Valentino Rossi leads calls for Phillip Island date change

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Valentino Rossi has made another plea to MotoGP bosses to get the Phillip Island race moved to an earlier slot in the calendar to avoid bad weather disrupting the Australian GP.

For the third year in a row, Rossi said he would request to Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta that the race be moved to a March date to try and take advantage of better conditions likely to be provided by the back end of the Australian summer.

Today’s second free practice session was run in heavy rain and gusting winds, while the Phillip Island GP has often been dogged by bad weather.

Rossi’s two previous attempts to get the race moved have failed, but he was to raise the issue again in the regular Friday afternoon Safety Commission meeting.

One issue is the Australian Formula One Grand Prix has traditionally had a March slot on the calendar, and moving the MotoGP race could cause an operational headache for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation. The AGPC runs both the F1 and MotoGP races.

But Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi, who collected his eighth world title at the Twin Ring Motegi just five days ago, said: “It is the wrong time of the year to be having the race in Phillip Island.

“I have been asking for two years with Carmelo, along with all the other riders, to have Phillip Island in March. But the problem is the F1 and if that is in March we have to come at this time of year unfortunately. We will try again to see if it is possible to do something because I think everybody is happy to come here in March. Last year Carmelo said for 2008 it was difficult but maybe for 2009.

“Now looking at the calendar for next year it looks the same but we will see if we have some chance. To come to this fantastic track with wind and rain it spoils it.

“Every time I come here I am very sad because it is the wrong time. Trust me, I tried to push a lot last year to change the race, because Formula One is boring also in the winter.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt