Rain, Hail, & Shine At The 2022 Australian MotoGP
— 19 October 2022

Rain, Hail, & Shine At The 2022 Australian MotoGP

— 19 October 2022

When you’ve been making watches for over 160 years, you’re going to roll in some serious circles. Swiss watchmakers Tissot not only keep time ticking on tens of millions of timepieces worldwide, but they also look after the heavy hitters in world sport, from the NBA and Tour De France, to the blisteringly quick MotoGP circuit that visited Australian shores last weekend.

With the return of the Australian MotoGP after a COVID-induced hiatus, Tissot invited us down to Phillip Island for the day to sample the sort of spoils an official timekeeper can unlock. After a 4:30 am alarm and a quick check of the magic eight ball that is Phillip Island’s weather, we pulled on our boots and were on the first flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

Now we’re not sure if Tissot predicted the excessive rainfall that Victoria had experienced, or perhaps their timepiece efficiencies extended throughout the PR team. Whatever the case, the chosen transport for the day was a helicopter, and we certainly weren’t pushing back. Within minutes of arrival at the heliport in Melbourne’s CBD, we were caffeinated, briefed, and ushered into the chopper.

Australian MotoGP Tissot

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The Yarra was higher and browner than usual, with the first five minutes of the journey imitating scenes of a rescue helicopter. Still, within minutes the CBD was behind us with our sites firmly set on motorcycle nirvana, Phillip Island.

Barry Sheene once described the island as “the gateway to hypothermia,” and after touching down trackside, we could absolutely understand why. It was cold, wet, windy, muddy, and while we felt vindicated wearing boots for the day, we certainly welcomed Tissot’s climate-controlled suite on the pit lane with open arms.

Right from the get-go, the track was riddled with chaos. The 250cc class and Moto 3 both started the warm-up lap with all riders on wet tyres. But with some clear skies on the horizon and a quickly drying track, an avalanche of predominantly Italian men carrying slick tires sprinted towards their pint-sized racers with a sense of focus I’m yet to experience at my local Bob Jane dealership. After some clean and fast shoulder-to-shoulder racing, Spaniard Izan Guevara won the race and wrapped up the World Championship in the process.

Australian MotoGP Tissot

Shortly after lunch, we went for a stroll down behind the pit lane for the Moto 2 race. There was a noticeable increase in decibels from the Moto 3, so much so that we were handed earplugs out of sympathy, and while the chaos in the garages was addictive, we had no idea what was actually happening. After reviewing a few screens and dummy spits, we worked out that Alonso Lopez won the race, Jorge Navarro got hit by Simone Corsi, and Ai Ogura holds a slim lead in the championship.

Once our jaunt behind the pit lane came to an end, we were told to head down to race organisers and collect the holy grail: a grid walk pass. A stern-looking Italian man greeted us with a firm handshake and minimal chit-chat, but what he lacked in gabbing, he made up for in power.

A locked gate and three security guards were preventing racing teams, a media pack and even MotoGP officials from entering the track before the big race, but the gentleman we were with parted the guards like the red sea, and we waltzed straight onto a star-studded grid. Our chaperone told us to wait up front until he returned, but after five minutes of awkward looks from pole-sitter Jorge Martin, we decided to mingle through the pack and pretend we had a good reason to be there.

The race was electric from start to finish, with the lead changing almost every lap. Unfortunately, Aussie Jack Miller was taken out mid-race, so there wasn’t much to celebrate on a home front, but Spain’s Álex Rins wrung the neck out of his Suzuki for one of the rides of the season, pipping Honda’s Marc Márquez by a slender +0.186s.

After the race, we were ushered back to our helicopter, pondering the choices of people wearing white trainers to Phillip Island, and there was a genuine sense of exhilaration throughout the crew. The weather ended up being sublime, the racing was elite, and while our security guard whisperer delivered one of the biggest smoke bombs in recent memory, the grid lane walk was a bucket list experience we’ll never forget.

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Justin Jackie is an experienced freelance writer, with more than half a decade of expertise in the world of automotive reporting and reviewing. With a breadth of Australian-based and international experience, his by-line has appeared in the likes of the New York Times, T Magazine, Mr Jones, Prestige Online and more. 


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