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MotoGP Philip Island – Race Report

A double podium for the Fiat Yamaha Team today sealed the second leg of the 2010 Triple Crown, as World Champion Jorge Lorenzo finished second and Valentino Rossi third behind winner Casey Stoner in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.

After a sopping wet weekend the weather finally cleared up today, as the sun came out and temperatures rose above 15 degrees for the first time. Lorenzo got a good start into turn one, losing one place to Marco Simoncelli but passing the Italian back soon after to retake second. As the World Champion had feared however he was unable to match Stoner’s pace today, despite trying his best in the early stages. Once he realised he could not catch the Australian he contented himself with an uneventful but enjoyable race, unchallenged throughout to finish in second place. It was the 23-year-old’s 50th start in the MotoGP class and his 32nd podium from those races.

A small set-up tweak in warm-up had left Rossi slightly more hopeful of his chances today but the nine-time champion was left with all to do when he dropped to ninth on the first lap. He gained two places on the next three laps and on lap five found himself on the end of a four-man group in sixth, with third in his sights. He dealt with Simoncelli first, passing his countryman on the brakes into turn one, dispatched Nicky Hayden on lap seven and then fellow Yamaha man Ben Spies on the eighth. His task was not over however and he had his work cut out to hold onto the final podium spot with Hayden hard on his heels. On the third last lap the American got by the Italian but a brilliant last-lap move from Rossi secured him an incredible 13th podium in 14 years at Phillip Island.

Stoner’s win means Rossi slips one place to fourth in the standings, with a deficit of eight points from the Australian. After a hard three weeks the paddock now heads home for ten days, with Jorge Lorenzo due to take part in a parade through his home city of Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday when he returns victorious as the new World Champion. Today also saw American Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies, who will join the Factory Team in 2011, secure the Rookie of the Year title.

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 2ndTime: +8.598
“We knew Casey would be hard to beat today! I tried my best, riding as hard as I could at the start and occasionally it seemed like I was closing a little bit, but then on the next lap Casey would extend his lead again by a few tenths. I kept trying but I didn’t have much hope and half way through I decided it was better not to take risks. I really enjoyed riding here and sliding a bit on my M1, it was fun but this was Casey’s race today. It was good to be on the podium and now we are heading back and I have my first chance to go home to Mallorca as World Champion and to celebrate with my friends and family. Today we won the Teams’ Title and this shows what a great season it has been for us all, with everyone working at the maximum.” 

Valentino Rossi – Position: 3rdTime: +17.997
“To start eighth and finish third is not a bad result and, considering the trouble we had this weekend, we can be happy. Today Casey was riding in a different sport and I want to say congratulations to him – the podium was the maximum for us but it was still a hard fight to get there. We made some good changes to our set-up this morning and I knew I had a better chance, but we still lacked grip and the bike started to slide a lot after a bit. I had great fun with Nicky at the end because in some places he was faster than me and I really had to push, but the podium here is so important for me and I couldn’t give it up easily. This is my 13th podium in 14 years racing at Phillip Island and I am very proud of this record. We have had three podiums in a row, including one win, and after this difficult season I am happy about this. Today we won the Team title and I am happy for us all and for Yamaha.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“Today the podium was the most we could do. Jorge tried his hardest at the start and his lap times were quick; we had a good set-up today but Casey was just faster than us. Jorge really enjoyed himself out there and he had a big gap behind him so it was a successful day. Considering the difficult circumstances we’ve had all weekend we can be satisfied with what we’ve achieved. We are happy to win the Team title and now we are going home, finally, and everyone deserves a good rest!”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“This morning we did a good job and we were able to find a much better setting. Unfortunately the difficult conditions this weekend and the bad luck we had in qualifying yesterday meant that we were starting from the third row so we had a big job to do. Valentino did very well to get this podium. These three races have gone well for us and we’re heading back to Europe satisfied. Congratulations to the whole team tonight for another Team Championship.”

Super Spies claims top rookie award in Australia
Ben Spies set another personal milestone in his stunning 2010 MotoGP world championship campaign today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider’s hard fought fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix securing him the coveted Rookie of the Year award.

After a weekend of typically unpredictable conditions at Phillip Island, today’s 27-lap race started under sunny skies with temperatures hitting a weekend high of 15 degrees. Spies made a flying start from the front row of the grid but slipped back to sixth after nearly touching new world champion Jorge Lorenzo as the field jostled for position at turn two. The 26-year-old was back in the hunt for his third podium by lap five, Spies executing thrilling overtakes to move by fellow American Nicky Hayden and Marco Simoncelli. But a small mistake under heavy braking for the perilously fast first turn dropped Spies back to sixth on lap eight. He quickly regained his composure but was unable to restart his rostrum challenge with Hayden and Valentino Rossi pulling clear. Spies had a determined Simoncelli to occupy his mind though, the Italian seizing fifth on lap 19. Content to shadow Simoncelli, Spies quickly realised he could lap much faster and claimed back fifth on lap 23. Displaying his expertise on worn tyres, a magnificent late attack broke Simoncelli’s resolve to ensure Spies lifted the Rookie of the Year title with two races remaining. And his latest top six result means he will also finish top non-factory rider in 2010.

