Australia MotoGP: Phillip Island Preview

Australian MotoGP

Although Jorge Lorenzo has been crowned champion, much is still to be decided at the three remaining rounds of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.

And Round 16 this weekend for the Australia Grand Prix at Phillip Island will be stressful on riders both mentally and physically, considering it’s the final of three back-to-back GPs.

Lorenzo will be competing aboard his Fiat Yamaha M1 with much self-respect and confidence, since the title is already his. But he’s sure to have many challengers, including his teammate Valentino Rossi, and the Repsol Honda boys of Andrea Dovizioso and the returning Dani Pedrosa.

A fellow Spaniard to Lorenzo, Pedrosa is back after not competing at Sepang and Motegi. He missed these rounds due to fracturing his collarbone at practice for the Motegi race. Going into Motegi, he was 56 points behind Lorenzo, and the only one able to challenge for the title.

But missing the subsequent two rounds left Lorenzo without any challengers. Lorenzo’s fourth-place finish at Motegi, and third at Sepang for the Malaysia Grand Prix allowed him to clinch his debut 2010 MotoGP title.

Lorenzo, who has two titles in the former 250cc class, will be seeking his eight win of the season in Australia. And if he ends up on the box, it’ll be an impressive 14 podiums in 16 races. He will also be looking to redeem his DNF last season at Phillip Island.

Although Pedrosa missed the last two races, he still has a solid hold second place with 228 points, but must keep it from the man fast approaching in third, Nine-Time World Champion Rossi. Pedrosa holds a 47-point advantage over Rossi, but the Italian is coming off a dominating win in Malaysia; last week, Rossi dropped down to 11th and came back to win.

Additionally, Rossi finished second last year at Phillip Island, leaving Pedrosa to take the final spot on the podium aboard his Honda RC212V. But it wasn’t just last year…Rossi has finished on the podium every time while competing in the premier class in Australia, including five consecutive victories (2001-2005).

Just one point behind Rossi in fourth with 180 points is the man who won at Phillip Island for the past three years, Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner. The Australian will be looking for another home victory, and to redeem himself after a DNF at last week’s race in Sepang. Before Malaysia, Stoner won two consecutive races at Aragon and Motegi.

Just as Stoner trails Rossi by one point, Dovizioso trails Stoner by a single point. The Italian, who is coming off two consecutive second-place finishes, managed sixth at Phillip Island last year, but has tasted victory there with a win in the 125cc Class in 2004.

The highest-placed American is Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies, who has 152 points. He is looking to finish in the top six, and will be fending off his fellow American Nicky Hayden. The Ducati Team GP10 rider Hayden is currently in seventh with 139 points, and has been on the podium three times at Phillip Island.

Rounding out the top ten in the championship are LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet with 94 points, San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli with 92, and Simoncelli’s teammate Marco Melandri with 86 points.

Phillip Island MotoGP TV Scedule:

SPEED TV will air the Australian Grand Prix at 1 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, and then again at 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. showing of premier-class race will be preceded by the Moto2 race.

2010 MotoGP Championship Standings (after 15 of 18 rounds):

1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 313

2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 228

3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team, 181

4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 180

5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 179

6. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 152

7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 139

8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 94

9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 92

10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 86

11. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 81

12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 74

13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 58

14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 52

15. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 44

16. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 41

17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 38

18. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 11

19. Roger Lee Hayden (USA Honda, 5

20. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4

21. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Fiat Yamaha Team 1