STONER'S HOME RACE AT PHILLIP ISLAND CLOSES 'FLYAWAY' TREBLE The Australian Grand Prix this weekend represents the third and final instalment of the MotoGP World Championship's gruelling 'flyaway' period, which includes three races in as many...
STONER'S HOME RACE AT PHILLIP ISLAND CLOSES 'FLYAWAY' TREBLE
The Australian Grand Prix this weekend represents the third and final instalment of the MotoGP World Championship's gruelling 'flyaway' period, which includes three races in as many weeks in countries with wickedly contrasting conditions. After the heat of Malaysia, where the MotoGP and Moto2 titles were decided in favour of Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias on Sunday, the series heads for the Australian springtime, which traditionally welcomes the paddock with cool temperatures and unpredictable weather.
Casey Stoner's home race is one of the favourite dates on the calendar for the majority of riders, however, and the Ducati Team in particular has enjoyed great success there, with Stoner taking victory in the last three editions.
Stoner and his team-mate Nicky Hayden will be looking to make the most of their recent progress with the GP10 machine and a favourable circuit as they aim to put bad luck from the last round at Sepang behind them.
CASEY STONER, Ducati Team
"I'm looking forward to going back to Phillip Island- we have had decent results there for the past three years and with the way the bike is working now we can expect to be competitive. After last weekend in Malaysia we go there feeling a little disappointed but we will do our best to improve our situation and hopefully fight for another victory. I am sure it will be a close race there. It is one of my favourite circuits but that's the same for a lot of riders and as always I imagine it will be a fun race to watch."
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
"Phillip Island is definitely one of the highlights of the season. I think all the riders love the country and especially the circuit and I am not exception. I have had some good results there in the past, a few podiums and pole positions. The weather is usually pretty unpredictable, with low temperatures and very different conditions to Malaysia, but the track itself is awesome, one of the best on the whole calendar, so we're looking forward to it and we'll see what we can do. This track works the tyres really hard so we'll need to find a set-up that helps deal with that and make sure they last the whole race. You spend a lot of time at full lean and you need to have good traction."
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"We go to Australia with a package that we know it works well. It is also Casey's home race, he has always done well there in the past and the Ducati has always been fast and competitive so we expect that to continue. Nicky has also had some good results there in the past and even though last Sunday didn't turn out how we hoped the potential was there, both our riders showed good pace in practice and they are both working well with their respective teams. These last three races have proved that the GP10 can adapt well to different kinds of circuits so we are confident for next Sunday too. As always at Phillip Island we will have to pay close attention to the weather, with temperatures usually tending to be low, which will be a major factor to take into account for the tyres."
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.