Dani Pedrosa, optimisic after his podium finish at Motegi. Nicky Hayden, ready to fight for the lead again The run in to the end of the 2008 season is upon us. This weekend, at the Circuit of Phillip Island, the sixteenth round will be held, the...
Dani Pedrosa, optimisic after his podium finish at Motegi. Nicky Hayden, ready to fight for the lead again
The run in to the end of the 2008 season is upon us. This weekend, at the Circuit of Phillip Island, the sixteenth round will be held, the third to last in the World MotoGP Championship 2008. After last Sunday" Japanese GP at the Circuit of Motegi, this weekend the riders go to race in Australia, with the title already decided.
Last Sunday the Italian Valentino Rossi was proclaimed World Champion in the top category after a tough battle with Casey Stoner and the Repsol Honda Team rider, Dani Pedrosa. The Spanish rider had a good weekend at Motegi, getting his first podium finish with his new engine, the one with pneumatic valves, as well as with his new Bridgestone tyres. On Monday, after the race Pedrosa stayed one more day at Motegi to test the new solutions for the 2009 season, and to continue getting used to the new combination of engine and tyres mounted on his Honda RC212V.
Nicky Hayden was not able to have a good race at Motegi. Too much tyre wear affected his performance, but in spite of this he finished 5th in a race where he practically rode alone. After his second position in the USA, in the GP held at Indianapolis, the American in the Repsol Honda Team will try to get on the podium again in Australia, a circuit he likes a lot .
Last Sunday at Motegi Julian Simon was very close to getting his first podium in the 250cc category. Simon managed to locate himself second on Simoncelli" rear wheel, the leader at that time and the eventual winner of the Japanese 250cc GP. But in the end the young rider in the Team Repsol KTM 250cc had to make do with fourth position, less than one second behind the third placed rider on the finishing line. On Phillip Island, a circuit that he likes a lot, he hopes to get the podium that he has set himself as objective before the end of the 2008 season.
For the Repsol 125cc riders the race at Motegi was the briefest that they have had this season. Marc Marquez hardly completed two corners and Esteve Rabat almost did a complete lap. The two young riders have one thing clear, they have to finish the race in Australia and add some points to their overall haul.
"At Motegi I was getting a good feeling from my bike and tyres, and I'm sure my feeling will continue to improve at Phillip Island as we continue to learn more about our new technical package. The big question mark for this race is the weather -- it can be quite tough if the weather isn't good.
Phillip Island is fast, the asphalt is a little old, a bit bumpy in a few places and the grip is not so great. To go fast it is important to start the lap well and keep it flowing, although you still need an aggressive riding style to go fast here. There are a lot of wide and open left-handers through which you use a lot of throttle, so the rear tyre needs to be quite hard on the left side. The track is tough on tyres even when the weather is cold. From a machine set-up point of view, you need a stable bike because there are so many high-speed sections. My favourite part of the track is the final section, it's very impressive. The circuit is also good for fans, if the weather is okay, and it's easy to see that the Australians are big fans of motorcycles and motorcycle racing."
"I love Phillip Island. I don't think there's a better racetrack in the world, but I wish we could race there when the weather's a little bit better -- sometimes it can be more like Phillip Iceland than Phillip Island. A lot of tracks they keep slowing them down, adding chicanes for safety, but this one you can really turn it on.
There's some real fast stuff, so it's a track where you can get in a rhythm when the bike's working and go fast, and when the bike's not working you can be pretty slow. You spend a lot of time on the edge of the tyres, so it's probably the hardest track in the world for tyres, so we'll work with my Michelin guys to get the best tyres for the race. I've had some good results there: a couple of pole positions, a second and a third, but I've never won one there. You need a bike set-up that saves the tyres, plus you need to be able to steer through the long corners and change direction too. It's easy to lower the rear and soften things up to get traction, but then you lose the steering."
"The Circuit of Phillip Island is the most beautiful in the World Championship. It has fast zones, other slower ones, and every time we go there the riders enjoy themselves a lot.
Let's hope that things are similar to Japan. I will go with the same desire and mentality, things that are necessary if we are to continue trying to end the year with a podium finish, this is now our main objective. After the race at Motegi I will be more motivated, if that is possible, above all because I know that I can be up there with the leaders. We know how to achieve this now, and that is why it was an important result for me."
"I like the Circuit of Phillip Island a lot, it is my favourite in the whole World Championship for sure. It is a track with very fast corners, located in a very beautiful area.
I am dying to go there, and even more so after these last two races because I have not finished them, and not because it was my fault. I hope to have a good weekend."
"The circuit in Australia, just like almost all of them this season, will be new for me. As always, on Friday we will not concentrate on setting good times, but on learning all about the circuit and to begin getting the set up right.
We will try to get better as the wekkend goes by. After what happened in Japan I will go to Australia with the same desire as always, but inside I think that above all I want to finish the race and to get a good result."