Phillip Island is regarded as probably the best MotoGP circuit of them all. If you ask anyone decent, like Rossi or anyone rubbish, like Canepa, they would cite the Island as one of their favourites. Although great Eurosport commentator Jamie Whitham never liked it.
It’s great on the PS3 game as well – making you feel like you’ve travelled the many miles to Oz and are am aiming at the Seagulls yourself.
Using a MotoGP bike, it doesn’t really matter which one you use, as the circuit flows so well. We’ll be taking the lap, as you’d expect, with all aides off and using a manual gearbox.
Let’s try it on the Ducati. Screaming down into the downhill, first right-hander, you are shown just the sea, it’s a blind entry so keep completely over to the left. Tap the brakes and go down one, you need to keep your momentum going through the first part of the turn. You can power slide through, but that’s not the quickest way and you can high side pretty easily doing this.
After you’ve hit the apex you can drive through in fifth along the exit of the corner and then keep tight for the next left-hander. Brake, down two and peel into the hairpin. This is a tricky corner; you can lose the front if you’re not patient on the exit. But, once you see the exit, gas it hard and drive through the gears for the long, sweeping left-hander.
Now, you can take it in top or in fifth gear. I prefer to keep it in fifth – I think it helps keep the bike more stable and easier to hit the next, more difficult corner – the next hairpin.
You must remember it – it’s the place where Troy Bayliss knocked himself out a few years back. It’s tough as you’ve gone through the previous corner so quickly it can really creep up on you and you can run out of road very, very quickly. You need to find your braking marker here. I do it by the rev counter in 5th gear. When it hits 12,000 rpm, I brake with both front and back and think I’m Garry McCoy as I back it in.
Now, the second half of the lap gets more technical. A quick spurt of throttle and lay it into the long, tight left-hander. If you go through the apex too quick you can run too wide. I keep it in second, slide it and fire it out on the second part of the corner. Up to fourth I keep it through the esses. Then, next up, Lukey Heights.
Keeping it in fourth gear you are easy on the throttle as you go over the hill and then grab the brakes for the hairpin at the bottom. Down to second and ride it round. Coming out, you can pull a little wheelie for the very long left hander. Take it up to fourth, but not any quicker.
Then, as the corner opens up – nail it and finish your lap. If you’ve done it right, you can get it into the 28s….