Archive

October 17th, 2014

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Round Up - Special Tires For A Special Circuit, And The Rules For 2016

Phillip Island is a very special race track. That has an upside – it rewards courage and talent, and has provided some spectacular racing – but it is also special in the more pejoratively euphemistic sense of the word. It challenges not just the riders, but motorcycle designers and racing teams as well. Above all, it challenges tire manufacturers: with wildly varying temperatures, strong winds blowing in cool and damp air off the ocean, an abrasive surface, high-speed corners, more left handers than right handers, and the most of the lefts faster than the rights. It can rain, be bitterly cold, be bathed in glorious sunshine, or in sweltering heat. Try building a tire to cope with all that.

After last year's fiasco, both Dunlop and Bridgestone tried to do just that. They came to the track in March to test tires and gather data to build tires for this weekend. The only minor problem is that the test came at the end of Australia's long summer, and temperatures were much more congenial than now, as the country emerges from its Antipodean winter. The tire selections brought by Dunlop and Bridgestone are much better than last year, but they are not quite perfect. At any other track, that wouldn't be a problem. At Phillip Island, even being not quite perfect can land you in trouble.

That tires are an issue was evident from the number of riders who crashed, both in MotoGP and in Moto2. Most crashed in right handers, a lot going down at MG, which would be one of the most difficult corners of the year wherever it was located, but a fair few followed suit at Hayshed, the right hander that follows on from Siberia (the most aptly named corner on the calendar) and precedes Lukey Heights. There were crashes at the Honda hairpin as well, the other right hander, where hard braking is at a premium.

Scott Jones On The Island: Friday Photos From Australia


The circuit in the middle of nowhere. And all the more beautiful for it


Surplus to requirements at Phillip Island. Not enough hard braking to get the high mass disks up to temperature


Could this be the new King of the Island? Jorge Lorenzo is off to a good start so far

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Post-Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:

Round Number: 
16
Year: 
2014

2014 Phillip Island Moto2 And Moto3 Friday Post-Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:

Round Number: 
16
Year: 
2014

2014 Phillip Island Moto2 FP2 Result: Rabat Dominates In Race Test

Tito Rabat dominating the second session of free practice for the Moto2 class, laying down a scorching pace through another long run. Rabat did a full race simulation, lapping half a second quicker during his race run than the man in 2nd, Sandro Cortese. Cortese just edged last week's winner, Tom Luthi, who held off Maverick Viñales to claim 3rd. Julian Simon took the 5th spot, just ahead of Mika Kallio, who ended the session in 6th.

Results:

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP FP2: Lorenzo Leads The Way Despite Crash

Jorge Lorenzo has headed the field during the second MotoGP Free Practice session at Phillip Island, the factory Yamaha rider displayed typical metronomic consistency and posted a blistering time of 1:29.602. This was the quickest lap of the weekend and put him a tenth and a half clear of Marc Marquez in second place. Lorenzo's session wasn't completely without drama however as he crashed whilst testing the asymmetric soft front tire option, unique to the Phillip Island circuit, he lost the front at the Honda hairpin late in proceedings but managing to walk away unscathed. 

2014 Phillip Island Moto3 FP2: Miller Takes Charge At Home

Jack Miller left it late to top the second Moto3 free practice session at Phillip Island in Australia, riding in front of his patriotic home crowd Miller struggled for pace in the first half of the session but jumped to the top of the time sheets with his final flying lap; a time of 1:37.033. Miller's former team mate Efren Vazquez posted the second quickest time finishing ahead of his countryman and the ever-improving Juanfran Guevara while Brad Binder took fourth place aboard his Mahindra, the top four finished less than a tenth of a second behind Miller.

The morning's pace-setter Danny Kent had to settle for fifth place ahead of Alex Rins and Isaac Vinales. Niklas Ajo took his Husqvarna to eighth place from Enea Bastianini and Championship Leader Alex Marquez rounded out the top ten. Both John McPhee and Matteo Ferrari had big crashes at the final corner and had to be taken to the medical centre for examinations, thankfully they were later cleared of any serious injury. 

Results:

2014 Phillip Island Moto2 FP1: Rabat Quickest In Crash-Strewn Session

Championship leader Tito Rabat has topped the timesheets following a dramatic opening Moto2 free practice session at Phillip Island. The Spaniard posted a time of 1:33.417 and ended the session nearly three tenths clear of his countryman Jordi Torres, who showed a spark that has been missing for the majority of this season. Mika Kallio recovered from an early crash and ended the session in third place a further tenth behind. Thomas Luthi took fourth place but was half a second behind the pace-setter Rabat, while Moto2 rookie Maverick Vinales completed the top 5.

German rider Jonas Folger was looking strong late in the session and took sixth spot ahead of Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, who lead the session early on. Simon was followed by his team mate Franco Morbidelli in ninth while Sandro Cortese rounded out the top ten. 

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP FP1: Impressive Espargaro Claims Top Spot

Aleix Espargaro has topped the opening MotoGP free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. Conditions remained absolutely ideal following Moto3 FP1 and Espargaro reveled, posting a time of 1:29.749 during a string of sub 1:30 laps late in proceedings. Fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo was the only other rider to dip into the 1:29 bracket and finished the session a tenth behind Espargaro. Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone topped the time sheets briefly midway through the session but had to settle for third spot.

