with the airbag inflated.
This caused Bastianini to drop to 20th on lap three but the Italian was determined to get his way again. This was exactly what the 2020 Moto2 World Champion did and he managed to outsmart his rivals one by one. Entering the last lap, Bastianini was seventh but also managed to pass Jorge Martin and Luca Marini to finish fifth.
An impressive race by the 24-year-old Italian, who is theoretically still a contender for the world title. With a total of 191 points, he is 42 points behind compatriot and future teammate Pecco Bagnaia, with two races to achieve something very special that should happen if Bastianini is still able to launch in the MotoGP World Championship.
Ina Bastianini: “I am happy with my race but after qualifying I was really disappointed when the fastest lap was cancelled. The first lap was really tough because I had a lot of riders in front of me which made the bike feel nervous.
On lap two, I came out on the last corner, lost the rear of the machine and the airbag exploded. I drove a lap and a half with an inflated airbag and because of that I lost a lot of places.
Then I was able to regain my confidence and become fast, so I was able to make up several positions and close the gap in the leading group. I needed a few more laps to do more, but that’s okay, I made the most of it. I can be happy with my race.
We’re still in the title race and it’s not over yet. We are now going to Malaysia and fully focused on doing a good job, including on Saturday.”
The 19th and penultimate Grand Prix of the season will be held next weekend, at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Useful Links Animoca Brands Australian Grand Prix Motorcycle:
Schedule and full results
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