These just in from the other hemisphere:
Lorenzo Scores 50th Grand Prix Victory in Phillip Island Thriller
Phillip Island (Australia), 20th october 2013
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo delivered a stunning ride today to win the Australian Grand Prix in a thrilling spectacle filled with drama. Teammate Valentino Rossi delivered another exciting performance, fighting to take third on the podium.
Following concerns over the safety of the Bridgestone tyres to last full race distance the race was changed to incorporate a bike change at the ten-lap mark, with the total laps reduced to 19.
The start saw Lorenzo take the hole-shot from his pole position with riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in hot pursuit. The reigning champion gave no quarter but was unable to pull away, the rivals staying within 0.5 of a second as they counted down to the pit stop. This itself turned into a bizarre event with potential consequences for the championship. Pedrosa pitted a lap early, Lorenzo pitted at the ten-lap mark and Marquez pitted a lap too late. As a result Marquez was given a black flag and disqualified and Pedrosa was forced to drop a position after crossing the white line on his pit lane exit.
Further disaster was also narrowly avoided when Marquez exited the pits just as Lorenzo passed down the straight at high speed, the two making contact into turn one. Luckily both were able to stay upright and continue. Lorenzo kept the pressure on and held the top spot for the remaining nine laps to claim the race win.
Rossi enjoyed yet another intense race long battle with rivals Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista. The three swapping positions in the fight for the last podium spot throughout the first ten laps and again in the following nine. Rossi completed a super fast pit stop, beating both out to gain two positions. As one of the most successful MotoGP riders of the modern era in Phillip Island it was never going to be easy for them to beat him, and they couldn't. The Italian claimed third at the line to make it another double Yamaha podium.
The result leaves Lorenzo now on 280 points, 18 behind Marquez as they head to Motegi for the final of the triple-headers. Rossi stays secure in fourth position on 214 points, 35 ahead of Crutchlow in fifth.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
1st / 29'07.155 / 19 laps
"I'm really happy with this win, we've also been lucky because Marc made this mistake. Without that he would have been second or first because he was really fast today. So we've been lucky but we were unlucky in the middle of the championship so today is a balance. When I was entering the first corner Marc was exiting the pit at exactly the same time, the situation was almost impossible to avoid. I was braking a little later to open the line and I don't think he was looking so much entering the corner so it was both our fault. Now we have options, if Marc keeps constant on the podium then it is impossible to win the championship but there are a lot of laps to go so anything could happen. It's unbelievable to have 50 Grand Prix victories at 26years old. It seems like only yesterday when I won in Brazil in 2003 but it's been ten years. I'm very proud of it and hope to win some more in the future!"
99 Valentino Rossi
3rd / +12.344 / 19 laps
"At the end the result was good, I'm so happy to be on the podium here at Phillip Island because it's always a great pleasure and a great atmosphere. I tried to give the maximum, the race was very thrilling and I enjoyed it very much, especially because with the team we were able to do a very good job in the pit and gain two positions. I had a great battle with Cal, when I understood it was for the podium I tried to give the maximum. In the last half of the lap it started to rain which was very scary but at the end it was ok and a good result. We still need to work and improve to be faster for the next race."
Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg
"A perfect result, winning here is a dream for us after two tough races. With Marc making the mistake it opens the championship a little more as well. 18 points is a completely different story to nearly 40. We are very pleased with that."
Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
"It has been an incredible race, Jorge didn't make any mistakes and led from the first to the last lap, always pushing hard. It was also nice to have the flag to flag in dry conditions and we got a lot of points to close the gap. There is only 18 points between them now so the championship is more open. We are looking to Motegi now to keep going and close it more. Vale did another great race, another double podium which is a great result for Yamaha. We had some doubts before the start of the race on grip but we got a great result."
Dani Pedrosa second and
Marc Marquez disqualified
Dani Pedrosa claims 20 points at Phillip Island behind Jorge Lorenzo. Pit lane entry timing mistake by team leaves Marc Marquez black flagged.
Repsol Media Service | Australia, Phillip Island Circuit | Sunday 20/10/2013
A bizarre Australian Grand Prix saw mixed fortunes for the Repsol Honda Team at Phillip Island. Whilst Dani Pedrosa would earn 20 points thanks to second place in the race, Marc Marquez was disqualified for a mistake with the timing of his mandatory pit stop. The bike change was made on lap eleven, contravening the established rule about riding more than ten laps with the first machine. Following the antepenultimate round of the season, Marquez continues to lead the MotoGP standings, with an 18 point advantage over Lorenzo and 34 over Pedrosa.
The worrying tyre wear at the resurfaced Australian track obliged Race Direction to make the decision to reduce the race distance to 19 laps, with an obligatory change of bikes. Lap 10 was the final opportunity for the switch to be made. A mistake from Marc Marquez' crew saw him come in on lap 11 -leading to his disqualification.
The action on track was a battle between Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa, with the two Repsol Honda riders trailing the Yamaha man. After the bike change, Lorenzo continued in the lead, with Pedrosa second. He remained in that spot until the chequered flag, coming in almost seven seconds behind Lorenzo.
The World Championship now heads to Japan, where in 7 days' time Marquez will have another opportunity to clinch the MotoGP title.
2nd at 6.936 sec.
"Today's race was very stressful -above all before the start, as the rules were being changed every five minutes. Everything was turned on its head and it was very difficult to adapt first time, without making any mistakes. Marc [Marquez] made mistakes and I did too. Everything was going so fast and it was confusing for both the riders and the mechanics. We had to be clear about which lap to enter the pits, as it wasn't obvious which was lap 9 and which was lap 10. The two bikes needed to be prepared and the tyres as well, the pit lane was much longer than normal... it was all so strange today. The exit line from the pits wasn't clear, and neither could you see the entry line very well, so it was all a bit improvised. In my case I was able to rectify my mistake on the track and, although the second bike wasn't the same for me as the first, I managed to take second in the race and be very competitive."
Audio *Audio solely for radio use
"Today was our first experience of a Flag-to-Flag race, and suffice to say it wasn't a good one. My team and I had set out a strategy and we thought that we could come in after lap 10, but in reality this counts as an extra lap. We hadn't had that in mind and this was a huge mistake. We had everything well planned and I followed the instructions on my pit board. You learn from these things though, so now we have to move on and focus on the race in Japan."
Lorenzo comes out on top in thrilling Australian Grand Prix
Round 16: Australian MotoGP? - Race
Phillip Island, Sunday 20 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 26-27°C; Track 30-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo won a dramatic flag-to-flag Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island to breathe life back into his championship challenge.
With the race reduced to nineteen laps with a mandatory stop where riders were required to change bikes, Lorenzo led the opening stint before making a flawless pit stop on lap nine to put himself in a strong position for the second half of the race. Once on his second bike Lorenzo pulled away from the chasing pack to take the chequered flag by 6.936 seconds ahead of second-place getter, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa. Rounding out the rostrum was Yamaha Factory Racing's Valentino Rossi who claimed his sixth podium of the season in Australia. Having shown great pace throughout the race weekend, the top CRT rider in Australia was Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet who placed tenth in Australia. Amid the excitement of today's race, a new Circuit Record Lap of 1'28.108 was set on the thirteenth lap of the race by Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez.
Conditions today were dry but cooler than yesterday, with the peak track temperature of 32°C recorded at the start of the race. With the harder of the two rear slick options - the medium compound for CRT riders and the hard compound for works riders - being made mandatory for the race, the only variation in tyre choice came from the front slicks. Eleven of the twenty-three starters chose the softer front option, the extra-soft front slick, with the other twelve riders opting for the harder option, soft compound front.
With two rounds remaining, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez still leads the championship standings by eighteen points - despite being black flagged for not pitting in the mandatory stop window in today's race - over Lorenzo. Pedrosa remains in third place in the championship, sixteen points adrift of Lorenzo.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Today was quite an exciting contest that passed without incident and I would like to congratulate all the teams and riders for working so hard to adapt what was a unique race situation. After warm-up, we analysed the tyres of the riders to see how they fared during the long runs they did this morning and it was evident that we had to reduce the maximum running time of the rear slicks to ten laps. Considering this new information, we had discussions with the FIM, Dorna and IRTA regarding the situation, after which race direction decided a flag-to-flag race with a nineteen lap duration was the best option. We have arranged for the used tyres from this weekend to be transported immediately to our technical centre in Japan for detailed analysis which will be the first step in developing new tyres for future MotoGP races at Phillip Island."
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing - Race Winner
"Today was a crazy race with us having to the change of bikes in the middle of the contest. We practiced a lot before the race to find the best way to swap between bikes and this helped me a lot in the race. Twenty-five points is the best result possible and is good for the championship and I hope we can still be challenging for the title at the last race in Valencia."
TISSOT AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 20/10/2013 28°c cloudy
Double top six for Crutchlow and Smith in Phillip Island thriller
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated a fantastic double top six finish for Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith in an action-packed and unique flag-to-flag MotoGP race at Phillip Island this afternoon.
Concerns about excessive tyre wear on a new track surface meant the race was reduced to 19-laps on safety grounds, which included a mandatory pit stop for fresh Bridgestone rubber at the end of lap nine or 10.
There was incredible drama and tension from start to finish and Crutchlow put up a tremendous fight to score his fifth rostrum of the campaign and second in succession at the super-fast Phillip Island track.
The 27-year-old pulled into the pits to switch bikes at the end of the 10th lap and in a tense tussle with Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista, the British rider fought for the podium right down to the final corner.
As rain spots started to fall on the Phillip Island track on the final lap, Crutchlow missed out on his first podium since his second place in Germany by just over 0.1s, with Rossi claiming the final podium spot in front of a crowd of 31,500 enthralled fans.
