Alex Rins fended off the attacks of Marc Marquez across the final lap of the Australian Grand Prix to score his first win of the year, while Fabio Quartararo crashed.
The Suzuki rider rode a coy race as he moved his way up through the top ten in the early laps at Phillip Island from tenth on the grid, Rins reaching fourth just over half-a-dozen tours into the encounter.
He then remained a part of the lead battle for the remainder of the contest, disputing the leading spots with pole-man Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia as well as Honda’s Marquez.
He first managed to secure what would be a brief leadership just past half-distance, though Bagnaia used the power of his Desmosedici to quickly demote the GSX-RR to second – though Rins would once again move to the head of the field a few laps later.
Having then been relegated back to fourth by Bagnaia, VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi and Marquez, Rins began his final flourish as he began to utilise the extra tyre he had saved throughout the race to navigate his way back to the runners-up spot at the start of the final tour.
A blistering run through Turn 1 for the final time allowed him to scythe underneath Bagnaia to take the lead, the Spaniard followed by Marquez with the six-time premier class champion desperate to score a first win of the season.
Despite throwing everything at the Suzuki pilot Marquez ultimately failed to get close enough to launch a last-gasp move, Rins racing across the start/finish line to take the chequered flag just 0.186s clear to score his and Suzuki’s first win of 2022 in what is set to be the Japanese marque’s last year in the series.
Bagnaia ended up holding onto the final spot of the podium – just 0.286s adrift of victory – a result that has earned him the points lead as a result of Quartararo crashing out just prior to mid-distance.
The reigning MotoGP world champion was already up against it having dropped all the way to 22nd early on after running wide at Turn 4, though having managed to recover to 15th he saw any further chances to recover vanish after losing the front of his Yamaha into Turn 2 – ending his day in the grass with a now 14-point deficit to Bagnaia with only two races remaining.
Bezzecchi meanwhile would claim fourth ahead of Enea Bastianini, the Gresini rider enjoying one of his customary late-race charges to secure fifth having run as far down as 18th in the early laps.
Luca Marini was sixth on the sister VR46 entry ahead of Martin, with the other Pramac-run Ducati of Johann Zarco grabbing eighth.
Aleix Espargaro faded in the latter stages to ninth as his own title hopes begin to fade, while Brad Binder climbed from 16th on the grid to complete the top ten.
Miguel Oliveira did well to recover from 21st on the grid as well as a long-lap penalty for touring on the racing line in qualifying to take 12th on the second factory KTM RC16 ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the highest-placed Yamaha, RNF Racing team-mate Darryn Binder following him home in 14th.
Remy Gardner fended off Tech 3 team-mate Raul Fernandez to take the final point in what looks set to be his only premier class start at home for the foreseeable future, the reigning Moto2 world champion the top Aussie rider in the race after Jack Miller was taken out at Turn 4 – the bend having ironically just been renamed Miller Corner in honour of him – by Alex Marquez early on.
The factory Yamaha squad’s day failed to improve after Franco Morbidelli also crashed out in the twilight stages of the encounter, while Maverick Vinales and Joan Mir failed to score after fading to 17th and 18th respectively towards the end.