An abbreviated collection of Moto2 and Moto3 preview press releases from the teams, caused by the major travel challenges between Motegi and Phillip Island:
MAPFRE Aspar riders head 'Down Under' for round sixteen
Jordi Torres was on the podium in Australia last year and Nico Terol finished ninth; both riders are hoping to show their best form this weekend
Thankfully the MotoGP World Championship travelling circus has been able to avoid the Vongfong Typhoon and it is currently heading south to Australia for the sixteenth round of the season at Phillip Island. The little island south of Melbourne is well known for the unpredictability of its weather but the warmth of the welcome from the locals and the stunning circuit layout more than make up for that. A new track surface caused problems for the Moto2 tyres last season but the data gathered that weekend along with a winter test should ensure that there are no such dramas this time around. Tito Rabat will be hoping to avoid dramas of any kind as he defends a 38-point lead at the top of the championship; the Spaniard has his first opportunity to wrap up the title this Sunday.
Jordi Torres is excited about the trip to Phillip Island, one of three circuits where he stepped up to the podium last season. It has been a mixed campaign so far for the MAPFRE Aspar rider but he has found some consistency in recent weeks and is looking to build on points-scoring finishes in the last two races. Even though he wasn't alongside his team-mate on the podium, Nico Terol also enjoyed a positive race at Phillip Island in 2013 and after a difficult weekend at Motegi the former 125cc World Champion is hoping this can be the weekend that he turns his recent negative form around.
Jordi Torres: “Phillip Island is a circuit that could suit us quite well. It has some long corners that require good corner speed and I am sure that we can unlock some of its secrets and score a good result. We have high hopes for this next race after learning some important things about the bike in recent weeks. I managed to finish on the podium at Phillip Island last year, so you could say it's a good track for me. Hopefully we can put together a strong finish to the season. We know where we struggled in Japan and we know what we need, so we will be putting all of that information to good use this weekend and hopefully it pays off.”
Nico Terol: “The plan for this weekend is to set a strong pace from the first session. We also have to stay calm and focused in qualifying to make sure we make the improvements we need, because we have learned that trying too much too quickly is no use. If we can manage to work step by step we can get ourselves out of this negative spell we have been experiencing. We will work hard to get our confidence back on track. Philip Island is a beautiful circuit with a lot of fast corners. We had a really good Grand Prix here last year and took a big step forward so hopefully we can rediscover that same feeling this weekend.”
Juanfran Guevara hoping for a change of fortune at Phillip Island
MAPFRE Aspar rider determined to build on recent progress and secure the result his efforts deserve
Whether or not they have mentally and physically recovered from their efforts in last weekend's Grand Prix of Japan it is time for the young Moto3 World Championship contenders to turn the page and start thinking about their next challenge in just a matter of days down in Australia. Phillip Island is preparing to host what promises to be one of the most exciting rounds of the season in the minor category, with rising local star Jack Miller determined to close the gap back down to series leader Alex Márquez at a circuit that always provides great racing in the smaller classes.
Juanfran Guevara will hope to again be amongst those fighting for the big points at the front of the pack after coming away empty-handed from two otherwise solid weekends in the last two rounds. At Aragón he scored his first ever front-row start and he was in impressive form again in Japan before crashing out for the second successive race. The positive thing is that the MAPFRE Aspar rider knows that he has made a step up in level recently and he goes into the Phillip Island weekend with a different attitude and a determination to see his hard work recompensed.
Juanfran Guevara: “I like Phillip Island quite a lot so I will be pushing hard from the start on Friday to set a good pace. It is important to get a good feeling as early as possible to be in good shape for qualifying and of course the race. We saw in the last two rounds how important it is to qualify up the grid and avoid headaches on the early laps. We took major steps forward at Aragón and Japan in terms of improving our pace and now our attitude has changed. We know we can run with the guys at the front even when there is a break and that changes our approach. Unfortunately the last two races have ended early for us so now we need to convert our pace into a result. I will be working hard to achieve it in Australia. It has a mixture of corners but overall Phillip Island is a very fast circuit that requires a very precise set-up.”
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia ready to make amends in Phillip Island
Matteo Ferrari and Andrea Locatelli are determined to put behind them the last unfortunate round in Japan
With the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the Moto3 field is preparing to tackle the second of the three races overseas. San Carlo Team Italia will have the opportunity to make amends for the unfortunate weekend in Motegi.
Last year Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) was forced to abandon after a crash in the warm-up where he suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal of his right hand, but he knows the track after taking part in two days of practice and is determined to do his best.
Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra MGP3O #55) also is highly motivated for the next four days which will be rich of momentous to celebrate for San Carlo Team Italia: on Thursday, October 16, “Loka” will come of age turning 18 while Sunday will be Virginio Ferrari’ birthday.