Teammate Bradley Smith stormed back into the top six for the first time since the German round after he made a sensational start to round 16. The 22-year-old got a stunning launch off the line and on the first lap he'd surged into fourth and was right on the back of leading Spanish trio Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Smith gained precious experience after dicing it out with Rossi, Crutchlow and Bautista in the early stages and he employed a different strategy by opting to enter the pit lane at the end of lap nine.
He was able to comfortably clinch a richly deserved top six finish and today's performance gave a significant boost to his hopes of securing a top 10 World Championship finish, with his lead over Aleix Espargaro now 11-points with two races remaining.
Crutchlow and Smith's excellent display also moved the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team a step closer to clinching third in the Team World Championship standings.
Cal Crutchlow Cal Crtuchlow 4th - 179 points:
"It was a bit of shame that I couldn't finish on the podium today but to be honest I'd have only been there because of what happened to Marc. But I am happy because I rode really well. The problem once again was my start. I have got to work on that because once again today it wasn't acceptable. The positive point is I had good consistency in the race and I was a lot faster than I expected to be given what had happened with the tyres over the weekend. It was good to race so close to Valentino on the factory Yamaha and I enjoyed it. It was a very hard but fair battle with him and Alvaro. I actually thought there was one more lap, but because I'd been so close to Valentino on the straight I'd not seen my pit board. I'd have liked to be on the podium but fourth is my best result for a few races and hopefully we can be strong in Japan next weekend."
Bradley Smith Bradley Smith 6th - 99 points:
"Sixth position is a very good result and I got another really fast start. It was great to be right up there on the first lap and I could learn a lot in the early stages from the guys with much more experience. The setting we ran wasn't ready to fight for the top six but I gave it my best shot. We damaged the rear tyre in the first run, so I tried to take it a bit steady in the second one. It has not been an easy weekend with a lot of drama and confusion surrounding the tyres, but my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew remained calm and concentrated throughout and it was good to pay them back with my first top six for a while."
Herve Poncharal Herve Poncharal - Team Manager:
"I think Race Direction took the right decision to run the race as a flag-to-flag, given some concern about the tyres. MotoGP showed it can react quickly and responsibly to a difficult situation and still provide good entertainment for the fans. I want to thank Cal and Bradley because they had an incredible race. Bradley's start was amazing and he was strong throughout and it was great to see him right in the fight with the best in the world. Cal also had a great fight with Valentino and Alvaro and they put on a great show for the fans. It was a very hard battle and unfortunately Cal couldn't quite come out on top, but I am very happy and proud of the efforts of everybody in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team for doing a great job on such a complex weekend. Now we go to Japan, which is such an important race for Yamaha, optimistic that we can see Cal and Bradley battling close to the front again."
Hayden seventh at Phillip Island, Dovizioso ninth
In a dramatic Australian Grand Prix that featured a "flag-to-flag" format in the dry, with obligatory pit stops, Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso maintained their cool in challenging circumstances, riding to seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively. The unusual format, which had riders switching bikes at the midway point of the shortened 19-lap race, was implemented by Race Direction in response to tyre wear being much higher than anticipated over the course of the weekend.
In the race's first half, the two Ducati Team colleagues battled with one another and fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone. Hayden used good pit strategy to get away from the other two Ducati riders and make a run at sixth-place Bradley Smith that ultimately fell just short. Similarly, Dovizioso was unsuccessful in his late bid to overtake Iannone and ultimately had to accept ninth place.
With the first two legs of this overseas tripleheader now complete, the MotoGP teams now return to Asia for next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 7th
"If I'm honest, I hoped to be more competitive, but it went better than some of our recent races. My first tyre didn't feel as grippy as I expected. I was racing with Iannone and Dovi, but I knew I was faster than those guys and didn't want to tow them. I waited to do the opposite of them, so when I saw them go in the pits, I put my head down and did a good in-lap, then did a good lap leaving the pits and was able to put a couple of seconds onto them. I got to the back of Smith at the end, but I was struggling in the last corner, and there were some spots of rain. As for the pit stop, it was easy. I've been with my team for five years, and we practice it sometimes. Yes, this pit is tight, but we're used to doing 340 Km/h, so if you use your head, I don't think coming in at 60 is so dangerous."
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th
"The race was more enjoyable than usual because of the changes they made, as well as the strategies. I had a pretty tough battle with Nicky and Iannone but it was all a bit difficult for me, also because my two GP13s didn't have the same feeling. The second bike wasn't as good as the first. Anyway, I don't have any excuses; I'm just not happy with the result. I had another battle with Iannone and came close to him at the very end, but I didn't manage to beat him. Nicky did a good job and had a really fast in-lap; he caught Smith and managed to have a good pace from the start of the race."
Paolo Ciabatti - Ducati MotoGP Project Director
"Today's race was really strange, exciting with many twists. The ?flag-to-flag' format in the dry with a maximum of 10 laps per tyre and an obligatory pit stop put more pressure on our team. Still, I must say everything went smoothly, and I'd like to complement our boys, who didn't make any mistakes. The final result of the race definitely isn't very satisfying for us, but Nicky and Dovi tried their hardest, as always."