Carlos Checa arrives in Australia after a gritty performance in Malaysia, where he finished in fifth place after a trying weekend.

The Spaniard, who celebrated his impending 31st birthday on Wednesday by qualifying second at Sepang, never gave up despite suffering grip problems in the cooler conditions of race day, eventually securing a hard-earned place in the top five. However, he wants to do even better in the final two rounds of the year.

After some inevitable birthday celebrations, he switches his focus to the stunning Phillip Island circuit. Although he is looking forward to battling for another top finish, the Spaniard has certain reservations after a difficult trip there last year, when he finished the race in eleventh place.

"Phillip Island was the worst result that all the Yamaha M1 riders had last year," he explained, "We had big problems there changing direction for some reason. The
bike has changed a bit since then, so I hope that the feedback we gave last year means that the bike will handle a little better there now.

"It's the most picturesque track we go to and one of my favourites. I really like the place and the people, and like last year I will spend my birthday on the Island. I just hope that we can be more competitive for my birthday present!"



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