Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier ahead of this weekend's Australian MotoGP round at Phillip Island:
Dramatic MotoGP season continues in Phillip Island
With five wins in the last six races for Dani Pedrosa and a podium finish for Casey Stoner in Sepang, the Repsol Honda Team head to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix looking to close these three consecutive fly away races on a high. Dani is fighting stronger than ever to keep the title battle alive and Casey is aiming to take his sixth victory in a row at his home track before leaving the sport after Valencia.
Dani's six wins and fourteen podiums from 16 races place him second in the championship, 23 points off Jorge Lorenzo and with 50 more on offer in the last two races. He returns to Australia, where he celebrated his two 250cc World Championship in 2004 and 2005, with only one thing in mind: to keep this momentum and once again finsh in front of Lorenzo in the penultimate round of the season.
It will also be a very special weekend in Phillip Island for team mate Casey Stoner. Casey set his sights on retuning to action at the Australian Grand Prix after he was injured in Indianapolis in August. He was able to return two rounds earlier in Motegi, claiming fifth position, and jumped onto the podium at Sepang last Sunday, finishing third. However, it's no secret that it would be very special for Casey to win the last race of his MotoGP career in Phillip Island, where he has dominated the past five years.
In addition, the circuit together with the Australian GP promoters will honour their local hero with a fitting tribute. On Thursday morning, turn 3 at Phillip Island will be renamed 'Stoner Corner'. The young Australian rides this corner like no one else, and often refers to it as one of his favourite corners in the World.
A further treat for the home fans will see Repsol Honda hero Mick Doohan performing exhibition laps on Casey's RC213V Honda on Saturday at 09.15 and Sunday at 15.20.
The action will start on track on Friday morning one hour later than usual, with the first free practice scheduled at 11h10 local time, while the race on Sunday will start at 16h00.
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Standing: 2nd with 307 points
"Phillip island is a great track, especially on these machines where you can usually see rear slides. The layout of the track makes racing very nice, so I hope we have good luck and that the bike is working well there also. I have very good memories from my championships back in 2004-2005 and I hope I can have a good race".
CASEY STONER World Championship Standing: 3rd with 213 points
"We've really struggled with the bike set up in the past two races and I'm pretty disappointed with this. We always seem to find our rhythm in Phillip Island but I don't expect it to come easily this year. Thankfully the track goes to the left and we're having a lot less issues with chatter when it goes this way. Also there aren't so many sharp turns so my right leg might be able to deal with it a little better. I'm still nowhere near 100% physically and I still need time to be back to full strength so I'm not really sure what to expect this weekend, we'll do our best and see what happens".
Ducati Team embarks on final leg of flyaway tour
Fresh off an eventful race at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Ducati Team makes its way to Australia for the final weekend of a three-round overseas stint. Among the riders, the spectacular Phillip Island circuit is one of the most popular on the MotoGP calendar, thanks in large part to its spectacular layout. Situated next to the Bass Straight, it features a variety of corner types, though it’s best known for its thrilling faster turns.
In the past, the Ducati Team has tallied four wins at the Australian Grand Prix, and both riders have successful records there as well. Valentino Rossi has accumulated five victories and an additional six podiums, while Nicky Hayden has two poles, three podium finishes, and the lap record, set in 2008.
Phillip Island is also famous for offering inclement weather conditions, and forecasts indicate that the tendency could well hold true for this weekend’s event.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“Phillip Island is always a fantastic track, as it’s special and unique. It’s very fast and is near the ocean, which opens up in front of you after the main straightaway, and there are corners that are different from each other, with varying speeds and steepness. It’s a track that a rider has to love. Racing a MotoGP bike there is a lot of fun, but it was a difficult weekend for us last year, so we’ll have to try very hard to do better. In addition, the forecasts show that there will be inclement weather, with rain and cold, so we’re expecting challenging conditions. We’ll really have to do our best.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Phillip Island is always a great GP, one of the best. The track is really fast and flowing, and I’ve had some good results there in the past. I really like so much about it: the atmosphere, the fast corners, and the fact that it runs counter-clockwise. We’ve also got some work to do. I’ve liked the new chassis since I’ve been on it, but now it’s time to find a direction for improving it further. We also want to figure out how to regain the advantage we used to have in the rain, and judging by the forecasts, we might get a chance to work on that in Australia.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“Phillip Island is a track where we’ve done well in the past. We’re coming off a strange weekend at Sepang, where the race was affected by the weather conditions, and where—although we could have done better—we had a decent race. The forecasts indicate it could also rain in Australia, and it’s always cold when we’re there. If that’s the case, we’ll start with a setup that wasn’t bad in Malaysia, but we know that we’ll have to improve, because the others are now more competitive in those conditions. We’ve identified some ideas that we hope could improve our performance in the wet, and we’ll try them on the track if the track conditions are similar to those that we had at the last race.”
