Antonio Cobas, technical director of the Camel Pramac Pons team, describes the challenges that will face the MotoGP teams at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix...

"Due to its picturesque setting, the wind at this Grand Prix is always an important factor to take into consideration when setting up the bikes. A curious fashion has been apparent in recent years where holes are drilled into the sides of the fairings to diminish the influence of the strong winds on the bike for the series of fast corners on the opposite side of the track to the start and finish straight.

"Although it does not appear to be a fast track, Phillip Island is one of the tracks with the highest average speed in the World Championship (174.205 km/h).

"Even though it does not have a particularly long straight (900 metres), the corners leading onto and at the end of the start/finish straight are very fast and are taken at over 180km/h. This means the riders can reach the end of the straight at more than 320km/h.

"The bike set-up at this circuit is made taking into account the corners, which are taken very quickly and with the throttle open. This means stiff rear springs, especially in the section with fast, continuous corners where the bike must be fairly rigid to absorb the power. Also, if we fitted soft rear springs the front end would lose resistance and the steering would be vague.

"Another characteristic of the circuit is the tyre-wear. After the track surface was relaid recently, Phillip Island now has one of the most abrasive surfaces in the World Championship. If we add to that the fact that there are many corners where the bike accelerates early through the corner with the throttle fully open, the resulting tyre-wear is very high. For this reason, on certain occasions for the race we have to find a compromise between the setting for the suspension and the durability of the tyres.

"As a general rule, the race here is normally one of the most exciting in the World Championship as there are many points in the circuit where it is relatively easy to overtake and also as we are near the end of the season the riders generally take more risks."



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