Oct 27, 2013
© 2014, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by John Ulrich
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Twin Ring Motegi
Defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo kept his title hopes alive with a flag to flag win in the Airasia Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, the penultimate round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.
Lorenzo's victory was Yamaha's 200th premier-class Grand Prix race win.
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
October 26, 2013
Race Results (all on Bridgestone tires):
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Yamaha), 24 laps, 42:34.291
2. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), -3.188 seconds
3. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), -4.592
4. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Honda), -19.755
5. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda), -22.810
6. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), -24.637
7. Cal Crutchlow, Great Britain (Yamaha), -27.496
8. Bradley Smith, Great Britain (Yamaha), -30.969
9. Nicky Hayden, USA (Ducati), -37.010
10. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), -42.944
11. Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Japan (Yamaha), -53.345
12. Colin Edwards, USA (FTR Kawasaki), -63.213
13. Randy de Puniet, France (Aprilia ART), -66.840
14. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Ducati), -68.218
15. Yonny Hernandez, Colombia (Ducati), -78.240
16. Hector Barbera, Spain (FTR Kawasaki), -79.108
17. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (FTR Kawasaki), -81,174
18. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ioda-Suter BMW), -90.546
19. Michael Laverty, Great Britain (Aprilia ART), -143.358
20. Claudio Corti, Italy (FTR Kawasaki), -1 lap, crash
21. Damian Cudlin, Australia (PBM Aprilia), -1 lap
22. Bryan Staring, Australia (FTR Honda), - 1 lap
23. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia ART), -12 laps, DNF, crash
24. Luca Scassa, Italy (Aprilia ART), -23 laps, DNF, retired
25. Lukas Pesek, Czech Republic (Ioda-Suter BMW), -23 laps, DNF, retired
MotoGP Points after 17 of 18 rounds:
1. Marquez, 318
2. Lorenzo, 305
3. Pedrosa, 280
4. Rossi, 224
5. Crutchlow, 188
6. Bautista, 160
7. Bradl, 146
8. Dovizioso, 133
9. Hayden, 118
10. Smith, 107
11. Espargaro, 88
12. Iannone, 57
13. Pirro, 50
14. Edwards, 40
15. de Puniet, 36
16. Barbera, 31
17. Petrucci, 24
18. Hernandez, 21
19. Aoyama, 13
20. Corti, 11
21. Ben Spies, USA (Ducati), 9
22. Nakasuga, 5
23. de Angelis, 5
24. Abraham, 5
25. Laverty, 3
26. Staring, 2
27. del Amor, 1
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
As the flag dropped at the finish line in Motegi this afternoon it signaled not just an incredible victory for Jorge Lorenzo but also a defining moment for Yamaha. The race win is the 200th Grand Prix victory for Yamaha in the premier class of Grand Prix racing.
Both Jorge and his teammate Valentino have made an incredible contribution to this score, adding the last 49 of the 50 race wins taken since 2007 with Ben Spies the only other Yamaha Factory Racing rider to claim a single race win in that time.
This incredible success story goes back to 1973, when British rider Chas Mortimer took the first ever 500cc victory in the class that would become the modern day MotoGP Championship. Yamaha is still only the second manufacturer to achieve this milestone.
The greatest MotoGP legend of all-time, Giacomo Agostini played a key part in writing Yamaha’s story of race success, taking six 500cc wins in the 1970s to add to the score. Later on in the story it was the Americans who wrote their piece of Yamaha history with three in particular, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey racking up the victories.
Roberts was the first, the pioneer of knee dragging wild riding, taking three back-to-back 500cc championships from 1978 to 1980. Eddie Lawson followed, adding 26 wins to the total and claiming three titles for Yamaha in 1984, 1986 and 1988.
The last of the three, Wayne Rainey, then took up the challenge, scoring an impressive 24 race victories on his way to taking the world title in 1990, 1991 and 1992. A tragic accident in 1992 brought an end to Rainey’s racing career, and the focus returned to Europe with riders Luca Cadalora and then Max Biaggi taking up the charge. Biaggi ironically was challenging against the then rival Rossi for the eight victories he scored.
It was in 2004 that Valentino Rossi arrived in the Yamaha garage, forming a love affair with the YZR-M1 that has endured to this day, creating an almost impossible to believe success that has won the hearts of fans worldwide. By 2007 Rossi had made it 150 wins for Yamaha at the historic Assen TT races, his own 28th MotoGP win.
2008 saw the arrival of another remarkable talent in the Yamaha garage. Stepping up to join Valentino on the YZR-M1 was hotheaded Mallorcan Jorge Lorenzo. The pairing proved unbeatable, adding two further world titles with Yamaha and an amazing 30 race wins to Rossi’s haul.
