Phillip Island, Australia
2014 Phillip Island Saturday Round Up: The Rufea Team's Front Row Sweep, Winning Attitude, And The Secret Of Riding The Ducati
The three men on pole for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix have a lot in common. One is already champion in MotoGP, another could become champion on Sunday, the other looks to have taken control of the Moto3 title chase in the past few races. The MotoGP and Moto3 pole sitters are brothers, and the man on pole for Moto2 is a good friend of the brothers. Most importantly, perhaps, all three train together.
The "Rufea Team", as they are known to the Spanish media and among themselves, spend long days pushing each other hard at the dirt track oval in Rufea, a small parish outside of Lleida in Spain. Moto2 championship leader Tito Rabat doesn't spend as much time there as the Marquez brothers Marc and Alex, as he is mainly based in Almeria, where he spends his days whittling away the circuit record. But when he does go, the three go all out for glory, even though they are only racing among themselves, and in front of a couple of friends, and maybe the Marquez brothers' father Julià.
Is it coincidence that the trio should find themselves leading their respective championships? Marc Marquez has already proved his talent, by wrapping up four world championships, including three in a row. Tito Rabat has grown enormously as a rider after switching to the Marc VDS Racing team, and stepping out of the shadow of Pol Espargaro at Pons. Alex Marquez already proved himself in the Spanish championship, got up to speed in Moto3 last year, and is proving to be the steadiest of the Moto3 riders.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Full Recap and Results below.
Full Recap and Results below.
Andrea Iannone has headed the time sheets for the final MotoGP free practice session at Phillip Island, the Italian Ducati rider posted the quickest time with his final lap of the session to nudge Marc Marquez to second place by a mere six hundreths of a second. Valentino Rossi also put in a good late run to jump up to third position, he edged out fellow Yamaha riders Aleix Espargaro and weekend long pace-setter Jorge Lorenzo.
The British duo of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith claimed sixth and seventh places respectively ahead of Pol Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa was still struggling for speed and will have to go through the Q1 session for the first time in his career. LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl completed the top ten some eight tenths behind Iannone.
Full Recap and Results below.
Championship leader Tito Rabat has topped the third Moto2 Free Practice session at Phillip Island in Australia as dark cloud cover rolled in over the circuit at the start of the session and the ambient temperature began to drop. Rabat once again ended the session half a second clear of his rivals lead by Maverick Vinales. A Rabat win tomorrow is looking like something of a formality; if he does take victory and his team mate Mika Kallio doesn't finish on the podium the Spaniard will wrap up the 2014 Moto2 Championship.
Kallio finished FP3 in third place half a tenth clear of Suisse rider Thomas Luthi who was in turn a further five hundredths of a second ahead of Caterham rider Johan Zarco. Marcel Schrotter took his Tech 3 machine to sixth place ahead of his countrymen Sandro Cortese and Jonas Folger while Dominique Aegerter and Xavier Simeon completed the top ten positions.
Jorge Lorenzo has topped the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Phillip Island. The Movistar Yamaha was fast for much of the session, but seized control at the end, snatching the lead by nearly three tenths of a second. Newly-crowned champion Marc Marquez took second, just edging out Andrea Iannone, who had been in 2nd until displaced by the Repsol Honda rider. Iannone missed out on an opportunity to improve his time after he crashed at the fast Doohan Corner immediately after beating his best time.
Valentino Rossi is 4th fastest, the Yamaha veteran showing a strong race pace in his 250th career premier class event, while the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith made a late charge to get into the top 10. Aleix Espargaro put the Forward Yamaha into 7th, just bumping Cal Crutchlow into 8th. The Ducati rider had been running in 6th for a while, but lost places when the race for Q2 broke out at the end of the session. Stefan Bradl just sneaked into 9th to go through to Q2, while Dani Pedrosa managed the 10th fastest time in FP3, but was not fast enough to beat the time set by Andrea Dovizioso in FP2, meaning that Dovizioso goes through to Q2, while Pedrosa will have to work his way through Q1 to battle for pole position.
Efren Vazquez has topped the final session of free practice for the Moto3 class, making handy use of a tow in the final few minutes to set the fastest time. Danny Kent got very close to the time of the Spaniard, but could not quite beat Vazquez, sitting in 2nd spot, just ahead of Alex Rins. Alex Marquez set the 4th fastest time, precisely one tenth of a second behind his Estrella Galicia teammate.
There was a surfeit of riders looking for tows, some making very good use of them. The CIP riders Alessandro Tonucci and Jasper Iwema benefited most, ending the session in 8th and 10th. But the tows penalized Jack Miller, the Australian ending the session in 12th, though he spent most of the session leading rather than following.
2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Round Up - Special Tires For A Special Circuit, And The Rules For 2016
Phillip Island is a very special race track. That has an upside – it rewards courage and talent, and has provided some spectacular racing – but it is also special in the more pejoratively euphemistic sense of the word. It challenges not just the riders, but motorcycle designers and racing teams as well. Above all, it challenges tire manufacturers: with wildly varying temperatures, strong winds blowing in cool and damp air off the ocean, an abrasive surface, high-speed corners, more left handers than right handers, and the most of the lefts faster than the rights. It can rain, be bitterly cold, be bathed in glorious sunshine, or in sweltering heat. Try building a tire to cope with all that.
After last year's fiasco, both Dunlop and Bridgestone tried to do just that. They came to the track in March to test tires and gather data to build tires for this weekend. The only minor problem is that the test came at the end of Australia's long summer, and temperatures were much more congenial than now, as the country emerges from its Antipodean winter. The tire selections brought by Dunlop and Bridgestone are much better than last year, but they are not quite perfect. At any other track, that wouldn't be a problem. At Phillip Island, even being not quite perfect can land you in trouble.
That tires are an issue was evident from the number of riders who crashed, both in MotoGP and in Moto2. Most crashed in right handers, a lot going down at MG, which would be one of the most difficult corners of the year wherever it was located, but a fair few followed suit at Hayshed, the right hander that follows on from Siberia (the most aptly named corner on the calendar) and precedes Lukey Heights. There were crashes at the Honda hairpin as well, the other right hander, where hard braking is at a premium.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island: