Tuesday, November 6, 2018

2018 Phillip Island MotoGP

I took four days off work recently so that I could drive down to Phillip Island to watch the MotoGP circus. It was the same plan as last year but this year my brother wanted to come down. We both decided on getting there on Thursday afternoon so we could be at the track first thing on Friday morning for the practise sessions. Flyboy had work commitments early Monday morning which would mean that he would have to leave on Sunday morning and miss the race, a real shame but he did watch it on tv when he got home.

I drove down the Hume Highway to Gundagai on Wednesday night after work and stayed in the Gundagai Motel at a reasonable $85 for the night, it's easy access to and from the highway and without any road noise. I didn't have to get up so early in the morning but awoke at 5:30am and couldn't get back to sleep so I got up and left with a drive through maccas breaky by 6:30am.

One lone Rider on the Hume Hwy Goodness?

I arrived within about 15 minutes of Dave and his son Will. It was going to be his first motorcycle event. Boy was he going to be in for a real treat as the MotoGP boys really do put on a great show. We had a quick beer in San Remo before the rozzers showed up, I was half hoping someone was going to get tasered for our enjoyment but is wasn't to be, apparently us Aussie motorcyclists are not like they were back in the seventies.

We had a bit of a look around Cowes where I bought myself some Andy Straps before heading to the track to set up our tents for the weekend. Thursday weather was fantastic but would it hold out?

Yours truly in Cowes
On the way back to the car we noticed some mischievous locals had set up roadside on the way into Cowes with some rather interesting signs. Needless to say there were quite a few limiters tested by passing bikes and some cars.

With Geoff and Ray turning up on Friday we set up their tents ready to go and headed out to get some beer so that we wouldn't dehydrate in the harsh Aussie weather. It was an early night for us as it got cold fast once the sun went down and the track side campground was fairly quiet I noticed. I expect this will pick up over the next two nights.

FRIDAY - 26th

I was up early again despite vowing to sleep in today. Ah well all good intentions, I did wait for the rain to stop before getting up though. We made our way to the visitor centre for a spot of breakfast and then made our way down to the track, where the conditions were looking a bit grim compared with yesterday's blue skies. It was cold too only about 15°C then with wind chill on top.

Mmmmm great weather for racing....ducks.
The Australian Superbikes were out on track in the rain and I thought this would be great opportunity to visit the expo tent and get out of the rain and wind. It was a good decision. The expo had all the usual bike related mumbo jumbo that you see every year, nothing much new except Suzuki's new Katana 2.0.

Suzuki's New Katana. I wasn't overly impressed as the original looked more out there then the new one did. It kind of looked a bit tame.

Will dropping one of the demo bikes......oops.

Alpinestars had a stand this year with a display of their tech-air suits. All that motogp developed technology has now become available in suits that you can buy and use on the street.

The Alpinestars stand had a set of Dovi's and Marquez leathers on display that were damaged in a crash. Interesting to see them in this state and how good these suit perform under extreme conditions That Marquez bloke sure is a little fella.

We made our way round to MG corner whilst the track was cleaned up from a oil spill during Moto3 practise, apparently one rider dropped oil all the way from pit exit to Honda corner. So we had 2 hours of boredom which reminded me of the World Superbike round where nothing happened for hours.


At least I wasn't the only paparazzi

Finally the Moto3 bikes came out followed by the Moto2 bikes. Here are some of the pics I took from MG and turn 11.

Jorge Martin

Marco Bezzecchi

Alonzo Lopez

Then out came the Moto2 bikes for their practise session.

Alex Marquez

Dominique Aegerter

Luca Marini - right

I noticed this one guy sliding it around turn 11, woh he was really on it. So I continued taking some photos. Then I saw him again and he was sliding sideways again like Stoner, but then it went into a huge high side. I managed to capture the end result of the crash. Turns out it was Remy Gardner, Wayne Gardner's son. Luckily he wasn't hurt and could continue with the race on Sunday. It was a pretty big high side though.

Remy Gardner

I noticed that there was a bunch of school kids here today. Phillip Island schools have the best school excursion ever.....

We continued our on our way around the track making sure to keep hydrated along the way. Wouldn't want to melt in this hot Aussie sun, Burke and Wills could have learnt something from me.

On the way the MotoGp missiles made their way onto the track. Let the madness commence......

The Crutch looking for a tow truck......

Siberia turned out to be a fantastic place to take photo's of the bikes for 2 reasons.
1. Its relatively close to the track from the fence
2. The bikes are travelling at a much lower speed than other parts of the track

So here are a few of the many I took from here. It was so hard to choose which one's to use as I got a few hundred great pics from this vantage point. But boy were these bastards so loud from this spot when they get hard on the gas.

World Champion Marc Marquez

Cal Crutchlow


Drunken Rossi Fan

Bautista was having a fun day out learning why Lorenzo's bike is so hard to ride. Not long after I took this shot Rossi and Marquez decided they'd like a closer look at the gravel trap as well.


Rossi also thought dirt tracking was better than road riding..........


Nakagmi had a big off in front of us at Siberia and his bike slammed into the fence. We should have offered him $1500 for it in that shape. He was whisked off quickly back to the pits to get his second bike.



Crutchlow ended up having a big off at the end of the main straight and was flown to Melbourne Hospital for surgery on a fractured ankle, putting him out for the season.

These two roosters took some down time to watch the Motogp practise from the hill on Siberia. It can be a quite nice spot weather permitting, notice they are rugged up in warm gear despite the bright sunshine.

The Maniac




After the final motogp practise session the Australian Superbikes came out to play. From here we walked back around to the campground via Southern Loop briefly stopping in the Bass Straight stand to watch the ASBK. Bayliss, Alerton and Herfoss were hard at it battling for the lead in another super close race.

By the time we got back to the campground Ray and Geoff were there downing a few beers to starve off dehydration from the long ride to the island. Friday night we got treated to the newly released movie called Wayne, the storey of Wayne(Me) Gardner. Some great footage in there and not a bad way to pass some time. It was very cold tonight and we went to bed early......


I woke early again this morning at about 5:30am, at least I wasn't hung over as we went to bed at about 9:30pm. Yep we are such the party animals....wooh, yeah.

Geoff's bike looked particularly good in the early morning light.

After another breakfast at the visitor centre we wandered down to the track along turn 1 exit. The ASBK were back out on track this time splashing around in the rain. And they were riding hard. Way too hard for my liking especially seeing as the championship was finished 2 weeks prior. These guys were swapping the lead, lap after lap in the wet.



Lucky that these guys weren't required to use their considerable talent.....

or these guys for that matter...

Jack Miller Fan Club

Whilst the moto2 bikes were out on track we made our way around to Siberia again and the sun decided it would finally come out.

Moto2 & 3 came out for their qualifying sessions and there was more carnage....

Phillip Oettl
Tony Arbolino

Celestino Vietti


The missus said when I left that "if I don't come home with something for the kids then don't bother coming back". I pondered on this for several days as to how good my life could be but then caved and bought the family some hugely expensive gifts.

Left hand picture shows 2 riders merchandise, Miller the home town boy and Vinales the eventual race winner. Right hand side is all Rossi merchandise. It really makes me wonder what the Motogp crowd are going to do when Rossi retires. Who's merchandise will they be flogging then?

Lifting my head to rehydrate myself with yet another bourbon I noticed 4 Roulette's plane's flying overhead. I saw them again when I took another drink, funny the things you see when your not looking for them.

The two seater motogp bike was brought out again to scare the living shit out of some unsuspecting celebrities. I bet they had to wash those leathers out after those few laps.

Dual seat madness

Back at the campground at the end of the day for a few beers, some food and entertainment. There was a band playing in the shed/makeshift bar area. After the first set was finished we couldn't take anymore, this band was so bad I'd renamed them the butchers, as they had butchered every song they played except two.

Back to the tents and it was bloody cold by now with no fire so it was another early night, in bed by 10pm this time. No sooner than I had worked my way into my sleeping bag than the fireworks show started outside followed by rev limiter testing....but not for that long before I drifted off.

I'd slept in a bit today until about 7:30am. Dave and Will had been up early and left for the airport and home.

The weather today was looking much better than yesterdays so I was really looking forward to the sunburn after being frozen yesterday.

