MotoGP Phillip Island Insider

October 19, 2009
By Martin Heath
Jorge Lorenzo  99  had to overcome tire issues and physical sickness on Fridays practice session.
Lorenzo’s hopes at Phillip Island and the title fight in general took a spill along with his M1 in Turn 1 at the Island.

The destiny of this year’s championship was realistically decided in the first few seconds of today’s race. Jorge Lorenzo ran into the back of luckless Nicky Hayden, who had made arguably his best start of the season. Entering turn one Jorge’s front brake lever broke on impact with the Kentuckian sending Lorenzo off line and unable to bring his M1 under control. He speared off into the gravel trap, launching the young Mallorcan into a series of terrifying barrel rolls resulting in cuts to his nose and damage to the top of his little finger on his right hand.

Not so ‘Gorgeous George’, Jorge was philosophical about his mistake: “I’m a little bit sad for this crash, not for the Championship but for my mistake, I didn’t expect this kind of mistake from myself. It was totally my fault, I miscalculated the distance off the line and Nicky braked earlier than I was expecting and I hit him. I thought I could save it but my front brake lever was broken and so when I tried to brake for the corner I couldn’t and the rear made a big slide. I want to say sorry to Nicky because I ruined his race today.”

Ducati Marlboros Nicky Hayden speaks with his crew at Phillip Island. The Kentucky Kid qualified for seventh.
Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden has suffered a couple of set-backs this year due to someone else’s misfortunes.

Poor Nick – with the amount of luck he has, he would sink if he were a duck! He always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting caught up in someone else’s incident. This is the second time in three races, with De Angelis being the culprit at Misano. Nicky was forgiving about the latest incident.

“I got probably the best start I have had all season but unfortunately it proved to be my downfall,” said Hayden. “I’m not sure what happened to Jorge, I saw he got a bad start as I passed him, then the next thing I know I felt a really hard impact. It was so hard it tore both our bikes up and obviously he couldn’t keep his upright. Anyway, I can’t blame Jorge because he is fighting for the championship, he obviously didn’t mean it and I know it’s not his style.”

While all this was going on, the rejuvenated Casey Stoner had forced his way to the front, roared on by his patriotic home crowd. Rossi chased hard, but knowing that the threat to his ninth championship had all but evaporated he wasn’t about to risk slipping up again. He clearly enjoyed following the young Aussie, describing it as “one of the most fun and definitely one of the most important second places of my career! We were on the limit for the whole race and there were some amazing slides, it was ‘old-style’ racing. I knew if I made a mistake it would have been a big disaster. Casey really deserved this win. I want to give him my congratulations. We leave with twenty important points and now the championship lead is big and we can try to finish it in Malaysia, where we will have the first match-point.”

Stoner has returned to his 2007 championship-winning from, and just the way he started the season in Qatar. He’s brushed off rumors during his absence, said while he took races off to try and figure out the strength-sapping illness that has blighted his season thus far. These rumors ranged from he was quitting MotoGP to he had a falling out with Ducati, and the most farfetched, that his team manager Livio Suppo had made a pass at his wife Adriana!

Any lingering doubts about the health of Ducati Marlboros Casey Stoner have been put to rest.
With the win at Phillip Island, Ducati’s Casey Stoner has proven he is back to his old self.

The same Italian media came up with the shock headline at Phillip Island that Rossi was ready to defect to Ducati before the start of next season! Phillip Morris (aka Marlboro) are ready to bankroll the World Champ in a satellite team taking Burgess and his crew with him. Several Italian papers claim a car with blacked out windows was seen on September 14th driving through the factory Ducati gates with VR’s best friend Uccio driving and Jerry Burgess in the passenger seat, presumably with Valentino in the back seat with a blanket over his head!

It also said that once Rossi is done with the Desmosedici in MotoGP, Phillip Morris will keep him in red and white doing F1 or whatever else (rally?) he desires. Just to fan the flames further, they claim the two Italian engineers responsible for the design and implantation of Yamaha’s current trick electronics systems that have refined the M1’s performance over the past two seasons have left Yamaha destined for either Honda or, yes, you guessed it, Ducati!

Rizla Suzukis Loris Capirossi  65  had some setbacks with his GSV-R during the first part of his session.
Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi had a tough weekend at Phillip Island. He found himself off track during one session and then was demoted to the back of the grid over the new engine restriction rules.

Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi was the first rider to fall foul of the new restriction on engine availability. After warm up the team were forced to fit another engine taking him over the five allocated in total from Brno until the end of the season. He was removed and placed at the back of the grid and Suzuki was deducted 10 points from the constructors’ championship.

Tire manufacturer Bridgestone celebrated its 50th MotoGP win with Casey Stoner here, stretching back to its maiden win with Makoto Tamada on a Camel Honda at the Brazilian GP of 2004.

Julian Simon clinched the 125cc World Championship with a win in Australia. Teammate Bradley Smith pressed him hard, hoping to prolong the fight to Malaysia, and led until two corners from home, when Simon – knowing he had to win to clinch the championship – forced his way by to become Spain’s seventh 125cc World Champion.

Simon is expected to move up to Moto2 next year with his Spanish Bancaja Aspar Team. His fan club, unfortunately, were not here to join in with the celebrations. They had turned up in mass at the last round in Portugal, where he had been expected to seal the championship. But Simon slid off while leading, spoiling the planned party and delaying his championship a round further than expected.  

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