The Australian 125Gp Wildcards have had mixed luck at the 2009 Australian MotoGP following three massive days for our up and coming riders.
Brad Gross, Andrew Lawson, Levi Day, Nicky Diles and Dylan Mavin took up the mantle, stepping onto the World stage in front of a massive crowd at Phillip Island.
For most, the opportunity to come and ride and share the track with the World’s best was enough, but this year, all five Wildcards took it to the next level by qualifying for the 125GP race on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Dylan Mavin a crash in the qualifying session sidelined him and he was unable to take part in the race he’d managed to qualify for, the rest, however, took their place on the grid – albeit at the rear of the field.
When racing got underway Pol Esoargaro lead the pack and remained in front until the ninth lap, when Italian rider Simone Corsi overtook, meanwhile Aussie rider Diles encountered trouble on the first lap and was soon at the rear of the field.
Gross lead the Australian charge as his countrymen began to feel the pressure of getting lapped by the international riders.
Series leader Julian Simon eventually made it to the front ahead of Bradly Smith and Sandro Cortse, staying that way until the flag with Gross the last Aussie to be lapped in the final seconds of the race.
A win in Sunday’s race secured Simon the 125GP Championship after leading for some time.
Gross was the best placed Australian in 24th place, with Andrew Lawson in 27th, Levi Day in 28th and Nicky Diles unclassified.
After the race Gross was happy with this efforts and the opportunity to line up against the World’s best.
“We did finish at the back of the pack but you can’t expect much more than that when you’re in dry conditions and you’re a wildcard rider!” Gross said.
“We got a little bit caught out as the track temperature came up at the start of the race, we probably could have gone for a harder tyre but we did the best with what we had and it was really great fun.
“I can now say that I’ve finished a World Grand Prix and that I’ve been exposed at this level and had some sort of success.
“You can’t ask for much more than that when you’ve got a $20,000 machine and you’re competing against 200,000 Euro machines.
“I’m very proud, I would have liked to bettered my lap times a little bit but the wind was blowing a gale out there.
“When I was out there by myself it was really tough work, I had no markers to sort of push me along until the very end of the race.
“It’s great to come here and ride with these boys and to see how hard the best in the World really do push – they don’t leave anything to chance so hopefully I can take that and put it into my riding.”