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Australian MotoGP: Valentino Rossi set to make his 400th Grand Prix start

Valentino Rossi

Bengaluru, October 24: Marc Marquez may have wrapped up the FIM MotoGP World Championship riders' title and Honda the Constructors', but there is plenty in still in play to look forward in the Australian Grand Prix to be held at the Phillip Island circuit on Sunday (October 27) where legend Valentino Rossi is set to make his 400th Grand Prix start.

To say the milestone is a rare one is to undersell it to extremes. Rossi has been the most experienced on the grid and the most experienced in history for some time, but 400 is quite some number.

It is 42.5 per cent of all Grands Prix, and he has won 115 and scored points in 353 of them, taking victories on on seven different bikes as the only rider to have won on 500cc two-stroke, 990cc four-stroke, 800cc four-stroke and 1000cc four-stroke machinery. A few of those successes have come at the Island too, so it is a good place to celebrate.

Rossi's chance

Rossi's chance

Whether or not he can celebrate again this season remains to be answered. He last won in Australia in 2014, and with Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales having taken the win last year and other podiums since, that is good reason to believe the bike can do it again.

And Rossi? Motegi wasn't the best preparation, but you don't get to 400 starts without the ability to bounce back like no one else.

Miller, Quartararo in focus

Miller, Quartararo in focus

Meanwhile, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) also has a target on Fabio Quartararo's back. The Australian races on home turf with some serious determination to do well for the home fans and get another top result this season, but that is also compounded by crunch time in the Independent Team rider standings.

Quartararo, who already bagged the Rookie of the Year honour, is currently 38 points clear of the Aussie, so it could well be decided on the Island.

Team standings

Team standings

Then there is the team standings, currently led by the Ducati Team. But it is only 17 points the difference, and with Marquez on a charge, it could change hands, but Ducati team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci will be pushing hard to try and hold onto it.

Dovizioso also has second in the standings ready to wrap up, and Petrucci is running out of time to hit back again Vinales and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the fight for third.

Up for the grabs

Up for the grabs

The Australian Grand Prix has everything up for the grabs-- Championships on offer, milestones on the horizon, a dash of intrigue and one of the greatest racetracks in the world.

So this year at Phillip Island, one of the most beautiful race tracks, it is all about milestones and titles. You simply got to tune in, and you can do so at 3pm local time (9.30am IST) on Sunday.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Thursday, October 24, 2019, 11:57 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 24, 2019
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