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“You have to throw everything you have at it”: riders ready to take on the Island

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“You have to throw everything you have at it”: riders ready to take on the Island

“You have to throw everything you have at it”: riders ready to take on the Island
“You have to throw everything you have at it”: riders ready to take on the IslandThe title fight touches down in Australia! Hear from Bagnaia, Martin, Bezzecchi, Viñales, Miller, Quartararo and Di Giannantonio on Thursday.

Hold onto your hats! It’s time for the title fight to take on Phillip Island… and it will SURELY not be a two-rider showdown at the MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

On Thursday, the first press conference saw Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) joined by closest challenger Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), now 18 points back, and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) as he hangs in there in the fight for the crown.

Then, near-winners in Indonesia Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) were joined by Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) fresh from his best ever finish, with the line-up rounded out by the man, the myth, the Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ahead of his home round.

Here are some quotes and talking points from Thursday!

LINE UP 1: BAGNAIA – MARTIN – BEZZECCHI

FRANCESCO BAGNAIA: “It was great absolutely. It was a difficult period like I said last weekend so to finally be able to win again with this performance and starting from P13 was fantastic. I’m very happy about the feeling with the bike, it was incredible. I was very happy with the braking and the grip I was feeling compared to Saturday already. It was so much better and it’s a great step for the for the rest of the season.”

How much do you like riding here?
“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° and a bit of wind, and Sunday will be very strange because it looks like we will have 12° and 50 km an hour 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 3 and 10, also the last corner, I love everything so let’s see.”

How tough is it when it rains?
“For me, it’s more difficult here than in Japan because here it can change from one minute to the next, so let’s see. In Japan it was already quite difficult to adapt to the wet weather conditions, but we are always prepared for it so let’s see. I’m more focused on finding good feeling from the start of tomorrow and trying to be competitive.”

How important was it for you to seize that lead back of the championships so very quickly?
“I was not expecting to be the leader again. I did a great job because I was third already within three laps. I saw that Jorge was always in the same position but then the three laps before he crashed, he started to push really, really hard and then he crashed so when I saw him crash, I just thought stay calm, I knew that I was managing the rear tyre perfectly and when I saw that there was only 10 laps to go I was trying to be closer to Maverick and then overtake him for the win.”

Tough pill to swallow in Indonesia, chance to bounce back?
JORGE MARTIN: “It was not easy that evening after the race, 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.”

Changeable weather, relaxed about it?
“I’m confident in all conditions. I feel I am strong and fast so I have to stay calm and take advantage of this speed. For sure, maybe not like in Indonesia when I crashed but the point from then was I had three seconds, so I have to be a bit more calm and finish all the races.”

Now you’re the hunter once more… can you keep the pressure on Pecco?
“The shortest lead in history! Just 24 hours. Hopefully I can recover those points. It would be super nice to have the chance to fight for the Championship in Valencia, but you know, with everything that happens, I will try to just be competitive.”

MARCO BEZZECCHI “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.”

On his recovery:
“Yeah, the pain was very intense, especially during the Grand Prix. Already after the sprint, the stress on the shoulder was a lot but after the Grand Prix it was even more, all my neck muscles and my arm my chest and everything was very much in pain as I came here, I tried with my physio just to treat it as much as possible to try to improve the situation and I think it’s a little bit better now.”

Do you think this might be slightly easier for the collarbone this weekend because it’s less hard-braking zones?
“Yeah, braking was the toughest part for me, but also changes of direction weren’t easy so I don’t know what to expect here to be honest. Of course, there’s less braking so maybe this can be helpful for me, but very high-speed corners and moving the bike at a very high speed is very demanding physically, but I think I am a little bit stronger now compared to last weekend, so I think I can try to fight.”

What do you think of this track?
“Yeah, this track is fantastic I really like it. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a podium here in any class so hopefully this year I can try to fight for it at least. I can’t wait to jump on the bike.”

LINE UP 2: VIÑALES – QUARTARARO – MILLER – DI GIANNANTONIO

MAVERICK VIÑALES: “Mandalika was amazing. Really good to lead the race, really good to lead some 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.”

What do you like, or what are you best at at Phillip Island?
“Well actually, I think I’m really good at fast corners and also many other tracks where there is fast corners, I’m quite fast. Somehow I’m able to do it, but Phillip Island is always special and we want to start the weekend with a lot of calmness. We want to try to work well, and if we if we work well and we give the maximum we will have the speed to fight at the front.”

Do you see this is one of the best opportunities to take the first win?
“I think that if I work well, it can be a bit easier than the other tracks. Somehow the bike suits quite well to these kinds of corners, but it’s very tough because our competitors have a very strong level and there are a lot of them. However we’re also there, and we have the speed so that makes us very happy and very proud. We need to continue with this process. It’s a process and you need races at the front, it’s not like you just go there and magically you have the speed, you have to build up to it. That’s what we’re doing so for sure I know once I win one I will win more. We are are in this situation where we now have this wall and we need to break it.”

FABIO QUARTARARO:
“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.”

Alex Rins won here last year on an in-line four, does that give you encouragement this year?
“I don’t think the in-line four is the problem I think the power is the issue. I tried to save the tyre too quickly last year, but you know when you exit the last corner during the straight you are missing this power… I made some mistakes but I know this year, what to do if I’m in the same situation.”

This track is a riders circuit. Do you agree with that?
“Well half and half, of course its a track where you need to put yourself on the limit because there’s some really really fast corners. You have to basically throw everything you have at it, but you know I think a few years ago maybe it was much more of a rider’s circuit, but now I think it’s a little bit different, but I think it’s gonna be fun.”

You and the team of any specific targets to achieve in his final part of the season?
“To be honest, we don’t have any targets. Since the halfway point of the season we’ve been working in a very different way and we are working pretty well, but like I said I think the target for the next few races is the qualify well and this for me with that already, we can make a big step forward.”

JACK MILLER: “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.”

It feels like you are close to making the final step with KTM…
“Yeah, it feels like that. In Motegi we had great pace in the Sprint in the dry, and then in the race in the wet I had more to give. Indonesia was my best showing at a low grip track. I feel quietly confident about this weekend, but there’s lots of fast guys so we’ll see.”

FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO: “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.”

How tough has this period been with people talking about Marc Marquez taking your seat?
“I have a great crew at home, family and friends help a lot, to keep me in the zone and not lose focus. On personal level I always try to improve and be faster. It hasn’t been easy but it’s part of the game. My revenge can be being fast on the track. I have an offer from the bar at the circuit, just joking. We are working on my future and hopefully it will be bright.”

What is your priority for the future, is the goal is to stay here?
“My goal is to stay. I am a MotoGP rider. I am proving to myself and everyone that I am fast enough to be here. It seems there are chances. My crew is doing a good job let’s see what happens, I just focus on the track.”

And where are those chances?
“Honda has a seat. My goal is to stay, why not take the seat at Honda, but seems there are more chances, and when it’s clear we will decide what is best for me and my future.”

On other discussions, other classes or championships?
“My manager has B, C, D plans. But the goal is to stay. If we can’t stay here, then we will consider other options!”

Hold onto your hats! It’s time for the title fight to take on Phillip Island… and it will SURELY not be a two-rider showdown at the MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

On Thursday, the first press conference saw Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) joined by closest challenger Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), now 18 points back, and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) as he hangs in there in the fight for the crown.

Then, near-winners in Indonesia Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) were joined by Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) fresh from his best ever finish, with the line-up rounded out by the man, the myth, the Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ahead of his home round.

Here are some quotes and talking points from Thursday!

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