2016 Phillip Island MotoGP Preview Press Releases

Press releases from most of the MotoGP teams and Michelin ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix:


2016 World Champion Marquez and Repsol Honda Team en route to Australia. Nicky Hayden to replace Pedrosa

Fresh from clinching the Riders’ Championship at Motegi with Marc Marquez, the Repsol Honda team has packed up in Japan and is headed to Australia for Round 16 of the World Championship.

Marc has two wins to his name at Phillip Island, in MotoGP last year when he took an awesome victory (the 50th of his career) by just 0.249 seconds over Jorge Lorenzo and in 2010 (125cc). He also has a second-place finish and a third in Moto2 (2012, 2011).

Meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa has left the Universitari Dexeus Hospital, where he underwent successful surgery to his right collarbone last Saturday. He will have a follow-up appointment with his doctors on Wednesday.

2006 MotoGP World Champion and current World Superbike Honda rider Nicky Hayden will replace Dani in Australia.

Marc Marquez - 2016 World Champion – 273 points

“It’s fantastic to arrive at Phillip Island with no pressure for the Championship, as the track is one of my favourite in the calendar, along with Austin and Aragon. It’s so fast and flowing and you really have a lot of fun riding there. One of the main issues to take into account there is the weather. It’s usually very cold during this period of the year and always windy, something that you feel a lot, especially at the end of the final straight. You have to find a setup to make the bike as stable as possible. We’ll try to win some more races before the end of the year as there are also the Constructors and the Team titles to think of.”

Dani Pedrosa

Championship Standing: 5th - 155 points

“I felt a strong pain for a few days after the operation, but things are starting to get a little bit better now. I left the hospital and I have a check-up scheduled for Wednesday. Only after that will I have a better idea about the recovery time and about when I’ll be able to get back on my bike. I wish also to congratulate Marc and Honda for the title achievement.”

Nicky Hayden

“First of all my best wishes to Dani, I’m sure he will come back stronger than ever like he always does. For me it’s crazy hard work but it’s a chance, ten year after winning my World Title, to get back to my old “dream team”! Doing a week-end in Phillip Island on a factory Honda, it’s pretty emotional for me to even think about it, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity and the trust that Honda gives me. I want also to thank my current team for allowing me to go and do this, and the sponsors. Everybody worked a lot on every detail to make it possible for me so now I’m excited to get on a plane, to get down to Phillip Island and hopefully I can do a good job for the team. Regarding Phillip Island there are two things to always consider, the weather and the tyres but it’s a track I love and I can’t wait to ride the bike there. Let’s get started on Friday morning and go forward”.


Santi Hernandez and Ramon Aurin describe Phillip Island

Race engineers for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, respectively, analyse the Australian track –one of the fastest on the calendar.

After Marc Marquez’s MotoGP title win at Twin Ring Motegi last weekend, the Repsol Honda team now head to Phillip Island for the sixteenth round of the season. The Australian track is located at one of the most beautiful venues on the calendar, on an island near Melbourne. Repsol Honda race engineers Santi Hernandez and Ramon Aurin –the latter of which will work with substitute rider Nicky Hayden this weekend– describe Phillip Island as a very fast circuit with one of the highest top speeds and where rider ability makes the difference. Strong winds make setting up the bike difficult, and tyre wear is a big factor.

 


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Head South for Second Overseas Race

Setup

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team continues its relentless pace this weekend as the paddock heads from the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan to Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia, for the second consecutive race weekend, the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Valentino Rossi looks forward to defending his second place in the championship from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. As one of the most successful riders at the Phillip Island circuit, he will be using his experience to secure a top result and visit the Australian rostrum again. After taking third place in 2000, the Doctor enjoyed an impressive five-year winning streak from 2001 to 2005, followed by five more consecutive podium finishes in the premier class. He claimed second place in 2008 and 2009 and scored three third places in 2006, 2007, 2010. Rossi returned to the podium again three years later with a third place in 2013 and a first place in 2014, when he, teammate Lorenzo and Monster Yamaha Tech3's Bradley Smith made it an all-Yamaha podium.

