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MotoGP heads south for the Polini Australian GP

MotoGP heads south for the Polini Australian GP

MotoGP heads south for the Polini Australian GP

The MotoGP World Championship's roadshow takes to the skies again this week as the riders, teams and officials make their way to the south coast of Australia for the fifteenth round of the season at the picturesque Phillip Island circuit. After a two-week break since the three consecutive races across Asia and the Middle East, the Polini Australian Grand Prix will be the 17th consecutive year that the series has visited the country. The first two events took place at Phillip Island, there was then a six-year stint at Eastern Creek before it returned to the current venue in 1997.

Valentino Rossi's record at the fast and flowing circuit is second to none with no fewer than six Grand Prix victories there in all classes, and an unbeaten MotoGP record that stretches back to 2001. The MotoGP World Champion will be hoping his domination at the island can continue this weekend as he aims to clinch his eleventh victory of the year and match his record total of wins in a season, set in 2001 and 2002 when riding for Honda. A win for the Italian will also secure the constructors' title for Yamaha who need just one point more than Honda to make sure of the honour for the first time in five years.

A host of riders will be fighting Honda's corner this weekend as they aim to halt Yamaha and Rossi's progress, as well as staking their own claim for second place in the championship. Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden are three of five riders separated by just eleven points in the battle for runner-up honours, and all have happy memories of Phillip Island.

Biaggi took victory, albeit for Yamaha, in the 500cc class in 2000, whilst Marco Melandri has had two wins at Phillip Island in the smaller classes, including a title-clinching 250cc success in 2002. Hayden, meanwhile, stood on the podium for the first time in his career at the Victorian circuit two years ago and will this weekend be aiming to score back-to-back rostrum finishes for the first time this season after finishing in third place at Qatar.

The other two riders battling for second spot are Yamaha's Colin Edwards and Ducati rider Loris Capirossi. Edwards has finished on the podium in World Superbike races at Phillip Island on eight occasions, including a win in 2001, whilst Capirossi took victory in the 125cc class back in 1990 and has had four podiums there in the last five years - including his only podium of 2004. The in-form Italian has won two of the last three races and will be looking for his fourth consecutive pole position when qualifying takes place on Saturday.


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