JORGE Lorenzo's hopes of successfully defending his world MotoGP title remain alive after he won a dramatic and controversial Australian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard won the race, shortened to 19 laps from a scheduled 26 because of concerns about the tyres from official supplier Bridgestone, to close in on championship leader Marc Marquez.
Lorenzo is now just 18 points adrift of Marquez in the championship race after his compatriot was disqualified.
Marquez, who is aiming to become the first rookie to win the world title since Kenny Roberts in 1978, was black-flagged after ignoring a mandatory pit stop.
Race organisers had called for the compulsory pit stop after concerns about the tyres were raised by Bridgestone, which said because of the new track at Phillip Island it could not guarantee the tyres would last.
Riders were required to make a compulsory stop before lap 10 to swap bikes but Marquez, who was second at the time and less than one second behind Lorenzo, stayed on the track for another lap.
Marquez then nearly took out Lorenzo as he exited the pits but the race leader held on to complete the win while Marquez was left to argue his case.
Despite protestations from his team, Marquez's hopes of wrapping up the 2013 world title at Phillip Island were left in tatters.
He will now have to try to seal the title at the Japanese Grand Prix, one of two races left on the calendar along with Valencia Grand Prix.
"Today has been a crazy race with this change of bikes in the middle," Lorenzo said.
"We practised it a lot (changing bikes) and that was one of the keys.
"Now we have made the championship open but it will still be very tough."
Dani Pedrosa also remains in the championship hunt after finishing second yesterday. Valentino Rossi finished third ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Championship standings after the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:-
Marc Marquez (Spa)
Jorge Lorenzo (Spa)
Dani Pedrosa (Spa)
Valentino Rossi (Ita)
Cal Crutchlow (GB)
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