Lorenzo is also prepared to take on the competition on Phillip Island, one of his favourite circuits where he got to lift a trophy after the race many times. He scored two second places in the premier class in 2010 and 2012. From that point on the Mallorcan has not finished off the podium, securing the victory in 2013 and two more second places in 2014 and 2015. Lorenzo aims to keep the trend going this year and is ready to enjoy the beautiful Phillip Island circuit whilst fighting for second place in the championship.

Phillip Island became a permanently constructed circuit in 1956, but was already staging motorcycle races since 1931. The circuit hosted motorcycle Grand Prix events until an extensive renovation took place in 1968. The 4.4 km Australian circuit made a comeback in 1989 and 1990 and became a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards. Each year the track is a crowd-pleaser for both the MotoGP paddock and fans, who can't get enough of its fast and fluid corners (seven left and five right), exotic wildlife and stunning location right next to the ocean.

Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

"After Motegi we headed straight to Phillip Island. Though we didn't score any points last weekend, we showed we are very strong and capable to fight for the win even under challenging circumstances. We will use this experience to fuel our motivation even more to deliver a good result. We already tried the Michelin tyres at this track as part of the pre-season testing earlier this year, so we hope to build on the data that we already have. As the track is very close to shore, it can be very windy and cold at this time of year. We hope the weather conditions will not play a big role in this weekend's racing activities so we can fully focus on getting a good result."

Valentino Rossi

Championship: 2nd, 196 points

"The bad thing is that we took zero points in Motegi, but the good thing is that we showed that we are strong. Phillip Island is a fantastic track and a place that I like a lot. We have to try to be fast and strong there too. We already tested there with Michelin, but unfortunately we now go there after a very bad season, our worst season on paper. We hope that the weather conditions won't be very bad, because if it's cold it can be dangerous. We hope for good weather and we'll see."

Jorge Lorenzo

Championship: 3rd, 182 points

"It was a shame in Motegi, but we were at least able to fight for the victory despite the wrong decision with the tyre. My crash and Vale's gave Marc the title but honestly he was the most consistent rider. Now we have to fight for the second position in the championship, though the important thing - and why we are here - is to be a champion. Phillip Island is going to be a bit strange because the fight for the championship is over, but I would like to do a great race and try to win. That`s my goal for the next three races and take the vice champion title as well."


Andrea Dovizioso and Hector Barbera join up again in the Ducati Team for the Australian GP at Phillip Island

Just a few days after the GP of Japan, the Ducati Team has arrived at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, the venue for round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship, and the second leg in this challenging series of three end-of-season overseas races on two different continents.

Coming off the back of a superb second place at Motegi, at Phillip Island Andrea Dovizioso will again be joined by Hector Barbera, who replaced Andrea Iannone in Japan, before the rider from Vasto makes his return to the Ducati Team at Sepang.

Andrea Dovizioso has stepped onto the Phillip Island podium three times in the different categories, including one win in 125 cc in 2004 and a third place in MotoGP in 2011. Last year the Italian rider had a difficult race, which he finished in thirteenth place. Barbera was runner-up in 250 in 2009 and his best result in MotoGP was an excellent fifth place in 2014 with the Desmosedici GP14 of the Avintia Racing team.

Situated close to the Bass Strait in the state of Victoria, the Phillip Island track runs in a counter-clockwise direction and has a series of extremely quick curves that make it one of the fastest on the world championship calendar. Despite the fact that weather conditions in spring in the southern hemisphere are often unpredictable, the event is always a favourite for teams, riders and fans alike. Like Motegi, the Ducati Team has also notched up four wins at Phillip Island, all at the hands of Casey Stoner.

