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Sep 27, 2010

Updated: MotoGP World Championship Racing At Motegi This Coming Weekend

Grand Prix of Japan

The first of three Grand Prix in three weeks will be the Grand Prix at the Twin Ring in Motegi / Japan next weekend. The journey goes to the land of the rising sun, which also is the home country of the MotoGP pilot Hiroshi Aoyama. He already travelled to Japan in April, when the Grand Prix was planned to take place in the first hand and was one of only a few competitors of the championship who actually arrived to Japan. But due to the closure of the airspace above Europe, because of the activities of the volcano on Iceland, the Grand Prix was postponed to the last third of the season and will take place from 1st to 3rd of October now.

Aoyama is looking forward to the race in Motegi, as the Twin Ring not only is his home track, he also achieved some big memories on this racetrack. 2005 he rode from Pole Position to victory in Motegi and it was his first victory in the 250cc world championship. Also the year after Aoyama won the 250cc race and last year, in 2009, he was standing on the second step of the rostrum at the Twin Ring Motegi. The 28-year-old Japanese has high expectations for this year's event on his home track and will be supported by his family, friends and fans there. He hopes to achieve his best result of this season so far.

Hiroshi Aoyama:
"I am looking forward to Motegi. My family will be there to support me and also my friends and fans will come to see me ride. My agenda is quite full that weekend, but I am happy to be home. Physically I am much better. It is three months now that I have injured my back and the bone almost completely healed. I hope and I wish that I can achieve the best result of this season so far for my team in Motegi."

Daniel M. Epp, Team Manager:
"In Motegi Hiro can show what he can do. It is his home track and we expect much more from him this time. He should be back fully fit again and he knows this track very well. He was able to achieve some big results in the past. I hope Hiro can fight without any worries at this Grand Prix and shows us all what we can expect from him."

More, from a press release issued by Rizla Suzuki:

Rizla Suzuki back to full strength for Japanese GP

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP welcomes back Loris Capirossi from injury for this weekend's race in Japan, the first of three Grands Prix over as many weekends around the Pacific Ocean.

The first race of the trio tour sees the Rizla team heading to Suzuki's homeland of Japan for the Motegi Twin-Ring Grand Prix. Capirossi has an enviable record at the 4,801m Japanese circuit; he has won three MotoGP races and been on the podium a further three times. Capirossi will be looking to try to add to that record as he makes his comeback following a one race absence, after a crash at Misano earlier this month left him needing surgery on his right-hand.

Álvaro Bautista heads to Japan on the back of three very strong performances - he too has a good record at the Motegi circuit with victory last year in the 250cc class and second place finishes in 2008 and 2006. Bautista is now at full-fitness following his early season injuries and will be hoping to challenge the top-six on a regular basis as the season starts to near its climax.

Motegi is situated about 90km/s north-east of Tokyo, approximately half-way between the towns of Mito and Utsunomiya. The track was constructed in 1997 as a oval test-track for evaluating the performance of cars, but it also incorporates a road circuit that is used for the MotoGP. This coming weekend will also see Suzuki celebrate its 50th anniversary of racing. Famous bikes and riders from Suzuki's history will be present at Motegi including Mitsuo Ito, who still holds the title of the first - and so far only - Japanese Isle of Man TT winner, a feat he accomplished in 1963.

Rizla Suzuki will take to the track on Friday 1st October for a solitary free practice session in the afternoon followed by another practice the following morning. Saturday afternoon will see the Rizla Suzuki pair battle it out in an hour of qualifying to decide grid positions for Sunday's 24-lap race which gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (06.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:

"My finger is at about 90%, but it is only a finger so I am totally ready for the weekend. I am still having physiotherapy every day to get it better and will continue until the race, so by then it should be ok. I love Motegi, It is my favourite race track of the year and I have good memories from there. I have won three times and it would be amazing to challenge the front guys especially as it is a big weekend for Suzuki. I know that it is tough out there, but anything is possible and we have got to keep believing in ourselves."

