Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's Australian Grand Prix:
Rossi Grabs Gutsy Second Place in Powerful Phillip Island Performance
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi took the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to another level today, with a charge through the field from 15th on the grid to a stunning second place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo overcame the challenges thrown at him this weekend by pushing hard from 12th on the grid and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in sixth place.
Rossi made a good start to the race at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as he jumped two places to 13th on the opening lap. Overtaking Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales, the Doctor fought his way past Nicky Hayden as he continued to battle his way to the front of the field. Having climbed up to eighth, he was trailing teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who he quickly overtook on lap three and then the pair smoothly pulled ahead of Danilo Petrucci.
Rossi gradually closed down the 0.4s margin to tack onto the back of Andrea Dovizioso and Pol Espargaró's bikes. He then put the hammer down and set a provisional fastest lap of 1'29.795s, leaving behind his two rivals a lap later. He kept pushing in fourth place, trying to bridge the 0.4s gap to Aleix Espargarò and a podium finish.
As Rossi wrestled his way past Aleix Espargaró, drama struck as Marc Marquez crashed out of the lead on lap nine, handing the Italian second place.
The fight for the win was now between the nine-time World Champion and Cal Crutchlow, who was a little more than two seconds ahead of him. The Doctor was eager to hunt down the Briton, but the chase to the front of the field in the early stages of the race had taken its toll on his soft front tyre. Rossi decided to focus on maintaining his position after a small mistake on the brakes and cruised to a stunning second place, +4.218s from the front.
Lorenzo had a superb start from twelfth on the grid and quickly stormed to ninth in the opening laps. The Mallorcan was fully aware that his teammate and Viñales would be soon joining him at the front of the pack and hurried to deal with Stefan Bradl and Jack Miller two laps into the race for seventh place. A lap later Lorenzo was forced to let Rossi and Viñales through and followed them past Petrucci, but was unable to keep up with their pace.
With Marquez crashing at the front, the remaining second half of the race was a lonely ride for Lorenzo in sixth place, with a significant gap to both the bike in front and the back of him. Lorenzo focused on keeping the heat in his tyres to bring home some solid points and crossed the line +20.125s from the front.
Thanks to his stunning ride today, Rossi stays in second place in the championship with 216 points. He thereby increases the advantage over his teammate Lorenzo to 24 points, whose sixth place sees his points total raised to 192.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Following this morning's warm up we understood there were good premises for a positive race. Since the beginning of the session this morning, Valentino had a really good feeling and that's why we kept the bike as it was before the race. The two remaining variables were the tyres and the start from the fifth row, but Vale did great to manage both! Valentino's second place is a great relief after a very difficult and challenging weekend. Jorge did his best to recover from 12th on the grid and, although I am sure he's not happy with his sixth place, he did a very good job to ride around the difficulties he experienced throughout the whole weekend. I really want to congratulate with and thank all team members, who worked hard all weekend to provide Valentino and Jorge the best weapons for today's race. Their work has been crucial to recover from a bad Saturday!"
2nd / +4.218 / 27 laps
"This morning we discovered that we had a good pace in good conditions and step by step I came back. At the beginning of the race, the first lap was very funny and I tried and hoped to go to Cal, but he was too fast and too strong. The first ten laps I enjoyed a lot. Cal was also my target and I thought that I could beat him because this morning I was a bit stronger. When I saw Marquez crash I thought I might be able to win and tried but unfortunately Cal was too fast. He is always very fast in Phillip Island and interprets this track in the maximum way. For me the second half of the race was more difficult and I couldn't make a move, but this race is what we needed after the mistake in Motegi and the bad day we had yesterday, which I think was the most frustrating day of the season. It was a very positive day for the team and Yamaha and it's been a positive race. Congratulations to Cal and thank you to all my team, to all the guys who did a great job."
6th / +20.125 / 27 laps
"The temperatures were the same as during the warm-up and we gave more or less the same performance and I made the same lap times, a 1'30.4s. The grip level drop on the rear has been huge, from the beginning I didn't have grip, but that's the way it is. As soon as the track has less grip, we struggle more and the problems we have with the bike double or triple. In Malaysia we shouldn't have a problem with the cold, or grip as the track is new. It should have more grip than last year so I really look forward to a better result."