With three rounds remaining until the end of the 2016 championship, Dovizioso is currently sixth overall with 124 points, while Iannone lies ninth on 96 points, 12 ahead of Barbera in tenth.

The weekend schedule at Phillip Island kicks off on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 10.55am local time (01.55 CET), while the 27-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 4pm (07.00 CET).

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 6th (124 points)

“Last year at Phillip Island I probably had my worst race in the entire championship! Even though it’s not one of my favourite tracks because of its characteristics, I have to say that it’s a marvellous circuit and this year, after the good result at Motegi, I will have a lot more confidence when I go out on track and will be even more determined to do a good race.”

Hector Barbera (Ducati Team #8) – 10th (84 points)

“Phillip Island is a track that is good for my riding style, and it’s also good for the Desmosedici GP, because it has fast corners and other corners where the engine counts a lot. When I joined the Ducati Team at Motegi, it was all new for me: now I know the team and the bike better, and I know that we have everything we need to do well. The reality is that for me this is an incredible opportunity, and I’d like to thank Ducati and Avintia once again. Over the past few days I’ve been very calm, trying to take in all the information I picked up last weekend, but it’s obvious that we will be aiming to make a further step forward at Phillip Island.”

The Phillip Island Circuit

Phillip Island, which is around 150 km south of Melbourne, is steeped in motor racing tradition, with the first car races having been held there on public roads in the 1920s. The first motorcycle races took place in 1931 and a permanent track was built in 1956. The circuit fell into disrepair during the late 70s and early 80s until it was bought in 1985 and given a major facelift. MotoGP returned in 1989 and 1990 before becoming a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards. The Phillip Island circuit is blessed with breathtaking scenery and beautiful ocean views and is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.


TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR READY FOR PHILLIP ISLAND

Team Suzuki Press Office – October 19.

The second leg of the three back-to-back fly-away races travels to Phillip Island in Australia this weekend for the 16th round of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship where Team SUZUKI ECSTAR arrives with the enthusiasm following Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró’s third and fourth places in last week’s Japanese GP.

The Australian circuit is also one of the best for Viñales and the Spaniard has been waiting for this weekend for many months. The solid improvements shown both by the rider and the machine in this second half of the season, with a podium in Motegi, makes him feel very confident for a positive race, that could eventually bring him good points to keep fourth place in the Championship.

Espargaró, who has recently been enjoying renewed competitively aboard his GSX-RR, scored his best season result at the Motegi round but more in general having seen solid improvements in the last races. The layout of the circuit looks suitable for his machine, the chassis a key point for the performance, and the steps forward by the Spaniard and his crew with the electronics management and set-up configurations sees him eager to race.

The Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Phillip Island Circuit, which is a 4.4 km (2.76 miles) track at the very south of Australia, blessed with breathtaking scenery and beautiful ocean views. It is made up of seven left-handed and five right-handed corners and is one of the fastest, most fluid, tracks on the calendar, providing some of the most spectacular racing in the MotoGP™ season. Sunday’s MotoGP™ GP will be raced over 27 laps for a total distance of 120.1 km (74.5 miles)

Maverick Viñales:

“I can’t wait to race at Phillip Island, it’s one of my best tracks and also one where I expect we can be very competitive and must aim for the podium. The weather conditions may play a role, but the circuit layout is one of the best for both our machine’s characteristics and my riding style. Very fast corners and fluid connections between corners make the track funny but also very hard to interpret, it also requires some bravery, and I like these conditions. The podium in Japan was very important because it confirmed our potential and also gave a further injection of enthusiasm to all the team and engineers; also the guys working in the factory, it’s nice to ride this wave of enthusiasm we have and take advantage out of it to make a very good weekend in Australia. Besides the single race, it’s also time to keep an eye on the Championship; now I’m in fourth place, which is better than my objective at the beginning of the season, and I definitely want to consolidate this position.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“Last weekend’s Japanese GP was somehow bittersweet for me: I’m very happy with the fourth place, which is my best result this season, but also a little disappointed because I was very close to the podium. However, that was the further proof that we are improving and we are finding more effective set-up and electronics configurations, and also my riding is getting better and better. The Australian circuit layout is very favourable to our machine’s characteristics; we will try to take out the best of it. I still desire to get a podium with Suzuki before we part and I will try my best to achieve this result.”


