MotoGP’s gruelling Asian triple-header is in the books, but it’s difficult to know what to make of what’s turned into a rollercoaster of a championship.

Let’s start with what we know for certain.

After 17 weekends there are only three riders still in contention for the title. Marco Bezzecchi, at 74 points down, is only just mathematically in it and faces elimination at the next round in Malaysia.

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You’d have to be brave or crazy to be willing to bet on what the MotoGP championship will look like this Sunday night.

October in the premier class has been nothing short of electric.

Jorge Martin seized control of the championship in the Indonesian sprint, but his grasp lasted barely 24 hours, surely the shortest time spent at the top of the standings in the history of grand prix racing.

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MotoGP race director Mike Webb expects negotiations to move the date of the Australian Grand Prix to avoid weather disruptions at future races.

Sunday running at Phillip Island was declared with only the Moto3 race and half the Moto2 race completed. MotoGP riders never took to the circuit, with wind speed too extreme for track action.

The Bureau of Meteorology observed gusts of more than 50 kilometres per hour on Sunday, though the circuit’s location overlooking Bass Strait means it was likely battered by more extreme winds, with gales of up to 87 kilometres per hour having been forecast for the surrounding waters.

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The MotoGP sprint at the Australian Grand Prix has been called off on safety grounds due to extreme weather at Phillip Island.

Team managers were spotted in a meeting with race organisers in the paddock around 40 minutes before the short race’s scheduled 1:00pm start, with confirmation coming at 12:30pm that the rest of the weekend would be abandoned due to high winds and rain.

“I think it was a great call yesterday to have the main race on Saturday,” RNF team manager Wilco Zeelenberg said. “We see clearly there is a lot of wind and a lot of rain.

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Aussie ace Joel Kelso has secured a third season in Moto3 with a switch to the Boé Motorsports team for 2024.

Darwin-born Kelso made his full-time debut in the lightweight class in 2022 with CIP before switching to the CFMoto-backed Prüstel GP team this season, but the team told him earlier this season that he wouldn’t be retained for a second season.

While Kelso has been making progress in his second campaign, he has struggled to convert his qualifying speed into regular points.

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The first Saturday Grand Prix in eight years didn’t disappoint. But then Phillip Island rarely does.

The time-shifted Australian Grand Prix was an afternoon of motorcycle racing’s greatest hits.

It started as a demonstration of pure pace, with Jorge Martin dominating off the lined and putting what seemed to be an insurmountable 3.5 seconds on the rest of the field.

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First-time MotoGP winner Johann Zarco has admitted to doubting whether he had what it takes to win in the premier class in the lead-up to his maiden victory in a corking Australian Grand Prix.

French veteran Zarco snatched the lead from Pramac teammate Jorge Martin in a thrilling five-rider last-lap duel with eight corners remaining to take the chequered flag for the first time.

Zarco had been searching for his maiden victory for the better part of seven seasons in MotoGP, a prospect that would have seemed unthinkable when he debuted in the sport as a double Moto2 champion.

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Francesco Bagnaia has twisted the knife into fumbling title challenger Jorge Martin with some veiled criticism after yet again stretching his points advantage thanks to his rival’s mistake.

Martin led all but the last eight corners of the Australian Grand Prix after gambling his pole position on a soft rear tyre. It gave him a massive 3.5-second lead in the middle of the race but pulled itself apart before the end of the afternoon, dropping him from first to fifth on the last lap.

Bagnaia had been mired in a battle for third for much of that time but stormed home thanks to his superior tyre strategy to finish second, adding nine points to his title lead.

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Johann Zarco has passed teammate Jorge Martin to claim a thrilling first MotoGP victory in his 120th premier-class start.

Martin led every lap but the last in what was close to a perfect performance, but the Spaniard gambled his victory chances on the soft rear tyre that let him down in the final 10 laps.

The Pramac rider was a sitting duck as his seemingly insurmountable 3.5-second lead in the middle of the race was whittled down to nothing by a four-rider pack that smelt blood.

