2018 MICHELIN AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX PREVIEW | Events
Reckon you’ve got heaps of time to try and kill before Sunday’s 27-lap MotoGP race? Think again
Urban Alley is back for 2018, where you can witness live urban art being created, nick in and get yourself a new haircut or a shave at the Chop Shop, and check out an impressive display of bikes while you’re there. As well as a great range of historic machinery to feast your eyes on, there’ll be a swag of cool customs, which will be open for voting on by GP goers, to determine the people’s choice. To vote, head to the event’s website and follow the links, or straight to motogp.com.au/vote-2018. Voting closes at 4pm on Saturday 27 October, so get up there early and get it done.
Australia’s five-time world champ Mick Doohan will be the rider charged with punting the race version of the Energica Ego around the 4.45km Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, ahead of the inaugural FIM Enel MotoE World Cup next year. With the series being run in conjunction with five European rounds of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, Doohan’s quick laps will be the only opportunity we’ll have to see the bike in action in the metal, until if and when the series is expanded to include all rounds.
There’s nothing like a paddock full of international talent spotters to spur on epic win-it-or-bin-it action in the Aussie support categories. This year, there will be races for 1000cc Superbikes as well as the Supersport 300 class, both of which always result in close ’bar-bashing battles, so there will be all the big names of Australian racing, as well as a few lesser-known dark horses. Be sure to head over the bridge that straddles Gardner Straight and wander through the support paddock, too. You’ll more than likely bump into our three-time WorldSBK champ Troy Bayliss getting himself and his bike into race-winning contention.
Whether it’s baking hot, howling rain or you genuinely have your eye on that not-in-showrooms-yet 2019 model, then the massive GP Expo shed is where you can escape the weather and ogle what is pretty much the country’s largest all-encompassing dealership. New bikes, old bikes, merchandise, riding apparel and a huge range of accessories will be available for you to sit on, feel on, try on and buy! Our hot tip? Get up there near either the opening times or closing times to escape the huge crowds it invariably attracts.
The parking lot
No, really. If you’ve got an hour to kill before your favourite riders hit the circuit, nick over to the motorcycle parking area — some of the gems you’ll stumble across are worth the entry ticket alone to see. If you can’t be bothered, don’t worry. We plan on heading up there with a camera and a notebook, so stay tuned for some our faves featured in an upcoming issue of AMCN.
Here, sign this!
The Spokes Entertainment Stage will host autograph sessions and appearances from riders in all three MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 categories, as well as Aussie motorsport legends, VIPs and Australian Superbike and Supersport campaigners. If you want an autograph from your favourite premier-class rider, there’s a process. You need to get up to the stage at 9am sharp on either Friday or Saturday and queue up for a chance to get hold of a priority wristband. Be sure to have your entry ticket (you won’t be allowed in the queue without it) and once you reach the front of the queue you’ll be given a raffle ticket. Only a certain amount of tickets will be winning tickets, which can then be redeemed for the all-important wristband. If and when you have that, check the board (or the website) to find out what time your rider will be signing autographs – and make sure you get up there with plenty of time to spare.
It’s a plane!
The plane spotters among us will notice that those talented pilots who cause our jaws to hit the deck actually have a new model plane to throw around the sky this year. The Pilatus PC-9/A machines, which have been in use by the Royal Australian Air Force since 1989, have this year been replaced by a far more modern Pilatus PC-21 aircraft, which the RAAF says is the most advanced pilot training aircraft in the world. And don’t worry, that pre-race fast jet flyover that inevitably ends in you spilling your beer is back for 2018, too!
Hear that hooter? That was the five-minute board meaning there’s just 300 seconds between now and the start of Sunday’s 27-lap Australian Grand Prix! Stop what you’re doing, run to the bar and get to the fence, because if the last three premier-class races hosted by the world’s most picturesque racetrack are anything to go by, 2018 is going to be a corker!
We’re glad you asked. Cos the circuit’s rather blandly named Visitor’s Centre is well worth a visit! As well as an unrivalled collection of Italian GP-winning machinery, there’s slot cars, race simulators and even an informative display that will walk you through the circuit’s rich 90-year history. If you fancy a break from food on a stick, then there’s the Champions Cafe, which offers a café style lunch menu – and it’s fully licensed.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen freestyle BMX and trials riders, their skill and bravery never stops causing onlookers to inhale sharply. Former world freestyle champ Jack Field will have his purpose-built Flair Riders course set-up at Lukey Heights and will be performing at various times across Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He’s worth the walk up there, we promise.
World on-track action
8.30am Gates open
10am Moto3 FP1 (40 mins)
10.55am MotoGP FP1 (45 mins)
11.55am Moto2 FP1 (45 mins)
1.35pm Moto3 Qualifying (40 mins)
2.30pm MotoGP FP4 (30 mins)
3.10pm MotoGP Q1 (15 mins)
3.35pm MotoGP Q2 (15 mins)
4.05pm Moto2 Qualifying (45 mins)
7pm Gates close
8am Gates open
10.40am Moto3 Warm-up (20 mins)
11.10am MotoGP Warm-up (20 mins)
11.40am MotoGP Warm-up (20 mins)
12.25pm MotoGP Parade lap
1pm Moto3 Grand Prix (23 laps)
2.20pm Moto2 Grand Prix (25 laps)
4pm MotoGP Grand Prix (27 laps)
7pm Gates close
Can’t make it?
Oh well, that sucks, but let’s not dwell on it. If you can’t be trackside this year this is how you can pretend you actually are.
Channel 10 and ONEHD will broadcast the live qualifying sessions and races for all classes, and will run through to 5pm to include the MotoGP podium presentation. Fox Sports will broadcast the event too, so check local guides for details.
Anyone who has forked out their hard-earned for a subscription to the official online MotoGP coverage will tell you it’s money well spent. Being so late in the season, if you subscribe now, you’ll pick up a bargain for the remaining rounds.
There are some beaut MotoGP apps for your phone or tablet, both official or otherwise. The official MotoGP Live Experience app is coloured dots moving around an animated track in real time, as well as live timing and the latest news.
Tune into the circuit’s GPTV audio feed to ensure you’re not missing out on anything — even when you’re lined up for the loo. The frequency for the live commentary is 87.6FM.