Yamaha's Title Chase Proceeds To The Second Pacific Race at Phillip Island
After another solid ninth double podium of the season, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo immediately move on to the second flyaway round, the Australian Grand Prix.
With a challenging yet rewarding race in Motegi behind them, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team has immediately set course for the scenic Phillip Island circuit where they have the chance to claim the Manufacturer World Championship Title.
Valentino Rossi currently holds an 18-point advantage in the championship standings over his teammate - and only other contender for the MotoGP Rider World Championship Title - Jorge Lorenzo. The Doctor looks forward to battling at the front of the field once again this weekend at a circuit he lists as one of his favourites.
His love for the Phillip Island circuit clearly shows in his résumé. He enjoyed a stunning five-year winning streak starting from 2001, and claimed an additional victory last year, topping a full-Yamaha podium. Rossi also got to pop champagne in 2008 and 2009 when he scored second places and in 2000, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2013, when he finished third.
After securing his ninth podium of the season in Motegi, Lorenzo is eager to get back aboard his YZR-M1. Though the margin between him and his teammate in the overall standings may have grown last weekend, he has not lost an ounce of his fighting spirit.
Conveniently Phillip Island is also one of his most-beloved circuits and the Spaniard also holds and impressive scorecard there. He claimed three second places in the premier class in 2010, 2012 and 2014, spurted to a supreme victory in 2013 and set the current Circuit Best Lap record of 1'27.899 around the 4.4 km track during qualifying that same year.
Phillip Island has hosted motorcycle races since 1931 even before it became a permanently constructed circuit in 1956. The circuit hosted motorcycle Grand Prix events until an extensive renovation took place in the 70s and early 80s. The Australian circuit made a comeback in 1989 and 1990. It became a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards and has been a favourite on the MotoGP calendar for both riders and fans ever since, thanks to its fast and fluid corners, exotic wildlife and stunning location right next to the ocean.
Championship: 1st, 283 points
"Phillip Island is a very particular track. I like it, as does the majority of the rider, but it's always difficult to find the right setting and the conditions are often tricky with lots of wind and cold temperatures. We hope for a good weekend like last year and we will try to ride a good race to arrive on the podium, in front of Jorge. I think it's best to take the championship race by race, focus on Phillip Island and try to make the most of it."
Championship: 2nd, 265 points
"After another strange race I lost some value points in Motegi but I'm still in contention for the championship title. It's true 18 points behind Valentino is a difficult margin to cut down but I will try with all my efforts. If I'm able to win all the races and Vale makes any mistake we can win the championship. Now we are facing another nice race. Phillip Island is a track I like a lot but also Vale enjoys it here so it will be interesting. It's a very demanding track for the setting of the bike, also because of the tricky weather conditions, so we need to be prepared for anything."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"After the double podium in Motegi we head straight to the next round at Phillip Island. This is another race we are really looking forward to, especially after last year's brilliant full-Yamaha podium. Last weekend we showed that we are in a good shape and Vale and Jorge are both looking forward to another battle in this Sunday's race. The track's sweeping layout suits the YZR-M1 and the riders really well so we can't wait to start working on the balance of the bike in the first free practice session. Being so close to the shore, the Phillip Island circuit can get very windy at times, but as always we will try our very best no matter what conditions we end up facing and we're optimistic that we can get good results."
Smith and Espargaro prepared for Philip Island fight as they head down under
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro have jetted straight to Australia full of confidence for the second consecutive fly away race, fresh from their Motegi battle in Japan. Both riders are highly excited about the upcoming weekend at Phillip Island which is one of the most stunning tracks on the calendar with a magnificent ocean backdrop. It was built in 1956 and features seven left turns and five right as well as a straight of 900 metres which come together to create a high speed and fast flowing circuit that always promises exhilarating action on track for riders and fans alike.
Bradley Smith is relishing his return to Australia at the track where he produced his maiden podium finish last year as he fully intends to continue his firm and consistent run in the 2015 MotoGP season this week. The British star completed the Japanese Grand Prix in 7th as he battled at the stop and go Twin Ring Motegi circuit which was plagued with bad weather. This weekend Smith fully intends to make a step up at the 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit and succeed in clinching the leading satellite honours. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro is counting down the days until he can launch into action on a track that he holds in high regard as he looks to score a notable finish in the 16th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion experienced a difficult Japanese Grand Prix where he fell heavily in the final moments of the race, yet he escaped injury. He will now look to bounce back strongly in Australia, at a circuit which holds a positive history for him and where he aims to conclude the 27 lap sprint inside the top six aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
Championship: 6th, 152 points
"I am really excited about heading to Australia as Phillip Island is definitely a track that I have great memories of after my podium finish there last year. However, I can't promise that I'll do the same again this weekend, but I'll try my absolute best and I am looking forward to the challenge. To be honest I am feeling really confident at the moment because my Yamaha has been working very well at Motegi and my pace in the dry was strong. On the other hand, the team did a great job with the setting for the wet conditions and it's fair to say that we have taken some big steps forward in that direction. This makes me feel more comfortable in case there could be more wet races in the remaining three GP's in 2015. Regarding Phillip Island, I really enjoy riding there and I am sure a lot of other rides do too. It's flowing nature certainly suits the style of the Yamaha which was proven by the result last year - an all Yamaha lock out on the podium. Still, we need to take note about the weather because there is always chance of rain with the track being right next to the ocean. Nevertheless, I am primed for the battle and I'll do my best to get into the top six."
Championship: 10th, 88 points
"It goes without saying that I am truly looking forward to go to Australia as Phillip Island is an incredible circuit and definitely my favourite track. Still my memories of last year are quite disappointing as I was running in a podium position and so close to scoring my first rostrum in the premier class until luck went against me and I fell not far from the end. Yet, I feel optimistic about making amends this season, which I need to do after the challenging time that we had in Japan. Fortunately I am ok after the crash and, of course, I am more determined than ever to get a strong result to get us back on track. The circuit suits the Yamaha so we need to take advantage of this and try to hit the ground running, and we must make the most of the practice sessions in order to get ready for Sunday. It really is a great place to be and furthermore, I hope to catch some waves as well before we head to the track!"
Going to Phillip Island for the second leg of the overseas trip
The exclusive setting of Phillip Island in Australia will host the second of the triple trip overseas. Loris Baz and Toni Elias will race to regain the Open championship lead in MotoGP.
Baz, forced to retire at Motegi, is just two points short from Barbera in the standings at the eve of his favourite Grand Prix and will go to on track to fight for victory. Toni Elias is motivated to do well, he seems to have found the right basic setting to remain in the group and battle with the other Open bikes after only 2 races with Forward.
Championship: 16th, 28 points
"I'm going to my absolute favourite circuit and I cannot wait to get on track to forget the difficult weekend at Motegi. I struggled during practice and in the race I was not happy with the front, but I'm sure I can do well at Phillip Island. I want to fight with the other Open and get close to the top of the standings."
"The rain in Motegi penalized me and I could not stay with the group in the race. Too bad, I think I found the right basic setting for Yamaha Forward to compete with the other Open. I hope that at Phillip Island temperatures are not too rigid to be able to push hard."