Phillip Island provides the magnificent backdrop for the second round of the 2004 Word Superbike Championship, as SBK returns to the classically sculpted 4.445km circuit for the fourteenth time.
The previous winner's roll reads like a who's who of World Superbike legends, with all six of the most recent champions having taken wins at this most challenging of contemporary race tracks.
The most recent PI race winner in the current field is 1996 World Champion and native Australian Troy Corser, who secured a win on the Island in the second leg of the 2000 event.
The ever-improving three-cylinder Foggy Petronas FP-1 machine secured its first ever podium finish at round one in Valencia, thanks to the efforts of Corser's team-mate Chris Walker and thus Corser sees Phillip Island as one of the main opportunities to score his first podium on the unique machine.
“I'm obviously looking forward to going back to Phillip Island,” he stated. “I think that all the riders think that it's the best track on the calendar, especially for me as it's my home race. I'll have a lot of family, friends and supporters there and I will be trying hard to improve on last year's best finish of fifth.
“The flowing nature of the circuit should help us, but you can get held up if you are dicing with another rider. At this stage of our engine development, there are probably only the Siberia and Honda corners where we will lose a bit on acceleration. The competition may have improved since last year but you have to take each day as it comes at Phillip Island as a lot can depend on the weather, when local knowledge can come in handy."
With so many riders in with a chance of joining an illustrious list of previous Island winners, Corser will have no end of competition at this race – not to mention over the entire season.
The first race at Round One in Valencia, affected by changeable weather, provided some unexpected results, but none could deny the skill and commitment shown by both race winners – Ducati Fila's James Toseland and Renegade Ducati's Noriyuki Haga.
Toseland does not have to look hard for his expected closest competitor this weekend, as Superpole winner from Valencia - and team-mate -Regis Laconi is sure to be looking for revenge after a double Valencia DNF.