Following the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team look forward to an action-packed race at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix round, where Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales aspire to feature at the front of the pack.
Currently holding third place in the championship standings, Rossi looks forward to fighting for second by bridging the 9-point margin at one of his most successful circuits on the MotoGP calendar.
The Doctor has secured numerous trophies at the Phillip Island venue and his experience will certainly come in handy during this weekend’s battle. In the premier class the nine-time World Champion has won at the Australian track from 2001 until 2005 and scored an additional victory in 2014, he claimed second place in 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017, and scored five third places in total, in 2000, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2013.
Viñales arrives at Phillip Island full of energy as it is also one of his favourite rounds. Currently in fourth position in the championship rankings, he aims to keep fighting to enter the top-3. The rider in second place is 39 points ahead of him, whilst teammate Rossi is in third place with a 30-point advantage over the youngster.
The Spaniard’s excitement about coming to Australia is backed up by statistics. He stood on the podium there four times prior. He scored a Moto3 second place in 2013, secured a Moto2 win the year after, and stood on the premier class podium in 2016 and 2017, celebrating third places.
Phillip Island hosted its first motorcycle race in 1931. In 1956 a permanently constructed circuit continued to host motorcycle Grand Prix events until it fell into disrepair during the late 70s and early 80s. After extensive renovation, the circuit made an intermediate comeback in 1989 and 1990, to become a regular fixture once more from 1997 onwards. Thanks to its terrific location, right next to the ocean, and its flowing 4.4km lay-out (featuring seven left and five right corners, and a 900m longest straight), the Phillip Island track is loved by fans and MotoGP riders alike.
Championship: 3rd – Points: 185
“I like the Australian GP, I’m always very happy to come here. I like the place and also the Phillip Island circuit. We did a nice race last year, I arrived second and Maverick third. We will try to do a positive race also this year, but the Australian GP is a bit particular. The track is unlike any other circuit, and above all we will have to wait and see what the weather conditions will be like. We will do our best, as always.”
Championship: 4th – Points: 155
“We did our best in Japan, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Now it’s time to focus on Australia. Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks. I like its lay-out a lot, and I love being there, it’s amazing! I had a good experience last year, when we had a double podium with me in the third position, so I’m really motivated for the race. Phillip Island is a circuit that brings me good memories. I managed to be on the podium in three categories of the World Championship and I won in 2014 in Moto2. Last year the bike accelerated really well. The team have been working very hard at the last races, so we have to try to be strong, as always, and try to be on the podium again in Australia. We’re going to try to make the bike work and have one of our strongest weekends of the season.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After the race in Motegi last Sunday, the team has headed to Australia. The Japanese GP didn’t play out like we intended, so we are determined to join the battle at the front this weekend at the Phillip Island circuit, which traditionally is a good track for us. The team is always looking forward to this round, because the atmosphere is great and the sweeping corners suit our bike. In previous years we would have visited Phillip Island in the pre-season for testing, but this year that was not the case. This means we will have to work hard from the very start of the first practice to find a comfortable bike setting for the riders, so we can move on to choosing the right tyre for the race as soon as possible. Luckily, we have a good basis to start from, as last year we secured a double podium here with Vale and Maverick taking second and third place. The team will give their all to have both riders scoring top results again this weekend.”