October 18, 2013 | By Paul Kelly
MotoGP: Australian Grand Prix Storylines
The 2013 MotoGP World Championship continues Oct. 16-18 with the Australian Grand Prix at the Phillip Island Circuit, with action in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
The 18-round World Championship included the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 16-18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Here’s a look at three storylines for the Australian Grand Prix:
Marquez Can Clinch: Marc Marquez will get his first chance this weekend to become the first rookie to win the premier-class title since American legend Kenny Roberts in 1978.
Repsol Honda rider Marquez leads Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo by 43 points in the standings and needs to score eight points more than Lorenzo to clinch the World Championship with two races remaining.
Reigning World Champion Lorenzo isn’t fading without a fight. He was quickest in practice Friday while 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Marquez was second overall despite escaping injury in a crash at the tricky Lukey Heights corner.
Somebody New: The Australian Grand Prix is guaranteed to produce a unique finish because this will be the first year since 2006 that Casey Stoner has not stood atop the podium as the winner.
Stoner won his home event for six consecutive years – from 2007-12 – before retiring after last season.
Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi is the only rider in the field this weekend who has won a premier-class race in Australia. He won five consecutive races from 2001-05 at Phillip Island.
Power Problems For Hayden?: American Nicky Hayden could be forced to start this race – or one of the final two races, at Japan and Spain – from the pit lane due to exhausting his allowed allocation of five engines this season for his Ducati.
Hayden’s last – and freshest – Desmosedici engine expired in a cloud of smoke during the Grand Prix of Malaysia on Oct. 13.
Ducati will try to mix and match the remaining four engines in a mechanical patchwork quilt to get Hayden through to the checkered flag next month at Valencia. But Ducati technical officials admit there’s a chance 2006 World Champion Hayden may need to start from pit lane at Phillip Island, Motegi or Valencia as a penalty for the team bolting a sixth engine into his GP13 frame.
Hayden’s disappointing five-year tenure with the Ducati factory team will end after this season. He just signed with the privateer Aspar team to ride a Honda RCV1000R “customer” prototype in MotoGP in 2014 and 2015, returning him to the manufacturer with which he spent the first six years of his MotoGP career and won the 2006 World Championship.
Race: Australian Grand Prix
Date: Sunday, Oct. 20
Round: Sixteenth of 18 races in 2013
Circuit: Phillip Island Circuit, Phillip Island, Australia
Distance: 27 laps on 12-turn, 2.764-mile circuit
2012 Winner: Casey Stoner, Honda
U.S. Riders: Nicky Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team; Colin Edwards, Houston, NGM Mobile Forward Racing.
TV: MotoGP: 9 a.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 20, FOX Sports 1. Moto2: 9 p.m. (ET) Monday, Oct. 21, FOX Sports 2. Moto3: 10 p.m. (ET), Monday, Oct. 21, FOX Sports 2.
2014 tickets: Tickets for the 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP will go on sale Monday, Nov. 4 by visiting www.ims.com/tickets, calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 or visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.
Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.ims.com/tickets. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.
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