MotoGP Riders and Team Managers reflect on the Australian GP

Round 17 – Phillip Island

MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez – P1

“It has been a crazy weekend with the weather and everything. Maverick was very fast today, but I was able to follow him and start slowly cooking the victory. Viñales started to push very hard and very fast at the front, but I knew that if I could stay with him for four or five laps then the victory was possible. The Repsol Honda Team have done a great job with the limited track time we have had. We had to gamble a little bit with the soft rear tyre and it was on the limit in the end, but we were able to win! It’s really special to take this 55th win with Honda, I feel incredible with the Honda family and I’m excited to enjoy this moment with them and the team.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Marquez Vinales Iannone Espargaro
Marc Marquez

Cal Crutchlow – P2

“I knew coming into today that I had the pace to be on the podium, no matter what from Friday’s free practice. We’ve worked hard for this, three podiums in the year is always good, it’s unfortunate that Maverick fell off, but we were still on the podium and we have to be happy with our pace today. I didn’t have the grip or the bike under me to be able to go with Marc (Marquez) or Maverick (Vinales) so I had a big gap behind and was happy with my pace. The last five laps I had to manage my rear tyre and I was just riding home and then it started raining on the final lap! I’m really, really pleased to get a podium here in Australia after what happened last year, at one point I didn’t think I was coming back. I want to thank Honda and my crew who did a great job building me a bike capable of being on the podium today. The whole LCR Castrol team deserved this today. We know we got lucky with second place, because Maverick deserved to be on the podium, but it’s great to be up on the podium with my mate Jack [Miller]”.

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow on the podium at Phillip Island

Jack Miller – P3

“It’s an extraordinary result and I’m very happy for the team, they did an amazing job! It’s clear that the crash at Vinales allowed me to get on the podium but that can’t cancel the feeling of us finishing on the podium in my home race in front of all my friends and family. The battle with Pecco was exciting and gave me extra motivation to push until the chequered flag, This is a weekend I’ll never forget.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miller Fans
Jack Miller

Pecco Bagnaia – P4

“I can’t be disappointed that I was so close from finishing on the podium, I am very happy with this result. It was a solid weekend from start to finish, we made the right choice of tyres and we worked well as a team all weekend. This result fills me with satisfaction and I think it is an important step forward. We will be coming into Malaysia with a lot of confidence and I am looking forward to it.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Bagnaia Dovi Miller T
Pecco Bagnaia

Joan Mir – P5

“It was a good race today. I’m so happy about the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes, all the steps we’re taking are helping a lot. It’s a shame the conditions weren’t more settled during the weekend, because in the dry I felt really good and I got my best MotoGP result. I wish there had been one more lap today – I was getting close to the podium! But finally, it looks like the better results are coming, I feel great with the bike.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Mir Bagnaia
Joan Mir

Andrea Iannone – P6

“It was a positive race for us, but we worked well throughout the weekend. I had a good feeling straight away and I realised from the first practice session that it would be a good opportunity for us. There were obviously many details that helped, beginning with the characteristics of this track, and it’s a pity about some contact in the finale. I lost a winglet and the bike was no longer perfectly balanced. But it was thrilling to ride the Aprilia out front and for that I wish to thank all the guys here and in Noale who are working their hardest and the CEO who supports us in our growth. I hope to be able to bring them more satisfaction. This is only my first season with Aprilia and it was not exactly simple, but we were never lacking in determination and commitment.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Andrea Dovizioso – P7

“After a first part of the race in which we were fast, we consumed the rear tyre too much and our rhythm dropped compared to that of the top three. In the group of riders fighting for fourth place, we were all in a bit of difficulty but on the last lap I had created the right opportunity for myself: unfortunately, at Turn 2 the bike got away from me, I went wide and lost four positions. In the end it was a pity because we could have finished third and got onto the podium, albeit with a big gap from the first two. The positive aspect from today is that we confirmed our second place in the Riders’ classification, with two rounds remaining and for the third year in a row.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Rossi Dovi Brakes
Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi – P8

“It was a great start and a very good way to celebrate my 400th Grand Prix, being able to be in front for a bit. In the end, the race result for sure isn‘t fantastic, but I was not so far behind Jack Miller, who arrived on the podium, and I was able to ride in a better way and was more competitive compared to the previous weekend. Anyway, we need more, and we need to be stronger. We need to work, and we‘ll see. Racing at the Phillip Island track is always great, but in the end it was a hard battle.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Start Rossi
Valentino Rossi led early on

Alex Rins – P9

“I’m a bit disappointed because there have been several races where I’ve had really strong and consistent pace – not winning pace because Marc is hard to beat, but podium pace – and I have not been able to convert it to a top result. Today I feel like I could have gone with Cal but it was difficult because I started far down the grid and had to fight a lot. We really need to work on qualifying, being on the front two rows is so crucial. This turned into a sort of ‘survival’ race, and I just had to get the best finish I could. Anyway, I’m ready for Malaysia next week.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Rins Rossi
Alex Rins

Aleix Espargaro – P10

“This is a special track for us, different from the other circuits, and I had fun straight away as soon as we got here. We stayed consistently with the best group which was battling for the podium in a fun race with a lot of overtaking. It seemed like a Moto3 race, but with a lot faster and heavier bikes! In order to be even more competitive, I would have needed more grip on the rear, so I was unable to ride exactly as I expected, having to make up a lot of ground in braking.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Aleix Espargaro Maverick Vinales
Aleix Espargaro

Franco Morbidelli – P11

“It was a difficult race for us. From qualifying this morning we’ve struggled; I had been feeling good all weekend and I was aiming for a better position on the grid, but this morning we had a big drop in performance. This meant we didn’t start the race from where we hoped and we weren’t able to improve from there. I had to manage the tyres and be precise over every lap, but the pace was not forthcoming. We have to investigate why we lost pace today as the rest of the weekend had looked promising. Obviously, we want to be fast again in Malaysia.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Morbidelli KTM Zarco
Franco Morbidelli

Pol Espargaro – P12

“It was a complicated weekend. We struggled for grip and traction. In 2017 we were much faster but we had a lot of problems here last year and again this weekend. I think part of it is down to the weather and all the changes we have to make to the bike. Anyway we need to look at the bigger picture and the whole season has been much better. We cannot explain this one track but I think this is part of developing a bike and making it better for every circuit. We will reset in Malaysia. In the worst conditions we took four points and were fourteen seconds from the podium – which is not good – but not horrible. After a difficult weekend we’ll take this.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Johann Zarco – P13

“The race was great. I chose the soft rear because that was the only tyre I used all weekend and it would have been a shame to have no feeling during the race. At the start I had a good fight with many riders, overtaking them and them overtaking me, and then it was quite funny that the rider I was battling with for most of the race was KTM’s Pol Espargaro. We had a good fight, every time I thought I could get past him and move on to the group ahead, he attacked me again and we lost some time. I tried to beat him, but he did a good last lap and came out of the last corner better than me. I finished 13th which is ok, it was good to come back and it’s always a tough race here at Phillip Island.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Zarco Mir Bagnaia
Johann Zarco

Karel Abraham – P14

“For sure it was not the best race that we have done this season but it was OK. I’m really happy for the points that are obviously very important. We were still struggling before the start of the race to choose the rear tyre because I was not sure about the conditions and the weather, but finally we chose the soft option, but I’m still not sure if it was better or not. It was very difficult, especially the end of the race where the rear tyre was not working anymore and I was struggling a lot, but we managed it. Also, before the end of the race, I had a big slide, I was very close to crash and I was overtook by Syahrin, but I overtook him back, and unfortunately in the last lap Viñales had a big crash and I took two points which is great and I’m really happy to add more points in the championship. Even though it was not the best race, it was a good race by performance, being there and consistent lap times. We are still aiming to be there one group ahead, I think this is something that we have to achieve.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Abraham Kallio
Karel Abraham

Hafizh Syahrin – P15

“I had a really good race. In the beginning, I needed some time to find a good feeling with the hard tyre, but after a few laps I started to find a rhythm and managed to control my rear tyre, but on the straight it was impossible to pass Abraham. Behind Kallio, I couldn’t find a slipstream, so I needed to catch him in the corner and finally I passed him in turn one on the brake and I tried to pass Abraham. Unfortunately, in the last lap it was impossible for me, after I already had him before. In the end, one point is better than nothing, we found back into a rhythm, but we know that we need to be stronger in the beginning of the race.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin

Jorge Lorenzo – P16

“I expected before we arrived that I would struggle here but you’re always hopeful that things will change and you’re able to be fast. From FP1 we struggled in the wind and the cold. It’s the worst result since returning from the Assen injury, unfortunately this is reality. Malaysia in normal conditions will be better, it’s a track that suits me more and I think we can return to a pace similar to what we had in Motegi.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Lorenzo Syahrin
Jorge Lorenzo

Maverick Vinales – DNF

“I started the last lap much tighter to the curb to have the chance, if Marc would overtake at the last moment, to brake later. But he overtook me before the finish line. Then I was planning to push to the maximum in sector 3 to overtake in Turn 10, and that’s what I did. So, before I crashed, I was ready to go in without braking to see what would happen, but I locked the rear. Maybe I made a mistake, I don’t know, and then I just fell down on the other side. Today was a race to win, not to be second. I had the chance, so I tried. Anyway, for me it was a very positive race, I crashed but I was satisfied. I gave my best on every lap and the bike was working in a really good way.”