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"Our guys are looking forward to the Australian race to take their revenge on the misfortune of Motegi. Phillip Island is a medium-fast track and the faster sections are crucial to make a good lap time. It’s where we usually mostly struggle so we must be ready to make the right moves to find a good balance for our bike and to put Matteo and Andrea in the conditions to perform as best as possible in the highly competitive Moto3 field".
TEAM FEDERAL OIL GRESINI MOTO2 HEAD TO AUSTRALIA AIMING TO BUILD ON RESULTS
Straight after the Grand Prix of Japan, which saw Xavier Siméon crossing the finish line in tenth place, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 is heading to Australia with destination Phillip Island, which plays host this weekend of the sixteenth round of the Moto2 World Championship.
After three races without collecting points, the result of Motegi is a great confidence boost for Siméon and the whole team: the 25-year-old Belgian rider was able to maintain a good pace during practice, then in the race he was able to stay in the top ten. In Australia the target is therefore to build in the results achieved at Motegi, trying to further improve the feeling between Xavier and his Suter machine.
Also in the Team Gresini Moto2 garage there is optimism after the performance put on display by Lorenzo Baldassarri last Sunday: although the 17-year-old rookie failed to collect points, was really close to the top 15 positions, maintaining a steady pace throughout the whole race.
XAVIER SIMEON “In Australia we will start from the base we found at Motegi: we have identified the direction to take in order to improve the bike and we have already seen the first benefits. I kept a good pace in practice and the race was not too bad, although it’s clear that we want more than the tenth place. We will begin practice in Phillip Island working in the same direction, to see if we can make further steps forward. I like the track a lot because there are many fast corners, even though the wind often complicates things, so we’ll have to be careful”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI “At Motegi I gave my best in the race and I’m happy because I managed to keep a good pace from start to finish: therefore we arrive at Phillip Island with a lot of confidence, also because the circuit is one of my favourites. Now I know that I have a good feeling with the bike and I’m able to ride well: we only need to try to improve the situation with regard to the rear grip, which is currently our main problem. If we succeed, I can really do well”.
ANOTHER PODIUM CHANCE FOR ANTONELLI AND BASTIANINI AS PHILLIP ISLAND BECKONS
Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli and Enea Bastianini head this weekend to Phillip Island, Australia, to face one of the most picturesque Grand Prix of the season: the sixteenth round of the Moto3 World Championship in fact takes place on one of the most spectacular tracks, a firm favourite for riders.
For Bastianini, who in Japan clinched the “Rookie of the Year” title, the Australian Grand Prix is a good chance to try to get back on the podium, as well as to try to gain positions in the Championship standings. The 16-year-old rider from Rimini, although only a rookie, is already in eighth place with 116 points, just 5 points behind the seventh place, occupied by Spaniard Isaac Vinales.
Also Antonelli, who has been ninth in both of the last two Grand Prix at Aragon and Motegi, where his physical condition was not perfect, will try to join the fight for the podium on one of his favourite tracks, where last year he picked up a good eighth place.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI “I like a lot the Phillip Island circuit and I hope to live a nice weekend, getting a good result. The track is very fast with a lot of flowing corners, so I think I will have less problems from the physical point of view, at the contrary to Motegi, which for me was the most critical track. But it will be important to avoid to lose time in the first part of the race: I’m always struggling a bit in the first laps with a full tank, then in the second half of the race I’m able to be fast, but it’s not enough”.
ENEA BASTIANINI “At Motegi we were not in top form in the race, but I think we can improve our performance already this weekend. Although actually I’ve ever seen it, Phillip Island seems to me a very nice track: it's fast and I think we can do well there, but I do not want to make any predictions. We’ll see how it goes once we go out on track for the first free practice”.
Jack Miller wants to please home fans at Phillip Island
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider arrives at home round with will to win and cut points gap to the leader in the Moto3 standings. Karel Hanika hopes to debut with a good result at the Australian track –just as he did in Japan.
10/15/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
The flyaway tour continues for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team after the first stop in Japan, with the Moto3 series moving on to Australia. It will be a special weekend for Jack Miller, who hopes the support of his fans can help him regain ground in the overall standings in which he is second. His teammate, Karel Hanika, was twelfth in Japan and hopes to adapt quickly to a very unique track where he has not raced before –just as he did last weekend at Motegi.
This will be the sixth race Jack Miller has participated in at Phillip Island. The Australian, ruing his mistake on the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, hopes to return to the podium and win at one of his favourite circuits. Miller claims not to feel any pressure, but instead feels more comfortable racing in front of the home fans and hopes that good work done recently in practice is rewarded on race day. His best finish at the track came last year with a fifth place, from tenth on the grid. The weather and wind will, according to Miller, prove decisive for the outcome of the race.
With only computer games and videos from previous years to guide him beforehand, Karel Hanika will try to repeat and/or improve on his result from Motegi at Phillip Island. Different from the rest of the Moto3 World Championship tracks, it is very fast, open and technical. Three races before the end of the season, the Czech rookie ranks eighteenth in the overall standings with a total of 28 points.
