MotoGP hits Phillip Island – Full preview and schedule

MotoGP 2023

Round 16 – Australian Grand Prix

As MotoGP arrives back in Australia there is a lot on the line after some amazing twists of fate on both Saturday and Sunday at Mandalika.

On Saturday Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) continued his stunning run, taking the Championship lead for the first time as he won his fourth Sprint on the bounce and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) struggled to eighth after failing to make it out of Q1.

Hero on Saturday…

But on Sunday, while leading by a country mile Martin’s run came undone after a small mistake saw him go off line and onto a dirty part of the circuit which resulted in him going down at the next corner.  He watched on from the fence as his newly acquired championship lead disappeared in front of his very eyes.

Zero come Sunday…

Bagnaia had already been on quite some mission to slice through the pack. With Martin’s crash, third became second and then the Italian attacked Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) to take the lead and win. A great performance from Pecco after some had already started to write him off.

Last year, Bagnaia was on the podium and took the Championship lead that would lead to his first premier class crown on this very turf. Martin, after some hot pace early on, was only seventh… but the top seven were covered by eight-tenths.

2022 Phillip Island MotoGP – Image RbMotoLens

Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), meanwhile, ain’t out of it yet either. It’s a long shot, but the Italian soldiered on at Mandalika despite that recent collarbone surgery, and in Australia last year was very, very fast – as was team-mate Luca Marini. Despite their injuries both have won races at recent rounds and have been showing great speed, Marini scoring pole and the Sprint Race victory in Indonesia last time out.

Can Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) join that fight at the front? Has Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) got more impressive form after his best finish yet? What about his team-mate Alex Marquez who is still on the road to recovery after fracturing his ribs? And what can we expect from Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) as he gets back in the groove? Eight Ducatis will be roaring down that Gardner Straight and that will be some sight to behold.

If you listed the venues you’d expect Maverick Vinales to threaten at the front, Phillip Island would definitely feature. Coming off the back of a great performance in Indonesia too, Vinales really could be one to watch.

Vinales and Quartararo closed back in on Bagnaia last weekend, and both could likely figure this weekend too…

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), meanwhile, arrives from bad luck and a strange tyre choice in Indonesia that brought him undone after showing blistering pace earlier in the weekend.

Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) would also like a little luck back after a bit of a shunting from former team-mate Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) at Mandalika.

Raul Fernandez’ (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team), meanwhile, needs to rediscover that upward trajectory after a much tougher time of it in Indonesia. He’d been on a run of top ten finishes but couldn’t quite muster that pace in Indonesia.

Also having a much tougher time of it in Indonesia after some real steps forward of late was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Two DNFs and nothing much to show from the weekend will have Marc as hungry as ever at a circuit which has been a happy hunting ground for the Repsol Honda rider.

LCR Honda Castrol rider Alex Rins  was back in the top ten at Mandalika for the first time since his broken leg. That’s impressive enough, and he played a masterpiece at Phillip Island last season.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) will want to learn a few of those secrets on the other side of the garage, and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) will be looking to improve further as he finds some late season form.

Speaking of a return to the front, and in this case just tenths off the win, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed the closest podium of the year so far in Indonesia. He qualified well, had a good Sprint and then seriously impressed in the Grand Prix race, scything through the gap to home in on the win and very nearly take it.

For teammate Franco Morbidelli it’s a slightly opposite arrival as he suffered some issues at Mandalika and was ultimately a few laps down. Still, on Sunday his fastest lap was only a tenth off Quartararo.

Finally, KTM and GASGAS. At GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 it’s all about finding much better fortunes for both Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro who after some decent form hit some troubled waters in Indonesia.

Better fortune is something also sought by Binder after a slightly adventurous Mandalika. On Saturday, he got taken out by Aleix Espargaro and on Sunday, he clashed with Marini, and then Oliveira in two uncharacteristic incidents, each of which earned him a Long Lap penalty.  After a crash in Japan too, Binder will want a tidier weekend to consolidate his fourth place in the championship standings.

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miller Fans
Jack Miller with his fans at Phillip Island in 2019

Last and by no means least, home hero Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) will be ready to get his elbows out at Phillip Island. The Australian is having a year of ups and downs in his new adventure with KTM, but there have been plenty of the former and he’ll want to make home turf count for another. The tight and technical Turn 4 now officially bears his name as we arrive for another showdown too, and fans are guaranteed a Thriller from Miller as he rides for them and some home glory…

MotoGP Phillip Island Australia Race Miller Flag
Jack Miller was a popular podium finisher at Phillip Island in 2019

MotoGP Championship Points

Pos Rider Points
2 MARTIN 328
4 BINDER 211
7 ZARCO 162
8 MARINI 144
9 MILLER 135
11 MARQUEZ 108
17 RINS 54
22 MIR 20
25 25 FOLGER 9
26 26 BRADL 8
27 27 PIRRO 5
28 28 PETRUCCI 5
30 30 LECUONA 0