YMC Motorsport Development Division, General Manager
“We can be very proud and happy to witness this incredible achievement today here in Motegi. Jorge delivered a perfect performance to give us our 200th Grand Prix victory, continuing in the long tradition of success that we have enjoyed now since 1972. For Yamaha it is also very special to be able to enjoy this victory here in Japan for our home Grand Prix.”
Yamaha Motor Racing, Managing Director
“It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to celebrate our 200th Grand Prix victory here in Japan at our home race with such an incredible performance from Jorge Lorenzo. He totally dominated, not just the weekend, but also the race today under extreme pressure from his rivals. I’d like to say thanks to all of the riders and teams and all of the sponsors and partners and everyone involved in bringing us these memorable victories over the years. May we go on to 201 in Valencia!”
“It's a very special day, to be the rider to get the 200 wins is a great honour. To win at Honda’s home race is even more special! It was a very difficult race today, they were very close but I never gave up and tried to be even faster, brake harder and open the gap more. Finally I was able to make a little gap. We are very proud of this victory, for the result, for the circumstances and for the championship, it couldn’t be better.”
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Double podium in Japan seals 2013 Team Championship for Repsol Honda Team
It has been another dramatic weekend with schedule changes and extreme weather conditions disturbing proceedings. However, this morning the MotoGP paddock woke up to sunshine for the first time this weekend. Once the early mist burned off, the morning Free Practice session was extended to 45 minutes as this was the only dry track time the teams had seen all weekend. Marc suffered a high speed crash in the session on a cold front tyre and was fortunate to avoid serious injury - he received an injection before the race to numb the pain.
Starting from 2nd (Marc) and 4th (Dani) on the grid, it was a fast dash into the first turn with Marc losing a place and Dani slipping back to 5th briefly. On lap two, Rossi made a mistake and both riders took advantage, closing in on pole man Lorenzo - leading the race. They rode in perfect formation with milliseconds separati ng them for the entire first half of the race. Dani started to lose touch with Lorenzo and Marc as they opened up a small gap. Having only experienced 45 minutes on a dry track at Motegi on the MotoGP machine, Marc was starting to have some issues. He attempted a few moves on Lorenzo but was unable to complete a pass and finally stopped pushing and settled for second place and important Championship points.
Behind the podium finishers, Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR’s Stefan Bradl took 4th and 5th, delivering Honda four bikes in the top five.
Dani’s 3rd position now mathematically rules him out of the Championship chase, but Marc’s 20 points leaves him 13 ahead of title rival Jorge Lorenzo with just one round remaining of the 2013 season. The Valencia GP in two weeks time will be the title decider - the first time the title has gone down to the last race since Nicky Hayden in 2006, when he won the title for Honda.
With the 2 nd and 3rd places in today’s Japanese GP the Repsol Honda Team have clinched the 2013 Teams Championship. Scoring a total of 598 points, the team are now 69 points ahead of their nearest rivals with only 45 to play for in Valencia. In total this season to date, Marc has scored a total of six x 1st’s, six x 2nd’s, 3 x 3rd’s and 2 x DNF’s. Dani has scored 3 x 1st’s, 6 x 2nd’s, 3 x 3rd’s, 2 x 4th’s, 1 x 5th and 2 x DNF’s. The team has celebrated 5 x 1-2 finishes and 10 x double podiums.
Marc Marquez 2nd Championship Standing: 1st - 318 points
“Second place today is a very good result. After my crash in warmup, I knew that it would be difficult to be consistent - because in the morning I hadn't managed that either. This was my first time at this track with a MotoGP bike and in practice I was unable to get any references in the dry, leaving me with only the warmup and the race in which to find my way. I saw that Jorge was a little stronger than us here and I had a couple of scary moments, making me decide that twenty points and the gap being reduced by only five points would be a decent result. There is only one race remaining - the most important of the year - so we shall try to be more focused than ever at Valencia"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd Championship Standing: 3rd - 280 points
"It was a bit of a boring race for me, because I tried to give everything but I had a lot of problems exiting the corners; I was unable to get on the gas fully and I lost a lot of time to Marc and Jorge. I was third for the entire race, trying to hold onto them. However, at the midway point of the race my pace started to become slower than theirs. Now we have to focus on the next race, in Valencia, where we shall try to do as well as possible”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:
BRADL ENDS 5TH HIS COMEBACK RACE IN MOTEGI
Motegi, 27 October: in today’s sunny and crowded Japanese Grand Prix, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl managed to finish the 24-lap penultimate round of the season with a brave 5th place overcoming the pain of the recently fractured ankle. After the disruption of Friday and Saturday, the MotoGP paddock finally enjoyed dry conditions taking to the Japanese circuit for an extra 45-min morning free session which saw the German in first place. Bradl’s determination and the intensive physiotherapy programme gave him the chance to race today scoring 11 points.
