Team San Carlo Honda Gresini have travelled direct from Japan to Phillip Island this week for the Australian Grand Prix, the sixteenth round of eighteen in the MotoGP World Championship 2008. From the stop & go layout of Motegi the contrast in...
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini have travelled direct from Japan to Phillip Island this week for the Australian Grand Prix, the sixteenth round of eighteen in the MotoGP World Championship 2008.
From the stop & go layout of Motegi the contrast in circuits could not be bigger as this weekend the riders tackle some of the fastest and most spectacular corners in the world.
It is a circuit that has always brought out the best in Alex De Angelis, who has fought for victory here on countless occasions in the smaller classes, whilst Shinya Nakano hopes it can bring out the best in his evolution version Honda RC212V 2009 satellite machine. The Japanese rider rediscovered his feeling with the bike at his home race and is now targeting a top result.
#15 ALEX DE ANGELIS
"We're not coming here on the back of an amazing race so morale is clearly not that high but I'm thinking positive because Philip Island is my favourite track and in both 125 and 250 I've come really close to victory on many occasions. One of the most important things is that I have tested the MotoGP bike here in winter, so it should be easier to start the weekend in a positive way. We know that Bridgestone have got different tyres to the ones we used for the test, with the aim of improving our performance, so I can't help but feel confident. We're looking to put the disappointment of the Grand Prix of Japan behind us and return to the level of competitiveness that we showed in the preseason tests in Australia. That should see us battling in the top five or six."
# 56 SHINYA NAKANO
"Phillip Island is completely different to the track we've just been to at Motegi. There are so many fast sections, which are a great challenge for us riders. You need a good setting but it is fun to ride here and I think from that perspective it's one of the best on the calendar! The result at Motegi clearly wasn't fantastic but I had fun again after two difficult races. My feeling with the bike has improved a lot and for that reason I'm confident about this weekend."
FAUSTO GRESINI -- TEAM MANAGER
"In Japan Shinya showed an improvement on the previous couple of races and that gives us high hopes of an even better result than the eighth place at Motegi, which he achieved in the middle of a battle for the top six. His bike will give him a good chance of fighting here so we're looking to bounce back at Phillip Island. Unfortunately Alex arrives here on the back of a race where he had problems with the set-up but in Australia we'll try to understand what went wrong and give him the opportunity to get the most out of it at a circuit where he has always gone well. His objective for the end of the season, however, is to gather experience that will serve him well in 2009".
Phillip Island held its first motorcycle race back in 1931 on a 12-mile road circuit, where two-wheeled racing continued until 1941, when it was stopped due to excessive sand blowing onto the asphalt. After the bridge linking the island to mainland Victoria was completed in 1952 a closed circuit was also built and in 1989 it welcomed the premier class of motorcycle racing for the first time. Gresini Racing celebrated victory in the MotoGP race in 2006, when Marco Melandri took the flag on board the Honda RC211V.