With a top five on the grid covered by less than a tenth in Indonesia, it was no surprise that missing out on the front row was no ominous sign for Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Once the lights went out Acosta was off like a shot, and once in the lead he pulled away to a dominant victory. That advantage is now 65 points at the top of the table and similar rides at the next two rounds will see him wrap up the title early…

Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) and Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) will want to be back on that podium and get in Acosta’s way, however, and Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) will want to play their part…

Moto2 Championship Points

Pos Rider Points
1 ACOSTA Pedro 277
2 ARBOLINO Tony 212
3 DIXON Jake 172
4 CANET Aron 144
5 CHANTRA Somkiat 123
6 LOPEZ Alonso 119
7 GONZALEZ Manuel 115
8 SALAC Filip 108
9 VIETTI Celestino 106
10 ALDEGUER Fermín 104
11 OGURA Ai 95
12 GARCIA Sergio 84
13 LOWES Sam 80
14 ROBERTS Joe 67
15 ARENAS Albert 62
16 BALTUS Barry 48
17 ALCOBA Jeremy 33
18 BINDER Darryn 31
20 FOGGIA Dennis 23
21 RAMIREZ Marcos 20
22 VD GOORBERGH Zonta 17


As he crossed the line at Mandalika, Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) probably thought it had been quite a tough day at the office. But in reality, the Championship leader only increased his advantage as Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) had crashed on the Warm Up lap and didn’t recover to points, and Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) had not one, but two Long Lap penalties – one of which sent him down the order by way of a time penalty after the flag.

All said and done, Masia started the weekend a handful of points clear and is now 16 points ahead of Holgado – and that’s a whole podium’s worth.

Last year at Phillip Island, Sasaki was just off the podium and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) second as the two escaped in a smaller leading group, which could be good news for them on our return. The veterans will also be hoping that first time winner in Indonesia Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), and podium finishers David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), feel the pinch of less experience back on the Island…

Meanwhile for local hero Joel Kelso it will be a great chance to show his skilss in front of a supportive home crowd after a lurgy held him back at Mandalika.

Joel Kelso is due for some luck to come his way…

Moto3 Championship Points

Pos Rider Points
1 MASIA Jaume 209
2 SASAKI Ayumu 193
3 HOLGADO Daniel 192
4 ALONSO David 180
5 ÖNCÜ Deniz 155
6 ORTOLÁ Ivan 152
7 MOREIRA Diogo 128
8 RUEDA José Antonio 111
9 MUÑOZ David 102
10 NEPA Stefano 96
11 TOBA Kaito 91
12 VEIJER Collin 76
13 ARTIGAS Xavier 65
14 YAMANAKA Ryusei 63
15 SUZUKI Tatsuki 50
16 ROSSI Riccardo 48
17 SALVADOR David 31
18 FENATI Romano 30
19 FURUSATO Taiyo 27
20 BERTELLE Matteo 26
21 OGDEN Scott 21
22 KELSO Joel 20

Australian Grand Prix Schedule
Brought to you in AEDT by Kayo Sports

Time Class Event
0900 Moto3 FP1
0950 Moto2 FP1
1030 bLU cRU FP1
1045 MotoGP FP1
1200 bLU cRU FP2
1315 Moto3 FP2
1405 Moto2 FP2
1500 MotoGP Practice
1615 bLU cRU Q
Time Class Event
0840 Moto3 FP3
0925 Moto2 FP3
1010 MotoGP FP2
1050 MotoGP Q1
1115 MotoGP Q2
1215 bLU cRU Race
1250 Moto3 Q1
1315 Moto3 Q2
1345 Moto2 Q1
1410 Moto2 Q2
1500 MotoGP Sprint
1610 bLU cRU Race
Time Class Event
0900 bLU cRU Race
0940 MotoGP WUP
1100 Moto3 Race
1215 Moto2 Race
1400 MotoGP Race

2023 MotoGP Calendar

Rnd Date Location
1 Mar-26 Portugal, Portimao
2 Apr-02 Argentina, Termos de Rio Honda
3 Apr-16 Americas, COTA
4 Apr-30 Spain, Jerez
5 May-14 France, Le Mans
6 Jun-11 Italy, Mugello
7 Jun-18 Germany, Sachsenring
8 Jun-25 Netherlands, Assen
10 Aug-06 Great Britain, Silverstone
11 Aug-20 Austria, Red Bull Ring
12 Sep-03 Catalunya, Catalunya
13 Sep-10 San Marino, Misano
14 Sep-24 India, Buddh (Subject to homologation)
15 Oct-01 Japan, Motegi
16 Oct-15  Indonesia, Mandalika
17 Oct-22 Australia, Phillip Island
18 Oct-29 Thailand, Chang
19 Nov-12 Malaysia, Sepang
20 Nov-19 Qatar, Lusail
21 Nov-26 Valenciana, Valencia



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