The relationship between Phillip Island and Andrea Dovizioso got off to a good start, but then deteriorated over the year. The Italian won in Australia in 2004, on a 125, but was never able to do it again. Last year there was something of a turnaround, in that he did manage to reach the podium for the first time with Ducati.
A result that augers well for the weekend, though Andrea doesn't want to underestimate the task in hand. Particularly because the forecast is promising autumnal temperatures and rain, conditions that can only make things complicated at a track that is as beautiful as it is challenging.
“On paper, Phillip Island is the toughest of the three back to back tracks we're doing right now, but it's also true that I finished third here last year, and that's the reference we need to follow. The cold and the rain are often a feature here, and so anything can happen".
"Even though I gained points over some of my closest rivals at Motegi, I can't relax if I want to retain second in the championship. I'm determined to score a good result in Australia anyway” he concludes.
Danilo Petrucci: "my goal is still 3rd place in the championship"
Petrucci has never shone at Phillip Island either, his best result a 9th place finish in 2016 with team Pramac. Since returning from the summer break, Danilo appears to have been in great difficulty and he needs to turn things around, also because 3rd place in the championship, which seemed a realistic goal mid-season, is slipping away.
“Phillip Island is a special track that requires a particular riding style. In the last two races, I've had problems with the tyre temperatures but I think things will be different in Australia - explains Petrucci - I'm not far from third in the championship, which is still my goal and one I think is possible. I can't be pleased with my result in Japan of course, and I want to improve at Phillip Island, a track I like. This is a good opportunity for me to take a step forward”.