Fourth place for Andrea Dovizioso in the Michelin Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. Hector Barbera crashes out three laps from the end
Andrea Dovizioso scored a strong fourth place finish in the Michelin Australian Grand Prix, held today in dry conditions at a wind-swept Phillip Island circuit. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider, who started from row 3, crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in seventh place and made his way up to fourth by lap 7. Dovizioso was then involved in a great scrap with Aleix Espargarò, who crashed on lap 23, and Maverick Viñales, but he was unable to pass the young Spanish rider and had to settle for a fourth place finish in this sixteenth round of the championship.
Team-mate Hector Barbera, who was having his second race with the Ducati Team, was once again targeted by misfortune. The Spanish rider, who started from row 4, crossed the line on lap 1 in fourteenth place and then put in a good recovery which took him up to eleventh. Unfortunately Hector, who was in a group of seven riders fighting for seventh place, crashed out at Turn 6 three laps from the end and had to retire.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th
“I am satisfied with my race today, even though when you are fighting for the podium with just a few laps remaining, it is disappointing not to be able to reach it. However, if I think that last year here I did one of my worst races, managing to finish the race at Phillip Island with a fourth place is something really positive for me. I am pleased with the way we worked throughout the weekend, but especially with the way we are constantly improving the bike. I managed my race well, making the best use of the strong points of the Desmosedici GP in the parts of the circuit which were most favourable to us, and I was able to stay among the battle for the podium right until the end. Over the last one and a half laps, I decided to back down because I was taking too many risks in catching Viñales, but a fourth place at this circuit is a really good result for me.”
Hector Barbera (Ducati Team #8) – DNF
“It was a difficult race, because I was only able to lap in the dry in this morning’s warm-up and so for me all the race settings were completely new. After the start I made a recovery that took me into the group with Redding and Petrucci fighting for seventh place, but three laps from the end I made a mistake trying to pass Miller: I went too long, finished on the grass and crashed. It was really a pity, because today I tried to do my best, but it wasn’t sufficient. Again I’d like to thank Ducati, my team Avintia Racing, and everyone who gave me this chance. I didn’t have much luck but now I must look ahead and try and do better in the next two races.”
BOTH APRILIAS IN THE POINTS IN AUSTRALIA
BRADL, IN THE BATTLE FOR POSITIONS UP TO EIGHTH PLACE THROUGHOUT THE RACE, FINISHES JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP TEN
TWELFTH PLACE FOR BAUTISTA
With only the warmup held on a dry track, the MotoGP riders took on the Phillip Island race without any references in terms of settings and tyres. This was a difficult situation, especially for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, which also had to do without the information their rivals had collected during the tests on the Australian circuit at the beginning of the season. Despite these conditions, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista's race was decidedly positive. Both riders rode their RS-GP machines into the points zone, just missing the top 10 and succeeding, along with their respective technical teams, in finding the solution for a rather complicated situation.
Stefan Bradl, starting from the eighth spot on the grid, stayed with the group battling for seventh place from the time the lights turned green. Only a less than perfect feeling in braking kept the German rider from attempting an attack, in any case skilfully finishing in eleventh place.
It was an extremely prudent race for Bautista. In the warmup session the Spaniard had complained of problems with grip and he administered the 27 laps of the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix well. Alvaro battled to move up from his sixth row starting position, overtaking first Laverty and then Hernandez, with whom he engaged in a duel for twelfth place that was decided in the Spaniard's favour during the final lap.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"The impossibility of fine-tuning the settings because of the bad weather during practice weighed on us more than on the other teams. We still have Stefan’s good result this weekend, the best qualifiers of the season for us, and the reaction of both riders in the race. Today it was quite easy to make mistakes, but the entire team stayed focused, finishing in the points and maintaining the continuity of our results".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"We took on a very difficult weekend. We paid a higher price than the others because of our lack of experience on this track. Not being able to lap consistently in practice created some problems for us, but we gained some great experience. Today it was important to get to the chequered flag with as many points as possible and we did just that. Bradl battled in a group that was fighting for important positions. Both riders finished in the points, so our growth trend is continuing. It takes patience, but we are working well".
