It was a challenging weekend for the riders and the teams at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, but the man at the head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation says he is proudest of his staff.
Andrew Westacott, who is CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said that the challenges of weather and a revised Sunday schedule brought out the best in the men and women behind the scenes.
“International sport does that, but it was a cracker of an event,” he said.
“A world championship was decided in Moto3™. The Moto2™ race had everything, and that championship is live as it goes to Sepang this weekend. That looks like going down to the wire in Valencia.”
Westacott said that Valentino Rossi leading the early laps of his 400th GP start and Jack Miller snatching a podium finish were among the highlights of the weekend.
“The roar of the crowd as Valentino got out in front, and led the MotoGP™ field down Gardner Straight for the first time was, I think, as big as any I have heard,” he said.
“Jack is showing more and more maturity. He sat at the back of the train, back as far as ninth, and I thought he was losing touch a little bit. He was back four bike lengths, but the resolve that he had was fantastic. It was a great day.”
Sunday had everything, after Saturday’s MotoGP™ qualifying was postponed due to high winds.
“Sunday panned out perfectly,” said Westacott. “There were almost 83,000 there, all happy and smiling, it was really good.
“The big challenge came on Saturday. The team just lifted. We only do two events a year but it is all the behind-the-scenes training that gets done, instant response, contingency planning, when schedule changes get thrown at you, there are many different things that you have to do.”
Westacott said that the event provides so many highlights for fans young and old alike that everyone gets a different memory to take home from the event.
“We like making people’s visits to the Island something special. There was a guy at the track from Newcastle, and he had a helmet signed by many world champions – except for Alex Criville. When he saw that the riders’ parade ended up being a legends’ parade, and that Criville was in it, he raced back to his house in Ventnor and got the helmet, and he got Alex’s autograph. He was the happiest man at Phillip Island, except maybe for Marc Marquez and Jack Miller.”