AFTER THE DOUBLE TOP-TEN AT MOTEGI APRILIA IS EN ROUTE TO AUSTRALIA

THE ITALIAN TEAM TAKES ON THE PHILLIP ISLAND TRACK TO CONFIRM THE PROGRESS THE RS-GP MACHINES HAVE MADE

The first of the intercontinental "triple-header" finished with a solid result for Aprilia, a double placement in the top ten for Bautista (seventh) and Bradl (tenth). The Italian team will therefore take on the Phillip Island circuit with a good dose of high morale, supported by a technical situation that has shown consistent growth in recent rounds. The RS-GP, in its MotoGP Championship début and developed during the 2016 season, has demonstrated consistent performance in the races and in recent rounds, has also shown improved speed in qualifying.

The latter is a fundamental aspect on the Australian asphalt, historically favourable to those who start from a good spot on the grid. There are many unknown factors, beginning with the weather. During this period of the year there will probably be strong winds and mild temperatures with a chance of rain, perhaps concentrated on one part of the track, all elements that will not make the job easy for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.

ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER

"The Phillip Island track is quite particular, with a high average speed and long, very fast corners. Stability and the bike's ability to go into the turns at high speed are essential. Rear tyre wear on the left side is typically a critical point here. The settings for this track could require peculiar chassis set-up and electronics solutions. The team did not participate in the IRTA preseason tests at Phillip Island because we went to Doha early for the 2016 bike's first outings. This means that we are arriving on the island with a bit less information than our competitors have. In spite of the forecasts, we will be hoping for stable weather conditions from Friday so that we can put together a suitable set-up. The bike and the entire team confirmed important growth at Motegi, so we are expecting a good race here in Australia too".

FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER

"In recent races we have seen consistent improvement both in qualifying and in the race and going through to Q2 three times in a row are proof of that, as well as the two double top-ten placements in a row at Aragón and Motegi. Racing in the spectacular setting of Phillip Island is always exciting. It is a track characterized by technical and demanding sectors like the last part, for example, which is very fast. A good set-up will be important, especially considering the probable low temperatures that will make the riders' job even harder. We are determined to have another positive weekend with both Alvaro and Stefan".

ALVARO BAUTISTA

"After the good result in Japan, we are coming to Phillip Island rather enthusiastic. The track is fast and demanding, plus the weather does not make things easy, given the strong wind, the generally low temperature and the high chance of rain. This track has special characteristics, different from the standard, so we will need to do a very good job in the practice sessions. It will be important to find that feeling we had in recent races here as well. A top-10 finish is a realistic goal that we need to confirm".

STEFAN BRADL

"I really like the Phillip Island track. It is completely different from the Motegi track, more flowing and fast without violent braking sections. We will need a rather different set-up and that will be our biggest challenge in Australia. I feel confident. We have built up a certain amount of experience with the R-GP, so we have a clearer idea in terms of what changes to make. The goal is to keep up the good work we have been doing in recent races".


Miller looking for home race fillip in Island battle

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller heads home to Australia in determined mood and ready to tackle the unique challenge posed by the awe-inspiring Phillip Island track this weekend.

Fully recovered from back and right hand injuries that have plagued the Townsville-born star over the last six races, Miller is hoping a return to familiar shores will inspire him to a first top 10 finish since the German Grand Prix in mid-July.

Miller has race-winning experience on home soil after he took the chequered flag first in a sensational Moto3 race in 2014 when just 0.242s split the top six in a pulsating final lap showdown.

