Promoted content: Whether you’re an Australian rev head desperate for a two-wheel fix, or an overseas MotoGP fan looking to add a flyaway round to your resume, MotoGP at Phillip Island is a must-see.
Melbourne, voted the world’s most liveable city time and time again. Great coffee, excellent nightlife, and world-class restaurants.
It’s Australia’s sporting capital too, an oft-touted label the city is fiercely proud of. However, its sporting prowess isn’t just confined to the likes of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rod Laver Arena, or Albert Park. Just 140 kilometres south-east of the CBD is Phillip Island, one of the world’s most spectacular permanent motorsport facilities and home of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The event has become a staple on the Victorian sporting calendar, and is a must-see for fans from around the country.
Never been? Here are five reasons why you’re missing out.
Phillip Island is spectacular. It’s as spectacular a permanent race track as you’re likely to find anywhere in the world.
Sure, that’s a big call. But if anywhere can walk the walk…
For starters, the location. When they say it’s at the ocean, it’s really at the ocean. There is effectively nothing between the outside of Southern Loop and the cliffs that dive dramatically down to Bass Strait. Have you seen those pictures of bikes going down the Gardner Straight and it looks like they’re racing towards the sea? That’s not trick photography. That’s how close the ocean is to the track.
Then there’s the track itself, a fast, flowing 4.445km of bitumen that severely punishes a rider who leaves his brave pills at home. You need big confidence in the front end to get through Turn 1, big brakes at Honda, and big, err, something going over Lukey Heights…
The beauty of Phillip Island is that you can’t go wrong in terms of picking your viewing spot, owing to the fact that there’s not a single dud corner to be found.
Still, the organisers have done some nifty work to make it even more spectator-friendly ahead of this year’s race. New seating in the grandstands will mean more space and comfort for the fans. And the Doohan Grandstand will even feature premium seating with padding, arm rests, and drink holders.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has also improved parking facilities, given ‘Phil’s Clubhouse’ a freshen up, and have powered camp sites on offer for the first time.
MotoGP stars are a special breed.
In most sports, a broken leg midway through the season would mean game over, try again next year. Valentino Rossi, however, is already back on a bike, mere weeks after that nasty training crash that fractured his tibia and fibula.
While The Doctor’s title hopes are done and dusted, the very fact that he’ll return to racing before the season is out is remarkable.
Imagine if he were to celebrate his heroic comeback with a seventh premier class win at Phillip Island...
MotoGP is one of the greatest motorised spectacles in the world, and Phillip Island has a habit of throwing up some incredible races, not to mention popular winners.
Firstly, it’s a place that screams home track advantage. Mick Doohan started the trend back in ‘98 when he won at The Island, before Casey Stoner took it to new heights with six Australian GP wins in a row between 2007 and 2012.
There have been plenty of cracking races that weren’t won by an Aussie, too. Remember the 2015 Phillip Island race? It had us asking if it was the best MotoGP race ever (https://www.motorsport.com/motogp/news/analysis-was-phillip-island-the-best-ever-motogp-race/) thanks to 13 lead changes and 52 passes.
Nothing quite brings out a diehard racing fan like MotoGP bikes. Between the packed grandstands and camp grounds, there’s something special about Phillip Island on Grand Prix weekend. It’s World Championship motorsport with a cool grassroots vibe. It’s all the creature comforts of a world-class event with a relaxed, old school feel.
If you like bikes, there’s no better place to be on the second-last weekend in October. It’s not just the bikes on track either; people ride their two-wheeled pride and joys from all corners of the continent and converge on Phillip Island.
It’s simply not worth missing out on. Here's a quick video if you're still not sure...