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Phillip Island's return could help Quartararo steady the ship

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

Mick Doohan joined the podcast.

The return of MotoGP™ to Phillip Island this weekend comes at an ideal time for reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, but may be too soon for Marc Marquez to continue his dominant form in Australia; that's the view of five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan, who features on the latest episode of the In The Fast Lane podcast.

Yamaha's Quartararo has led the 2022 World Championship since he won the fifth round of the season in Portugal in April, but arrives at this weekend's Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022 clinging to a two-point series lead over fast-finishing Ducati rider, Pecco Bagnaia. Bagnaia has won four of the past seven Grands Prix to all but wipe out a 91-point deficit to Quartararo after the German Grand Prix in June.

Speaking to the Australian Grand Prix Corporation's official podcast, Doohan said the fast and flowing nature of the Phillip Island layout may help to blunt Ducati's scorching straight-line speed advantage, giving Quartararo's title defence the kick-start it needs with three races remaining this season.

"The Yamaha has always performed well around there … they accelerate well and turn well, and the high-speed nature of the circuit allows it to continue on," Doohan said.

It's your last chance to secure Grandstand tickets to Race Day at the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022.

"There's every chance Quartararo could maximise the Yamaha down there. Quartararo's been strong on an under-performing bike – it certainly handles well, but it doesn't seem to have the power of the Ducatis. There's still a few races to go, and you'd never give up on Quartararo. We've seen Bagnaia fold last year and gave it away, so it'll be interesting to watch."

Marquez, meanwhile, returns to Australia this week for the third race of his latest comeback from surgery that has seen him undergo four operations to his right arm since a crash at Jerez in 2020.

The Spaniard has a hero or zero record at the Island – MotoGP™ wins in 2015, 2017 and 2019 have contrasted with crashes in 2014, 2016 and 2018 – and while the six-time MotoGP™ Champion's speed is unquestioned, Doohan believes he's unlikely to be ready to scale the podium's top step again this weekend.

"Marc's competitive even with half an arm … his arm's certainly on the path to recovery, but I don't know if he's 100 per cent fit as yet," Doohan said.

"Around Phillip Island, it is fairly physical with the high-speed nature of it … I hope he just maintains some consistency so they can get the bike back on track, he gets some results and gets confident to be back on form and with a good bike for next year. He shows that a rider can still make the difference on a bike."

The In the Fast Lane podcast is available on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts platforms.

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