Damian Cudlin's Motogp Phillip Island Dream Comes True
Australian's second MotoGP appearance comes at his home circuit
The Australian Grand Prix started out with a series of crashes despite unusually warm temperatures for this time of year at Phillip Island. With the track surface still quite cool, as well as being bumpy, more than one rider was caught by surprise and only a few were able to improve their lap times from the morning to the afternoon. Less of a surprise was the domination of Casey Stoner, a four-time winner at Phillip Island, in both sessions, although Jorge Lorenzo was able to close the gap to just two tenths of a second to the Australian.
Stoner is not the only home hero on the MotoGP grid this weekend, with Damian Cudlin following up on his debut at Motegi two weeks ago as stand-in for the injured Héctor Barberá. The latest rider to don the colours of the MAPFRE Aspar Team exercised caution today but made gradual progress and improved his pace by half a second from the morning to the afternoon. His goal is to continue in the same vein tomorrow and make a challenge for points on Sunday at his home circuit, where he hasn't raced since 2004.
17th Damian Cudlin 1.33.658 (40 laps): “This is my first time here for seven years so it was something of a new experience for me. It is also my first time working with the MAPFRE Aspar Team and I am really happy to do so because they are very professional and the engineers are able to find instant ways to improve. I am really excited to be appearing in my home round of the MotoGP World Championship. We made good progress from one session to the next today and the objective is to continue that way tomorrow, improving every time I go out on track. If we can make the progress we think we are capable of then I should be able to get involved in a battle with a few riders on Sunday. The first thing we'll look for tomorrow is a bit more comfort and confidence on the bike. I am quite a bit bigger than Héctor so the biggest thing right now is to try and adjust the Ducati to my size as much as we can without making massive changes to the geometry. We can see from the telemetry that I am suffering in quite a few areas so we will look to work on that tomorrow.”