Álvaro Bautista:

"Motegi is not one of my favourite circuits, it is a bit too plain and does little to test a rider, it is just a lot of straights and then short corners put together, so it is difficult to get a flowing rhythm. I have done quite well there in recent years though so I probably don't dislike it that much! We still have a lot of work to do on the GSV-R, but we are improving every race and so is my riding, I know I need to qualify better on the Saturday, because this is leaving me a lot of work to do in the race, so that is my first priority this weekend. If I can get on the first couple of rows who knows what might happen in the race."

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 14: Japan, Twin Ring Motegi

Monday 27 September 2010

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard (asymmetric)

Round fourteen takes Bridgestone to their home grand prix in Japan on 3 October, held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit near Mito, just a few hours from the Tokyo headquarters of Bridgestone Corporation. After the original calendar slot in April, the Icelandic volcanic eruption and the ensuing travel disruptions forced a rescheduled date at the start of October as the first of a trio of overseas grands prix in Japan, Malaysia and Australia. This date change means that the prevailing conditions are expected to be warmer than at the start of the year so Bridgestone have revised the slick tyre selection in favour of slightly harder compounds to offer better performance more suited to the early October climate.

Asymmetric slicks have also been selected this year as the Japanese Grand Prix is one of a number of races at which asymmetric rear slick tyre usage has been increased this season.

The 4.8km circuit features four long and fast straights followed by very heavy braking points, and the circuit's layout is characterised by hard acceleration followed by heavy braking. This places the emphasis on front tyre stability and a strong centre section, and good traction from the rear tyre. The most notable exception to this is the very fast and flowing section from 130R to S-corner, through which the riders must have complete confidence to commit.

Last year the weather played havoc with riders' track-time, causing qualifying to be cancelled and giving teams just one hour of dry running before the race, during which the temperature was ten degrees warmer than it had been all weekend. Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo took his first victory on Bridgestone tyres ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Hiroshi Yamada Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Motegi has always been an important event for Bridgestone and one at which we have reached many milestones so it holds special memories for me. It is our home event, the circuit at which Makoto Tamada scored only our second MotoGP victory back in 2004, and our first two World Championships were also decided in Motegi, with Casey and Ducati in 2007 and Valentino and Fiat Yamaha in 2008. We have seen some exciting races in Motegi in the past and as we enter the final phase of this season and the championship race gathers pace I'm sure this time will be no different. At Motegi Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki will also be performing in front of their home crowd, so all in all I'm excited about this grand prix."

Tohru Ubukata Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
"Motegi has a stop -and-go nature featuring some heavy braking and hard acceleration points which traditionally tend to bunch the field and provide close racing. A strong centre section of each tyre is essential for stability from the front under heavy braking and traction from the rear when accelerating hard. It is in these areas that our tyres will face the greatest pressure in Motegi.

"With the change of date the temperature is higher than it would have been in April so we have amended our compound selection to go one step harder front and rear. The track surface is high-grip and quite abrasive, and the circuit layout doesn't feature many left-hand corners so this year, taking into account riders' feedback from last year, we have decided to bring asymmetric rear slicks. We continuously study last year's data and we listen to the riders in an effort to refine our compound specifications and Motegi is a good example of this."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

A run of three back-to-back races commences in Japan as the 2010 FIM MotoGP World Championship enters its final stage with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa continuing their battle.

Just over five months on from its original scheduled date the Grand Prix of Japan will take place this weekend having been postponed back in April due to the Icelandic volcano eruption. Dani Pedrosa will be aiming to mount his own disruptive course as the 2010 campaign enters an intense run-in of the final five rounds, and he is now the only rider who can stop Jorge Lorenzo claiming a debut premier class title.

Lorenzo enters the weekend 56 points ahead of Pedrosa and with the experience of victory at Motegi last year, but the Repsol Honda rider is proving to be a stern obstacle in the fight for the 2010 title. Last time out at Aragón was the first time Lorenzo had not featured on the podium this season, and whilst fourth position in the race was by no means a poor result the recuperation of 17 points on the leader by Pedrosa over the last three rounds has signalled that this year's Championship is far from decided.

Pedrosa has featured on the third step of the podium at the Japanese track for the previous two years and is on a hot current run of form as he and his factory RC212V remain consistent in their production of results. Both he and Lorenzo have 12 premier class career victories to their names now, another added competitive edge to what has recently developed into an intriguing pitting of wits against one another.