"This was definitely not an easy weekend. I was never able to practice on the dry except in the warmup this morning, where I did not have a good feeling. It felt like I was riding on ice. At the start, I did not know what to expect. We made a few changes to the bike that improved my confidence, especially with the rear tyre. Toward the end I battled with a few riders, having fun in the duel with Hernandez, despite the fact that I was not at 100% like in recent races. It was a strange weekend for everyone, but we were able to bring home some points anyway".
"After the warmup session I had some doubts. Last year we had struggled and it seemed like it could be a repeat of that situation, since I had big grip problems. We made a lot of changes before the race and 27 laps later, I can say that I am satisfied. We finished in the points and our times were good. Unfortunately, I was unable to attack the riders ahead of me because our gearbox was a bit short, so in the straight I struggled to stay in the slipstream. In any case, eleventh place is still a good result. I am leaving for Malaysia looking at the positive sides of this strange weekend".
Marquez crashes out of the lead, Hayden slides off while battling for seventh
Pole starter Marc Marquez suffered his first DNF of the season, crashing out of the Australian GP unhurt on lap 10. The Spaniard was leading the race ahead of fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who took his second victory of the season. Crutchlow also gave Honda its seventh win in the last nine races and extended its advantage in the Constructors Championship to 33 points.
Marc had gotten away well at the start, entering the first corner in second behind Pol Espargaro and wasting no time in attacking his countryman. He took the lead before the end of the first lap and was managing an advantage of over 2.5 seconds when he made a small mistake, braking slightly late into turn four and losing the front end on his RC213V.
Nicky Hayden was in a great battle for seventh position with Scott Redding, Danilo Petrucci, Bradley Smith and Jack Miller when he touched with Jack at turn four on the penultimate lap and slid off the track.
After packing up in Australia, World Champion Marc Marquez will make a stop in Indonesia on Tuesday to take part in a promotional tour before heading to Malaysia for the 17th and penultimate round of the season.
“First of all I want to say sorry to my team because I made a mistake today. We were doing everything perfectly, and we were just missing capping it with a result on Sunday. If I had been fighting for the title it would’ve been an entirely different race, as I wouldn’t have risked so much. Today I started strong because I knew I had to make a difference at the beginning. I was maintaining the distance, but at one of the hard braking points I braked too late and instead of taking a wider line, which is what I had been doing throughout the year, I tried to keep going. In such cases the limit is a fine one. We remain happy of course because we had already won the title but of course we wanted to win more races. It was completely my mistake; during the whole season I’ve been very careful on the braking points and this time I risked more so this crash has nothing to do with the Michelin tyres. Now we have another race next week, and we’ll just think about that. Congratulations to Cal for his great victory”.
“It’s been a very challenging weekend with so many changes of conditions but finally we at least got a few laps in the dry in the warm-up. At the beginning of the race it was a little bit tough to get my rhythm but as it went on I started feeling better and better. I was in a group fighting for seventh position and I was quite enjoying the battle. Everybody was going back and forth and I felt good. I felt like I had the best tyres left in that group and that I could win that battle… but then in the Honda hairpin, Jack knocked me down. That’s racing. I didn’t actually see him, I just felt him when it was too late to do anything. But that’s racing, especially in a group like that, where it makes a big difference winning the battle and getting seventh or losing it and finishing out the top 10. After qualifying seventh on the grid and having not ridden the bike until Friday morning, seventh place would’ve been a very respectable result. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed the weekend; it’s been a pleasure to come back on the Repsol Honda Team and ride this bike again. It was awesome and I feel I did a decent job. I just would’ve liked to finish it off with a good result.”
INCH-PERFECT CRUTCHLOW VICTORIOUS IN AUSTRALIA
Cal Crutchlow capped his incredible MotoGP season by taking a second victory of the year at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, beating Valentino Rossi by over four seconds at a sunny but chilly Phillip Island circuit in Victoria.
The LCR Honda man started the race from second position on the grid, and took a gamble by deciding to fit the hard option front tyre to his factory Honda RC213V. With the race taking place at 4pm local time, temperatures were dropping rapidly and there was concern about his choice when world champion Marc Marquez crashed out in front of him on the same rubber.
