Features 19 Oct 2022

Quotebook: 2022 MotoGP Rd18 Phillip Island

Assorted racer comments following the 18th round of the season.

In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out in the 18th round of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship at Phillip Island.

Image: Supplied.


Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – Second:
It was a great race today; I really enjoyed the battle a lot and the feeling of returning to the podium is fantastic. It has been a long journey and we have reached the next stage. The soft rear was certainly the correct option for us in the race, I felt quite good, and I was able to fight until the end. At the start I was managing the situation a little bit, but I really enjoyed the race, I tried to win! Alex Rins did really well in the last few laps. I left everything out on track today and I really enjoyed all the overtakes, especially at Turn 2 because the bike was working really well there. We are coming better but there is still work to do. It’s great to achieve this milestone of 100 premier class podiums and an honour to draw equal with Nieto but we are not done yet!.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) – 11th:
Our race today was quite similar to the last races; we were playing catch up a lot during the race. We were probably a bit closer to the front this race than in the previous ones, but the pace of the race overall was slower than we thought it would be. Again, starting so far back on the grid makes it really hard and especially at a circuit like Phillip Island – there’s a lot of turbulence and the opening laps you have to be really precise. We started the weekend well here, so we can see that there is some potential there but missing out on Q2 really hurt us. Two races left in the season; we keep on going.

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) – DNF:
I was struggling a lot in Turn 4 because of the wind. I already made a mistake there earlier at the beginning of the race. After the second mistake, I tried to push. I was quite far behind. I did manage to overtake a few riders, but then I pushed too much in Turn 2. I made a mistake. Let’s see how we can handle the next races. I think Malaysia is a good track for us. I like it, so let’s see how we can do it. The championship changed a lot since Sachsenring, and that means it can also change for us in the last two GPs. I feel that we can make two great last races. We need to be focused, work well, and then we’ll see. We go to Malaysia with full motivation! I want to enjoy these last two races, that will be the most important, because when I enjoy the races, I know we can be fast.

Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha) – DNF:
Unfortunately, I crashed in the race. I was starting from far behind, and I struggled to recover some positions. When I was riding alone, I didn’t have the speed. Instead, when I was riding behind other people, I felt good potential. Overall, it’s been a tough weekend, but we did see some good things in some moments, like in FP4, when I was quick. So, we’ll keep working and keep digging to make those moments last longer. I struggled to put it all together here, but we’ll try again in Malaysia.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 10th:
It was an extremely challenging weekend and in the end we were the strongest when it came to the race so hats-off to the team again. They did a fantastic job and helped us salvage some points today. I had a great start but going into turn four a few guys hit each other, they sat up and then someone hit me and I had to go straight on. I went from the top ten to outside the top sixteen. I had to claw my way forward and got up to the lead group but I knew that I was being hard on my rear tire. It was a race where you had to save rubber but I didn’t really have a choice after that first lap. I had to push and get as high as I could. Not happy at all to finish in 10th but we fought the best we could and we will take information and data from here to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 12th:
I’m pleased to finish with points after starting last and making the Long Lap but, in seeing our pace, it is a bit disappointing to have been in that situation. I made the most of where I was and now I’m looking forward to Malaysia because I think we can be very competitive there.

Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) – 15th:
A good start to the race and I stayed close to the front group for thirteen-fourteen laps more or less as I felt strong on the bike. At one point, we were in P10. Then the tires started dropping and we lost a couple of positions but I had a lot of fun riding here today. The fans have been incredible all weekend, and it was good to spend some time with them on the cooling down lap after the race. Thank you to all of them who came supporting us this weekend, they have been amazing.

Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) – 16th:
I have enjoyed the last couple of races although this is not the place where both my team and myself want to be. In terms of pace, we have been close to the other KTM riders which is a positive point. This track does not have so many corners to overtake, turns 4 and 10 are the main ones. We had a few fights with Franco Morbidelli but we lost time doing so and my race pace was better after he crashed. I think that we made the right tire decision today although it was tough to manage within the final laps, but I am happy with my race overall today.

Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – DNF:
Unfortunately, it was an unfortunate day. I had managed to get back up pretty quickly. We had made some changes to the bike from yesterday, and I felt really comfortable, but at Turn 4, my corner, I got hit by Alex Marquez and crashed. These are things that can happen in the race. Then Alex came to me, explained what had happened to him, and I accepted his apology. I’m just sorry I couldn’t do something more for all my fans who came here to see me today. Still, it was an incredible weekend, and I am so happy to be back in Phillip Island. The positive side is that Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro didn’t score many points today, so we can still aim for third place in the Championship.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Third:
I am satisfied with the third place today, but the most important thing is that we are finally first in the Championship. I only regret not being able to win because I did my best. In the first laps, I tried to manage the tyre consumption well, but towards the end, I didn’t have the same pace anymore, and I was still struggling with the front. When I saw that Quartararo was OUT, I changed my approach and just tried to have a smart race, avoiding unnecessary risks, to try to take advantage of the situation. The next GP will be in Malaysia, a track where we are usually fast, so there are all the conditions to do well there.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – First:
I’m super happy! During the race I was feeling pretty good, in fact my feeling with the bike was amazing. The pace was fairly slow to try and preserve the rear tyre, because we know this place can be tough on tyres. But in the end, I was able to find some good traction in the sweeping corners and this allowed me to gain places and feel strong until the end – we had a fantastic battle all together! The entire team and everyone who has worked on this project deserves this win, and so do the fans, I’m so pleased that I could celebrate another victory together before we depart.

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – 18th:
On our side of the garage it’s been a very disappointing race. There was a problem with the manometer which meant that the tyre pressures were out, and this caused me to drop backwards. I practically couldn’t finish the race, but I just managed to. It’s a sad comeback for me, but I’ll do my best in the last two races and hope for some better luck. On the other hand, I’m so happy for the team and Alex, because a victory here in Phillip Island is something very special.

Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) – DNF:
The first thing I want to say is sorry to Jack because I hit him. I locked the rear. It was my mistake. We can say that this is racing and these things can happen, but I’m really sorry for him and all his team. Specially being his home GP. Apart from that, we had a really positive weekend overall and it was a shame about the crash in the race because I was feeling really good in the group, trying to fight and go forward as I had the pace to do a really good job. But we have a new opportunity next week and I will try hard to be on the pace again.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – Ninth:
In the early part of the race today, everything was going according to plan. I started well overtaking Fabio and managed to stay easily with the leading group. Even when I made a small mistake, I was able to quickly close the gap, even doing the second fastest lap of the race. Then the situation took a strange turn. The electronics began to cut a lot of power and, despite pushing hard to make up ground on the braking sections, I didn’t have the acceleration to stay with the others. It’s a pity. These are mistakes that we can’t make if we want to battle for the championship title, especially because we demonstrated that we have the speed to do so.

Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) – 17th:
I don’t understand what happened today, to be honest. We still need to carefully analyse the data, but clearly something didn’t work right. I didn’t even come close to the pace that I had in the FP4 simulations on the same tyres. It’s hard to identify the reason now, so we’ll have to get to work and simply capitalise on this experience to improve.