Valentino Rossi made it three Yamahas in the top four and like his team mate Lorenzo he demonstrated consistently quick pace throughout. Recently crowned Champion Marc Marquez posted the fifth fastest time and was pushing very hard from the off, having a big moment tipping into turn one early on, his clinching of the title last week clearly hasn't altered his desire to be fastest. The factory Ducati pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow ended up in sixth and seventh places respectively, but the early pace of Iannone would give them hope for improvements.

October 16th

2014 Phillip Island Moto3 FP1: Kent Blitzes Morning Session

Danny Kent has topped the opening Moto3 free practice session at Phillip Island, despite a minor crash the Briton finished two tenths clear of the field. A light breeze, mild temperatures and warm sunshine meant for perfect early morning conditions and resulted in Kent's benchmark time of 1:36.906 being a tenth inside Alex Marquez' race lap record from last year. Championship leader Marquez was looking quick out of the box but had to settle for second place ahead of Jakub Kornfeil and Niklas Ajo while Alex Rins rounded out the top five.   

Local hope and Championship challenger Jack Miller found his feet late in the session after struggling in the early running, he eventually took sixth place ahead of Malaysian rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin. Jasper Iwema took an impressive eighth spot having recently rejoined the Moto3 class as a permanent rider, he finished ahead of Romano Fenati and Juanfran Guevara who completed the top ten. 

Results:

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Preview - Racing For Pride, The Battle For Moto2, And Crew Chief Changes

The Grand Prix Circus has barely had a chance to catch its breath after Motegi before the next round starts in Australia. With a few exceptions, perhaps, a number of teams being forced to either take a much longer route to Australia to avoid the landfall of typhoon Vongfong, or else severely delayed until the worst passed. Still, to call spending even more hours on a plane or at an airport for what is already a very long flight can hardly be regarded as a spot of rest and relaxation.

Still, they have now all gathered at what is almost unanimously regarded as the best racetrack on the planet. Phillip Island is everything a motorsports circuit is suppose to be: fast, flowing, and deeply challenging. There are plenty of spots for a rider to attempt a pass, or try to make up time, but every single one of them requires either exceptional bravery, or the willingness to take a risk. The many brutally fast corners which litter the track separate the men from the boys: Doohan Corner at turn 1, where you arrive at a staggering 340 km/h, turn 3, now dubbed Stoner corner for the way the retired Australian champion would slide both ends through it at over 250 km/h, the approach to Lukey Heights, which drops away to MG, or the final two turns culminating in Swan Corner, speed building throughout before being launched onto the Gardner Straight, and off towards Doohan again. At Phillip Island, there is no place to hide.

After the fiasco of 2013, when both Dunlop and Bridgestone brought tires which would not last the full distance of the race on the resurfaced track. The new surface was two seconds quicker than the old one, putting a lot more heat into the tires than expected. A tire test in March means that the two tire manufacturers now have tires which will last in both Moto2 and MotoGP, meaning that fans can at least be sure of getting their money's worth.

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Press Release Previews

Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island:

Round Number: 
16
Year: 
2014

2014 Phillip Island Moto2 And Moto3 Press Release Previews

An abbreviated collection of Moto2 and Moto3 preview press releases from the teams, caused by the major travel challenges between Motegi and Phillip Island:

Round Number: 
16
Year: 
2014

Bridgestone And Dunlop Bringing New Tires To Phillip Island To Avoid A Repeat Of 2013

The resurfacing of Phillip Island at the start of 2013 caused a massive problem in both MotoGP and Moto2 during last year's Australian Grand Prix. The vastly improved surface saw lap times drop and corner speeds go up dramatically. Marc Marquez' fastest race lap of the circuit was just over 2 seconds faster than Casey Stoner's best race lap the previous year, and just under Nicky Hayden's lap record of the circuit, which had stood since 2008. 

The radically faster surface led to much greater heat build up in the tires, with the rear tires of both Moto2 and MotoGP bikes showing severe and dangerous degradation. The problems forced both Moto2 and MotoGP to be drastically reduced in length, the Moto2 race slashed from 25 to 13 laps, and the MotoGP race cut from 27 to 19 laps, with the added complication of being forced to come in and swap bikes, and hence rear tires. The compulsory pit stop caused a good deal of confusion, eventually leading to the disqualification of Marc Marquez for missing the compulsory pit window.

To avoid a repeat of the situation, both Dunlop and Bridgestone are bringing new tires to the track, with much harder compounds. Both tire manufacturers have been hard at work designing tires to cope with the surface, based on data collected at a test here in March, where the factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati riders, along with two top Moto2 teams tested a large range of tires. Dunlop and Bridgestone are both now confident that their tires will last the full duration of the race without any major problems.

October 15th

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Márquez and Hailwood: different times

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Márquez and Hailwood: different times

Marc Márquez may have broken Mike Hailwood’s half-century-old record to become the youngest man to win back-to-back premier-class titles, but in fact his achievement doesn’t outshine Hailwood’s. Or does it?

Back in Mike the Bike’s day, kids didn’t race motorcycles. It was a man’s business. There was no such thing as minimoto racing; even minibikes were a decade or two in the future. Most racers took to the track after they had started riding on the road at 16 or 17, not while they’re learning to read and write. Thus Hailwood’s achievement – twice 500 World Champion at the age of 23 – was astonishing.

GTranslate