Australian Grand Prix, Phillip Island: Weekend preview – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

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With the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship title confirmed for Marc Marquez the Repsol Honda star arrives in Australia in a relaxed mood, but the fight for second place in the overall standings between Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo will continue to rage on at Phillip Island.

The picturesque Island circuit is a favourite for riders and fans alike and another exciting race can be expected on Sunday at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix, as MotoGP™ checks in straight from Motegi.

With the pressure off – Marquez secured the title on home territory for Honda with a calculated ride to second place in Japan – the newly crowned double MotoGP World Champion can ride freely as he goes in search of a 12th victory of a remarkable second season in the premier class. Last year on the Island Marquez was disqualified for failing to respect the timing of a mandatory bike swap so he would love to make amends this time out.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s nine time World Champion Rossi and Marquez’s Honda teammate Pedrosa are joint second in the standings ahead of round 16 and both are determined to cement the runner-up position in the championship over the final three rounds.

Rossi demonstrated his fitness and pace again by finishing on the podium at Motegi after his big crash at Aragon, whilst Pedrosa crossed the line just 0.555s behind the Italian. Both have tasted victory at Phillip Island in their careers though in Pedrosa’s case not in the premier class.

One rider in great form heading to Australia is Rossi’s Yamaha colleague Lorenzo who has won back-to-back races at the last two rounds. He has been in great shape in the second half of 2014 so far and has notched up seven consecutive podiums – moving him to within three points of Pedrosa and Rossi in the standings.

Last year at Phillip Island Lorenzo took victory by seven seconds in a race which involved the riders changing bikes midway through due to tyre durability concerns and the Spaniard is also a former 250cc race winner at the venue.

Behind Lorenzo in the standings Andrea Dovizioso is having a good season in fifth place overall, the same position in which he finished Sunday’s race in Japan. Saturday saw Dovizioso take his and Ducati’s first pole position since 2010 and the experienced Italian continues to improve his team’s competitiveness on the evolving GP14.2.

Brothers Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) are locked in an intriguing battle for sixth place in the standings, with elder sibling Aleix one point ahead of Pol at present.

Also pushing for prominence in the top ten are the likes of Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who will all be giving it full gas at Phillip Island from Friday to Sunday.

The first MotoGP™ practice of the Tissot Australian Grand Prix gets underway with FP1 at 10.55am local time (GMT +11), just after Moto3™ FP1.



Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tito Rabat leads the Moto2™ World Championship heading into the Tissot Australian Grand Prix, the Spaniard enjoying a 38-point lead over his teammate Mika Kallio at the head of the standings.

Rabat’s advantage increased by five points in Japan on Sunday as the championship leader finished third in the race and Kallio fifth. If Rabat wins the race in Australia and Kallio finishes fourth or further back then Rabat will take the title.

Although Rabat has never finished on the podium his excellent form this season and especially in recent weeks suggests he is more than capable of another rostrum result at round 16.

Kallio has never won at Phillip Island but has finished on the podium twice, second in the 2006 125cc race and third in the 2008 250cc race. The Finn will be doing everything he can to cling on to this title chances, even if the odds are stacked against him.

Moto3™ World Champion and intermediate class Rookie of the Year Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) – who will ride with Suzuki in MotoGP next season – is still placed third in the standings and still holds a mathematical chance of clinching the title, as he is 70 points behind Rabat. Last year he finished second in the Australian Grand Prix, just three thousandths of a second behind Alex Rins in a dramatic Moto3 photo finish.

Just behind his fourth-place compatriot Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert), Luthi is currently in fifth place in this year’s championship after his impressive victory on Sunday in Japan. Luthi was on the podium in second last year at Phillip Island.

Sixth overall in the standings is Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham) who was just off the Motegi podium in fourth, after rostrum results at the previous two rounds.



Heading into this weekend’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix Alex Marquez continues to lead the Moto3™ World Championship, having hit the front after the highly dramatic Aragon Grand Prix just over two weeks ago.

His win at Motegi on Sunday has given Spaniard Marquez an increased cushion of 25 points over Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Australian rider Jack Miller – who remains second overall.

Queensland rider Miller approaches his home Grand Prix still as a title contender, but he lost ground to Marquez at Motegi after a last lap clash with Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) which left the pair fifth and sixth respectively at the finish line when both had sensed potential victory. Miller’s best World Championship result to date on home soil was his fifth place on an FTR Honda last year.

Third overall is Marquez’s Estrella Galicia 0,0 colleague Alex Rins, who claimed victory in Australia 12 months ago. A costly Japanese Grand Prix, which saw Rins fight through from the back of the field to tenth after running wide early on, leaves the Spaniard 37 points in arrears of teammate Marquez.

Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG) are joint fourth in the standings heading to Phillip Island. Vazquez was second at Motegi and Fenati was seventh, with both still in with a mathematical title shot.

The likes of Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), Enea Bastianini (Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3), Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) will all continue to jostle for prominence in the top ten this weekend.