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Phillip Island: MotoGP Pre Race Review

Australia’s Phillip Island gives way to Round 16 starting this Friday on October 15 with the first free practice round. With one confirmed Premier Class World Champion and only a hand full of races to go, who will be the second in line for the World Championship? A popular question that may still continue to go unanswered even after this weekend!

Situated on the cliffs, overlooking the Bass Strait on the southern coast of Australia, Phillip Island will be the final and fastest of 3 back to back races, since Japan and Malaysia. With its fast and furious layout, Phillip Island has a reputation of being the most demanding as well as the most stunning of the MotoGP circuits. The down under track has seven left turns and five rights,  a combination of fast and slow corners, elevation changes and unpredictable weather that creates an exciting experience for the fans, as well as the riders.

Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo recently secured His first MotoGP crown after last weekend’s third-place finish at Sepang, but that doesn’t seem to stop the celebrated Spaniard from continuing his standings with strong results in these final races. With a failed to finish race record last year and non podium history in Australia, you can be assured Lorenzo will be aiming for an eighth win for the 2010 season!

To quote Jorge:

“I am one of the happiest people in the world, we got it! I am very proud of my team, partners and sponsors, but it is not really ‘game over’ because we have to continue, we still have three more races. We have to focus in the same way as we have until now, fighting for the podium and without the pressure of the championship we hope to get some good results. I like Phillip Island; it’s one of my favorite tracks and maybe the fastest on the calendar. It’s always amazing to ride there, so close to the sea, but the weather is very different to Malaysia, always very cold.” 

 

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will be miraculously returning to the tarmac,  just missing one race in Sepang, after undergoing surgery on his multiple fractured collarbone sustained from a crash in Japan. Pedrosa has the best chance at capturing the second spot in the Championship with 47 points ahead of Valentino Rossi, in third position. Arriving early, Pedrosa will have some time to adjust to the time change and rest in preparation for the race. Unlike Lorenzo, Dani has fond memories of Phillip Island with a podium finish in 2009.

To quote Dani:

“I’m looking forward to getting to Australia and finding out how I feel on the bike. I will arrive at Phillip Island on Wednesday to have some time to recover from the flight and rest a little bit. I know it will be tough because Phillip Island is a very demanding track and also the weather conditions can play a big part, but I really believe it’s time to come back with my team and try to return to the high level of performance we had before the crash in Japan.

After the operation I began rehabilitation immediately. The surgery was very successful and the plate was well fixed, so the main problem was not the collarbone but the stiffness in my neck and all around my shoulders. I’ve been having massage and doing exercises with my physiotherapist and I will keep this up in Australia. The championship is decided, but for us it’s still not over.”

 

Flying by the seat of his pants these past few races, Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi will most likely be taking it to the limit in his quest to seize the second spot for the Championship! Returning to form and taking his second win of the season, Rossi is on a mission to once again continue to flawlessly win on the Australian podium, which includes 5 victories between 2001 and 2005.

To Quote Valentino:

“Sunday was a truly fantastic day, to win again was wonderful, my 46th for Yamaha and I think one of the best victories of my career, I am so happy. Now I really want to try to finish the season strongly and I’m excited about getting to Phillip Island, which is one of the most fantastic places in the world to ride a motorcycle.

“I haven’t won there for a few years and I would really like to change that. It’s always special to go there because many of my team are Australian and the fans are great. I can’t wait.”

Just one point off, Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner will be working to take back his third position from Rossi (and possibly Dovizioso) after being forced to take a DFN in Sepang. Casey’s domination over his hometown track for the past three seasons along with a strong setup on his bike, will surely aid in regaining confidence and get him back in the groove!

To quote Casey:

“I’m looking forward to going back to Phillip Island – we have had decent results there for the past three years and with the way the bike is working now we can expect to be competitive,” said Stoner. “After last weekend in Malaysia we go there feeling a little disappointed but we will do our best to improve our situation and hopefully fight for another victory. I am sure it will be a close race there. It is one of my favorite circuits, but that’s the same for a lot of riders and as always I imagine it will be a fun race to watch.”

Repsol Honda’s come back kid Andrea Dovizioso has made vast improvements in his racing ability these past few weeks and has managed to wow the fans into a possible 3rd or even, dare I say it, 2nd spot on the podium. The intensive Italian is now only two points off a career best in third and a single point short to Stoner, giving him a clear shot at the Championship. The Repsol rider has taken two podium finishes in the last two races and placed 6th at Phillip Island last year; and with a recent improved set up on his RC212V, anything goes at this point for Andrea!

To quote Andrea:

“We arrive in Australia in a strong position with two consecutive podium finishes under our belts from two tracks with very different layouts and race day temperatures. This means that we have made a big step forward. We have improved things a lot in terms of set up and electronics, and now we are able to fight for wins. I’m confident that we can also be competitive at Phillip Island; a very demanding and technical track, and one of the fastest on the calendar. We aim to finish third in the world championship this season, so we need to score good results in the remaining races.”

 

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Ben Spies has a long history with the Aussie track from his World Super Bike days and knows the track well. He hopes to achieve a top-6 Championship finish in this year’s debut with MotoGP, not bad for a new guy!

Ducati Team Nicky Hayden has witnessed the feeling of the podium beneath his boots in Australia on three separate occasions. He holds a top-ten position in the Championship and is currently seventh, 13 points behind Spies.

Footnotes:

Since the WSBK season ended, it has been rumoured that Althea Racing’s premier World Superbike rider Carlos Checa will temporarily be replacing Mika Kallio at Pramac Ducati for the last two GP races in Estoril and Valencia.

Kallio currently resides at the bottom of the MotoGP leaderboard, and has not progressed in the last 3 races, pressuring Pramac to make a dramatic decision.

Both Parties are staying hush-hush on the subject for now, after rumours flew when Checa posted a video on Twitter, of him testing the official Ducati GP 10 at Mugello.

2010 MotoGP Championship Points:

1. Jorge Lorenzo, 313

2. Dani Pedrosa, 228

3. Valentino Rossi, 181

4. Casey Stoner, 180

5. Andrea Dovizioso, 179

6. Ben Spies, 152

7. Nicky Hayden, 139

8. Randy de Puniet, 94

9. Marco Simoncelli, 92

10. Marco Melandri, 86

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, Mika Kallio, Motegi, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, phillip Island, Sepang, superbike, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

1 Comment »

  1. As always, a great account of the races and the race world! Keep up the good work.

    Comment by mtajudy | October 14, 2010 | Reply


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