Rizla Suzuki MotoGP heads over the equator to the single Grand Prix held in the southern hemisphere, as the team travels to Phillip Island in Australia this weekend.
This Grand Prix will bring to an end a gruelling run of three back-to-back races around the Pacific Ocean, which has seen Álvaro Bautista record fifth and seventh place finishes in Malaysia and Japan respectively. He is high on confidence after last weekend’s fine ride in Sepang and is looking to continue from where he left off when he takes to the track in Australia on Friday. Bautista has good form at Phillip Island after winning there in 2006 on his way to the 125cc world title and also taking two second places in the 250cc category.
Loris Capirossi will go to Phillip Island still in some discomfort from the right foot that he injured in Malaysia during a huge crash on the Saturday. He is still receiving treatment for the injury and will continue to do so right up until race-day. He is in a determined mood to put the disappointments of the last two Grands Prix behind him and finish the trip on a positive note.
The Phillip Island circuit is located about 130km/s south-east of Melbourne and the track is so far south that the cold winds that blow over the exposed venue from the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean often bring heavy rain and even wintry showers. Track temperatures are also quite low at Phillip Island and due to the long corners that are entered at speed; it is regarded as the track on the calendar which is hardest on tyres. This doesn’t give the whole story of the circuit though, because it’s position right beside the Pacific Ocean and its mix of fast corners, changes of elevation and a 900m straight that gives the riders the perception they are heading out to sea, makes this one of the most spectacular and beautiful circuits on the MotoGP calendar.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the 4,448m track on Friday afternoon for the first of its two free practice sessions, the second being held on Saturday morning. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon with all riders battling for the best grid position to start Sunday’s 27-lap race, which gets underway at 16.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).
“I’m looking forward to going to Australia, it is a track I like a lot and after the last few races we are going there with a lot of confidence. I have never ridden a MotoGP bike at Phillip Island so that will be a whole new experience for me and it has some very fast corners so I will need to learn my braking points and get my references very quickly. I think that we can do well there, because the bike is going well and we have some good developments that should make the Suzuki GSV-R work a lot better around the track.”
“I am still in some pain from my foot, but most of the bruising has come out now and I feel like I can move about a bit easier, so when we get to Australia it should be a lot better. It is good we have a race so quickly after what happened in Malaysia because we need to get over that disappointment straight away. I want to go back from this trip with a good result to help us towards the last races of the year. Australia is always tough for us, but I am sure we can do something there this year.”