Colin Edwards got his bid for a top ten world championship finish back o n track today, the experienced Texan claiming seventh. Edwards was hopeful of fighting for a top six finish but he spent the majority of the race adapting his riding style to counter a small rear grip issue. With just two races remaining at Estoril and Valencia, Edwards is just three-points away from an overall top ten finish.
Ben Spies

Ben Spies – Position: 5th Time: +22.221
“Jorge and I got super close coming out of the first corner and he almost touched my brake lever. It made me run wide in turn two and a couple of people came by. It didn’t ruin the race but it ruined me building up some momentum. I fought my way back into third and was pretty comfortable when I ran wide at the first corner on lap seven. I got in there a bit hot and the rear came round. Everybody got a run on me and came by and dropped me back to sixth. I then had a good battle with Simoncelli. I kind of towed him around and h e picked up his pace and came by me. Once I knew nobody was behind me, I just waited until a few laps from the end to push and pass him back. I made sure I got a decent gap and chilled out in fifth. At the end I was running times that if everything had gone smoothly, I feel like we could have battled for the podium. Towards the end of the race I was running similar times to those ahead of me and that’s all I can do. I’m happy to be Rookie of the Year too. I beat a lot of good guys for that and it will be an achievement I can be proud of at the end of the season. I’ve had some good results on this three-week stretch and I’m now looking forward to the last two rounds.” 

Colin Edwards – Position: 7thTime: +35.168
“The pace I’d run all weekend was pretty much the pace I was able to run in the race. Conditions changed so much over the weekend that we never really got enough time to work on findi ng a decent set-up. I was confident going into the race and got a decent start but pretty much from the second corner I was having some spinning from the rear tyre. I tried to adjust my riding style because I didn’t want to lose contact with the group in front of me. I settled into a comfortable rhythm but I just couldn’t go any faster. I was trying different lines but I couldn’t enter the corner like I wanted to. My speed was basically dictated by what the rear was doing, but we’ll look at the data and figure a few things out for the final part of the season. I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. This has been a tough period of the season but we’ve worked really hard together and I’m happy with the way I’ve performed. Congratulations to Ben too for getting Rookie of the Year. He’s rode awesome all year and he’s beaten a lot of good guys to achieve that.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“Ben’s amazing season just gets better and better. To win the Rookie of the Year title with two races to go is a fantastic achievement for him and all of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. A lot of very talented riders came from the 250cc class into MotoGP this year and they knew all the tracks, which Ben didn’t. He’s done a magnificent job and done it with another impressive top five finish. Simoncelli never gave up but Ben was too strong for him and showed how strong he is on used tyres. Without a couple of problems in the early laps, I think he could have battled with Valentino and Nicky for the podium. I’d like to thank Colin for all his efforts in this run of three races because he has been very consistent, qualifying very well and showing strong form in the races. He might have expected to be a bit higher up today but he never stopped pushing and I’m delighted with his attitude. Congratulations to Yamaha too on winning another Triple Crown fo r the third year in succession. The competition is so high in MotoGP and that is an amazing accomplishment.”

Circuit Length: 4445
Temp: 15
Weather: Dry

Lap Record: 1’30.332 (Marco Melandri, 01/01/2005)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’28.665 (Casey Stoner, 05/10/2008)
Last Years Winner: Casey Stoner

2010 MotoGP Australia – Phillip Island 17/10/2010

Race 1 – 27 Laps
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 41’09.128
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 0’08.598
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 0’17.997
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’18.035
5 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’22.211
6 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0’25.017
7 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0’35.168
8 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 0’46.194
9 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 0’46.294
10 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0’59.635
11 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 0’59.664
12 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 0’59.732
13 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’05.029
14 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’05.053
Rider Standings 17/10/2010
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Points
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 333
2. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 228
3. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 205
4. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 197
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 179
6. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 163
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 152
8. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 102
9. Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 100
10. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 93
11. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 90
12. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 76
13. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 73
14. Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 60
15. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 47
21. Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha JPN 1
Manufacturer Standings 17/10/2010
Pos. Manufacturer Points
1. Yamaha 354
2. Honda 315
3. Ducati 255
4. Suzuki 96