However, Crutchlow managed his tyre to perfection, pulling away from the rest of the field to lead by over six seconds at one point. He was then able to manage the gap in the latter stages of the race to become the first ever Briton to take victory in an Australian GP. He is also the first Brit to take more than one win in a MotoGP season since Barry Sheene in 1979, 25 points which cement his stranglehold on top Independent Team rider in the championship.
With wife Lucy and baby daughter Willow currently on their way to Malaysia for the penultimate round of the world championship, it will be a joyous family reunion as the paddock moves on to the Sepang International Circuit next weekend.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 1st
“I was terrified when Marc crashed out in front of me, I braked really weakly into that corner for the whole race. I knew it was critical, because I crashed there from second a couple of years ago when I had a ten-second gap behind me, so I was quite scared to be honest. With that in mind, I also knew I had to keep pushing because otherwise I would lose heat in the front tyre.”
“I was actually quite confident that I could have caught Marc today, but once he crashed I just carried on at the same pace and then the last ten laps or so I didn’t really push, I just made sure I kept heat in the front. I actually pushed more on the laps when the sun wasn’t out, because when it was I could be a little more relaxed. It might sound strange, but this is Phillip Island and anything can happen.”
“I’m really pleased for the LCR Honda Team, they have done a great job this weekend. I was confident I could have won even with Marquez in the race, but Honda have done a really good job with our bike, there’s no doubt about that. We can now look forward to the last two races, and then see what happens for next year.”
Espargaro storms to 5th in Australia - Smith superbly battles to 8th
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro clinched a strong 5th place finish at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 today. The young Spaniard launched off the front row of the grid and shot to the head of the field when the race started. Espargaro completed the first lap in 2nd and remained in this position until the 5th lap as he challenged Marc Marquez for the lead of the race. He was then shuffled back two places but the 25-year-old stayed firm as he carried on his formidable pace at the high-speed circuit. He eventually slipped back another position on the 12th lap, but he powered onwards and opened a comfortable gap to the 2015 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo who pursued him. From here, Espargaro lapped consistently before powering across the finish line in 5th, which marks a highly positive end to the weekend for the former Moto2 World Champion. He now sets his sights on closing the triple flyaway events with another top tier result at the Malaysian Grand Prix next week.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pit box, Bradley Smith produced a courageous ride to complete his 100th Grand Prix with the Tech3 team in 8th, despite not racing at full fitness due to a complicated knee injury. The young British rider kicked off the Australian GP from 14th on the grid and got straight to work when the sprint began. After carefully navigating his way through the first lap, he crossed the line in 18th but he then confidently stuck into a solid rhythm as he looked to progress. His pace allowed him to glide past four riders and move into 14th after one third of the distance. Smith continued to push and his hard work and faultless riding lap after lap paid off and he joined a pack of seven riders all fighting for 7th as the GP entered the final stage. After a frantic dash to the chequered flag, Smith defied all expectations by finishing in 8th, having impressively jumped up two positions on the last lap. The positive conclusion in Australia leaves the British rider fired up for the forthcoming Malaysian round as he continues his recovery process.
5th / +14.299 / 27 laps
"Today I played all my cards and we have to leave Phillip Island feeling pleased about our performance over the weekend. The start itself was good and I put myself at the front of the field, plus I didn't make any mistakes. In addition, I tried to brake smoothly and not take unnecessary risks throughout the GP. However, I can't help but feel a bit frustrated when I think about how the factory riders passed me, whilst I was trying to fight with them, but I guess that's how things go. Yet, I know that we gave our all and I have to say that the team is continuing to work in the same way that they did on our first day together, even if there are only a couple more races left together, and I appreciate that a lot. I think we were probably a bit lucky that there was limited dry track time this weekend because I believe this is why we were in front of a few factory guys today. However, looking at the results we have to be happy with what we are taking away from this GP and we will keep fighting for another strong result next week in Malaysia."
