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MotoGP riders hop down to Phillip Island

MotoGP riders hop down to Phillip Island

MotoGP riders hop down to Phillip Island

Three of MotoGP's top riders added a bounce to their preparations for the Cinzano Australian Grand Prix today, on a visit to a local wildlife centre. Makoto Tamada, John Hopkins and Marco Melandri acquainted themselves with the residents of the Phillip Island Wildlife Park – including kangaroos, wallabies and koala bears.

"Three races one after the other don't give you the time to return home of course and seeing as Phillip Island isn't exactly a metropolis, I thought I'd check out the local animals," said Tamada. "I really like wildlife so it's good to come and see the koalas and kangaroos.

"I left Malaysia on Monday and arrived in Australia on Tuesday, so I have also had time to dedicate to one of my favourite hobbies, fishing. At least there are fish here!

"Joking aside, the race will be very tough, above all because it will be very cold. We have to check how our tyres react to such a diverse temperature change from the last two races. However, in this second part of the championship they have proved themselves to work in many different situations, so I hope that they will let me go well here."

For Hopkins the visit was a good way to lift his spirits after the disappointment of engine failure at the last round in Malaysia. The American has shown flashes of top form in the second half of the season but, after being taken out in the first turn at Motegi and riding injured at Qatar and Malaysia, has not had the luck to go with it.

"I was so disappointed at Sepang," reflected Hopkins. "I'd been good in qualifying, got the bike better in the morning, had a relaxing swim back at the hotel, and had my head together for the race. Then the bike stopped.

"I'm over that now though and I'm ready to get going again. One thing I have realised this season is that it's important to relax and take your mind off things from time to time, so this visit was good for that today. Like Makoto, I'm really into wildlife and I go fishing all the time back home in California.

"As far as Phillip Island is concerned, it's a great track and we have the basic bike set-up good for everywhere. As I've said for the latter part of this year, I'll be disappointed if I'm not in the top five."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

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