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MotoGP Set-up report - Phillip Island
 
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MotoGP Set-up report - Phillip Island - October 7th 2005


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  1. Circuit: Phillip Island
  2. Country: Australia
  3. Track length: 4448 m
  4. Opened: 1956
  5. Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 30.068 (Valentino Rossi, 2003)
  6. MotoGP lap record: 1' 31.102 (Loris Capirossi, 2004)
  7. Last year MotoGP winner: Valentino Rossi
  8. Circuit tel: +61 3 59522710
  9. Circuit web site: http://www.phillipislandcircuit.com.au
  10. The visit to Phillip Island will bring back sweet memories for the Gauloises Yamaha team and Valentino Rossi. About one year ago it was here where Rossi wrote history by winning the 2004 MotoGP World Championship, giving Yamaha its first title in the premier class since 1992, while Rossi won more victories (nine) in one season than any other Yamaha rider in history. By now this last record has already fallen at the previous victorious race in Qatar, adding the tenth race win to Rossi's tally in 2005.

    Being one of Rossi's favorite tracks he is the big favorite for success this year too, but like last year it won't come easy. A year ago 'The doctor' had a race long battle with Sete Gibernau (Honda), winning the race by only 0.097 seconds. In a hard stopping moment Rossi almost ran off the track on lap one, giving Gibernau the chance to strike a gap. But by lap seven Rossi arrived at Gibernau's back wheel and a terrific scrap saw both riders swapping the lead several times.

    Rossi, determined to be champion in true style, overtook Gibernau on the last lap just for a short moment, losing the lead again when he ran wide at Honda corner. The decisive move came when Rossi made a seemingly impossible and final pass on the inside going back into the entrance of Lukey Heights. He held on to take a magnificent victory by the smallest of margins. Not far behind the two race leaders Colin Edwards was having a great race too, fighting with Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros for the last podium spot. At the line Colin came 0.331 seconds short to finish the race in fourth position.

    Set-up report YZR-M1;

    Due to its fast flowing nature Phillip Island is a track most riders love to race on. It is one of the few circuits where they can unleash their manic 240+ horsepower machines. Contrary to some of the recent circuits where braking stability and front end feel is crucial, such as Motegi and Sepang, the fast and flowing nature of Phillip Island requires above all a good linear acceleration and turning stability. The key to a fast lap is a high-speed average, not just top-speed, carrying speed and momentum from one to the next long and high-speed sweeping corners is the key to success.

    'The Island', as it is often referred to, offers a variety of cambers throughout its sweeping 4448m layout, both positive and negative, the rear suspension unit will need to be on the money so to speak. It will need to offer enough feedback and predictability, without pumping through its stroke as the rider tries to drive hard off the side of the tyre, or squatting as the weight transfers onto the rear. The latter will unload the front of the motorcycle, causing it to understeer and push wide - affecting exit speed and eventually lap times. On the other hand too stiff a rear shock will only lead to the front wheel rising while the rider powers off each of the slow and medium speed turns. It will also lead to the fast deterioration of the rear tyre and increase the likelihood of a highside crash.

    The rear shock must use a slightly soft spring rate, to aid feel, with a reasonable amount of preload to prevent rear-end squat. As for the damping, it will be dialed in to help balance out the package over some of the finer bumps, located in some of the high-speed corners. The front forks will mimic the rear set-up to ensure an overall balanced geometry. Too hard and the front will become vague in its feedback, and at these high speeds and lean angles this can be detrimental. Too soft and the basic feel will be too loose, not giving the rider the confidence he needs to carry the high speeds through the corners that is required to be competitive on the Island.

    The M1 engine will be mapped to reach a high top end performance, but not at the expense of a linear delivery. Acceleration off the side edge of the tyre is the key to a fast lap time, especially exiting the final fast turn where momentum can make the difference between winning and losing.