Van der Mark in for Folger at Sepang

Michael van der Mark: “It goes without saying that I am really excited. I came quite close to getting the opportunity to ride a MotoGP bike a few weeks ago, but it didn’t work out. Then Hervé called, and although I will have a busy schedule, I could not say no to this chance. I am very happy and I look forward to this adventure. Luckily, I know Sepang, but the MotoGP riders have done a lot of tests there this year, so everyone will be fast. However, I just want to enjoy this weekend, to improve myself and see how it is to ride the YZR-M1. At the moment we have some good momentum in World Superbikes so I think it is the perfect time to jump on the Yamaha. I look forward to riding the bike and I want to thank Hervé and Yamaha for this opportunity.”

Zarco: “I’m so happy I could fight for victory”

“It was an amazing race today in Australia and I am so happy that I could fight for the victory,” says the French rookie. “Marquez broke away at the end, yet I still managed to lead the Grand Prix. After the tricky start, where I had to close the throttle to avoid touching someone, I lost a lot of positions. However, I was strong and I then overtook many riders and it was an amazing feeling.”

Marquez: “A crash would have been a disaster”

“I tried to go out and warm the tyres and stay calm,” says Marquez, “but then after only a few laps there was the first contact and I thought ok…this will be tough! It was a big group, like Moto3. I realised halfway through I had to attack, or they would overtake me. I have some marks on my leathers and my bike, but I was aggressive too! A crash or a zero would have been a disaster but it was time to attack and I knew it was an important race to increase the distance in the Championship.”

Rossi: “If you don’t want to play the game, stay at home”

“They were very aggressive…the level of aggression and contact during the race…” began the Italian. “In the last few years, the level of aggression during races has raised a lot, especially with the young riders coming from Moto2. You either get angry or not, but that doesn’t change anything. That’s the game, if you want to play it’s like that. It’s a bit more dangerous but that’s the game and if you don’t want it, you should stay at home.”

Get 2018 off to a flier with WorldSBK at the Island

The three-day pass to World Superbike at the Phillip Island GP Circuit is only AUD120, too, and you can add camping at the track campground for up to four nights. Camping comes with spectacular ocean views included in the perfect summer location for a long weekend away. Off track, additional entertainment is provided by the Kid Zone and Motorcycle Expo, where all the big names in motorcycling will display their latest and greatest. Or book a session at the Phillip Island Go–Kart and let your competitive spirit out.

This is war: Marquez wins the fight for Phillip Island

Marquez vs Rossi, Zarco vs Rossi, Viñales vs Marquez, Iannone vs Zarco…in one of the most aggressive and hard-fought battles of the season, decade or more, the passes came thick and fast – including a move for Zarco around the outside of Doohan corner – as rubber was left on the road; a little on opponents’ leathers and a little paint was swapped in one of the most incredible five-way fights in history.

SIC RACING TEAM SECURE SENSATIONAL SEVENTH AND EIGHTH PLACE IN ACTION PACKED AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

Phillip Island, Australia – Sunday 22nd October

Circuit: Phillip Island
Circuit Length: 4.4 km

Today’s Australian Grand Prix saw SIC Racing Team riders Ayumu Sasaki and Adam Norrodin secure a solid point scoring 7th [Ayumu] and 8th [Adam] place finish, in one of the most action packed Moto3 races of the year.
Racing at the circuit for the first time, Moto3 rookie Ayumu Sasaki looked in strong form as he fought his way up into sixth place. Pushing hard the 17-year-old relentlessly diced with the leaders before rain brought out the red flag and a premature end to proceedings.
Launching off the line Adam Norrodin gained six places within the first lap, placing himself just behind teammate Ayumu Sasaki. From 22nd on the grid, the young Malaysian heroically battled his way up into the top ten. Determined not to let the leading group get away, Norrodin pushed hard to hold on to the pack, concluding the race in an impressive 8th place.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager

“Today has proven that you should never give up! After the qualifying yesterday we were all very upset with both riders performance but after a long talk yesterday they both came back fighting. Today they have shown what they are really capable of.
Last night we spoke a lot about getting up to the front as quickly as possible and how important it is here at Phillip Island and both riders did exactly what we asked. They made a solid start and immediately got themselves in the leading group. Their lap times were better than in qualifying too; you could really see the change in them. It was a fantastic race from both of them. To see Adam and Ayumu up the front and fighting is very rewarding for the whole team. We’ve had some bad luck the last couple of races, so we really needed this result today. We’re very happy to have this before our Home race too. Now we will take this good feeling to Sepang.
I have to say thanks to both riders because they did an amazing job today; they listened and worked very hard. Also to the team who did a great job this weekend; we had a few crashes and they fixed the bikes well and continued working hard, so it’s a solid team effort all round.
Now we are looking forward to Sepang; we have a lot of motivation for this next race to come.”