8th / +28.781 / 27 laps
"First of all, I have to say that the result is very positive. It was definitely a lot of hard work and in the last few laps, I was fortunate enough to find some opening gaps which allowed me to finish in 8th. Initially, I was a bit disappointed with myself because I wasn't aggressive enough at the start. This may have been because of my injury and perhaps I was over thinking a bit about what to do, plus I was very careful with warming up the tyres. However, once I found my rhythm, I was able to catch the group, even if it was a challenge to do this, and when I got onto the back of them, I just tried to be smart and save the tyres, because I knew that the rubber was going to be vital for the last three laps. I made a few passes in the closing stages of the race and then finally in the last corner, I just went full attack mode on the outside and I got some good grip which allowed me to beat Petrucci and Miller to the line. Once again, I have to say big thanks to the Tech3 team because they did a super job, especially after yesterday's crash. Also, with the limited track time that we had in the dry, the guys were fantastic and gave me a solid setting. For the moment everything is going according to plan. We came back in Japan, then here, we went a little better, so now let's see what Sepang brings."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“We knew it was going to be a tough race in the MotoGP class and for sure, it was. I think Pol undertook a brilliant start like he always does, but this time we could see it more clearly and it was a great feeling to see him leading the entire field. Unfortunately, Marc didn’t give him the chance to complete the whole lap, but Pol did very well behind him and they opened a gap. Yet, it became clear to see that he was not able to stay with Marc and the riders behind caught him up and after that, it was a really intense race. Nevertheless, I think Pol did a great job and his lap times were very consistent. He lost a few positions but the other riders around him had a better rhythm and maybe better equipment too. Anyway, we all have to be proud of what he has achieved this weekend. On the other hand, Bradley undertook a superb performance and we must remember that ten days ago, we didn’t even know if he was going to be able to take part. At the beginning, he took his time and tried to understand his package, as well as his physical condition. After that, Bradley was on a mission and he caught the group in front who were more than five seconds ahead of him. This was exciting to see as he took half a second each lap until he was there. Finally, Brad commenced the last lap in 10th, and he was incredible in the fourth sector before completing the race in 8th, which is far better than what we could have expected. Congratulations to him for his hard work, his dedication and his never give up attitude. To finish such a tricky weekend in 5th and 8th is fantastic when considering the poor weather and the track conditions that we had to face. Now we will move on to Sepang, the last of the three flyaway races, where we hope to repeat this result before we head back to Europe.”
Miller races to top 10 in intense home race battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller treated his home crowd to a dazzling and daring display of attacking riding to claim a brilliant top 10 finish in today’s Michelin Australian Grand Prix.
Miller was at the forefront of a thrilling seven-rider battle that was as spectacular and breath-taking as the Phillip Island track in a 27-lap race that provided non-stop action throughout.
Starting from a MotoGP best grid position of fifth, Miller established a fast pace after taking the gamble to race Michelin’s hard compound asymmetric front tyre.
The 21-year-old Townsville star had not completed one flying lap on the hard option front tyre prior to the race after the weekend was dominated by constantly changing weather conditions at the Phillip Island track.
Miller quickly found himself locked in the most intense battle of the race, with Scott Redding, Bradley Smith, Danilo Petrucci, Stefan Bradl, Hector Barbera and Nicky Hayden all playing their part in an epic encounter.
Roared on by a crowd of 36,500 fans, Miller engaged in close combat with the group and it was a scrap that eventually came down to a nail-biting and intriguing final lap showdown.
Miller gave his all in a dramatic final 4.448km lap and he took the chequered flag in 10th position, with Redding finishing three places ahead of him by the narrow margin of just 0.5s.
Today’s race was a difficult experience for Tito Rabat, who showed his customary resolve to battle on in trying circumstances. All the lost track time due to adverse weather conditions prevented Rabat from finding a confidence-inspiring set-up with his Honda RC213V machine, but he gained more precious data by finishing in 16th position.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS now heads back to the Far East to complete the final leg of the flyaway triple-header at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Jack Miller: 10th
“I think that’s what you call a heavy battle! It was an intense race and I enjoyed it. It got a bit scary at times because you have no idea who is going to lunge up the inside from one corner to the next. Going into Doohan Corner at over 330kph it was getting a bit crazy because it was a case of who dared brake the latest. It was a lot of fun and good to have a good old-fashioned scrap because it helped me learn a lot. The important thing was to finish with some decent points and I did that. I also think the home fans could see how determined I was to put on a good show for them and they definitely got good value for money from us. I felt I could have been in a better position after qualifying in fifth but I got a bit messed up on the last lap. I took a risk to race the hard front Michelin tyre and I’d not done one flying lap with that option before the lights went out. But it was the rear tyre that was causing me a few issues because I had a few moments. I was losing the rear on entry and ran wide a few times but I’m happy with a top 10."
Tito Rabat: 16th
“Today’s race was the end to a very difficult and frustrating weekend but I am happy to have ridden sensibly and finished the race to get some data and experience that will help me in the future. But it was probably the most difficult weekend of the season for me. The weather hasn’t helped me at all this weekend with almost every session not running in normal conditions. That cost me laps to improve my confidence on the bike and I started the race not really knowing how the bike or the Michelin tyres were going to perform. I will keep learning and pushing to try and be more competitive in the final two races but to finish more than one minute behind the winner is a disaster.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I think Jack certainly gave his home crowd here in Australia some fantastic entertainment. He was involved in a really tough battle and he would have gained a lot of experience racing in such a big group of riders who were willing to make and take some hard moves. He finished inside the top 10 and I am satisfied with his performance because he fought right to the end for seventh place. It was good for him to get a strong finish under his belt after a difficult period through injury and a lot of crashes in Japan. Today will give him a lot of confidence and we can look forward to him fighting for the top 10 again in Sepang. It was a difficult weekend for Tito and all the disruption from the weather didn’t help him because he needs time on track to get a better feeling with the bike. He still rode a determined race and made sure he gained valuable experience by not making mistakes and bringing the bike home to a finish. But his pace has to improve and he understands that.”
Mike Jones celebrates his first point in MotoGP with Avintia Racing
Australian Mike Jones played a starring role today at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, finishing the race in 15th place and celebrating his first ever MotoGP World Championship point. It was only the second race weekend for “Mad Mike” in the premier class with Avintia Racing, after taking the opportunity to replace Hector Barberá, who in return enjoyed two races with the official Ducati factory Team, replacing Andrea Iannone. After a good debut with the bike and the team in Japan, 22-year-old Jones did another impressive job at home, fighting to grab one point.
Jones’ MotoGP adventure comes to an end after this weekend, as Andrea Iannone will be back with Ducati in Sepang, which means Barbera’s return to the Avintia Racing garage. The Spaniard was unlucky and crashed in the race whilst fighting for the Top 10 with local hero Jack Miller. But in the last two races riding the Desmosedici GP 2016, he gained valuable experience with the bike that he will race next season.
The Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was a nightmare for Loris Baz. He struggled during practice and qualifying to find the best set up of his bike in ever-changing conditions. His performance in today’s warm-up session was quite promising, but after just one lap in the race, the Avintia Racing rider was forced to retire due to some electronic issues on his bike. The Ducati engineers will check all the data to try to identify the problem and make sure it won’t happen again.
Mike Jones - P15
“It is an incredible feeling to get my first World Championship point in MotoGP, especially here at Phillip Island, my home track and in front of my home crowd. I’m very, very happy and very excited. It was a really great race for me. I made a big improvement in comparison to Motegi, I got a much better start and I got away with the guys at the back of the field. All in alI, I was able to gain a lot more experience and improve as a rider on this bike. On Friday and Saturday, it was difficult due to the mixed conditions and today really was the only dry day, so I just got 30 minutes in the warm-up to get ready for a dry race. It was difficult, but thanks to everybody in Avintia Racing and especially my crew, I was able to learn quick and adapt to the bike. This weekend has been good, and all I can say is thank you!”.
Hector Barbera - DNF
“It was a difficult race, because I was only able to lap in the dry in this morning’s warm-up and so for me all the race settings were completely new. After the start I made a recovery that took me into the group with Redding and Petrucci fighting for seventh place, but three laps from the end I made a mistake trying to pass Miller: I went too long, finished on the grass and crashed. It was really a pity, because today I tried to do my best, but it wasn’t sufficient. Again I’d like to thank Ducati, my team Avintia Racing, and everyone who gave me this chance. I didn’t have much luck but now I must look ahead and try and do better in the next two races”.