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Title leader Francesco Bagnaia has failed to directly qualify for the top 10 on the grid for the second week in a row in a crucial timed practice session headed by KTM teammates Brad Binder and Aussie Jack Miller.

Bagnaia had been off the pace all session and found himself needing to set a competitive time in the last three minutes of the hour.

Championship rival Jorge Martin, among a gaggle of other riders, disrupted his rhythm by picking up his slipstream on his first lap. Bagnaia attempted to shake the pack but in doing so compromised his first lap, which ended with an unrepresentative time.

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It was a funny atmosphere on Phillip Island on Friday night.

Nothing had really changed, but at the same time everything had changed.

Practice had gone ahead without a hitch, the circuit basked in glorious sunshine. But the forecast was close at hand for every team and rider, with brows furrowed about the viability of holding a grand prix in the high winds predicted for Sunday.

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Daniel Ricciardo returns to the cockpit for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix with little on the line but much to prove.

Ricciardo’s grand plan to find himself a place at a race-winning team is coming together. He spent the months after being axed from McLaren deconstructing and rebuilding himself in the Red Bull simulator as a reserve driver, and after just 10 rounds he got the nod to replace the ousted Nyck de Vries at sister team AlphaTauri.

His first two races were promising, but the run ended suddenly with a practice crash in the Netherlands that broke his left hand and left him unable to drive until this weekend.

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MotoGP has brought forward the Australian Grand Prix to Saturday afternoon in a bid to avoid inclement weather forecast for Sunday.

The 27-lap grand prix will now take place at 3:10pm tomorrow instead of the sprint, less than three hours after the conclusion of qualifying.

The sprint will be moved to 2:00pm on Sunday in the feature race’s original slot.

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Jack Miller is hopeful his upgraded KTM can take the fight to dominant Ducati at his home Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

Miller has had a roller-coaster of a first season with the Austrian brand, bursting from the blocks with a podium in the fourth round but losing his way through the middle of the campaign.

Ducati, meanwhile, has won all but three of 15 races so far this season, with Miller’s former factory team taking six of those via title leader Francesco Bagnaia.

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Reigning Australian Grand Prix winner Álex Rins has cast doubt on the running of this year’s race, with high winds forecast to disrupt Sunday running.

Phillips Island has basked in warm and sunny weather on Thursday, but conditions are set to deteriorate over the weekend.

Fresh winds and light showers and will arrive for qualifying and the sprint on Saturday, while Sunday’s radar predicts up to 6 millimetres of rain and strong winds of up to 45 kilometres per hour. Gusts could be as strong as 70 kilometres per hour.

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Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo started the season as the two championship favourites, but if you’d attempted to plot out the campaign during pre-season testing, there’s no way you’d have come close to predicting the year we ended up getting.

Far from a titanic duel from the outset, both started the year way off the pace and downcast about their chances. They then took it on turns dominating the field in long stints until we got our three-race shootout to end the season.

But really campaigns can’t be segmented as neatly as that. They may have started the final stanza almost level on points, but the momentum that had waxed and waned between them had already set up an almost inevitable conclusion.

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The odds were heavily stacked in his favour, but rather than them lightening his load, Bagnaia felt their full weight for three days at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

There wasn’t a single moment of the Valencia Grand Prix weekend at which the presumptive world champion looked truly comfortable. He did his best to maintain an air of calm, but his on-track performance was a glimpse of the roiling turmoil beneath the surface.

He only just scraped through free practice 0.059 ahead of the Q2 cut-off time.

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Fabio Quartararo has praised title leader Francesco Bagnaia for closing the 91-point gap between them despite lamenting his Yamaha’s lack of pace leaving him fighting with one hand behind his back.

Quartararo starts the title-deciding Valencia Grand Prix this weekend with a 23-point deficit and an extremely narrow path to a second world championship.

The Frenchman has been vociferous about Yamaha’s shortcomings this year despite a bright start to the season that propelled him to an early points lead.

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