Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:
World Champion Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team pack up in Japan and head for Australia
Fresh from clinching the Rider’s Championship at Motegi – Honda’s home circuit – the Repsol Honda Team are en route to Australia for Round 16 of the World Championship.
This past weekend in Japan Marc Marquez successfully defended his 2013 title and was crowned back-to-back World Champion, and now all eyes are on the battle for second place. With both Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi joint on 230 points and Jorge Lorenzo now just 3 points behind them on 227, the fight will be intense with just three races of 2014 remaining.
The Phillip Island circuit remains one of the favourites with the World’s top riders. Located next to the Southern Ocean, the often windy circuit is a flowing blend of seven left-handers and five right-handers, with tricky, iconic sections like Lukey Heights thrown into the mix. The 4.448km circuit, located 140km south of Melbourne, hosted its first motorcycle GP in 1989 and has been an indispensable fixture ever since.
Both riders have had mixed results here in the past, Dani celebrating a solitary win here in 2005 (250cc) a 2nd place last year (MotoGP) and a 3rd place finish in 2009 (MotoGP). Marc also only has one win to his name here in 2010 (125cc), and two 3rd place finishes in Moto2 (2011, 2012) and will be eager to put last year behind him, after receiving a blah flag during the difficult race.
2014 MotoGP World Champion
“What we achieved in Japan a few days ago is still sinking in! To win the Championship in my first two years is a real dream and I must thank all my family, my team, Honda and Repsol for all their commitment and dedication. Now we can relax a little, but not too much! I still want to win races and finish the season on a high. Phillip Island was a bit of a nightmare for me last year so I have a score to settle! I like the track, it’s a lot of fun, so let’s hope the weather is nice so we can really enjoy the weekend!”
Championship Standing: 3rd - 230 points
“The race in Japan was a little frustrating so I’m looking forward to getting to Phillip Island and putting it behind me. Obviously we tested there earlier in the year but we’ll have to see how are the conditions now, some months later. The goal is of course to take second place in the Championship and I will be pushing 100% to achieve this. The layout is exciting to ride and the races are always fun, but let’s hope there are no issues like in 2013!”
Yamaha Prepares for Phillip Island
Phillip Island (Australia), 15th October 2014
After Jorge Lorenzo’s victory in Motegi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP immediately moves on to the next stage on the MotoGP calendar, the Australian Grand Prix at the beautiful Phillip Island circuit.
Valentino Rossi looks forward to defending his second place in the championship from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Honda rival Dani Pedrosa. The Doctor’s experience will certainly come in handy during this weekend’s battle. Rossi is one of the most successful riders at the Phillip Island circuit. Starting in 2001 he had a very impressive five year winning streak, followed by four more consecutive podium finishes. In the premier class the nine-time World Champion has won at the Australian track from 2001 until 2005, claimed second place in 2008 and 2009 and scored five third places in 2000, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2013.
After a strong victory at Motegi, teammate Lorenzo is also prepared to take on his competition. Phillip Island is the Spaniard’s favourite circuit. He scored two second places in the premier class in 2010 and 2012 before claiming victory last year under bizarre circumstances. Following safety concerns the race was reduced to 19 laps and included a mandatory bike change at the ten-lap mark. This year none of such measurements are expected to be necessary and Lorenzo is ready to have some fun while fighting for second place in the championship.
Lorenzo holds the record for the fastest lap at the Phillip Island circuit since last year, when he clocked a 1'27.899 around the 4.448 meter track.
Phillip Island was constructed in 1956 and has hosted motorcycle Grand Prix until an extensive renovation took place in 1968. The Australian circuit made a comeback in 1989 and has been a favourite on the MotoGP calendar for both riders and fans ever since, thanks to its fast and fluid corners and the stunning ocean scenery.
46 Valentino Rossi
“We have a second place contest between me, Jorge and Pedrosa and I’m worried because Jorge is so fast. We have to give the maximum. I love Phillip Island and Sepang but three races in a row is always very difficult and a good start is very important. The podium of Japan was another positive result, especially because I have done well throughout the race and was very close to Marquez and Jorge. We held a very high pace and my bike was working very well. I really like the Australian GP and I want to ride a good race here, partly because most of my team is Australian. I want to get back on the podium and try to win again. We are working well, I like the circuit, and the Yamaha is going strong, so I think we can do it. I’m in a good shape, so it will be a fun battle."
