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MotoGP Preview: Grand Prix Of Australia

EVENT: Grand Prix of Australia

WHERE: Phillip Island Circuit, Phillip Island, Australia. Circuit is 2.764 miles (4.448 km), with 12 turns. Race is 27 laps.

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 17. It is the 16th of 18 events this season.

2009 RACE WINNER: Casey Stoner, by 1.935 seconds over Valentino Rossi

2009 POLE WINNER: Stoner, 1 minute, 30.341 seconds

U.S. TV: MotoGP race, 1-2 a.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 17, SPEED (live). Moto2: 1-2 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 17, SPEED (delayed). 125cc: Noon-1 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, Oct. 19, SPEED (delayed).

THE AMERICANS: U.S. riders Ben Spies (Longview, Texas, Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Houston, Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will compete in the MotoGP race. Spies is sixth in the MotoGP World Championship standings, with Hayden seventh and Edwards 11th. Kenny Noyes (Borrego Springs, Calif., Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will compete in the Moto2 race. Noyes is tied for 23rd in the Moto2 World Championship standings.

Ben Spies (after practice Friday): “There wasn't a lot to be gained out there today. I did a couple of laps, and it is not the rain and the cold, but the wind was so unpredictable it was making it quite dangerous. I couldn't really brake on the right line, and to gain anything out there this afternoon I'd have to ride so on the limit that it wasn't worth taking any risks. If it was Saturday morning and it was going to be like this all day, I'd have stuck in a full session, but I wasn't going to learn much when the conditions are that bad. I didn't want to risk getting hurt or tearing up any equipment and making the guys have to build up a new bike for tomorrow just because I made a mistake in less-than-ideal conditions. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we can get some serious work done because I love this track and am confident of another strong performance in the race.” 

Nicky Hayden (after practice Friday): “Those were nasty conditions. I mean nasty. It wasn't so much the wet but the wind. It was really strong, and for me it took a little while to get comfortable with being blown around so much. Other than that, the bike worked well in the wet. We made a little bit of a change to help the bike turn, keeping some weight on the front for the second run, and I was able to go OK. My pace wasn't too bad. Obviously it could be all for nothing if the forecast is right and the conditions are dry from here on, but at this track you have to be prepared for anything and take advantage of every situation. We’re in the top three and very close in the wet, so that's a good sign. Anyway, we'll see what the conditions are like tomorrow and try to take advantage of whatever they are.”

Colin Edwards (after practice Friday): “That's got to be some of the worst conditions you'll ever have to ride in. The track was still wet; it was freezing cold, and the wind was blowing at 900 mph. But after the delay, I guess we were just lucky to even get some time on track. The wind was pretty unpredictable, and going into the first corner, it was unbelievable. Once you pass the finish line it just blasts you from the right, and I had to turn my handlebars while I'm going in a straight line just to fight the wind. And then you have to turn the handlebars back to brake. That is all happening at a fast speed, and it is a pretty weird sensation. It was a session where the times don't really matter that much, so we treated it like a wet test. We played around with all kinds of stuff on the bike. So as miserable as the conditions were, it was still a pretty worthwhile session and we learned a few things that can help us in the rain in the future, particularly with the balance of the bike.”

THEY SAID IT: “Now it’s quite painful, but we will see how the pain goes through the night, and tomorrow we will take another step. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I just hope that the effort is worth it in the end.” – Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa, about riding at this event less than two weeks after undergoing surgery for a broken collarbone

FAST FACTS: The World Championship is available in just one class, 125cc, at this event as Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias clinched the title in MotoGP and Moto2, respectively, on Oct. 10 at the Grand Prix of Malaysia. Just 12 points separate leader Marc Marquez and third place Pol Espargaro in the 125cc standings … 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa is returning to his Repsol Honda Team machine this weekend, less than two weeks after surgery to repair a fractured collarbone suffered in a practice crash Oct. 8 at the Grand Prix of Japan … 2008 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Valentino Rossi has finished on the podium 12 times in 13 starts across all classes at Phillip Island. He finished sixth in 125cc in 1997, his first start at Phillip Island, but has placed in the top three in his last 12 starts at the track … Australian Casey Stoner has won the MotoGP race at his home event for the last three years ... American rookie sensation Ben Spies won a Superbike World Championship event last year at Phillip Island … Marco Melandri is the only rider to have won in three classes at Phillip Island, taking the checkered flag in 125cc in 1999, 250cc in 2002 and MotoGP in 2006 … Spanish riders are assured to win all three World Championships this season, as Lorenzo (MotoGP) and Elias (Moto2) hail from that country. The top three in the 125cc point standings, Marquez, Nicolas Terol and Espargaro, are from Spain.

***

2011 tickets: For information on 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets, visit www.imstix.com, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Ticket office and phone hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

The 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at IMS.

Race Day general admission tickets cost $40, with Friday general admission $10 and Saturday general admission $20. A three-day general admission ticket is $60. A Friday-Saturday general admission ticket is $20 if purchased before Sept. 13, 2010, $25 afterward.

Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free any of the three days of the event when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket.

Race Day reserved seat prices will start at $70.

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