Features 27 Oct 2016

Q&A: Aussie performances at Phillip Island

A broad analysis of how our locals fared at home.

The 2016 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was packed with very capable home racers in the world championship last weekend, from Assen MotoGP winner Jack Miller in the premier class all the way to Moto3 wildcard Matt Barton. Here are some telling factors of their weekends.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Q: Did Jack Miller meet expectations?

A: The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda regular crossed the line 10th, but was within half a second of seventh at race’s end. Miller impressed throughout the weekend, no matter the conditions, and he can be proud of his efforts – especially that fifth-place qualifying performance. Expect even better once he has another year of experience under his belt next season.

Q: What were your thoughts on Mike Jones getting a point?

A: It was about as much as you could ask for from the 2015 Australian champion, in just his second GP. Jones was called into Avintia Racing right before Motegi and barely put a foot wrong, if at all! 15th position was solid on paper, but consider the fact he pressured Eugene Laverty the whole way and set faster laps than he and Yonny Hernandez, it was a top outcome and hopefully firmly places him on Ducati’s radar for the future.

Q: How would Troy Herfoss have went if he got the Repsol Honda ride?

A: Judging by where 2006 champion Nicky Hayden was (battling for seventh) when he crashed with just over a lap to go and Jones finishing P15 on the satellite Ducati, we’d be guessing Herfoss would have been between 11th to 15th on the factory RC213V. It would be a huge ask to beat Miller with zero MotoGP experience, so in that window’s probably realistic.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Q: What happened with Ant West and Remy Gardner at Tasca Racing Scuderia?

A: Basically, when it was looking like Gardner would be stuck in Japan following Motegi, the team called upon Queenslander West to deputise. After flying all the way from Spain, when West arrived at the track he learned Gardner was in fact able to make it back and he was no longer required. It was a nightmare race day for Gardner in the end anyway, but you have to feel for West after that long haul.

Q: Matt Barton did okay, so why don’t we see more wildcards in Moto3?

A: It’s a massive task to enter a privateer bike in grand prix racing, so you have to hand it to the Suus-supported Barton for giving it a go and he can be super-proud of finishing 20th on the lead lap. The bike’s just aren’t on the same level as the internationals, so that’s the major reason why our locals don’t line up more frequently.