And the 21-year-old is certain to get a rousing reception from his passionate home crowd after he became just the 12th Australian rider in history to win in the premier class when he was victorious in the historic Dutch TT in Assen at the end of June.

Tito Rabat is relishing the chance to showcase his skills on one of the fastest tracks on the World Championship calendar after he returned to point scoring form in Japan last Sunday.

The Spaniard, who took third place from pole position in Australia in his Moto2 World Championship-winning campaign in 2014, will be looking to benefit from vital data collected during a pre-season test session at the Phillip Island track back in February to add to his tally of 29-points gained so far in 2016.

Vastly different weather conditions though in Australia’s spring season will definitely make the task of mastering the 4.4km Phillip Island a tough proposition.

Regardless of the climatic conditions, the Phillip Island track is undoubtedly one of the most popular of the season for the entire MotoGP grid and it is world famous for its super fast sections and jaw-dropping location adjacent to the Bass Strait.

Jack Miller:

“I am really looking forward to going home and riding in front of my home crowd at Phillip Island. It will feel extra special this year going back as a MotoGP winner and I want to bounce back from what was a pretty difficult weekend in Japan. I love Phillip Island and hopefully we can find something in the bike that gives me a bit more confidence to push at the limit. I was fast there last season on the Open class bike and I go there determined to turn around what has been a pretty rough period in the season for me. There is always a bit of extra pressure when you race at home but it is a cool feeling to know so many fans have come to watch you put on a show. It is pressure I thrive on and hopefully I can give the Australian crowd something to shout about.”

Tito Rabat:

“I don’t think I am alone when I say that Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks. The last race in Japan was certainly not easy but I kept my focus and pushed to my maximum and it was important to get back inside the points. The goal will be like always and that is to improve my confidence and rhythm in every session and have some fun. I have some experience of the Honda RC213V in Phillip Island after the test there in February, so it will be good to have some reference and data.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"Tito arrives in Australia off the back of a confidence boosting weekend in Japan, where he finished in the points after making another big step with the bike. Phillip Island is a track he enjoys racing at and I'm confident that we'll see another big improvement from him this weekend. This is a big weekend for Jack. It's his home race and there is a lot of expectation from the Australian fans. However, he needs to maintain his focus and approach this weekend like any other after the disappointment of crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix last time out. The good thing is that Jack normally responds well to pressure and, as the only Australian rider in MotoGP, I'm sure he will feel some positive pressure this weekend. He just needs to channel that and translate it into a good result on Sunday."


Hector Barbera with Ducati Team once again – home GP for Mike Jones with Avintia Racing

Avintia Racing has arrived on Phillip Island and is ready to start the preparations for the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. As in Japan, Hector Barbera will be racing with the official Ducati Team, replacing Andrea Iannone, whilst Mike Jones will get a second ride with Avintia Racing and he will enjoy his first ever home race in the MotoGP class. The disciple of Troy Bayliss is extra excited ahead of this weekend and after a quick learning progress in Japan, he is aiming for further improvements on the island.

Loris Baz is also looking forward to get back to action, as Phillip Island is his favourite circuit. A good result on the ultra-fast track would be a welcome relief, since a lack of confidence prevented him from showing his true potential during the last few races.

Hector Barbera

“Phillip Island is a track that is good for my riding style, and it’s also good for the Desmosedici GP, because it has fast corners and other corners where the engine counts a lot. When I joined the Ducati Team at Motegi, it was all new for me: now I know the team and the bike better, and I know that we have everything we need to do well. The reality is that for me this is an incredible opportunity, and I’d like to thank Ducati and Avintia once again. Over the past few days I’ve been very calm, trying to take in all the information I picked up last weekend, but it’s obvious that we will be aiming to make a further step forward at Phillip Island.”

Loris Baz

I’m looking forward to start the weekend, because this is my favourite race in the entire calendar. I love the circuit and we will see if we can get a good result. As usual at this time of the year, the weather conditions will be crucial at Phillip Island. There is a chance of cold temperatures that can make things difficult. We have to be smart and try to get the best set up for these conditions and we will have to work hard to get the best of Michelin’s tyre allocation. I’m sure that this track can help me to regain my confidence and I’ll push hard to get a good result for the team.”

Mike Jones

“I’m very excited to be racing the second time in MotoGP at my home circuit on Phillip Island. It is fantastic to be racing with Avintia Racing and Ducati again, because I got to know the team last week when I raced with them at Motegi. It’

s great to have another opportunity with them on Phillip Island this weekend. I think things should be a little bit easier for me, as I know the circuit and I also know the bike, so hopefully things will go a bit smoother this weekend. I’m very excited because since it’s my home GP, there will be a lot of support and the atmosphere will be fantastic. I can’t wait to jump on the bike and get the weekend started.”


Resolute Tech3 pair fired up for the fight down under

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head to the Australian Grand Prix full of confidence and ready to battle, fresh from competing at the Motegi round last weekend. Both riders seek to complete the second back to back flyaway event solidly at the world famous Phillip Island circuit, which has produced many memorable duels over the years.

Pol Espargaro determinedly intends to seal the top independent riders honours in Sunday's race aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1, after achieving 6th at the previous GP in what was his 50th Grand Prix with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team. The 25-year-old currently sits in 8th in the World Championship standings and will be aiming to close the deficit to the leading satellite rider, by finishing as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders in southern Australia.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith returns to the scene of his debut premier class podium in 2014, and he will seek to undertake another brave performance in Australia following his comeback in Japan after being forced to sit out three Grand Prix's due to a severely damaged knee. The British rider showed incredible resilience at the previous round and he courageously defied expectations by concluding the Motegi showdown in 13th, despite being limited by his injury. He resolutely targets completing the GP in the best possible position on Sunday in what will be another demanding race for him whilst he continues his recovery progress.

Pol Espargaro

Championship: 8th, 106 points

"I'm looking forward to the Australian Grand Prix as always because I enjoy riding at the Phillip Island track a lot. It's a special place for me and I probably rode the best GP of my life there in the intermediate class, where I finished almost 20 seconds ahead of second place. Last year, our performance wasn't too impressive, but to be honest, the whole season was quite challenging. Yet, I am really confident that this time will be better because my 2016 campaign has been much more positive. The main ambition for the weekend is to put as much pressure as possible on Cal, who is ahead of me in the championship. He is also the leader in the independent rider battle, and it is still my goal to win that fight by the end of the year. Therefore, I will give it my all and I can't wait to get to get going in Australia."

Bradley Smith

Championship: 17th, 45 points

"Phillip Island is a unique circuit and completely different in nature to Motegi, but I am excited for the challenge and I will do my best, as usual. The high-speed demand of the track will be tricky, because, even though there are not as many corners as some other rounds, it is still quite physical. In addition, the cooler conditions that we get at this time of the year make racing a bit more complicated for MotoGP riders. However, I will go there with an open mind, and I hope that we can work in the same way that we did in Japan, in order to build up our pace over the weekend. Moreover, in the next few days, I will be off the bike and I am positive that my knee will improve a bit so that I can be better and stronger for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team."

Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:

“Next up is the Australian Grand Prix at the iconic Phillip Island circuit and once again, the team will do everything they can in order to allow Brad and Pol to fight to two solid finishes. The guys both had good results in Motegi. Pol did his best all weekend long and completed the demanding race in 6th, whilst Bradley returned to us after his injury and ended the GP in 13th, and his resilience impressed us all. Therefore, we hope that these performances will boost the boys even more for Phillip Island. For Pol, we expect him to be challenging for the top independent position so that he can cut the gap to Cal Crutchlow in the satellite championship battle and we are fully confident that he can do this. As for Brad, he will have a bit of time in-between the races and we are sure that his knee will improve slightly for the GP, therefore, we hope that he can conclude the weekend in a positive fashion. This event is special for the Tech3 team because we can’t forget that Bradley scored his first ever premier class rostrum in 2014. In addition, the incredible battle between the Tech3 riders, Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque, for the 250cc World Championship in 2000 was unforgettable and it still sends shivers down my spine. So let’s see what we can do at the beautiful Australian circuit.”


