Features 19 Oct 2023

Input: Targeting the Australian MotoGP

Select contenders share their thoughts ahead of Phillip Island 2023.

Only one sleep remains until action commences at the 2023 Australian MotoGP, with anticipation peaking and the title-fight continuing to build entering Phillip Island. In this Input feature, a selection of premier-class contenders share their thoughts ahead of the 16th round of the season.

Image: Supplied.

Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing):
I’m looking forward to racing here. Especially on a day like today, with great weather. Fingers crossed it stays like this. But it’s great to be back on home soil with KTM and it would be great to get a good result. The bike is great, I feel comfortable. Good pace. I’m looking forward to challenging the boys.

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing):
It was not easy that evening after the race [Mandalika], I was thinking a lot but I’m lucky we have this race straight away to start thinking about this weekend.I think we don’t have to change anything. As we work, we are competitive every weekend, always almost fighting for the win. We just have to do the same. But, as Pecco said, here is particular, even if I did the record last season and I was fast, then in the race it is a completely different story. It’s really difficult to pull away. Let’s try to be a bit stronger in the fight than last season, where I struggled in braking. We know our difficult points and will try to improve.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing):
Mandalika was amazing. We did good job that weekend, and great preparation in previous weekends. Phillip Island is fascinating, it’s so great and extreme. Can’t wait to ride the bike here. Last year I wasn’t fast but this year will be faster. I hope to be competitive and fight for a top 10.

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha): 
Hopefully, we can be there, it’s a track that I really like unfortunately I’ve never finished a MotoGP race at this track. We know that for us, especially the qualifying is the most important because we have the pace everywhere more or less, but the starting position is always critical for us. This will be my number one goal for this weekend.

Image: Supplied.

Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing):
Mandalika was amazing. Really good to lead the race, really good to lead some laps. You can understand a lot more and you regain confidence and the rhythm and that’s fantastic, that’s a huge feeling. In the last races I’ve been doing that quite a lot, since Montmeló I’ve had a good feeling and that’s very important. However, we arrive in Phillip Island and we know that it’s a track that I usually do quite well, but our expectation is the fight at the front. Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations on results, I just want to fight at the front and put in a good performance and that’s my objective.

Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team):
Yeah, it was a tough weekend. Well a tough week overall because I took the risk trying to race in Mandalika, but luckily everything went well. On Monday I felt very bad, to be honest after the race, but fortunately, I came straight in and I was able to work with our physiotherapist immediately and now the shoulder looks a little bit better. I expect to suffer anyway because you know, this is still very fresh, and pushing on it every weekend will not be easy until the end of the championship, but anyway, I think it’s a little bit better compared to the beginning of Indonesia.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team):
This track is always particular, it looks like this weekend we’ll have a normal Friday with less wind. Well, no.. not a normal Friday, with no wind! But Saturday it will start to become more normal with 19 degrees and a bit of wind, and Sunday will be very strange because it looks like we will have 12 dgeress and 50 kph winds and rain, so it can be very very strong and difficult and tough. I love to ride here. It’s one of my favourite tracks. The first corner is an incredible, also turn three and 10, also the last corner, I love everything so let’s see.