Phillip Island Circuit to motivate next Australian win?

Joel Smith  |  Monday 1st April 2019

The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit has long been the hub of motorsport in Australia, and rightly so. Its most distinguishing features – and significant moments in history – are already well-documented, and in the 14 years since its acquisition by Linfox, its sense of tradition has not been usurped by contemporary changes.

Since 1997, the highly-regarded circuit has featured the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the showpiece of which is the MotoGP event, with the presence of 500cc bikes engineered to perfection whipping the audience into a frenzy. The sounds of the bikes combined with the crowd are well-accommodated by the Phillip Island circuit, and it is hoped that this can contribute towards a change in fortune for native riders at the venue.

Between 2007 and 2012, Casey Stoner won six consecutive top-tier MotoGP races at the circuit, but his retirement enabled the monopoly of Mediterranean riders to strengthen even further. The knock-on effect is still in evidence, with Marc Marquez currently standing as a favourite across MotoGP sportsbooks to win the top title for an astonishing seventh time in eight years.

2011: Casey Stoner enjoys his penultimate win at Phillip Island.

New betting frontrunner needed to sustain audience

Although Stoner was powered by a peerless Ducati bike for most of those wins, he still had a number of valid rivals to overcome, including heavyweights like Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, the latter of whom had won at Phillip Island in five of the six years prior to 2007, with both men also being amongst the frontrunners on MotoGP sportsbooks to win outright this year.

Back in 2014, Jack Miller (now Alma Pramac racing in the elite MotoGP roster) won the Moto3 event, while also setting the fastest lap.

Sadly, that is as close to any significant triumph at Phillip Island that any Australian has come in recent times, and anyone wanting to utilise the up-to-date knowledge of trusted Australian sportsbooks to place a free bet on Miller winning so much as a race will be faced with long odds indeed. However, there will always be the legacy of Casey Stoner to look back upon if any native riders need inspiration at this locale.

Jack Miller recalls the great start he made to his home race in 2017, before eventually finishing seventh.

Time on Miller’s side

There is, of course, plenty of time to iron out the problems he experienced. Just one race rarely gives a fair reflection of events to come, and at just 24, Jack Miller has many chances ahead of him to do at least once what came so naturally to Stoner. Encouragingly, he has finished seventh in his last two MotoGP races at Phillip Island, with those finishes representing his closest approach to the podium in the top event of a weekend there.

History also shows that a long gap between native wins in the main MotoGP event at Phillip Island means little come race day. Those in the crowd with longer memories of MotoGP races at the venue will recall that nine years separated Mick Doohan’s third and final win at Phillip Island (in 1998) and Casey Stoner’s first.

Then, as is the case now, those years were dominated by Italian riders, and Miller’s annual upward momentum at Phillip Island indicates that history could easily repeat itself sooner rather than later at the famous circuit, assuming that Miller is blessed with superior machinery within the next two to three years.

The 2019 Australian MotoGP will be held on October 27.

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