We decided that we would meet up with Stu in the back of the pit area and check out the ASBK paddock. That Bayliss guy was stalking us again, might have to get an restraining order on him.

ASBK #1 Fireblade

We made our way back out to the track after the moto3 race so we could watch moto2 and the GP from turn 1. It was turning out to be a great day, I even got down to a t shirt for a couple of hours.


Between moto2 and the GP this bad boy turned up. This was the highlight of the day. These F-18's are so loud and fast, and that's when they are going slow. This was level 11 awesomeness, unlike the Roulettes the day before, I don't think anyone noticed them at all, the entire motogp paddock was stopped staring into the sky.

Super Sic, gone but not forgotten
As we were in the back of the pits area we failed to get a good spot along the fence for the race and the crowd of people was quite deep so I didn't end up getting many race day photos. We were a little back up the hill on turn 1 but still great viewing.

Vinales leading the race
The losers

The bikes flashed past us at the end of the straight into turn one and there was an almighty crash. Zarco hit Marquez and came off right in front of us at 280kmh. Amazing that both of them came away unscathed. Scary stuff.

And then it was over way too quickly, Vinales took the victory on the Yamaha over Iannone and then Dovizioso. We made our way back to the campground which was almost half empty. More beers and fireworks and cold was waiting for us.

Monday was time to pack up and head home. We headed into San Remo for breakfast at the bakery before we headed our separate ways, Geoff and Ray were riding back up around the coast whilst I hit the highway and cruise control up the Hume Hwy.

Another enjoyable if not cold Phillip Island MotoGP weekend away with the boys, made a bit more enjoyable with the company of my older brother and his son. Thanks for the great weekend guys. Looking forward to doing it again next year.......


  1. Great race photos! Thank you for sharing them.

  2. Hi Richard
    Thanks for the comments, one thing the photos can't show is the cold and wind but otherwise it was a top weekend.


  3. 15 degrees....cripes, freezing...

    Great pics dude. We've had a few F-18's over here at times too - love seeing them, especially since we decided we don't need an air force.

    Should come over to Whanganui this Xmas...

    1. 15 and then wind chill it was about 11-12 most of the day, yeah cold.
      Hey why weren't you there? I gave you the dates month in advance.

  4. Well Steve, you've sure nailed that camera of yours mate. Congrats on some fabulous photos. Nakagami in the gravel is worth framing and putting on your shed wall!

    1. Thanks mate. I never thought about printing them out, not a bad idea, thanks Geoff.

    2. Our Canon Pixma printer loaded with photographic paper does a really nice job of printing A4 glossies. Plain photo frames are as cheap as chips. Got some from our Africa trip on the walls upstairs but anything to do with bikes get assigned to the garage or workshop by Jennie. I suspect you'll be in the same boat :-)

    3. Go to Officeworks and look at getting a few canvas done. They are pretty cheap and some of those would look great.

  5. "The missus said when I left that "if I don't come home with something for the kids then don't bother coming back". I pondered on this for several days as to how good my life could be but then caved and bought the family some hugely expensive gifts".

    I near fell of my chair laughing at that! Great photos there bro. That is one nice camera and lens! We had fun despite the cold but maybe a warm room in Cowes for us next year? Who knows what you might see as you take a swig......

    1. I could slum it in a nice warm room in Cowes and pleb it on a bus to the track next year. Geoff and Ray can carry their own tents lmao.

  6. A great write up and awesome pics Steve. It was a top weekend and I really enjoyed catching up with you again and meeting Dave.

    1. It's always a pleasure to speak with you mate, and Dorothy had the winning hat on too!

  7. just reading this article made me cold..!!!....well done hoss

  8. Great report Steve.
    Was cold like that when I went however that did not bother me on race day but I was not fussed about the track from a spectators point of view.
    I am told Sepang on the other hand is terrific but never got around to going there.
    Shame about the new Katana, they should have got the French to do the design like with the original, they have a flair for new shapes I think.

    1. PI facilities leave a lot to be desired. They need to spend some money on some permanent stands with roofing and toilets. Otherwise it's not to bad. Cheaper for me to go to PI than Sepang. I'm not a fan of the shape of the new katana. It just didn't do anything for me.