#7 Adam Norrodin P8

“I’m really happy with our result today. It’s been a difficult weekend for us, so for both Ayumu and myself to finish in the top ten is great! As a team this is our best result of the season.
It was a really fun race and we fought with the leaders the whole way through but it was also very tough. Everyone in the group was fighting really hard because we could see that rain was coming. I saw many crashes and conditions were risky with some wet patches on track but I just focussed on staying with the leaders and holding my position.
The red flag came out with nine laps to go and we finished 8th, so I’m really happy with this. It’s great to go to my Home Grand Prix next week with this good feeling. I can’t wait for Sepang now.”

#71 Ayumu Sasaki P7

“We’ve had a couple of tough sessions this weekend but I have enjoyed riding this track since the first practice; I knew the bike was good here.

In the race the conditions improved from the start and I had a good feeling in the front group. We battled a lot and I felt confident.

It’s unfortunate that it started to rain again and the red flag came out because we were coming stronger and stronger every lap. Nevertheless I am pleased with this result; we did a good job today and I must thank my team for this too.

This is equal to my best position of the season, so I will do my best to come back even stronger in the last two races of the year. I’m looking forward to Sepang! ”

Oliveira and Binder make history with KTM 1-2 in Australia

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in a class of his own in the Australian GP, taking victory by three seconds – the gap having been as high as six – and crossing the line to take KTM’s first win in Moto2™. The history making continued in second, as teammate Brad Binder took his first ever podium in the intermediate class as his rookie year gains traction following a tough, injury-hit start to the season. Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took third and protected his title hopes, making good gains in the standings on key rival Tom Lüthi, who had a tough day to come home tenth.

Mir: 2017 Moto3™ World Champion

He won again at the Catalan GP before stringing together wins at Sachsenring, Brno and Austria. Silverstone was a more difficult race and he lost some ground to key rival Aron Canet, before a calm ride in the rain to second at Misano. Aragon saw him back on top, setting him up perfectly with his first chance at the title at Motegi. In torrential conditions, the tale took a twist as key rival Romano Fenati took the win – and Mir didn’t score, coming home in P17. But at Phillip Island it was a different story, as the Majorcan took his ninth win of the year and his tenth overall to equal Fenati on all-time wins – and take the 2017 crown in style.

That’s a wrap: Mir wins hectic showdown to take the crown

Off the line it was Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) who got through Turn 1 first, before Jorge Martin fought back – and the battle began. With a long freight train at the front, the racing was hard but fair, and the slipstream down the Gardner Straight created some spectacular side-by-side action into Turn 1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was the first to fall out of contention from the leaders, before Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) and Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) had different incidents to lose out – leaving a group of eight riders fighting it out: Rodrigo, Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate), Loi, Mir, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) and teammate Adam Norrodin.

Marquez leads Viñales and Pedrosa in wet Warm Up

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went quickest in a torrential Warm Up, from a much-improved wet weather showing for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completed the top three, with the ‘Little Samurai’ another to show a good step forward in tough conditions.

Moto3™ Warm Up + Sunday Guide

– Leader of the Championship Joan Mir has qualified in third, which is his sixth front row start of the season, the seventh in his career. As in Japan last weekend, if he finishes first or second, he will be World champion irrespective of where his closest championship rival Romano Fenati finishes. On his two appearances at Phillip Island, Mir has always failed to score points.

All-star cast: every manufacturer represented in the top 12

Aragon is where the streak of such solid representation for each factory began, and in the dry, before Japan saw all six bikes in the top ten as rain hit the Twin Ring Motegi. At Phillip Island, with dry skies over Saturday, there were once again all manufacturers in Q2, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) the lead contributor from the three more recent marques to have joined or rejoined the grid – Suzuki, Aprilia and this season’s debutants KTM – as the Italian took an impressive fourth place.