The Grand Prix weekend has some small schedule changes this time out. Practice for the Australian GP begins on Friday at 10am local time, with qualifying on Saturday at 1:35pm and the race itself on Sunday at 1pm.
8 JACK MILLER
"The way the championship is going, I could not be happier to go to Australia now, as it is my home track. We'll have a very busy week, but I can’t wait to see my fans and my friends. We have a clear objective, which is to win and cut the points gap. Phillip Island is a difficult track where I have obtained quite irregular results. We'll see how it goes but I can’t wait to start working and have a good weekend."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"I can’t wait to have another great experience of learning a new track for me. The weekend in Japan went very well, and I hope the same will happen in Australia. The Phillip Island circuit I only know from the videogames, but it looks nice. Everybody speaks highly of it, so I'm anxious to put in my first lap there. I'll ask for advice from Joan Olive, my sports consultant within the team, because he was very fast in Australia and I also hope to be so."
Phillip Island excites Husqvarna riders
Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo face second race of the flyaways with optimism at one of their favourite tracks.
10/15/2014 - Phillip Island Circuit, Australia
After competing in the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, the Husqvarna riders move to Australia to continue the flyaway stage of the World Championship. They had mixed fortunes at Motegi, but both Danny Kent as Niklas Ajo are eager to get back to a very technical, difficult and fast track that the riders love for its uniqueness and location.
A first pole position of the season achieved last Saturday in Motegi was reward for the great work done by Danny Kent during practice. It is something that he wants to repeat this weekend, rounding it off with a podium finish in the race. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider has gone fast at Phillip Island before: In 2012 he finished fifth after starting from fourth position.
At last year’s Australian Grand Prix, Niklas Ajo rose 12 positions to finish in the Top 10, placing ninth. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider wants to return to the upper spots after three races in which luck was not on his side. This is a track that the young Finn loves, and where he wants to change the dynamic of recent weeks.
The Grand Prix weekend has some small schedule changes this time out. Whilst on Friday (FP1 at 10am local time) and Saturday (QP at 1:35pm) times are delayed by one hour, the Moto3 race takes place on Sunday at 1pm.
52 DANNY KENT
"We're going to Australia very confident, because during the weekend in Japan we were very strong. We arrived at raceday without having dropped out of the first two positions throughout the weekend. Phillip Island is another track that I really like, although sometimes the weather is not so good. It's a difficult track, completely different from the others on the calendar, where the wind usually plays an important role."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"Phillip Island is by far my favourite track. I've always had good performances there and hope to ride like I did last year or two years ago. We have to work hard to get back on top and keep our consistency up. The last few races have been a little disappointing for me and the team. If we do things right I am sure we will get a good result."
LOWES AIMING FOR PODIUM AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Sam Lowes is aiming for the podium this weekend as the Moto2 World Championship moves from Japan to Phillip Island, Australia for the second of three back-to-back flyaway rounds.
Despite crashing out of Sunday’s race in Japan, Lowes is feeling positive heading into the Australian round after recent changes within his Speed Up team have shown significant progress.
Despite the best efforts of Typhoon Vongfong, Sam made it to Australia earlier this week for a few days rest and relaxation ahead of this weekend’s race. Phillip Island is a personal favourite of 24-year-old Lowes, who took two podium finishes at the iconic 2.762 mile Grand Prix circuit in the World Supersport Championship.
Without having to contend with learning the circuit, Lowes is hoping to be on the pace from the off in Friday’s first free practice session.
Sam Lowes: “Crashing in Japan wasn’t ideal but it was a good weekend for us, I’d never ridden there yet I could run times in the top ten and felt really good on the bike. I can’t wait to get out at Phillip Island, it’s a circuit I love riding, one of my favourites. The progress the team has made over the last few rounds has been really positive and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to aim for the podium this weekend. There are only three races left now so it would be good to end the season on a high.”
Gino Rea meets the Australian Kangaroo ahead of the Phillip Island Grand Prix
Following a points finish at Motegi last weekend, Gino Rea goes into the Australian Grand Prix confident of another strong performance. In the short time between Japan and Australia, Rea took time out to visit the local attractions here in Phillip Island. On Wednesday, Gino and team went to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park and had the unique opportunity to feed the native kangaroos.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on track after a great weekend at Motegi. It was nice to get in the points there after starting 23rd so I hope to challenge for the Top 15 again at Phillip Island. It’s a completely different style circuit to Motegi so we want to work in the right direction from Friday. I’ve had a good couple of days off and it was nice to visit the Phillip Island Wildlife Park and see the Australian Kangaroos and Koalas. As much as I like the animals here, I hope the seagulls don’t fly too low this weekend!"
The Australian Grand Prix gets under way on Friday morning with Moto2 Free Practice 1 at 10.55 local time.