99 Jorge Lorenzo
“It was a great feeling to win in Motegi once again. Winning two races in a row after a very disappointing start of the season was unbelievable, not only for me but also for all the guys from Yamaha who worked really hard. Now I look forward to racing in Phillip Island, another amazing place to ride. Australia is always special and the layout is always perfect for having fun. To me the joy of riding there with the M1 is difficult to explain but I love the long and fast corners, especially the last one before going towards the straight to the finish. Hopefully we can have another great weekend and fight for the victory once again, which is so important regarding the second place in the championship.”
“After the victory in Motegi we immediately go to Phillip Island. We are in a good shape for Vale and Jorge to fight for second place in the championship. Both our riders really like this track so we look forward to getting started on Friday. We will work hard this weekend, because this track’s fast and sweeping corners make it important to have a good balance with the bike. Fortunately this circuit’s layout suits our bike well. We are right next to the seaside and it can get very windy at certain places on the track, but we are optimistic that we can book some good results.”
Ducati Team gearing up down under for Australian GP at Phillip Island
Just a few days after the GP of Japan, the Ducati Team has arrived in Australia at the Phillip Island circuit, the venue for round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship, and the second leg in the exhausting series of three end-of-season overseas races on two different continents.
Situated close to the Bass Strait in the state of Victoria, the Phillip Island track runs in a counter-clockwise direction with a series of extremely quick curves that make it one of the fastest tracks on the world championship calendar. Despite the fact that weather conditions in spring in the southern hemisphere are often unpredictable, the event is always a favourite for teams, riders and fans alike.
Like Motegi, the Ducati Team has also notched up four wins at Phillip Island, all at the hands of Casey Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso has stepped onto the podium three times in three different categories, including a third place in MotoGP in 2011, and the same podium result was also obtained by Cal Crutchlow in 2012.
With three rounds left to go before the end of the 2014 championship, which Marc Marquez wrapped up at Motegi last Sunday, Dovizioso currently lies fifth in the standings on 153 points, while Crutchlow is in twelfth place with 63 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“We tested at Phillip Island earlier in the year when the track conditions were much better. The lap times were good but eight months have gone by since then, our bike has changed and so the results of the tests don’t really count for much now. Phillip Island is a track I don’t like so much: it’s really difficult and with the limits the bike still has, I think it will be difficult there this year. We always have to keep one eye on the weather conditions because normally at this time of the year they are really tricky, but in any case in the last few races we have always been up near the top and I’m confident about the race.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
“Phillip Island is Phillip Island! Everyone goes fast around there and the times are always very close so I don’t believe it’s a massive advantage to have tested there a few months back, before the start of the season. Of course we’ll go and try and do our best job again in Australia, and hopefully we’ll have a bit more luck than in Japan, because I honestly believe we are in better shape than earlier on in the year. Now I have a much better feeling with the GP14. Also Aragon was a good race and I had a good weekend at Motegi until I crashed out of the race, so now we’re more consistent and I have better speed.”
The Phillip Island Circuit
Phillip Island, which is around 150 km south of Melbourne, is steeped in motor racing tradition, with the first car races having been held there on public roads in the 1920s. The first motorcycle races took place in 1931 and a permanent track was built in 1956. The circuit fell into disrepair during the late 70s and early 80s until it was bought in 1985 and given a major facelift. MotoGP returned in 1989 and 1990 before becoming a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards. The Phillip Island circuit is blessed with breathtaking scenery and beautiful ocean views and is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.
Next stop Australia on 'flyaway' MotoGP tour
Phillip Island presents a fresh challenge for DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama, who are showing great form as season reaches its climax
The MotoGP World Championship heads to the land of koalas, kangaroos and penguins this weekend as the planet's premier motorcycle racing series adds an extra dimension to the stunning location of Phillip Island. The track, located on the clifftops over the Tasmanian Sea, is well known for its super fast and flowing layout and it has been one of the most popular venues on the calendar since its introduction in 1997. Over the years it has seen several champions crowned and even though this year's title has already been claimed by Marc Marquez, victory at 'The Island' holds special significance for the man who makes it to the top step on Sunday. Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo will be particularly keen to do so this weekend as the battle for second place in the championship intensifies.
DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider Hiroshi Aoyama has scored points in fourteen of the fifteen rounds so far in what is turning out to be one of his most productive seasons at the top level. The Japanese rider has been a model of consistency this season and as a result he lies fourteenth in the championship on 54 points – a tally he is confident he can add to this weekend. Despite missing several rounds through injury Nicky Hayden is just sixteen points and two positions behind his team-mate in the championship and after coming through the Motegi race without suffering any problems with his recently-operated wrist the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider is looking forward to racing even harder at Phillip Island.
Hiroshi Aoyama: “Thankfully I was able to enjoy a positive home race and I think the whole team came away from Japan feeling reinvigorated and full of motivation. It is always a long trip down to Australia, with barely any time to rest, but I don't care because I love the country and the circuit too so I am looking forward to it. Phillip Island is a special track, different to anywhere else, with a variety of fast corners and some tight sections. You pretty much always have to put up with the cold and the wind but I am going into the next race in good form and feeling hopeful that we can continue to close the gap to the riders at the front.”
Nicky Hayden: “I am excited about racing at Phillip Island this weekend. I love the characteristics of the circuit and the atmosphere down in Australia. Japan was a big test for my wrist and it held up well, I was able to ride without any problems all weekend so I am sure it will be much better again in Australia. Gradually I am getting more and more strength back in my hand and soon I will be able to ride to my full capabilities again. This is a fast and flowing circuit so it won't be as hard on my wrist as Motegi.”
NGM Forward Racing heads Down Under to Phillip Island
With the Japanese Grand Prix having been completed just a few days ago, the NGM Forward Racing Team is now in Australia, where they look forward to race at Phillip Island Circuit, site of Round 16 of the 2014 season.
Situated south of Melbourne, the popular track features a variety of mainly fast bends. Despite the unpredictable weather conditions, the event is popular with teams, riders and fans alike.
Sixth in the Championship and on top of the Open bike category, Aleix Espargaro looks forward to the Australian round at Phillip Island, one of his favorite track in the MotoGP calendar. Also team mate Alex De Angelis is optimist for the race on a track where he claimed two consecutive wins in Moto2 (2010 and 2011) and two second places in the 250cc class (2004 and 2006).
NGM Forward Racing Moto2 riders Mattia Pasini and Florian Marino are ready for the Australian challenge. After the difficult weekend at Motegi, the Italian is determined to return competitive at Philipp Island, while the Frenchman aims at making another step forward in terms of result on a track that he knows well.
“Phillip Island is one of the fastest track in the calendar. The changeable weather conditions and the cold temperatures make the work on the set up of the machine really difficult but I love the layout and it’s very fun to ride. I’ m confident that we can make a good race”.
Alex De Angelis
“Phillip Island is definitely my favorite track. I have very good memories and I claimed very important results in my careers such as pole position, podium finish and two victories in Moto2. The track has fast corners and I like the layout very much”.
Espargaro and Smith ready to fight down under
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head straight to Phillip Island for the second consecutive flyaway race at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix this weekend. Having challenged the stop and go Twin Ring Motegi circuit on Sunday, the riders now look towards round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship fully prepared as they both aim to fight for another top 6 battle.
The Phillip Island circuit is located 140 kilometres from Melbourne and has a deep and thoroughly rich history in motorsport. The highly regarded 4448 metre track was constructed in 1956 and became a permanent fixture in the MotoGP calendar from 1997 onwards. It’s meandering and high speed nature consists of seven left corners and five right, with a longest straight of 900 metres. The spectacular track is a firm favourite for both riders and fans, which continually guarantees highly entertaining race action.
Pol Espargaro will be looking to ride the flowing curves of the Australian circuit to success this weekend having had a superb record in recent years by winning the Moto2 race twice in succession. The rookie will be aiming to utilise the speedy track with his Yamaha YZR-M1 to challenge as the leading satellite bike once again. Whilst, British star Bradley Smith, intends to undertake another hard fought plus successful battle in Australia and up his level from Motegi to confidently contest in the top six in the 27 lap sprint on Sunday.
Championship : 7th Points : 116
"I am very much looking forward to the Tissot Australian Grand Prix as it really is one of my favourite events on the calendar and I am keen to see what I can do on the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. I’ve always enjoyed this track and have won twice here in back to back seasons, with last year having been my best race so far. With regards to the circuit itself, I liked it even more when it was bumpier before they resurfaced it, but it’s still fantastic and always fun to come down Lukey heights at full speed! Even though the wind and the conditions can be troublesome, it all adds to the experience of Phillip Island which is truly unique and unlike any other circuit we go to. I love everything about this GP: the track, the location, the scenery and Australia in general. All of that makes it a great event with a super fan base. It feels like a fifth home race for me so I really can’t wait to get going!"
