The southern winds, coming in from Tasmania, affect both riding style and the setup of the bikes
Phillip Island is an island located 140 kilometres from Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, and is named after Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales -another of the six states that make up Australia.
It measures nine kilometres wide, 26 kilometres long and occupies some 10,000 hectares.
The island is around 600 metres from the Australian mainland and can be accessed by road, through the bridge connecting the cities of San Remo and Newhaven.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Phillip Island hosted motorcycle races on street circuits.
The current track was inaugurated in 1956, but was closed on two occasions and reopened in 1966 and 1989. It was in 1989 that the Motorcycle World Championship visited Phillip Island for the first time.
This year will be the twenty-ninth Australian Grand Prix, since its first edition in 1989.
The first two editions of the Australian GP were held at Phillip Island, although the next six were held at the Eastern Creek circuit, before returning to the island in 1997.
From 1993 to 1995 it was the first round of the season, and since 2000 it has always been one of the last three races on the calendar.
In addition to the Australian Grand Prix, the track hosts the World Superbike Championship and V8 Supercars (a motorsport event held mainly in Australia and New Zealand).
Dani Pedrosa won his two 250cc World Championships at the Phillip Island circuit and Marc Márquez was also proclaimed champion of the intermediate class -in his case Moto2- at the Australian track.
With a length of 4.4km and just 12 corners (the fewest after the Red Bull Ring), its average speed is also the second highest behind the Austrian track, at 176.5km/h.
The Australian Grand Prix and the Argentinian GP are the only rounds that are celebrated in the southern hemisphere. The island is located at a latitude of 38º south, 5,700km from the south pole.
One of the last surviving colonies of penguins in Australia is found at Phillip Island. The island is also home to the largest colony of Australian seals, a conservation centre for koalas and numerous specimens of wild kangaroos.
One of the most typical images of Phillip Island is the cliffs of Cunningham Bay. It is a colossal formation of basalt that can be observed from the circuit itself.
Its permanent population is around 9,500, although it attracts 3.5 million visitors each year, making it one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.
Being such a small enclave, there are very few hotels and practically all the teams stay in the numerous houses that are rented out seasonally, especially in summer (being located in the southern hemisphere, this season runs from December 21st to March 21st).
The southern winds, coming in from Tasmania, affect both riding style and the setup of the bikes. Being a track with numerous high speed corners, the wind makes the bike heavier on changes of direction.