MOTOGP GOES DOWN UNDER FOR PENULTIMATE ROUND
The MotoGP World Championship reaches the penultimate round of the season this weekend as the series lands at one of its most interesting stopping points: Australia. The scene of Marco Simoncelli's last ever MotoGP podium is the ideal place for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini to hit form with both Alavaro Bautista and Michele Pirro. The Spaniard, who picked up an important sixth place finish in difficult conditions at Sepang on Sunday, is hoping to improve his form in the dry this weekend and above all resolve the front-end problems that have dogged him in recent weeks. The team's goal is to find a set-up that helps Alvaro in corner entry and gives him the opportunity to be competitive at a circuit where he celebrated the 125cc World Championship back in 2006. Michele Pirro is also a big fan of the circuit and after improving his own dry set-up in the warm-up at Sepang the Italian rider is hoping for a similar level of confidence at Phillip Island so that he can fight for CRT honours.
Alvaro Bautista “The result in Malaysia was positive and it gives us confidence for the future even though we know that we need to keep working with the same level of enthusiasm so that we can improve further. Phillip Island is a circuit I love because I have great memories of winning the 125cc world title there. Of course we have to work hard to find a good setting because it is a high speed track and you need a stable bike. We will keep working along the same lines as recently and hopefully we can be as competitive as we were at Motegi. ”
Michele Pirro “I was very happy with the result Sepang especially because I was hoping for a dry race after the pace we showed in warm up. That was a shame but hopefully we get good conditions at Phillip Island this weekend, even though the temperatures will be chilly. I really like this track and if we get the same feel from the bike that we had on Sunday morning in Malaysia then I could have a good race. There are two races left and I would really like to take a CRT win, that would make me really proud.”
Fausto Gresini “It would be nice this weekend if we can honour the last ever podium of Marco Simoncelli with a great result this weekend. That energy would give us all a lift. The hard work being done by Alvaro is bearing fruit and his confidence in the bike is steadily building. Alvaro likes this track and he has good memories of it because it was here that he won the 125cc title. Michele Pirro is also a fan of the track and he is also in good shape after a good job by him and his crew with the bike in Malaysia. The chatter problem is almost completely solved and he has more confidence in the bike. Unfortunately because of the rain he didn't get chance in the race to confirm the positive feedback from warm-up but he has the opportunity to verify it this weekend at Phillip Island.”
THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, PENULTIMATE ROUND OF THE 2012 SEASON
The Pramac Racing Team gets to Australia this week, preparing for the third and final flyaway race of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship at the fast and undulating Philip Island circuit.
The Green Energy Team rider, Héctor Barberà, arrives at the spectacular Australian track with a strong confidence, after he raced to a brilliant seventh place in the Malaysian Grand Prix last Sunday.
The Phillip Island weekend is, due to its proximity to the coast, frequently dominated by rapidly changing weather conditions. The forecast shows rain and cold for the next days and this poor conditions could shuffle the cards for all the MotoGP riders.
Despite that the Spaniard still has the mathematical chance of clinching the top ten finish in the World standing (with only 9 points separating him from Ben Spies) and he will try to attain also this goal.
Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider -
“I’m really excited to riding at the Phillip Island circuit, one of my favourite and probably the most beautiful track on the MotoGP calendar. I have good memories on this track, as in 2009 when I achieved a great second place with my Aprilia 250cc and I always enjoy riding there.
After the last round in Malaysia, where we caught a positive result despite it was a difficult race due to the tricky weather conditions, I’m really determined to finish on the top ten again. I know it's not going to be easy, but I will try my best!”
BRADL TO LINE UP AT THE ISLAND CIRCUIT
Phillip Island, 25th October: the penultimate round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend at the majestic Phillip Island Circuit in the southern Australia. The island circuit is one of the MotoGP riders’ favorite race tracks and even LCR Honda Stefan Bradl is a big estimator of the Aussie surface where he finished third last year, his second podium at the seaside circuit.
Bradl is looking to return to the consistency he enjoyed early in the year when he finished in the top nine in 12 of the first 13 races and he is in search of his first MotoGP podium after failing two of the last three races.
Stefan: “Hopefully we’ll have a better racing weekend in Phillip Island than I did last weekend. We had an issue with the engine mapping that we’ve never had before. The first priority will be to resolve that issue, which I’m confident the team will do. Phillip Island is fast and flowing and I’m looking forward to racing there in the MotoGP class. I’ve had good results in the past and I expect to finish these flyaways strongly”.
