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With the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship title confirmed for Marc Marquez the Repsol Honda star arrives in Australia in a relaxed mood, but the fight for second place in the overall standings between Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo will continue to rage on at Phillip Island.
The picturesque Island circuit is a favourite for riders and fans alike and another exciting race can be expected on Sunday at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix, as MotoGP™ checks in straight from Motegi.
With the pressure off - Marquez secured the title on home territory for Honda with a calculated ride to second place in Japan – the newly crowned double MotoGP World Champion can ride freely as he goes in search of a 12th victory of a remarkable second season in the premier class. Last year on the Island Marquez was disqualified for failing to respect the timing of a mandatory bike swap so he would love to make amends this time out.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s nine time World Champion Rossi and Marquez’s Honda teammate Pedrosa are joint second in the standings ahead of round 16 and both are determined to cement the runner-up position in the championship over the final three rounds.
Rossi demonstrated his fitness and pace again by finishing on the podium at Motegi after his big crash at Aragon, whilst Pedrosa crossed the line just 0.555s behind the Italian. Both have tasted victory at Phillip Island in their careers though in Pedrosa’s case not in the premier class.
One rider in great form heading to Australia is Rossi’s Yamaha colleague Lorenzo who has won back-to-back races at the last two rounds. He has been in great shape in the second half of 2014 so far and has notched up seven consecutive podiums – moving him to within three points of Pedrosa and Rossi in the standings.
Last year at Phillip Island Lorenzo took victory by seven seconds in a race which involved the riders changing bikes midway through due to tyre durability concerns and the Spaniard is also a former 250cc race winner at the venue.
Behind Lorenzo in the standings Andrea Dovizioso is having a good season in fifth place overall, the same position in which he finished Sunday’s race in Japan. Saturday saw Dovizioso take his and Ducati’s first pole position since 2010 and the experienced Italian continues to improve his team’s competitiveness on the evolving GP14.2.
Brothers Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) are locked in an intriguing battle for sixth place in the standings, with elder sibling Aleix one point ahead of Pol at present.
Also pushing for prominence in the top ten are the likes of Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who will all be giving it full gas at Phillip Island from Friday to Sunday.
The first MotoGP™ practice of the Tissot Australian Grand Prix gets underway with FP1 at 10.55am local time (GMT +11), just after Moto3™ FP1.
5 years ago
5 years ago