Jorge Lorenzo came through to claim victory in the Australian Grand Prix, slashing Marc Marquez's championship lead to 18 points, while Dani Pedrosa was second and Valentino Rossi held on to claim third.
The story heading into the race was the tyres, with the new tarmac at Phillip Island proving much more abrasive than supplier Bridgestone has predicted.
As a result the race distance was reduced to just 19 laps and, for the first time ever, a mandatory pit-stop was introduced to change bikes onto fresh rubber.
At the start Lorenzo got away well from pole as Marquez slotted in behind at the first corner. A mistake from Lorenzo at the hairpin briefly let Dani Pedrosa through from third to first, but the former, alongside Marquez, steamed straight back past at the next corner.
Valentino Rossi was fourth ahead of a fast starting Bradley Smith though, by then end of lap two, both Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow had got ahead of the Brit.
A searing pace was set at the front with Lorenzo and the two Hondas lapping not far from their qualifying times, but Marquez closed back in on his championship rival. Rossi appeared to struggle more as the tyres began to wear, while Bautista and Crutchlow moved through with the Tech 3 Yamaha, with the Spaniard into fourth.
As the pit-stops approached a small mistake from Lorenzo allowed Marquez and Pedrosa to close right up. Pedrosa was the first to stop as Lorenzo waited a lap longer to make the mandatory change of bike.
Marquez waited a lap longer than everyone to pit and, as they left the pit, he and Lorenzo made contact on the exit of turn one allowing Pedrosa through. Pedrosa was then given a penalty for speeding in the pit-lane and dropped a place behind Marquez.
A huge turning point in the championship occurred as Marquez was given a black flag meaning he was disqualified from the race for failing to pit before lap ten.
That gave Lorenzo a relatively easy run to the finish ahead of Pedrosa. The battle was for third as Rossi moved ahead of Crutchlow and Bautista in the pit-stops and the three were running wheel-to-wheel entering the final lap.
Crutchlow passed Bautista round the final corner to claim fourth, Smith claimed sixth ahead of Nicky Hayden, Andrea Ianonne eighth.
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