Alex de Angelis was top of the pile at the end of the Moto2 session at Phillip Island, last year's winner in Australian just holding off challenges from Andrea Iannone, Stefan Bradl and Claudio Corti. Iannone had looked consistently strong throughout the session, but Bradl only really gathered himself together towards the end of practice, making steady progress towards the front of the field. Bradl's confidence had taken a knock in the morning, the Viessmann Kiefer rider crashing in the fast and scary final left hander leaving on to the main straight during FP1.
Casey Stoner once again topped the timesheets during the second session of practice for the MotoGP class at Phillip Island, consolidating his position after the first session of practice, and confirming his dominance at his home circuit. Marco Simoncelli took 2nd spot, the San Carlo Gresini man getting within four tenths of Stoner, and the only other rider to get into the 1'30 bracket. Just as he had done in the morning, Simoncelli suffered a low-speed tumble, in almost the identical spot on the exit of MG Corner.
Casey Stoner surprised exactly no one during the first session of free practice, setting the fastest time of the session on just his 3rd flying lap. A sign of how hard he was pushing was the fact that he crashed on the following lap, a harmless slide at Honda corner, the slowest turn at the circuit. Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was 2nd fastest during the session, a quarter of a second behind Stoner but two tenths ahead of 3rd place man Marco Simoncelli. Simoncelli, like Stoner, also crashed in the morning, but like Stoner, the San Carlo Gresini rider walked away unhurt.
Phillip Island, the best track on the calendar, according to just about everyone who races a motorcycle. There are those such as Dani Pedrosa, as he explained at the pre-event press conference, who have some bad memories of the track, from injury or, like Pedrosa, from riding here in pain, as he did last year when freshly back from surgery on his collarbone. But the track itself is spectacular, and offers all the thrills that riders love: long, fast corners where you slide the bike round at high speed. "You gotta be brave here," as Nicky Hayden put it.
Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams ahead of the final round in Portimao:
Kawasaki's Day battles to podium finish at Magny Cours World Superbike to keep championship hopes alive.
The USA's Joshua Day took a fighting third place in the European Superstock 600 race at Magny Cours this weekend but was unable to close the gap to championship leader Jed Metcher, who crossed the line just 0.04 seconds ahead of the young American.
The FIM today released an updated version of the provisional calendar it put out four weeks ago. The changes are few and far between, and though one round has been dropped, generally, the calendar is good news for fans. The round tentatively scheduled to take place on March 4th has been dropped, but that should hardly come as a surprise, as Infront, the WSBK series' organizers, were in talks with the Sepang ciruit in Malaysia to stage that race. Cost and a lack of agreement scuppered plans for an Asian round of World Superbikes.
MotoGP's ever-shrinking grid is becoming a reality as the end of the season approaches and teams start unveiling their plans for next year. The latest victim of the lack of sponsorship in the paddock is the Mapfre Aspar Ducati team, who look set to pull the plug on their partnership with Ducati and switch to a CRT bike.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams previewing the upcoming Phillip Island round this weekend:
DAMIAN CUDLIN TO FLY MAPFRE ASPAR TEAM FLAG AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Australian rider, who made his MotoGP debut last week in Japan, set to replace injured Héctor Barberá
Casey Stoner pulled double press conference duty ahead of his home Grand Prix at Phillip Island. As the Australian round of MotoGP is Stoner's home race, he gave an extra press conference for event sponsor IVECO, where he spoke to the Australian press. Among the subjects he talked about were racing at Phillip Island, riding Honda, the problems at Ducati and the prospect of his first child. Fortunately, the organizers of the Australian MotoGP round recorded the whole press conference, and posted it on their Youtube page for the fans to see. Here's what Stoner had to say: