Australian GP: Ducati preview

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM HEAD BACK TO THE ISLAND The Ducati Marlboro Team return to Phillip Island this weekend with high hopes and memories still fresh of a stunning one-two there last season for Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi. The Australian is...

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM HEAD BACK TO THE ISLAND

The Ducati Marlboro Team return to Phillip Island this weekend with high hopes and memories still fresh of a stunning one-two there last season for Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi. The Australian is not in top physical shape this time around but he was able to fight for victory in Japan less than a week ago and he is hopeful of doing so again in his home race.

Before heading to 'the island' Stoner stopped off in Melbourne on Tuesday and he was given a warm reception by the home fans at Federation Square, in the centre of the Victoria state capital.

Marco Melandri, who has celebrated victory in all three classes at Phillip Island and clinched the 250cc title there in 2002, cannot wait to get out on track as he targets his best result of the season.

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director

"Philip Island is traditionally a favourable circuit for our bike and we've had good results there. I'm sure Casey will be fighting like a lion once again even though he's not in the best physical shape and Marco should also be able to be able to put in a good performance on a circuit that will suit the characteristics of his Desmosedici".

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd in the Championship on 220 points (-92)

"The three races before Japan were really difficult for us, with two crashes and a fourth place, so even though I couldn't win at Motegi second place wasn't a bad result and it means I can look ahead to Phillip Island in a positive manner. I can't wait to race there - not only because it's my home race but also because it is one of the best tracks in the world, with so many fast corners and fun sections to ride a MotoGP bike. I love it and I think the other riders would agree with me on that. Hopefully the weather holds out but even if it rains Phillip Island is always great fun."

MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th in the Championship on 51 points (-261)

"Phillip Island is a circuit that immediately brings good memories to mind because I have won races there and not only that - I also won the 250cc title. It is definitely one of my favourites - it's difficult, very technical and has some really fast corners and some really slow ones. It has been difficult for me to ride this bike to its full potential this season but it would be nice have my best race here. We'll see."

THE TRACK

Phillip Island is the fastest circuit in MotoGP and one of the most demanding on the rider, bike and tyres. The layout is flowing and riddled with elevation changes that require precise throttle and machine control. It is one of the riders' favourite circuits because, unlike many modern tracks, Phillip Island has fast corners that really put them to the test. Located 130km south of Melbourne, the island hosted a motorcycle race for the first time in 1920, when the only way to access it was by boat. The original 12-mile track fell into disrepair but it was rebuilt as a closed circuit in the 80s and held its first Grand Prix in 1989. Its exposed location next to the Bass Strait often makes this race a victim to extremely changeable weather conditions.

RECORD

Lap Record: Marco Melandri (Honda - 2005) 1'30.332 - 177.266 km/h
Pole Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda - 2006) 1'29.020- 179.878 km/h
Circuit Length: km. 4,448
MotoGP Race 2008: 27 laps
MotoGP Timetable 2008: 14:00 CET +9

-credit: ducati.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island