Oct 16, 2012
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The Twin Ring Motegi circuit was the site of the Japan round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship series. Bel-Ray sponsored Team Aspar racers competed in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes during the weekend's events.
Following the racing in Japan, Team Power Electronics Aspar racer Aleix Espargaro regained the lead in the CRT division of the MotoGP class. Espargaro has been fighting a season-long duel with teammate Randy DePuniet for this coveted position and his twelfth place finish, coupled with an unfortunate DNF by DuPuniet, gave Espargaro back the top spot.
Following the day's racing, Espargaro spoke about his finish and the way his season has been going. "In general I am happy with how the weekend went. We were very strong in practice and also in the race with a great pace. This morning in the warm-up we put in an old engine because we noticed a strange sound from the new one. When the race began, I noticed that the bike wasn't going fast but we still managed to put in a good performance. We were the best CRT and are leaders again. I hope that this rollercoaster ride in the standings comes to an end and I can finally place at the top, ahead of Randy. It is a shame for him to have had problems today and I hope that next weekend we can fight alongside one another again."
DePuniet meanwhile did not have a very good weekend at Motegi. He suffered a crash in the morning warm-up session and then again in the same corner on the first lap of the race. He was able to rejoin the race, but was forced to retire from the event. "This weekend was rather difficult for us," said DuPuniet following the event. "From Friday we had trouble finding our feeling. In qualifying we improved a little and today, in the warm-up, we tried some changes that we liked. I had a very strange crash on turn ten. It seemed as though the brake was permanently engaged, even when I had let it go. In the race I had the same issue and fell at the same point. I will look at the reason for this with the team. It definitely hasn't been the best weekend for us, as I have two hurt ankles from the crash this morning. I hope that in Malaysia we can go back to our positive form."
Both Bel-Ray sponsored Team Mapfre Aspar racers finished inside the top twenty at this weekend's race. Beginning from sixteenth place on the grid Jordi Torres moved up to an eventual thirteenth place finish, despite a close call in the early stages of the race that nearly put him on the ground and out of the competition. "Today I began the race very motivated," said Torres following the days racing. "This is a heavy braking circuit and I knew that I had the chance to fight for a good position today. Yesterday I did not qualify as I would have liked, but I was calm about the race. On the first few corners a rider went right through me and I had to hang on tight to keep from falling. I lost many positions from that, but then I started to pick up pace and I began to pass riders. Increasing the pace, I felt more comfortable. Again the bike worked perfectly, but the problem on lap one hindered us a lot. When I reached the group that was ahead of me I lacked a little decisiveness to pass. I stuck with various riders and saw things that could prove useful in the next few races. I picked up a bit more experience today."
Teammate Nico Terol was caught outside of the early lap traffic and dropped from his seventh place starting position to a sixteenth place spot for the majority of the race. An unfortunate off track trip into the gravel forced him further back in the field to an eventual nineteenth place finish. "I want to stress that this weekend, once again, we did a great job with the setup. I was very motivated for the race, but I didn't get a good start. On the second corner I got stuck on the outside and many riders passed me. I acknowledge that on the first few laps I find it hard to find pace and be more aggressive. We have to address this, because later when I checked what others were running, I could have been in the top seven and gone for higher positions. It's too bad that our races are so affected by the opening two or three laps. I'm mad with myself and I hope this serves as motivation. Now I have to go over this race, to analyze all the mistakes and try not to repeat them in Malaysia."
Bel-Ray sponsored Mapfre Aspar team racer Jonas Folger had a potential victory stolen from him on the last lap this past weekend in Japan. Folger led the race early and fought off challenges from his series rivals. He was set to take the victory when on the beginning of the last lap of the race, Luis Salom pushed too wide in a corner taking himself and Folger out of the race.
Despite the result, Folger looked at the event in a positive manner. Starting from seventh on the grid, Folger was able to lead for fourteen of the twenty lap race before the crash. "Today I felt very strong, "said Folger after the checkered flag. "Although yesterday we had some problems in qualifying, today we had solved the issues for the warm-up session. I started very motivated; I knew I could fight for the win. Then I was joined by (Danny) Kent and we had a tough battle. As the laps went on I started to feel even more comfortable on worn tires. I felt that the group was having trouble keep up with me, so I pushed to the limit every lap and by now I wanted the win more than anything. I knew that if I kept pushing hard, serious options would achieve. But then, on the final lap, (Luis) Salom took me out. It was a shame because we had done a great job. I hope to have better luck in Malaysia."
In only his second Moto3 event, Luca Amato scored a twenty-second place result. The young German racer faces a steep learning curve in this competitive class, but hard work and perseverance will pay off. "This weekend we worked very hard, but we could not find the best set-up for this circuit. Nevertheless, I tried to learn a lot from my second Moto3 World Championship race. It was tough, but at least I was able to finish; little by little I will start enjoying myself more. The bike goes fast and has very good performance, I just need to adapt to it. We must continue working hard next weekend. I am convinced that through hard work, I'll gradually get used to this bike. I know I can ride much faster, and that is what I will try to do by any means necessary."
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