MotoGP™ bound for Australian sunshine
Posted on Feb 16, 2016 by Nick Harris
The four British MotoGP™ stars are Australia bound for the second official test of the new season at the magnificent Phillip Island circuit, which starts tomorrow (Wednesday). The 2.764 miles clifftop circuit situated 80 miles south of Melbourne stages the vital three day test just two weeks after the first test of the season at Sepang in Malaysia.
It was a good Sepang test for the four British MotoGP stars. Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith put in a typical three days on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. He completed more laps than any other rider which included a 20 lap race simulation and still finished tenth fastest.
Isle of Man – based midlander Cal Crutchlow was delighted with the performance of his much modified LCR RCV213V Honda to finish sixth fastest after three energy sapping days.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding was equally happy with his encouraging seventh place after switching from Honda to the Octo Pramac Ducati team.
Not so lucky was Irishman Eugene Laverty, after a crash on the first day from the Aspar Ducati. He damaged his right wrist but will be fit for the Phillip Island test, where the assessment of the new Michelin tyres and the electronics will be crucial for the riders and teams.
Despite the 180 mph crash of Frenchman Loris Baz in Sepang, which caused Michelin to withdraw their softer option tyre as a precaution, the tyres preformed well through the test. Also the new standardized Magneti Marelli electronics caused fewer problems than expected for most but not all teams.
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo led the way from team-mate Valentino Rossi. Former double World Champion Casey Stoner returned as the Ducati test rider to finish fourth in Sepang, but the Australian who has won six times at Phillip Island will not be at this test. His countryman Jack Miller will return riding the Estrella Galicia 0.0. Marc VDS Honda after missing Sepang because of a broken leg sustained in a motocross training accident.
The Ecstar Suzuki team hopes to be able to test their complete new seamless gearbox while Aprilia are trying flat out to have their 2016 machine available.