Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had little time to rest after last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammates arrived in Victoria, Australia, just a few days later for the second race of the triple header.
Viñales continues to show great determination as he enters round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship on Phillip Island, one of his favourite circuits. Currently third in the championship standings, he aims to keep fighting to close in on the rider in second place, who is 30 points ahead of him.
The Spaniard got to lift a trophy after a race in Australia three times prior. He scored a Moto3 second place in 2013, secured a Moto2 win the year after, and stood on the premier class podium last year celebrating a third place.
Teammate Rossi is eager to bounce back from the misfortunes he experienced in Motegi last week by scoring a top result in Australia this weekend, in order to climb up from fifth place in the championship rankings.
After securing 250cc victories in 1998 and 1999 and a 500cc third place in 2000, the Doctor continued to work on an impressive résumé, enjoying a five-year winning streak from 2001 to 2005 in the premier class. This was followed by five more consecutive podium finishes, taking second place in 2008 and 2009, and third place in 2006, 2007 and 2010. The Italian revisited the Australian podium in 2013, 2014 and 2016, claiming a third, first and second place respectively.
Phillip Island began staging motorcycle races in 1931 and became a permanently constructed circuit in 1956. It continued to host motorcycle Grand Prix events until an extensive renovation took place in 1968. The circuit made an intermediate comeback in 1989-1990, to become a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards. Thanks to its terrific location, right next to the ocean, and its flowing lay-out (featuring seven left and five right corners and a 900m longest straight), the Phillip Island track is a very popular destination for MotoGP fans, who travel from far and wide to cheer on their heroes.
Championship: 3rd – Points: 203
“We did our best in Japan, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Now it’s time to focus on Australia in order to make another important step for the championship. For me, Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks, I like the lay-out a lot and I love being here, it’s amazing. When I was here in February I was the fastest on my YZR-M1, so I’m really motivated for the race. The championship isn’t over until all the points have been distributed, so anything is still possible and I can’t wait to be on the bike again to give my 100%.”
Championship: 5th – Points: 168
“I have arrived in Australia after a complicated race, but I’m in a good mood because I want to work in the best way possible with my team and fix the issues we had in Japan as quickly as possible to do nice races again. Phillip Island is a circuit I really like and I hope that the weather here will be good to start working straight away in dry conditions. After the crash in Japan I’m feeling pretty good, just a little bit of pain. Now I hope for good weather for the entire weekend!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“The team has travelled straight to Australia after the race in Motegi. Last Sunday didn’t go according to plan, but we have another race to look forward to this weekend. We will use the Japanese GP as a source of motivation to get good results at the Phillip Island circuit, which is one of the team’s favourite tracks on the MotoGP calendar. Not only does the sweeping lay-out suit our bike more, but also the atmosphere there – with the track being so close to the shore – is really enjoyable. Earlier this year, we collected quite a lot of data during the pre-season test on Phillip Island and this week we will add on to it. We look forward to putting the free practice time to good use, and hope to hit the ground running on Friday.”