It’s a controversy that’s taken the swimming world by storm, with Australia’s Mack Horton refusing to stand on the podium alongside China’s Sung Yan in apparent protest of his recent dealings with FINA’s doping authority.
The 2013 MotoGP tour will move to Phillip Island in Australia this weekend, and with just three rounds remaining in the race for the championship, there’s certainly no shortage of talking points or story-lines to watch out for.
Young gun Marc Marquez will once again headline the star-studded field as he looks to clinch the championship from defending champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Should he be successful this weekend, the Spaniard would become the youngest ever champion to win the MotoGP title and the first rookie to win the title in 35 years — an event seemingly made for a prestigious course like Phillip Island.
Phillip Island is known as one of the best circuits in Moto GP – and was almost a sure win for retired champion Casey Stoner in front of a big home crowd.
It’s shaping as a memorable weekend for Australians and internationals alike, and with the title on the line, you simply can’t afford to miss any of the action this weekend.
Read on for all the need-to-know information including start times, TV coverage and analysis, as well as the latest on the race for the MotoGP title.
(Note: All times are listed in AEDST.)
KEY RACE INFORMATION
Venue: Phillip Island Circuit, Victoria, Australia
Race Length: 27 laps (120.1km in total)
Lap Record: Casey Stoner, 2008 (1:28.665, Ducati)
Previous Winners: Casey Stoner (2007-12), Marco Melandri (2006)
TV: Channel Ten and ONE (Ch 50. – check local guides))
START TIMES AND WEEKEND SCHEDULE (local time)
Free Practice 1 (Friday, 10:55am to 11:40am)
Free Practice 2 (Friday, 3:05pm to 3:50pm)
Free Practice 3 (Saturday, 10:55am to 11:40am)
Free Practice 4 (Saturday, 2:30pm to 3:00pm)
Qualifying 1 (Saturday, 3:10pm to 3:25pm)
Qualifying 2 (Saturday, 3:35pm to 3:50pm)
Warm-up Practice (Sunday, 11:40am to 12:00pm)
Race: (Sunday, 4:00pm start)
TV SCHEDULE AND LIVE STREAM (check local guides)
Live coverage of both qualifying and the race can be seen via Channel Ten in Australia. Saturday’s coverage will run from 1:00pm to 5:00pm AEST while Sunday’s coverage will run from 11:30am to 5:00pm. TenPlay may provide a live stream of the coverage as well (although still to be confirmed closer to start time).
CURRENT CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Marc Marquez, ESP, Honda (298 points)
2. Jorge Lorenzo, ESP, Yamaha (255 points)
3. Dani Pedrosa, ESP, Honda (244 points)
4. Valentino Rossi, ITA, Yamaha (198 points)
5. Cal Crutchlow, GBR, Yamaha (166 points)
6. Alvaro Bautista, ESP, Honda (136 ponts)
7. Stefan Bradl, GER, Honda (135 points)
8. Andrea Dovizioso, ITA, Ducati (120 points)
9. Nicky Hayden, USA, Ducati (102 points)
10. Bradley Smith, GBR, Yamaha (89 points)
BIGGEST STORYLINES TO WATCH FOR
Can Marc Marquez finish off his stunning season in style?
The hottest story to watch for over the weekend will no doubt be surrounding young gun Marc Marquez.
As mentioned, the Spaniard has the chance to become the youngest ever World Champion and the first rookie to win the Moto GP championship in 35 years when he takes the course at Phillip Island this weekend — a track he’s proven to enjoy racing on having finished third here last year to clinch the Moto2 title.
Having won six MotoGP events this year in stunning style, the youngster can clinch the championship if a variety of scenarios occur. If he wins, Jorge Lorenzo must finish second or better to keep the championship alive, while Pedrosa remains a slim mathematical chance of winning if results go his way.
How will Jorge Lorenzo fare returning to the Island?
As the lone man who stands as a possibility to catch Marquez in the championship race this year, Lorenzo will be looking for a strong performance this weekend. Lorenzo finished second to Stoner at Phillip Island in 2012, but crashed badly in 2011 during warm-up, and therefore has plenty of intrigue surrounding him here as to exactly what kind of a race he will produce. Having been pipped by Marquez for second last weekend in Malaysia, he’ll definitely be out for revenge on the day.
Casey Stoner to be inducted into Hall of Fame
Having won the last six MotoGP events at Phillip Island, it will be somewhat strange for many Australian fans with Casey Stoner not taking part on the day. The 28-year-old will, however, take part in a lap of honor with fellow Australian greats Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner as the MotoGP induct the two-time championship winner into the MotoGP Hall of Fame.
Formula 1 Grand Prix continues with first practice on October 25 for the Indian Grand Prix