MotoGP Australia Phillip Island RbMotoLens MotoGP Race Maverick Crash
Phillip Island MotoGP 2019 – Image by Rob Mott

Fabio Quartararo – DNF

“It was a tough weekend, with a big crash on Friday and a crash on Sunday. This morning we were able to do something incredible, taking part in my first MotoGP Q1 then going through to the front row. That was a really nice start to the day. In the race, if Petrucci hadn’t hit me I would probably have run onto the grass and lost a lot of positions anyway, but it’s still my rookie year and I’ll learn from it. I’ll now take the opportunity to rest and recuperate as much as possible before the next race in Sepang where I want to reward the circuit and Petronas with a strong performance.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Quartararo QP Stick
Fabio Quartararo qualified on the front row despite a big crash on Friday

Mika Kallio – DNF

“We were thinking before the race ‘soft or hard’ tyre and believed the temperature was improving so we chose the hard. I saw after a few laps that the race would be very difficult. There was no grip at all. I managed to do a few fast laps but then the grip was completely gone and I was spinning and spinning off the corners. In the end there was no rubber at all on the rear and because of that I also pushed and destroyed the left side of the front tyre! This weekend is something we need to forget and think about Malaysia. We had a lot more data from there, like everybody else, and I have been there many times with the MotoGP bike with KTM. I think it will be easier for us.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Kallio Abraham
Mika Kallio

Tito Rabat – DNF

“Today it was less windy, we wanted to try to get out and try to follow the group, but it was impossible. I had a blow to my hand before Japan, my tendon hurts a little and it’s more than it seems. You have to be careful. We will see if in Malaysia we can go back where we deserve.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Start Rossi Leader
MotoGP Race gets underway at Phillip Island

Danilo Petrucci – DNF

“I’m bitterly disappointed because finally I was having a weekend that lived up to my expectations and this morning in qualifying I had set a good time, so I was very optimistic for the race. At Turn 2 Marquez came in on me on the inside, I was forced to go wide and onto a dirty line, lost control of the bike and had a high-side that unfortunately also involved Quartararo. I’m really sorry for him and also for the fact that I probably missed a chance to get onto the podium. My ankle is hurting badly, but after a first check in the circuit, it seems that nothing is broken so I hope to be OK for Malaysia.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Start
MotoGP Race gets underway at Phillip Island

Miguel Oliveira – DNS

“The reason I was unfit today was the swelling on my left hand and the pain on the right wrist. I could not squeeze with power and therefore not grab the handlebars, which lead to this result. Speaking with the doctors in the medical center, they saw it was maybe better to do an MRI today to check if there is any ligament damages on the right wrist, so this is what I’m going to do. I will fly to Malaysia Monday afternoon and as soon as I land, I should already have the reports. Fingers crossed, that everything goes well! My only wish is to ride and hopefully everything will turn out in the best possible way.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Team Managers

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“This is not the ending we had expected to an otherwise good weekend. Vale had a strong start but wasn‘t able to match the pace of the race leaders throughout the 27 laps. Though he experienced a tyre drop and a difference in top-speed didn’t help him to defend his position, he did make a step this week and was able to put up a fight. He finished in eighth place and was actually not far off third. Maverick had a different experience. He fell back in Turn 1 at the start but battled hard and led the race from lap 10 until the last lap. It was very unfortunate that he crashed, because his superb form this weekend deserved a reward, but it wasn‘t to be. Luckily, he wasn’t injured. These things happen when you‘re riding on the limit, fighting for the victory on the very last lap. On a positive note, we take away from this race that we have been competitive in all sorts of weather and track conditions. Now we look forward to giving our all again next weekend in Malaysia, the last GP of the triple-header before the final round in Valencia.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Vinales Rossi
Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“Joan did a good job today; he was close to the podium and we can really see how he is growing and improving with every race. Alex did well from his grid position, but his pace dropped off a bit as the race went on and he lost some places. We’ll check the data and begin working for next week.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Rins
Alex Rins

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“It was an exciting race today; we had both riders fighting in the group and making a lot of overtakes. Joan got his best MotoGP finish yet, and we’re happy about this. He came from quite far back and showed that he’s more than capable of fighting with the front riders. Alex got up to 4th and he looked really strong, but then he struggled and he finished 9th. But anyway, we’re pleased with today’s result and we’re looking forward to Sepang next weekend.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Mir Zarco Morbidelli
Joan Mir

Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Principal

“It was a bad day at the office for Petronas Yamaha SRT. The weekend did not start well with Fabio’s crash on Friday, but Franco also had mixed fortunes all weekend; in some sessions he was fast but in others, he struggled. In the race, Franco couldn’t maintain pace and find the correct strategy to keep his tyres alive. Fabio had a good chance after the disaster of Friday, but he was taken out by Petrucci at turn two. Both were on hard tyres, both had a little slide at the same time, and it was basically the opposite of Silverstone where Fabio took out Dovizioso. The most important thing is that both riders are okay. We need to put this weekend behind whilst learning from it, which was always one of the goals in our rookie year. We share success just as we share the more difficult moments. Now we have a great opportunity to bounce back at the best place possible in only five days’ time in Malaysia.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Morbidelli Zarco
Franco Morbidelli

Razlan Razali – Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Principal

“That was our most challenging weekend of the year in MotoGP. The conditions at Phillip Island were harsh and it was hard work on track for Fabio with his injury and being taken out of the race as well as for Franco finding race pace. Nevertheless, we did get a few valuable points to ensure we are still very much in the fight to be best Independent Team. In Moto3 it was an intense battle over an exciting race. John was right in the mix and Ayumu fought well through the field. In Moto2, Adam continues his learning process with a lot thrown at him over the weekend. Sepang will be a key race as Adam’s home event, so he should be able to push for a further step forward. We have great anticipation for Sepang with a lot of local supporters ready to get their first glimpse of Malaysia’s first MotoGP team. Our target is to maintain the momentum of the season.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miller Dovi Mir
Phillip Island MotoGP

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“This weekend was really tough for everybody but we had a problem finding a good setting for the race through the different weather conditions. It was horrible seeing some of the crashes on Saturday and we hope Miguel will be OK after his check in the hospital on his hand. Mika was struggling with rear grip, as were many riders and with other manufacturers. Pol took 12th and it’s a result that we’re not too happy about anymore, we know we can be further forward. We were eleven seconds from the podium and we have to keep realistic but it was a difficult race and we expected more from our visit to Phillip Island.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Pol Espargaro Zarco
Pol Espargaro

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“A sad weekend here in Phillip Island, Australia for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. When you only have one of your riders on the starting grid, this is already a big disappointment. While we were on the grid, Miguel was driving to Melbourne hospital to get an MRI scan to check his right wrist, which is very painful, so we had only one rider. All the focus was on Hafizh, who did a good race and I would like to thank and congratulate him, because after halfway through the race, he has been quite consistent, fast. He was lapping quite often close to the chasing group. He caught Lorenzo, Kallio and finally, there was a big battle with Abraham, but although we passed him, we were losing too much on the straight. He lost him there, but anyway, we got a point. He never slowed down and kept his head down and I’d like to thank him for this. It is a good sign, that will give him a positive spirit just ahead of his home Grand Prix in Malaysia next week. We wish Miguel is ok and wish we have him with us in Sepang and want to have the best of preparations for Hafizh and the whole team there.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Marquez Vinales Pack
Phillip Island MotoGP

Rubbery Ramblings

Piero Taramasso – Michelin

“As Marc has said it has been a crazy weekend! I think we had a bit of every weather over the weekend, except snow. The tyres were subjected to some real extremes, with heavy rain, cold asphalt and high winds, all on a track that makes huge demands on the tyres.

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Michelin Wets
Michelin wets

“The rain and slick tyres all performed well though, despite all the changes in weather, and even though the riders had very little dry set-up time we were able to assist them with their choices and give them the tools to make the most informed decision for a race tyre. Again, it was pleasing to see different configurations on the podium, with five of the six compounds being used during the race. Consumption is always a factor here at Phillip Island and although that was evident today, it was not severe and we finished the race with the tyres having a good aspect, showing that the mix of rubber on the asymmetric front and rear tyres was correct and gave a consistent performance.

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Rossi Dovi Crowd
Valentino Rossi started striongly but again lost grip quickly

“The special tyre test session was an invaluable 20-minutes for Michelin as we were able to get all the riders that were available to go out on track to do a number of laps and concentrate just on assessing the tyres. We will now return to France after the final race of the fly-aways and evaluate the tyres and all the data before making a final decision regarding further testing or adding them to the 2020 range.

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miller Burnout
Jack Miller celebrates podium finish in Australia by burning up some Michelin!

“We now head to Malaysia, where hopefully it will be a bit warmer, we know we will probably also face some changeable weather, but we have spent a lot of time testing at Sepang, so we know what to expect and have the tyres to do the job, no matter what the conditions are.”

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Podium Marquez Crutchlow Miller
Phillip Island MotoGP Podium

MotoGP Results/Standings following Phillip Island

Source: MCNews.com.au

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