Championship : 10th Points : 92
"There’s not much rest for us as we are now going to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix. I am feeling optimistic for this upcoming race as I really enjoyed riding there last year aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. However, we have to stay grounded and be a bit cautious of our hopes and expectations because the factory teams were testing there at the beginning of the year, so they will have the upper hand and more data than the rest of us. In general, the track suits the nature of the Yamaha, it’s fast and flowing with not so many hard braking points, therefore, I am sure we can have a strong run here. We have made some good steps forward recently with the bike as well as my riding style so it will be interesting to see the comparison to last year and the level of progression we have made. In addition, I am very happy to be racing three consecutive weekends as I won’t be at home just waiting for the next race to come. It means we, as riders, don’t go stale and remain sharp plus are totally ready for the action."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
"This week we return to the superb Phillip Island circuit for the second of the three flyaway races which will always hold a special place in our hearts. In 2000, Olivier Jacque won the 250cc title for Tech3 in what was a truly memorable event for us all. We have high hopes for this race and it will be great to get to a fluid and fast flowing high speed track again. Pol has a really strong record at Phillip Island and he seems to like the style of this track so we are excited to see what he will be able to do on the Yamaha. Realistically, we expect him to be battling for the top five. As for Bradley who did a convincing job by trying his best in Motegi, we have a good feeling for him as he enjoyed the track last year. This, twinned with the characteristics of the Yamaha suiting the circuit, makes us believe that he will be close to the top five with his team mate and challenging for the position of the leading satellite bike. It is a circuit which always ensures some fantastic racing and it is right next to the ocean making it a special one, so we can’t wait to start and up the ante this weekend in Australia."
THE ISLAND CALLS AS TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI HEAD DOWN UNDER
With no rest the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini and riders moved directly from Japan to Australia this week for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on Sunday. The second of the triple-header races will see Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding looking to take the fight to their rivals in the final rounds as the championship heads into its final three races.
Alvaro Bautista, tenth last Sunday in Japan, is still looking for a solution to the rear grip issues that are slowing him down: the Spaniard, who crossed the finish line last year in fifth, going very close to the podium, is currently eleventh in the Championship standings with 79 points, and he’s aiming to take a good result on a track that saw him win back in 2006, in the 125cc class.
His teammate, Scott Redding, ended at Motegi a series of twelve consecutive points scoring finishes: the English rookie, who struggled under braking in the early stages of the race, was in fact only 16th in Japan. Anyway, Scott still maintains his leadership among the riders aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R, with 60 points.
ALVARO BAUTISTA “At Phillip Island we are going to race on a very different track compared to Motegi, with a lot of fast corners where you need a very stable bike. Unfortunately, if we continue to struggle with rear grip, it will be very hard to be fast on that kind of corners, because you need a lot of feeling to do it, and at the moment I can’t really feel the rear tyre. Two important aspects of this race will be he weather, as usually it rains in this period, and the tyres: after the problems we had in 2013, we will need to evaluate in the best possible way the behaviour of the new compounds avaiable this year. Obviously, we will keep working to try to fix the rear grip issues, otherwise it will be very hard to make better results compared to Motegi”.
SCOTT REDDING “Normally Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks: it’s fast and I think that it will be funny to ride there with a MotoGP bike. We have to see when we get there how the bike is acting because usually there is a lot of wind there, so it’s going to be difficult. At Motegi I had some problems to stop the bike under braking, and this was worst at the beginning of the race, with the full tank: we still don’t know why, therefore we need to try and find a solution for this Grand Prix”.
EXCITED BRADL READY FOR THE ISLAND GP
Phillip Island, 16 October: the picturesque Phillip Island circuit hosts the second round of the 3 races in a row straight after Motegi GP where, only few days ago, Marc Marquez has been crowned 2014 World Champion. The oceanic race track is a favourite for riders and fans and this year in particular the LCR rider Stefan Bradl is anxious to be back as he missed the race last year after his ankle injury in Sepang.