Casey Stoner's first win of the season at Aragón was the culmination of a dominant weekend for the Australian on board his Ducati, and with that victory duck now broken expectations will be high for a strong last sector of the season. He has only stepped onto the podium once at Motegi in the premier class, a second-placed finish in 2008, but confidence will be in plentiful supply now.

Separated by just a single point in fourth and fifth in the Championship standings are Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso. For the reigning World Champion Motegi is another site that has proven to be one of many fruitful hunting grounds having placed second last season and with a win the year before. Rossi, who continues to struggle against an injured shoulder, will be aiming to step back onto the podium again as will Dovizioso whose DNF at Aragón saw him deposed from third in the overall standings.

Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) remains continual in his progress with fellow American Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) another confident rider after his first podium of the year came at Aragón. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) will be determined to right the wrong of his DNF in the previous round, with San Carlo Honda Gresini team-mates Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli level on points with one another behind the Frenchman.

Loris Capirossi's (Rizla Suzuki) recovery from finger surgery which forced him to miss Aragón is expected to be complete, thus allowing the Italian to make his return to the site of his last MotoGP win in 2007.


The final five rounds of the inaugural 2010 Moto2 World Championship come in quick succession and are spread out over six weekends, with the Grand Prix of Japan presenting the first in the series. Heading to Motegi with a 76-point advantage at the top of the standings is Toni Elías, who will be aiming to deliver a home victory for his Gresini Racing team's chassis manufacturer Moriwaki.

Even though he finished off the podium for the first time in five races at Aragón fourth place in the race was enough to maintain a healthy lead and also underlined the Spaniard's strength. At Motegi he will be going for a seventh win of the campaign and also returns to the site of one of his premier class podium finishes, which came in 2007.

The fight for second position is developing into an engrossing one with every round that passes, and just four points separate Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and race winner from the previous round Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up). Both are in fine form which only adds to the spectacle, with Thomas Lüthi of the Interwetten Moriwaki team a further 14 points back and aiming to close that deficit.

Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) is currently fifth but some 22 points down on Lüthi, with Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up) brimming with confidence after his first Moto2 podium at Aragón and now a single point ahead of Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing).

A special presentation at Motegi will also see Shoya Tomizawa honoured as his family receive the Michel Metraux award, a collective tribute from his fellow Moto2 riders to the Japanese rider who passed away at Misano.

Yusuke Teshima will be riding for the FCC TSR team for this event, with Shogo Moriwaki (Moriwaki Racing) and Kouki Takahashi (Burning Blood RT) both wild card entries. Ferruccio Lamborghini replaces Lukas Pesek on the Matteoni CP Racing team from this round onwards.


The 125cc World Championship remains a closely-fought one as the final five rounds of the campaign are served up in quick succession, and the Grand Prix of Japan marks the start of that sequence in which frontrunners Nico Terol (Bancaja Aspar), Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) and Marc Márquez (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) will all be striving to edge even closer to securing the title.

An eventful previous round at Aragón saw the order in the standings change once more as victory for Espargaró, second place for Terol and a DNF for Márquez reordered the top three with 11 points now separating new leader Terol and third-placed Márquez.

Terol's consistency two wins followed by two second places in the previous four rounds have maintained his steady flow of high points hauls, whilst Espargaró's first victory in eight rounds saw him pull back a deficit to top spot that had stood at 20 points before Aragón. Combined with his podium result at Japan last year Espargaró will have an elevated confidence heading into this round. Márquez's misfortune in crashing out through no fault of his own at Aragón merely added to the drama that continues to pour forth from the 125cc class.

Bradley Smith remains fourth but is 53 points adrift of the leading trio. The Bancaja Aspar rider does however come into this round off the back of a podium finish in Aragón and remains determined to finish the season with a flourish. Further back Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) are grouped closely

Five wild card entries will also bring added excitement to the class with Syunya Mori (Racing Sayama), Takehiro Yamamoto (Team Nobby), Hikari Ookubo (18 Garage Racing), Yuma Yahagi (Okegawajuku & Endurance) and Sasuke Shinozaki (Team Tec2) all taking part.
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