Phillip Island MotoGP
On Friday morning, the 2010 MotoGP Championship will begin the final of three back-to-back races, the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. After this weekend’s race, the riders take a two-week break before the final two races at Portugal and Valencia.
Going into this weekend, the grid will be racing against the newly crowned World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The Fiat Yamaha rider clenched the title last week at Malaysia, and has won two races at Phillip Island in the 250cc Class.
Returning this week after missing two races is Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa on the RC212V. He will be looking to hold his second spot in the championship. With three races remaining, he holds a 47-point lead over Valentino Rossi.
Rossi is coming off his second win of the season after taking an impressive win on the Fiat Yamaha M1 last weekend in Malaysia; the Italian fell back to 11th, and worked his way to the front.
Many positions are still undecided, and Australian Grand Prix is sure to be a huge factor in the outcome of the 2010 MotoGP season. Until they get on the track Friday for Free Practice 1, here are some stats on MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc riders as they prepare for Round 16 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship:
- Jorge Lorenzo won the 250cc race at Phillip Island in both 2006 and 2007, having qualified on pole on both occasions. In 2008, on his debut at the circuit on a MotoGP ma- chine, he finished fourth after starting from second place on the grid. Last year, the Australian Grand Prix was the only race all year at which he did not qualify for the front row of the grid. He then crashed at the first corner after a collision with Nicky Hayden.
- Dani Pedrosa has had just two podium finishes in Australia; a win in the 250cc race in 2005 to clinch the world title, and last year he finished third in the MotoGP race. On his first race at Phillip Island on a MotoGP machine in 2006, he finished down in 15th in the dry and then wet race. In 2007 he was fourth after qualifying on pole, and in 2008 he crashed on the first lap of the race.
- Valentino Rossi has finished on the podium twelve times in his thirteen visits to Phillip Island across all three GP classes. The only race at Phillip Island he did not finish in the top three was on his first visit, riding a 125cc machine in 1997, when he finished sixth. In 1998 and 1999 he won the 250cc races and since then has had ten podiums in the premier-class including five victories, the last of which was in 2005. He has finished second to Casey Stoner for the last two years in Australia. Phillip Island is one of just four current circuits where Rossi has never started from pole riding a Yamaha – the others are Laguna Seca, Silverstone and Aragon.
- Casey Stoner has a fantastic record at Phillip Island and has won for the last three years as well as qualifying on pole for the past two years. During the three- year winning sequence, he has been leading at the end of every lap with the exception of lap one last year, when Pedrosa led across the line.
- Andrea Dovizioso won the 125cc race at Phillip Island in 2004 by just over one tenth of a second from current MotoGP rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner. His third place finish on a 250cc machine in 2007 is his only podium at Phillip Island since the victory in 2004. In 2008, his first year in the MotoGP class, he was pushed off the track on the first lap and dropped down to tenth and then fought through the field to battle for fourth before tangling with Toseland on the final lap and finishing seventh. Last year in Australia he was suffering from a stomach bug and he finished sixth from tenth place on the grid.
- Ben Spies made his World Superbike debut last year at Phillip Island; he qualified on pole, finished 16th in the first race, after running off the track on the first lap, and he won the second race. A good result for Spies in Australia could see him secure the Rookie of the Year award, as well as guarantee him the honor of being the top non-factory rider in 2010.
- Nicky Hayden finished on the podium at Phillip Island in both 2003 and 2005 and started from pole in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he was in second place and looked like a possible winner until lap 10, when his engine lost power and then completely expired. In 2008 he set a new lap record on his way to finishing third – his last podium finish on a Honda. Last year on the Ducati, he was 15th after being pushed off the track by Lorenzo at the first corner and dropping to the back of the field, also suffering some damage to the bike.
- Randy de Puniet’s sixth place finish in 2007 riding a Kawasaki is his best result at Phillip Island in the MotoGP class. In 2008 he was disappointed to finish ninth, having qualified in fourth place on the grid, and last year at Phillip Island he finished eighth.