MOTOGP GOES DOWN UNDER TO FINISH OFF FLYAWAY TRIPLE-HEADER
POWER ELECTRONICS pair ready for penultimate round with 10 points between them in CRT battle
The breathtaking Phillip Island circuit in Australia is ready to welcome the weary travelling circus of the MotoGP World Championship this weekend as they tackle the third race in as many weekends across Asia and Oceana. The fresh sea air of the Bass Strait could be just what the riders need to keep their focus in check as they take on 4.448km of fast and flowing tarmac, located on the stunning cliff edge of the island. Phillip Island has provided a fitting backdrop to the crowning of many a MotoGP World Champion in the past and it could well do so again this Sunday as Jorge Lorenzo defends a 23-point advantage going into the penultimate round of the season. Dani Pedrosa will most likely require a sixth win from seven races if he is to keep a remarkable challenge alive until Valencia but he will have to contend with the 'King of the Island', his team-mate Casey Stoner, who has won his home race for the past five years.
With two races remaining the quest to finish as the best CRT rider in the championship is a closed book between the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair of Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet. The odds are now heavily stacked in favour of the Spaniard, however, after two 'victories' in the last two races combined with two 'zeros' for his French team-mate. The goal for Aleix is to manage his advantage going into his home race in Valencia in two weeks' time whilst Randy needs to take some risks and recover as many points as possible.
Aleix Espargaró: "Australia is a country I love and Phillip Island in particular is beautiful. The atmosphere there makes for a completely different Grand Prix to anywhere else in the world. We stay in houses for the weekend with the team and spend a lot of time together, which just brings us closer together and makes for a special race. The flyaways have been great to us so far - we have qualified and finished as the top CRT in both races. Now we have a ten-point gap over Randy but we have to keep working hard and try to enjoy the weekend to make sure that the situation remains in our favour. Phillip Island is a tricky circuit and it tends to be quite cold so we have to stay focused because it's easy to crash and injure yourself."
Randy De Puniet: "We haven't had any luck in the last two races so we need to work hard to turn the situation around. It was a tough weekend at Sepang, the track conditions were not good and we struggled to get the set-up right. Then the race was wet and we ended up crashing out. We have lost a lot of points in the last two races and Aleix has taken advantage of it in the CRT standings so we have to do whatever we can in Australia to cut the gap. Phillip Island is a very interesting circuit but it is tricky too so we have to work hard from Friday. There are two races left and we need to perform to our full potential if we want to finish as the top CRT in Valencia. We are not ready to give up yet."
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Round 17: Phillip Island, Australia
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round seventeen and the penultimate round of the 2012 MotoGP™ season takes place at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit, where the picturesque setting of the track belies its status as one of the cruellest on Bridgestone MotoGP tyres.
At roughly 4.44 kilometres in length, the majority of the Phillip Island circuit does not impose significant load on tyres, but the final section through the left-handed turns 11 and 12 are taken at high lean angles under continuous throttle opening, resulting in wheelspin and the generation of extreme temperatures. In fact, Phillip Island’s last corner creates the highest tyre temperature recorded during the entire MotoGP™ season.
This large variation in operating conditions over the course of a lap make asymmetric rear tyres a necessity at this windswept circuit. The left side of the rear slicks feature rubber that is much harder than the right shoulder, and the rear slicks also employ a special heat-resistant construction – like that used at Sachsenring and Indianapolis - to keep tyre temperatures in check.
The front tyre compounds for Phillip Island are the soft and medium compounds which offer the best combination of cornering stability and warm-up performance at a circuit that is renowned for highly variable weather. Phillip Island’s vulnerability to very cool temperatures also means that the main wet tyre for the Australian Grand Prix will be the soft compound option.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Phillip Island is one of the most impressive circuits on the calendar with its fast speeds and spectacular seaside location. This year’s Australian Grand Prix will be a particularly special occasion as it marks Casey’s last home race and although he already boasts an impressive record at the Island, undoubtedly he will give everything he can to score his sixth straight victory at the circuit in front of what will be a large home crowd. The championship battle is continuing right to the end and the three way battle between Casey, Dani and Jorge this weekend should make for exciting racing. Also, it is a shame that Ben’s injuries means he can’t ride this weekend, I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on his bike at Valencia.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Phillip Island is a circuit with a very high average speed, however for the most part it is not demanding on the front and rear tyres because of the generally low temperatures encountered and flowing nature of the track. The last section of the circuit, culminating in the high speed last corner creates the highest rear tyre temperature of the season in the left shoulder and it is this characteristic that is the main consideration when developing tyres for this circuit. It is long and fast with the riders accelerating at high lean angles, and the stresses demand a special heat-resistant construction so that the asymmetric rear tyres can cope with the excessive forces.
“We have seen in the past that the cold and rain can be important factors so softer compounds are generally required to generate good grip. Warm-up performance in the right shoulders is also important as the stresses on this side of the tyre are fairly low.”