Loris Baz - DNF
“Overall the weekend has been tough for me. The first two days, the weather was crazy and we couldn’t really work on the set up. After the warm-up today I had some good expectations, as my pace was quite encouraging. But then we had some electronic issues and my race was finished after just one lap. It is a real shame because today I had the pace to fight for a top 12 result. Now I have to forget this weekend and think about Sepang, where I want to score a good result to boost my confidence ahead of the final round in Valencia.”
Double Top 10 finish! Scott 7th after a great comeback. Petrux 9th following a super start.
The Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s riders prove to have a good feeling in the GP overseas and gain the second consecutive double Top 10 after the one recorded in Japan.
The Sunday of the Michelin Australian Grand Prix was marked by the sun, that allowed riders to lap in dry conditions for the first time over the weekend.
Danilo Petrucci got off to a stunning start reaching third place before having to give way to the group of the officials. Instead, Scott Redding lost two positions but did very well to keep focus and remain glued to the Top 10.
The race was exciting and saw the two Octo Pramac Yakhnich's riders fighting especially with the factory Honda of Hayden and the landlord Miller, swapping positions several times. Five laps to go, after he managed to take the head of the group, Scott began to lap faster by building a small advantage, which allowed him to end in seventh place. Petrux seemed able to chase his team-mate, but he lost the pace due to a clash with Miller and he was mocked by Smith under the chequered flag, finishing in ninth place.
7th - Scott Redding
"I am happy with this result because during the morning warm up I was not able to find a good feeling. We changed a lot and took risks that have paid. Unfortunately, I have not had a good start but I was calm, I put my head down and I just thought to ride. After the first five laps I started to get a good rhythm and this has given me a lot of confidence. At the end, the seventh place is very positive."
9th - Danilo Petrucci
"It has been very difficult. I started great but I did not have enough traction to stay with the leading group. It was a great battle with Hayden, Redding and Miller. In the end, I was getting ready to attack Scott but during the penultimate lap Miller overtook me very aggressively, pushing me wide. I managed to overcome him but the gap with Scott was too big. The final overtaking by Smith was a pity: now I want to focus on Sepang."
Pull&Bear Aspar riders rescue five points in Australia
Sunday, 23 October 2016 07:14
Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty finish thirteenth and fourteenth at Phillip Island
Pre-race favourite Marc Márquez, who was crowned MotoGP World Champion just a week ago, slid out in the early stages of the Australian Grand Prix, sacrificing a clear lead and allowing Cal Crutchlow to take his second victory of the season ahead of a remarkable charge to second place from Valentino Rossi, who started fifteenth on the grid. Aleix Espargaró, Maverick Viñales and Andrea Dovizioso, battled hard for the final podium, with Espargaró eventually crashing to hand third place to his team-mate. The result means Rossi heads to the next round in Malaysia with a 24-point advantage over his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the chase for the runner-up position in the championship.
Pull&Bear Aspar rider Yonny Hernández returned to the points in thirteenth place, just ahead of his team-mate Eugene Laverty. The Colombian spent the majority of the race fighting with Álvaro Bautista for fifteenth and even though he lost out to the Spaniard by just 0.015 seconds at the line, late crashes for Aleix Espargaró, Nicky Hayden and Héctor Barberá moved Hernández up the order to thirteenth. Laverty started from sixteenth on the grid but was unable to make much progress from there in what he described as his toughest race of the season. The Irishman did not have a set-up for the many flowing sections of the Phillip Island circuit and was unable to take the fight to his team-mate on this occasion.
13th Yonny Hernández: “I am happy because I think this has been my best race of the season. We have managed to keep the tyres working until the end, which allowed me to have a nice battle with Álvaro Bautista. I kept trying to pass him right up until the last lap, we fought hard and in the end I lost out by just 0.015 seconds. I had great fun so hopefully we can keep going in this way.”
14th Eugene Laverty: “It was really a tough race. From early in the race I knew I was having some difficulty. In the fluid parts of the track I was really struggling; where I could use the brakes and push the front I was strong but otherwise I was struggling and around this track that is extra difficult. I did what I could but it was probably our most difficult race of the season.”
MICHELIN’S GRAND PRIX SEES CRUTCHLOW ON TOP DOWN UNDER
Michelin saw the momentous occasion of the first-ever Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix marked with more significant events at Phillip Island today as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) powered to his second MotoGP™ victory and became the first British rider to win a motorcycle Grand Prix on Australian soil.
Starting from second on the grid Crutchlow chose the hard-front MICHELIN Power Slick – paired with a medium rear – and the Honda man made a steady start as he put heat in the hard front tyre. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) made the holeshot from the line, before he was passed by newly-crowned champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Crutchlow crossed the line in fourth at the end of the first lap, as Marquez set about building a lead. The British rider then moved into contention as he chased down and passed the riders in front of him, cutting into the leader’s advantage and setting the fastest lap of the race in the process. Marquez had made the same tyre choice as Crutchlow, choosing the hard front and medium rear, but the Spaniard made a mistake on lap-10 and braked too late, causing him to hit the white line and crash. Crutchlow was now in the perfect place to take the lead and push at the front to strengthen his position, he did this and took the victory after the 27-lap race by a commanding four-seconds, taking the position of First Independant Rider at the same time and strengthening his overall lead at the top of that championship.
Following two days of awful weather that gave heavy rain and gale force winds, causing one of the free practice sessions to be cancelled, it was a relief for all to see blue skies and sunshine on race-day. With so little dry weather practice all riders had to make their tyre choices with the data from this morning’s warm-up. This resulted in all choosing the medium option rear tyre and the majority going with the asymmetric soft front, the exceptions being Crutchlow, Marquez, Maverick Viñales (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), Aleix Espargaro (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who all opted for the hard asymmetric front. Joining Crutchlow on the next step of the Michelin podium was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the Italian started from 15th on the grid and fought his way through to second after an exciting battle with several riders. Viñales had an equally exciting race as he made his way from 13th at the start to take a hard-fought final podium place, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) fourth, giving a quartet of different manufacturers in the top-four. Early leader Espargaro came home in fifth, with Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) sixth. An intense battle filled the remaining top-ten positions as Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) steered his Ducati to seventh, followed by Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in eighth. Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) ninth and home favourite Miller taking tenth.
Michelin will now leave Phillip Island – the site of the first MotoGP race that it has been title sponsor at – and head to Malaysia for the 17th and penultimate round of the championship, due to be held on Sunday 30th October at the impressive Sepang International Circuit.
Cal Crutchlow – LCR Honda:
“Firstly I want to say what a good job Michelin has done here to let us set these lap-times after the long race and with not very much track-time over the weekend in the dry conditions, we are happy with the performance and the job they have done. We found some limit with the front, but it was a risk for the riders to use the harder tyre with the conditions and the track temperature. It was not a bad thing from Michelin’s side because they brought a good range of tyres, it is just that some riders choose the ones that shouldn’t be used in those conditions, like me I probably should have gone with the softer one, but it was great in the end with the harder one. We now go to Malaysia in high spirits, because we did a good job today.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“This has been a very special weekend for Michelin, as this is the first time that it has been title sponsor of a MotoGP race, so it was really good to be a part of this event. Unfortunately, the weather played many games again and we experienced rain, wind, cold and sun, but at least we could try nearly all the tyres we brought here in all the different conditions. Today was the first time we had a full dry session, so the riders worked hard to get the set-up sorted in warm-up and all our technicians had to use their experience to advise on what tyres would work for the race for each rider. We were pleased with the performance of the front tyres today, the lap-times were fast considering the lack of practice and we saw some exciting racing all the way through the field. After Marc Marquez crashed, Cal Crutchlow rode a very intelligent and quick race and pushed when he needed to so he could guarantee the victory. This is one of the most demanding circuits of the season and it was made even more difficult with the weather, but we are happy with the way the whole weekend worked out. We will now head to Malaysia where we know we will face a challenge of a different kind, it will be much hotter in Sepang, which after Phillip Island will be a very pleasant change!”