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Motorcycle champ offers advice to V8 Supercar title contenders

 

Five-time World 500cc motorcycle Champion Mick Doohan believes preparation and purpose are the keys to success around the Phillip Island circuit in this weekend's V8 Supercar Championship Series decider.

Rick Kelly (Toll HSV Holden) takes just a seven point lead over three-time winner Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight Racing Ford) going into the Caterpillar Grand Finale at the famous Phillip Island circuit.

Doohan, who clinched his fifth and final world 500cc title at Phillip Island in 1998, said that title contenders Kelly and Lowndes should put the Championship out of their minds.

The Australian motorcycling legend said that when he went to Phillip Island back in 1998 with the World title within his grasp, his focus was on winning the round.

"I've done plenty of laps around Phillip Island on a bike, whether racing or testing," Doohan said.

"My attitude was always to try and win the race and then let the Championship take care of itself. If you win races then you've got nothing to worry about, and that probably applies to all types of motorsport, whether two wheels or four.

"I always felt that if you try and be conservative then it won't come together."

Doohan knows both ends of the equation around the fast sweeping Phillip Island circuit, having raced there five times.

That included crashing out in the 1997 500cc World Championship round at the Victorian circuit before returning the following year to cement his World title with a resounding victory.

"That said, I've never raced a V8 Supercar, so I can't say if Ford or Holden has a technical advantage, or who is the best driver between the two guys going for the Championship," Doohan said.

"Kelly and Lowndes have a big points gap on the others, so they deserve the chance to have a crack at the title."

The other key to success at Phillip Island, according to the motorcycle ace, is to prepare well.

"It's important to have everything in place before the weekend so you can give yourself the best shot at going for the win."

And he reckons neither title protagonist should be fooled into making changes from what has been successful for them already this year.

"As a general rule if I was having a good season I'd try and keep doing what I'd been doing all season because that's what got me in a position to win Championships," Doohan said.

"In car racing the pit-stops are an extra part of the equation and another variable that might make or break a season. The V8 Supercars generally put on a good show, and the battle for the Championship will add some extra interest on what is one of the best race tracks in Australia."


Rick Kelly (Toll HSV Holden) takes just a seven point lead over three-time winner Craig Lowndes (Triple Eight Racing Ford) going into the Caterpillar Grand Finale at the famous Phillip Island circuit.

Doohan, who clinched his fifth and final world 500cc title at Phillip Island in 1998, said that title contenders Kelly and Lowndes should put the Championship out of their minds.

The Australian motorcycling legend said that when he went to Phillip Island back in 1998 with the World title within his grasp, his focus was on winning the round.

"I've done plenty of laps around Phillip Island on a bike, whether racing or testing," Doohan said.

"My attitude was always to try and win the race and then let the Championship take care of itself. If you win races then you've got nothing to worry about, and that probably applies to all types of motorsport, whether two wheels or four.

"I always felt that if you try and be conservative then it won't come together."

Doohan knows both ends of the equation around the fast sweeping Phillip Island circuit, having raced there five times.

That included crashing out in the 1997 500cc World Championship round at the Victorian circuit before returning the following year to cement his World title with a resounding victory.

"That said, I've never raced a V8 Supercar, so I can't say if Ford or Holden has a technical advantage, or who is the best driver between the two guys going for the Championship," Doohan said.

"Kelly and Lowndes have a big points gap on the others, so they deserve the chance to have a crack at the title."

The other key to success at Phillip Island, according to the motorcycle ace, is to prepare well.

"It's important to have everything in place before the weekend so you can give yourself the best shot at going for the win."

And he reckons neither title protagonist should be fooled into making changes from what has been successful for them already this year.

"As a general rule if I was having a good season I'd try and keep doing what I'd been doing all season because that's what got me in a position to win Championships," Doohan said.

"In car racing the pit-stops are an extra part of the equation and another variable that might make or break a season. The V8 Supercars generally put on a good show, and the battle for the Championship will add some extra interest on what is one of the best race tracks in Australia."



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