Australian Mike Jones played a starring role today at the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, finishing the race in 15th place and celebrating his first ever MotoGP World Championship point. It was only the second race weekend for “Mad Mike” in the premier class with Avintia Racing, after taking the opportunity to replace Hector Barberá, who in return enjoyed two races with the official Ducati factory Team, replacing Andrea Iannone. After a good debut with the bike and the team in Japan, 22-year-old Jones did another impressive job at home, fighting to grab one point.
Jones’ MotoGP adventure comes to an end after this weekend, as Andrea Iannone will be back with Ducati in Sepang, which means Barbera’s return to the Avintia Racing garage. The Spaniard was unlucky and crashed in the race whilst fighting for the Top 10 with local hero Jack Miller. But in the last two races riding the Desmosedici GP 2016, he gained valuable experience with the bike that he will race next season.
The Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was a nightmare for Loris Baz. He struggled during practice and qualifying to find the best set up of his bike in ever-changing conditions. His performance in today’s warm-up session was quite promising, but after just one lap in the race, the Avintia Racing rider was forced to retire due to some electronic issues on his bike. The Ducati engineers will check all the data to try to identify the problem and make sure it won’t happen again.
MIKE JONES #7 P15
“It is an incredible feeling to get my first World Championship point in MotoGP, especially here at Phillip Island, my home track and in front of my home crowd. I’m very, very happy and very excited. It was a really great race for me. I made a big improvement in comparison to Motegi, I got a much better start and I got away with the guys at the back of the field. All in alI, I was able to gain a lot more experience and improve as a rider on this bike. On Friday and Saturday, it was difficult due to the mixed conditions and today really was the only dry day, so I just got 30 minutes in the warm-up to get ready for a dry race. It was difficult, but thanks to everybody in Avintia Racing and especially my crew, I was able to learn quick and adapt to the bike. This weekend has been good, and all I can say is thank you!”.
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ #8 DNF
“It was a difficult race, because I was only able to lap in the dry in this morning’s warm-up and so for me all the race settings were completely new. After the start I made a recovery that took me into the group with Redding and Petrucci fighting for seventh place, but three laps from the end I made a mistake trying to pass Miller: I went too long, finished on the grass and crashed. It was really a pity, because today I tried to do my best, but it wasn’t sufficient. Again I’d like to thank Ducati, my team Avintia Racing, and everyone who gave me this chance. I didn’t have much luck but now I must look ahead and try and do better in the next two races”.
LORIS BAZ #76 DNF
“Overall the weekend has been tough for me. The first two days, the weather was crazy and we couldn’t really work on the set up. After the warm-up today I had some good expectations, as my pace was quite encouraging. But then we had some electronic issues and my race was finished after just one lap. It is a real shame because today I had the pace to fight for a top 12 result. Now I have to forget this weekend and think about Sepang, where I want to score a good result to boost my confidence ahead of the final round in Valencia.”