In 2004 I was able to cover the Australian MotoGP from the perspective of being “embedded” within the Ducati team. Here are some of the images, from both behind the scenes and out on track. They begin with the team setting up on the Thursday and finish with the post race press conference.
As the penultimate round and home ground for Australian rider Troy Bayliss, the round was an important one with Loris Capirossi to end the season ninth overall in the standings as top Ducati, while Troy Bayliss would be 14th, having retired from as many races as he finished.
The glamorous life of a race mechanic!
Inspecting the opposition.
Warming up the bike… or dreaming of glory?
Loris Capirossi giving that all important quote.
One of many screens in the back of the pit garage.
It took some convincing to be able to get this image!
Plenty of spares available for the weekend.
Free Practice 1 – things get underway!
Loris’ crew watch the monitors.
A wet start to practice. Loris gets a push out of pit box.
Troy Bayliss comes in for a debrief.
And keeps an eye on how the competition are going.
As things start to dry out Troy is fastest.
Team Manager Livio Suppo.
Loris is informed of his progress.
Troy prepares to go out again with a new tyre.
Watching the timing screens.
Free Practice 2. Troy sports a different helmet – just to make life difficult for the photographers.
Qualifying about to start. An advantage of rear wheel starters.
Loris keeps an eye on the opposition.
It is action stations during a pit stop. The teamwork is on display.
Troy Bayliss heads out again.
As does Loris.
The crew are pleased Loris has qualified in 3rd place.
Both of Loris’ bikes before the post qualifying work begins for the mechanics.
Warm up. You don’t often have the chance to get both riders in the same shot.
Some race morning PR.
In the car heading over to the Ducati Australia grandstand.
Troy and Loris give ten minutes of their time to the enthusiastic crowd.
On the starting grid. Loris’ bike gets its final adjustments.
Two Aussie legends!
Troy Bayliss gets ready.
Sete Gibernau leads off the line.
Many eyes keep track of the riders progress.
Troy Bayliss finds himself in fast company.
Loris is just up the road.
Troy makes his way forward.
Loris and Troy.
Rossi wins by 0.097 seconds! Gibernau in second. Capirossi takes third. Troy finished in ninth.
Post race press conference. Loris is obviously happy with the team’s first podium of the season. Troy also scores a 3rd place at the following race, in Valencia, to end the year on a high note.
2004 Australian MotoGP Results
Valentino Rossi – Yamaha
Sete Gibernau – Honda +0.097s
Loris Capirossi – Ducati +10.486s
Colin Edwards – Honda +10.817s
Alex Barros – Honda +10.851s
Nicky Hayden – Honda +12.210s
Max Biaggi – Honda +12.847s
Makoto Tamada – Honda +12.9865s
Troy Bayliss – Ducati +18.607s
Carlos Checa – Yamaha +21.245s
Ruben Xaus – Ducati +23.173s
Shinya Nakano – Kawasaki +25.718s
Alex Hofmann – Kawasaki +35.137s
Jeremy McWilliams – Aprilia +45.155s
John Hopkins – Suzuki +45.197s
Gregorio Lavilla – Suzuki +52.205s
Norick Abe – Yamaha +52.665s
Neil Hodgson – Ducati +71.394s
Nobuatsu Aoki – Proton KR +1 lap
James Hayden – Proton KR +1 lap
Youichi Ui – Harris WCM +1 lap
James Ellison – HARRC WSM +3 laps DNF. Marco Melandri – Yamaha DNF. Garry McCoy – Aprilia