Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP flocks south for the Polini Australian Grand Prix

The MotoGP World Championship's intercontinental caravan takes to the skies
again this week as the riders, teams and officials make their way to the south
coast of Australia for the fifteenth round of the season at the picturesque
Phillip Island circuit. After a two-week break since contesting three
consecutive races across Asia and the Middle East, the Polini Australian Grand
Prix will be the 17th consecutive year that the series has visited the country,
with the first two events having been held at Phillip Island, followed by six at
Eastern Creek, before returning to the current venue in 1997.

Valentino Rossi's record at the fast and flowing circuit is second to none, with
no fewer than six Grand Prix victories there in all classes and an unbeaten
MotoGP record that stretches back to 2001. The MotoGP World Champion will be
hoping his siege of the island can continue this weekend as he aims to clinch
his eleventh victory of the year and match his record total of wins in a season,
set in 2001 and 2002 when riding for Honda. A win for the Italian will also
secure the constructors' title for Yamaha, who need just one point more than
Honda to make sure of the honour for the first time in five years.

A host of riders will be combining duties for Honda this weekend as they aim to
halt Yamaha and Rossi's progress, as well as staking their claim for second
place in the championship. Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden are three
of five riders separated by just eleven points in the battle for runner-up
honours and all have happy memories of Phillip Island.

Biaggi took victory, albeit for Yamaha, in the 500cc class in 2000 whilst Marco
Melandri has had two wins at Phillip Island in the smaller classes, including a
title-clinching 250cc success in 2002. Hayden, meanwhile, stood on the podium
for the first time in his career at the Victorian circuit two years ago and will
this weekend be aiming to score back-to-back rostrum finishes for the first time
this season after finishing in third place at Qatar.

The other two riders battling for second spot are Yamaha's Colin Edwards and
Ducati rider Loris Capirossi. Edwards has finished on the podium in World
Superbike races at Phillip Island on eight occasions, including a win in 2001,
whilst Capirossi took victory in the 125cc class back in 1990 and has had four
podiums there in the last five years, including his only podium of 2004. The
in-form Italian has won two of the last three races and will be looking for his
fourth consecutive pole position when qualifying takes place on Saturday.

Dani Pedrosa gets his first chance to seal the 250cc World Championship for the
second successive season in Australia despite coming under pressure from his
nearest rival Casey Stoner. Pedrosa, who finished fourth at Phillip Island last
year to clinch the championship in his rookie season, will take the title if he
wins the race and Stoner fails to score more than a single point. However, the
Australian is the category's form rider and after back-to-back victories in the
last two rounds he has reduced the gap to the leader to just 26 points ahead of
his home round. At the front of the queue of riders looking to stop a potential
party for either Pedrosa or Stoner will be Jorge Lorenzo, who has until the end
of this year to become the youngest ever rider to win a 250cc Grand Prix and
last year's Phillip Island winner Sebastian Porto, who also holds the
quarter-litre lap record.

A controversial twist to the 125cc World Championship in the last round at Qatar
means Mika Kallio is now leading by just two points from Thomas Luthi with three
rounds remaining. Kallio saw victory snatched from his grasp by his KTM
team-mate Gabor Talmacsi on the finish line in Doha and will be looking to take
matters into his own hands this weekend at a circuit where he has not enjoyed
the best of fortune in past seasons. Kallio, who has finished either first or
second at the last five races, has failed to finish in each of his three
previous starts at Phillip Island, crashing in both 2002 and 2003 and retiring
with handling problems last year. However, Luthi also has a poor record in
Australia, failing to score points there in three previous visits.

INFO 2005/154. 11-10-2005