Marco Simoncelli has won the 250cc race at Phillip Island for the last two years and in 2008 he also qualified on pole.
- Marco Melandri is the only rider to have won in all three classes at the Phillip Island circuit, having won the 125cc race in 1999, the 250cc class in 2002 and the MotoGP race in 2006 – which was also the last time he stood on the top step of the podium. His win in 2006 was the first MotoGP race at which riders changed bikes mid-race due to the change in weather conditions. Last year he qualified in 14th place on the grid but made a great improvement in the race to finish seventh.
- Colin Edwards’ best result at Phillip Island since moving to MotoGP is a fourth place finish in 2004 when riding a Honda. His best result on a Yamaha at the circuit is the fifth place finish, which he achieved last year.
- Hector Barbera’s second place finish last year, in the 250cc class, was his first podium at the Phillip Island circuit. Barbera missed the Australian Grand Prix two years ago due to a serious back injury, received in a crash during practice for the previous race in Japan.
- Alvaro Bautista finished on the podium on three successive occasions in Australia when competing in the small GP classes; he won the 125cc race in 2006 to clinch the world title and finished 2nd in the 250cc race in both 2007 and 2008. Last year he was battling for a podium finish in the 250cc GP in Australia when he slid off at the hairpin and re-mounted to finish tenth. His fifth place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix equalled his best result since moving up to MotoGP and it is also the best ever result by a Suzuki four-stroke MotoGP machine at the Sepang circuit.
- Aleix Espargaro’s best result at Phillip Island is eighth in 2008. He did not compete at the Australian GP last year as he was without a Grand Prix ride at that time.
- Loris Capirossi’s single win at Phillip Island came in the 125cc class back in 1990 on his way to winning his first world title. Capirossi has had five podium finishes in the premier-class at Phillip Island from nine starts. Last year he finished twelfth at the Australian GP after start- ing from the back of the grid as a penalty for using an extra engine beyond the al- location of five engines for the last seven races of the year.
- Hiroshi Aoyama’s best result at Phillip Island is a third place finish in the 250cc class in 2006 riding a KTM. Aoyama finished seventh in the 250cc race at Phil- lip Island last year when the race was stopped prematurely when Roberto Locatelli had a big crash. Aoyama finished seventh at the Malaysian GP – his best result since moving up to MotoGP.
- Mika Kallio twice finished on the podium at Phillip Island when racing in the smaller GP classes; second in the 125cc race in 2006, after qualifying on pole, and third in the 250cc class in 2008. Last year at Phillip Island he finished ninth, from ninth place on the grid, which was his best qualifying result in his debut year in the MotoGP class.
- Toni Elias’ third place finish in the 125cc GP in 2001 is his only podium finish at Phillip Island across all three classes.
- Julian Simon won the 125cc race last year at Phillip Island to clinch the world championship.
- Raffaele de Rosa qualified on pole for the first time in the 250cc class last year at Phillip Island and finished in third place – his first Grand Prix podium finish in any class.
- Karel Abraham’s sixth place finish in Australia last year was his best ever Grand Prix result at that time.
Thomas Luthi won the 125cc GP at Phillip Island in 2005 on his way to winning the world title.
- Stefan Bradl’s second place finish in the 125cc race at Phillip Island in 2008 is the last time he stood on a GP podium.
- Alex de Angelis’ second place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix was the first time he has stood on the podium since he was second in the MotoGP race last year at Indianapolis.
- Roberto Rolfo won the 250cc race at Phillip Island in 2003 – one his three GP victories in the 250cc class.
- None of the riders starting the 125cc race at the Australian Grand Prix have previously won a GP race at the Phillip Island circuit.
- Marc Marquez has finished ninth on both of his previous appearances at the Australian Grand Prix.
- Pol Espargaro qualified on pole last year in Australia and then finished fourth – his best ever result at the Phillip Island circuit.
- Nico Terol finished sixth at the Australian Grand Prix last year – his best ever finish at the Phillip Island circuit.
- Bradley Smith’s second place finish at Phillip Island last year was his first point- scoring finish at the Australian Grand Prix.