Phillip Island is the fastest circuit in MotoGP and one of the most demanding on the rider, motorcycle and tires. The layout is flowing and riddled with elevation changes that require precise throttle and machine control.
The Australian GP this weekend represents the third and final instalment of the MotoGP World Championship’s gruelling ‘flyaway’ period, which includes three motorcycle races in as many weeks in countries with wickedly contrasting conditions.
After the heat of the Malaysia GP, where the MotoGP and Moto2 titles were decided in favor of Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias on Sunday, the racing 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 favorite 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 teammate Nicky Hayden will be looking to make the most of their recent progress with the Ducati GP10 motorcycle and a favorable circuit as they aim to put bad luck from the last round at Sepang GP behind them.
Casy Stoner says: “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 favorite 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 says: “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.”
The track is 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.