Dovi: “The reality is different to what qualifying shows”

“I think the reality is different to what qualifying shows,” affirms the Italian as he looks ahead. “Marc’s pace is fastest but after him, we’re there. It’s not enough and we have to work on it, but we have margin to improve. My feeling yesterday wasn’t bad, nor today before the crash when I was quite consistent. We have limits but it’s important to create a good feeling with me and the bike again, and to be smooth in the race because the race is long and the consumption of the rear tyre is very high. Anything can happen in 27 laps.”

McPhee denied a final push in qualifying

After a much improved morning session well inside the top ten in P6, the BTT rider is now facing down the race at Phillip Island from P25 – and will be looking to move through quickly. With some other riders similarly ‘out of position’, it’s sure to be another thriller in the lightweight class.

Four years, four poles: Marquez’ Phillip Island pace

The reigning Champion joked on Thursday in the Press Conference that when he wins at Motegi, he crashes at Phillip Island – with some truth to the statement. In 2014 Marquez crashed out the lead at the Island after having won the title in Japan – although not the race – and in 2016, he’d taken both the crown at Motegi and the race victory when he then slid out the lead next time out in Australia. But that was then, this is now – and Marquez says his approach with a title still on the line will be different, with one goal.

Marquez throws down the gauntlet with pole at Phillip Island

Just left behind in Q1, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) will start thirteenth, ahead of Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team). Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) qualified in P16 after a big crash in FP3 – rider ok, but with a badly sprained left ankle. The Majorcan will be looking to his stunning record at smashing the pain barrier to move forward on Sunday. For full results, click here.

PRESSURES ON TO PERFORM FOR NORRODIN AND SASAKI AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Phillip Island, Australia – Saturday 21st October

Circuit: Phillip Island
Circuit Length: 4.4 km

Bike #7 – Adam Norrodin
QP: P22; 1’38.429 – 14 laps

Bike #71 – Ayumu Sasaki
QP: P17; 1’38.204 – 14 laps

Starting tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix from 17th [Ayumu] and 22nd [Adam] place, Ayumu Sasaki and Adam Norrodin prepare to battle their way back through the field, after a close qualifying session saw the SIC Racing Team duo struggle to improve their times.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager

“After starting quite well here during the practice sessions, we have gone backwards today. We have not performed our best or achieved what we are capable of and this is very disappointing for the whole team. I believe the riders could have done a lot better today and I’m not happy with either of their performances this afternoon. It will be hard for them to go forward from the starting positions they have. Tomorrow we must continue to work hard and the riders have to prove that they are better than this.”

#7 Adam Norrodin

“I’m not happy about qualifying 22nd; this is too far back. We can see the lap times are very close, as we are only 1.3 seconds off pole, but still we could have done better today.
In the beginning I felt very good and the bike was working well but we needed more to go faster, so we made a small change for the second run. When I went back out I almost had a big high-side and this knocked my confidence, so I found it hard to find my rhythm again. For the final run we put in the new medium tyre but as we returned on track we could already see some drops of rain. I tried to push but on my first flying lap the asphalt was already wet in the second corner, so that was that.
It’s a very disappointing qualifying for me; I know I could have done better. It’s going to be tough starting from so far back but I know if I make a good start I have the race pace to fight. There will be some close racing tomorrow, so making a strong start off the line is going to be very important. I believe we still have a good chance to do well here.”

#71 Ayumu Sasaki

“In FP3 this morning we had a good set up but I couldn’t make a good lap time, this was my fault because I wasted time trying to find a good position on track, then in the end it started to rain, so we couldn’t improve any further.
In qualifying I tried to push from the beginning because we could see that more rain was coming but it wasn’t enough to make a strong lap time, then on my fastest lap someone held me up in the last sector. This was very frustrating.
When I went back out on track I struggled again to make a good lap time, so I’m really disappointed. I have no excuse for this. I know I could have done better.
Looking at tomorrow we have a good bike set-up and I know in myself I can improve more, so this I will have to show in Warm Up tomorrow. In the race I will fight to catch the front group and finish in the top ten.”