Repsol Honda Team arrives in Australia in fine form
The Repsol Honda Team arrives in Australia this week ready to put on a great show at one of the most exciting races on the calendar. Phillip Island is not only a wonderful track for both riders and spectators but also, with only three races to go, the first place where the World Championship titles could be decided.
The three Repsol Honda riders face the last phase of the season in optimum form. Casey Stoner has always been a safe guarantee in Phillip Island. He has won the past four MotoGP races there and after his third place in Japan, which he didn't feel fully happy with, he will be looking for his fifth successive victory on home soil. With a forty point lead in the World Championship Standings, Casey has been creating a dream season which can see him take the Championship in front of his home fans if he takes ten points or more than rival Jorge Lorenzo in Sunday's race.
Honda will also be looking to clinch the Constructor's Title in Phillip Island, in order to secure this, the top Honda RC212V must finish at least third in the race. Pedrosa arrives in Australia after taking a brilliant victory in Japan - the first one for the HRC Factory Team in Motegi - and will relish racing in Phillip Island again, where he was unable to race last year due to injury. Dovizioso will be also looking to produce a strong performance as in Motegi, where unfortunately, his race was ruined after he was handed a ride through penalty after leading the race in the first laps. Andrea and Dani are third and fourth in the overall standings separated by just one point.
The race weekend will start on Friday with the first day of free practices. All practice sessions will be scheduled one hour later than usual to allow riders to acclimatise to the later racing time in Phillip Island of 16h00, changed to facilitate audiences in Europe.
CASEY STONER – World Championship Position: 1st with 300 points
"Every year I look forward to going to Phillip Island, there are a few tracks I really enjoy, Mugello and Brno being the other tracks so I'm excited to get to there and see how the bike works. I love coming back home to race in Australia, it's always a lot of fun and we don't get to visit so often, as well as the track, the general atmosphere is incredible and I always enjoy the weekend as a whole and the fans are fantastic. Hopefully this weekend we can have a good race, I'm very disappointed after Japan as we knew our potential, I want to go there and win the race, like I wanted to in Japan. The season has been fantastic so far and we'll be looking to continue this momentum. If we can top it off with a win in Phillip Island, my home Grand Prix it would be a dream. It will be a long hard weekend, and there is still a lot of work to do to win the Championship, but we're ready for it".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 3rd with 196 points
"Phillip Island is a nice circuit set in a unique location. Last year the race was not as we expected as I had a technical problem that prevented me to fight for the podium. My target this time is to return on the podium and gain some points in order to retain the third position in the Championship. Phillip Island is a demanding track and in the past I have struggled quiet a lot. The real issue is with the weather, the strong winds, rain and cold temperatures have often complicated the race. From a technical point of view the Australian track requires an aggressive riding style and an ability to make the bike turn whilst sliding. This is a very spectacular place, the setting by the ocean makes it special and the many fans are truly passionate. After the race weekend we had in Japan I'm looking forward to the Australian GP. Since my debut in the GPs in 2002 I have raced with Honda my who le career, for next year i have decided to take another challenge. But this is for 2012, now I'm focused on these last three remaining GPs. I want to have some spectacular races and score good results for Honda, my team and all my fans".
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 4th with 195 points
"I'm looking forward to going to Phillip Island as the circuit is very nice with many fast corners and a lot of sliding. The tyres play an important role there as the left side of the tyre gets used a lot and therefore durability is always crucial. Last year I tried to return to racing in Australia after my collarbone operation and I realised during practice that It would be impossible for me to finish the race. It was very hard for me to accept that I was not ready to race as a result of the injury and I had to return home empty handed after a big effort. This year I would like to race in normal conditions and leave Australia with a good result".