Stefan: “Last year I could not race here in Phillip Island and I was very frustrated because, like the majority of the riders, I really like this track. I have had good results here in the past (second in 125cc and Moto2 and sixth in 2012 in my first year in the premier class) and it would be nice to finish in the top group. The potential of our RCV is very high. One question is always the weather but it looks like it will be sunny”.
Iannone and Hernandez in Australia with the best expectations
After Japan the MotoGP world championship makes a stop in Australia at the circuit of Phillip Island for the second round of the overseas tour. Another opportunity for Andrea Iannone to discover the GP14.2. Yonny Hernandez wants to regain the Q2 and finish the race with no surprises among the top ten.
Andrea Iannone is back on track after two very challenging weekends due to the large amount of work to do on the GP14.2 that had to be done in a short amount of time. Nevertheless Andrea is ready to face the other two appointments brought together in the month of October at his top. At Philip Island the Italian rider will finally set the new Desmosedici starting from a good base after the experience in the past two races. Andrea is confident he can do well, considering the fact that on the Australian circuit last year he achieved his best result of the season.
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing) came out a little subdued after the race at Motegi for the crash caused by A. Espargaro. However from this incident Yonny has drawn out the security of being able to fight without problems for relevant positions in the points. In Australia, the Colombian rider will have to be good at freeing out his mind from the facts of the last Grand Prix and push to the limit as always the potential of his GP13. Yonny is confident and ready to get back on his bike.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"There are three races left and I want to give 110%. In the recent Gp’s I have always been among the top 6 and there I’m not far from an important result. I always think positive and believe that I can do it on this track. The Ducati has did well here during winter testing. I will concentrate on the setting of my GP14.2, which reacts in a different way from the GP14. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"I can’t wait to get back on track to leave behind the incident of Motegi. I am very sorry for the crash, even though it was not my fault. I’m positive and I want to do well in the race. "
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 16: Phillip Island
Wednesday, October 15 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round sixteen of the 2014 MotoGP™ season takes place at Australia’s Phillip Island, a circuit whose combination of a fast and flowing layout and a high-grip track surface create a gruelling test for tyres.
Measuring around 4.45 kilometres in length, the Phillip Island circuit is one of the most severe for MotoGP tyres, with the final section through the left-handed turns 11 and 12 generating the highest tyre temperatures recorded all season. Adding to the challenge, Phillip Island can experience extremely cool weather and with five right-hand corners compared to seven left-hand corners, the circuit has an unbalanced track layout. This results in a high variance in the forces imposed on the left and right shoulders of the tyres.
To meet the demands of the Phillip Island circuit, Bridgestone is bringing a brand new allocation of tyres. In addition to developing a new range of asymmetric rear slicks for Phillip Island following two tyres tests at the circuit earlier this year, Bridgestone will also debut a new asymmetric front slick at the Australian Grand Prix to deliver even higher levels of rider safety.
The rear slick options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compounds, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will get access to the soft and medium compound rear slicks. The front tyre options for Phillip Island are the extra-soft and soft symmetric front slicks, as well as the new soft compound asymmetric front slick.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“This weekend MotoGP visits the fastest track on the calendar, Phillip Island, one of the favourite circuits for the riders and fans. We are bringing a brand new tyre allocation to the Phillip Island circuit this year, including an asymmetric front slick for the first time in the championship, so it is an important weekend for Bridgestone. Although the MotoGP championship title was won by Marc in Motegi last weekend, there is still so much to look forward to in the remaining races this year, with the fight for second place in the championship table between Valentino, Dani and Jorge becoming incredibly close. The Australian fans love their racing, so I hope there will be a big crowd present this weekend on the island enjoying the sight of the world’s best riders taking on one of the world’s best circuits.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Phillip Island is a fast and flowing circuit and the recent resurfacing has made the track the most demanding circuit on the calendar for tyres. The last corner in particular involves high speed, large throttle openings and the riders at extreme lean angles for long periods, all of which combine to create the highest rear tyre temperature experienced during the season. After our tyre tests at Phillip Island this year, we will bring a brand new allocation of rear slicks to ensure maximum safety, performance and durability, and due to the significant difference in loads placed on the left and right shoulders of the front tyre, our asymmetric front slicks will also make their debut this weekend in Australia. This brand new tyre allocation features our latest technological developments and I am looking forward to see how it performs this weekend.”