MotoGP GP de Australia – Phillip Island
The first free practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix took place today at the fast and spectacular Phillip Island circuit, with Reale Avintia Racing riders Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres finishing 20th and 22nd in the combined time sheets.
The whole program of the day was delayed when a Moto3 rider sprayed oil all around the track, but following the intervention of the Race Direction and the circuit marshalls, action resumed two hours later. After rain showers in the morning, finally all sessions were held in dry and sunny, but cool conditions, which is the usual weather for this time of the year on Phillip Island.
Xavier Simeon discovered Phillip Island on a MotoGP bike today. The Belgian was satisfied with his pace using the hard rear tyre option of Michelin, although he hopes to improve also with the soft compound in order to get the best grid position for Sunday’s race.
His teammate Jordi Torres also used the first day to discover the 4.4km circuit on his Ducati MotoGP bike. Torres knows the Australian venue well, as he finished on the podium in Moto2 back in 2013 and was fourth in his debut race in WSBK in 2015. However, all his former references were not valid for MotoGP and today he made sure to go step by step in learning the circuit again and getting comfortable with his Desmosedici. Tomorrow, with all references re-set, he hopes to take a step forward in qualifying.
“It was a crazy day. This a real circuit and riding a MotoGP bike here is another world compared to Moto2. I got injured here last year, which is why I took it easy on the first few laps today. Later on, with increasing confidence, we started to improve and got faster on each exit. I’m satisfied with my pace, but when I grabbed a soft rear tyre towards the end, I was not able to improve. My feeling was not good and I didn’t have enough grip to go faster. It should not be like that, but at the moment I find myself more comfortable with the hard tyre. Tomorrow I hope to enjoy riding the bike again and to improve my position on the grid.”
“We had a good day. We took things calmly because even though I know the circuit, my references from the past were different because and I was used to get to the turns at a different speed. Once I had adjusted to the additional spee of the MotoGP bike, we started to improve the set-up step by step. Maybe we took it a little bit too easy, because in the end we ran out of time and couldn’t push for a faster lap. But overall we worked well. There were a lot of crashes today and I didn’t want to destroy the bike or get hurt. It was very important to finish both sessions on the bike. With the additional experience, I ‘m sure I can take another step tomorrow.”