Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, Australian GP Race Preview
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.
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.
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 – 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.