Another superb win for Marc Marquez in Japan saw the Spaniard retain his MotoGP World Championship Crown with three races to go, and clinch his fifth title in the last six years. A quite incredible record to extend the dominance of Spanish riders who have now won every title but one since 2010.
The stunning Phillip Island circuit, located 87 miles southeast of Melbourne, is one of the most iconic and exciting venues on the MotoGP schedule. First held there in 1989, the Australian GP moved to Eastern Creek for six successive years from 1991 to 1996, before returning to Phillip Island in 1997 where it has remained ever since.
The bookies certainly don’t see Marc Marquez letting up after claiming a fifth World Crown, and they have him as favourite again at Evens to land this race. The interesting battle is now between Dovizioso and Rossi for the runners-up spot and there is little to choose between them in the market. Dovizioso is a 3/1 chance, whilst Rossi goes into the race a 5/1 hope.
Marc Marquez is, as ever, in incredible form and he comes to Phillip Island having already won twice at the circuit. He first won this race in 2015 and followed that up with another maximum points last season – having failed to finish in 2016. As he has wrapped up the title already will he still race with the same desire and hunger – you bet he will and is once again the one to beat.
Andrea Dovizioso had been in excellent form to move into second-place in the World Standings and open up a 22-point lead ahead of Valentino Rossi. However, he finished down in 18th place in Japan so now has a battle on his hands to stay ahead of his fellow Italian. His record at Phillip Island isn’t that great, finishing once on the podium when third back in 2011. Since then, he has had three fourth-place finishes, including last year, but he will be feeling the pressure now after last week’s blip.
Valentino Rossi has finished the last two races in Thailand and then Japan in fourth-place, so didn’t really capitalise on Dovizioso’s poor finish last week. At Phillip Island, he endured years of finishing behind Casey Stoner, but does have a good record of podium finishes. He won in Australia in 2011 and has been runner-up the last two years. He’ll need to pull out another big performance to try and catch Dovizioso for the runners-up spot.
Marc Marquez is the obvious choice again, especially at a track where he knows how to win. However, Valentino Rossi has something to fight for again and this legend of the sport could spring a surprise and win to move into second-place in the World Standings.
Maverick Vinales has finished third at Phillip Island the past two-years, so looks good each-way value for another podium finish at 9/1.
Cal Crutchlow, who was second last time out in Japan, has enjoyed success in Australia. Notably winning the race in 2016 ahead of Rossi, Vinales and Dovizioso. At odds of 16/1, he is an interesting each-way chance to land another podium finish at least.