Second stop Phillip Island for Pull&Bear Aspar Team

Sunday, 16 October 2016 13:13

Eugene Laverty hopes his riding stye will adapt well in Australia and help him back to the top ten as Yonny Hernández looks to build on positive performance in Japan

The fight for the MotoGP World Championship title reached an abrupt climax at Motegi on Sunday, with the two rivals to Marc Márquez crashing out and leaving the Spaniard to claim his third title. Just a few days later the series heads to the next round in Australia, where attention turns to the battle for the runner-up spot in the championship, with fourteen points between team-mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, the same gap that separated them following the previous round at Aragón. The pair are coming under threat from Maverick Viñales, currently fourth in the championship but closing in after his latest podium at Motegi, with Dani Pedrosa now out of the chase for a championship 'podium' after the injuries that forced him to miss the race in Japan also set to rule him out of Australia.

For the Pull&Bear Aspar Team the chase is still on for a top ten championship finish, with Eugene Laverty still hopeful despite missing out on the points for only the second time this season at Motegi. The Irishman did not enjoy a particularly positive preseason test at Phillip Island due to injury but he is confident that the track suits his riding style and could well be the scene for his return to the top ten positions. Yonny Hernández has travelled to Australia in positive mood after picking up more points for his championship tally at Motegi, the Colombian feeling hopeful that the information gathered at Motegi can be the basis for a positive finish to the season.

Eugene Laverty: “Phillip Island is a track I really like, it's really fluid, and we'll see how this bike works there. I was not completely fit when I rode there during preseason testing so I couldn't really get a good feel for the bike there but the track suits my riding style so we will try for a good result next weekend.”

Yonny Hernández: “We go to Australia in the best possible way on the back of a good result in the last race in Japan. Phillip Island is not on my list of favourite circuits but I don't dislike it, it is just another round on the calendar to me. Hopefully, with all the information we have gathered at the last race we can get a good result this weekend.”


THE ISLAND AWAITS FOR LCR HONDA

The second of the three Asia-Pacific flyaway rounds sees the LCR Honda Team take on one the most popular racing venues on the planet this weekend, with the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix taking place at the cliff-top Phillip Island circuit.

Cal Crutchlow is a huge fan of the ultra-fast racetrack, which is always a favourite among the MotoGP elite, and will be looking to continue the run of form which took him to another excellent fifth place last weekend in Japan and consolidated his hold on top Independent Team rider.

The event is a sell-out, but rain is forecast for Friday practice, and possibly even Saturday qualifying. With Sunday’s race taking place at 4pm local time (5am GMT) the hope is that fine weather could replace the clouds for what is usually a thrilling race around an epic circuit.

#35 Cal Crutchlow

“I wouldn’t say I was in fantastic form, but I think the whole LCR Honda Team are happy enough with how things are going. I make a stupid mistake in Motegi which possibly took me out of contention for the podium. I was disappointed with that because I felt we had a strong plan for the end of the race with the hard front tyre.”

“We’ll see what this weekend brings. I’m looking forward to racing at Phillip Island as always, it’s been a kind track to me over the years except for the last lap in 2014. The rest has been quite good and I’ve enjoyed racing here over the years so hopefully we can have another good one this weekend.”

“I don’t want it to rain, even though I’ve had a race win in the wet, you never want it to. It’s a disaster half the time – and not just for me, for the crowd and the teams too. We would prefer it to be dry and we need that time around here because it’s a circuit where you have to get in a rhythm over the whole weekend to be competitive on Sunday. Everybody’s in the same boat, it’s the same for me as everyone else on the grid, so we’ll just take it as it comes.”


Michelin heads down under for its own Grand Prix

Michelin has crossed the equator and headed to the most southerly race of the year as the attention shifts to Phillip Island in Australia for the staging of round 16 of the MotoGP™ World Championship with a focus firmly on the French tyre manufacturer as it becomes title sponsor of the race.

The Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix will see the first time that the tyre specialist has been the named sponsor of a race and Phillip Island is certainly a circuit that will put the rubber through the ultimate demands required from a MotoGP tyre. The challenging and fast 4,448m layout and the requirements for the tyres at this unique circuit is well known, so Michelin has created a new compound especially suited to the configuration and the asphalt. With the information gathered at the positive test earlier in the year, Michelin will take a range of three slick front tyres and two rears. The front MICHELIN Power Slicks will be soft (white band), medium (no band) and hard (yellow band). With a compound designed for the rigours of the circuit the soft and hard versions of the tyres with also have an asymmetric construction with a harder left-hand-side to cope with the long, fast corners that the track is famous for. To match the front slicks, two totally new rear tyres will be introduced in Australia, available in a medium (no band) and hard (yellow band) compound, both tyres will also feature an asymmetric pattern with the harder left shoulder.

The Phillip Island race is often referred to as giving the opportunity of four seasons in one day, with inclement and very changeable weather playing an important part in the weekend’s events, and the chance of the conditions changing from warm sunshine to freezing rain in a short time a real possibility. To cover this Michelin has a range of three wet front tyres and two rear. The front MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will come in extra soft (light blue band), soft (blue band) and medium (no band) whilst the rears will feature soft (blue band) and medium (no band) compounds. With the changeable conditions likely to play a part, the MICHELIN Power Inter (silver band) could also be necessary to give the riders optimum performance on a drying track.

Philip Island is one of the fastest circuits in the world and possibly the most picturesque. Situated near to Melbourne in the state of Victoria, its stunning position overlooking the Pacific Ocean is simply magnificent. This beautiful backdrop, allied with a mix of fast corners, elevation changes and a fast straight that gives the riders the perception they are heading out to sea, makes Phillip Island a must-see event on the MotoGP calendar and one that the racers and fans enjoy to the extreme. As one of the fastest and highly challenging tracks that MotoGP visits, it provides some of the most exciting racing of the year and one which Michelin is delighted to associated with as the title sponsor.

Michelin and the whole of the MotoGP field will take to track for the first free practices on Friday 21st October, with the qualifying taking place the following day to decide the grid positions for the 27-lap race. Sunday’s main event will get underway at 16.00hrs local time (07.00hrs CEST, 06.00hrs BST, 05.00hrs UTC).

Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:

“Phillip Island is a really special place, there is no other track like it on the calendar and this week’s event will have an even greater significance because it is the first time Michelin has sponsored a MotoGP race. Michelin has taken this decision because the Asia Pacific market is very important to the company and one of the main objectives of what we do within Michelin Motorsport is to support business growth. This makes the sponsoring of this event very important for the marketing of a growing region and also gives us a chance to showcase our involvement in the biggest motorcycle championship in the world. With the race being sponsored by Michelin will mean that we will really be under the spotlight and we are under no illusions about the task that we will have at Phillip Island. It is one of the most demanding tracks we visit and is very hard on tyres, so with this in mind we have developed a tyre especially for the track. With no racing information from the last seven years, we had very little relevant data, but the test there at the start of the year was very positive – despite the rain – and we collected a lot of data from all the riders and teams. We have produced a tyre that we believe will work well. It is a completely new compound, you could say it’s the ‘Phillip Island Tyre’ really, as we won’t use it anywhere else. The track is very abrasive so we have taken that into consideration and created a tyre that will cope with that, as well as the fast corners, so we have also produced an asymmetric front to give the riders the grip they will need to perform around this special track.”


Source: 
Round Number: 
16
2016

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