“It has been a “crazy” weekend for everybody but, at the end, we had a dry race and I am happy about my result. I was more cautious compared to the other guys but I took a good start from the third row. At some point during the race Bautista caught me but I could feel some pain in my ankle due to the movement of the bike. Actually my ankle is at 85% and for me it was a long and tough race so we must be pleased with this 5th place”.
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
After the first two days of the Japanese GP had been dominated by bad weather, the sun today shone at the Motegi circuit and the last race of the overseas tripleheader went ahead as scheduled.
Following this morning’s session held in totally different conditions compared to yesterday, Yonny Hernandez, starting from row 4 of the grid, had to settle for 15th place with a best time of 1'48 .812 recorded on lap 21 of 24. Despite the valuable assistance of the Clinica Mobile staff, the Colombian rider suffered with considerable pain in his right hand which he had injured during the second day of the Australian GP. Nevertheless he was able to maintain a steady pace throughout today’s race, which allowed him to score some points in the overall standings.
The Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider will now take advantage of the well-deserved week of rest that awaits the MotoGP championship before the final round of the 2013 season to be held in Valencia on Sunday 10 November, in order to recover from injury.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“Today I suffered a lot with my hand. The injections I had yesterday and in Australia at the Clinica Mobile helped me, and I could continue to ride without too many problems. Here, however, the pain increased. Yesterday in the rain maybe the ride was nicer and it was fine, but today I suffered a lot. During the warm-up I started to feel pain, I went back to the Clinica but the race was tough, it was really bad. The doctors told me what to do during the next week to recover faster and luckily I will not have to do any operation. In Valencia I'll definitely be better. It was the most difficult race of the season and I'm sorry because I could do more. I had some problems with the hard tyre and when I started to get the rhythm the pain also started. I did not want to quit anyway, I tried to remain constant to gain some points, and I did, but it was not easy.”
More, from another press release issued by Pramac Racing:
After a stormy start to the Japanese GP weekend, the sun shone today at the Motegi circuit, the schedule for the final leg of the overseas tripleheader went ahead as planned.
The track conditions were completely different compared to yesterday’s session and everything had to start over again for the dry. The 50-minute morning free practice was useful for Andrea Iannone as he continued to search for the right set-up for the race. Despite his 13th position on the grid, the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider was determined to repeat his good performance at the Australian GP, but in turn 3 of lap 1 he finished off the track, and was forced to return at the back of the field. The rider from Vasto, however, immediately started to attack in order to recover some positions, and ended the 24-lap race in 14th place, and just a few more laps would have been enough to move up some more places.
After a short and well-deserved break the riders and the MotoGP teams will meet up again at the Valencia Grand Prix, the last round of the 2013 season, scheduled for Sunday, November 10.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“We didn’t have much time to find the correct setup for the bike. We tried some changes this morning after I had a few problems, but we didn’t improve much. Then we looked at the data after the session and made some additional changes that I felt in the race, which was good. Unfortunately, I found myself behind Nakasuga right after the start; I braked hard to avoid him, my rear wheel came off the ground and I went long in Turn 3. I came back on track and did everything I could to recover positions. Fortunately, I was able to find a good rhythm, and I steadily gained some positions.”
More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:
Lorenzo leads from start to finish in dominant Japanese Grand Prix victory
Round 17: Japanese MotoGP™ - Race
Motegi, Sunday 27 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Super-soft (Asymmetric) Extra-soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-18°C; Track 32-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo dominated today’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider leading from start to finish at Motegi to set the stage for an enticing championship decider at the final round of the season in Valencia.
Starting from pole position, Lorenzo got a great start to seize the lead on the opening lap and although he was pressured by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in the middle phase of the race, Lorenzo upped the pace – setting the fastest lap of the race on lap sixteen – to streak away and win the race by 3.188 seconds. Marquez claimed second place ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa who finished in third place to ensure two Repsol Honda’s on the podium. The top CRT finisher at Motegi was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards in twelfth place.
Dry conditions finally eventuated at Motegi allowing teams to work on race setup and tyre choice in this morning’s extended practice session. After a cool and at times cloudy morning, track temperatures increased throughout the day and reached a peak of 32°C at the start of the race. The stop-and-go layout of Motegi puts a premium on braking stability, resulting in twenty-three of the twenty-five riders selecting the harder option, medium compound front slick for the race. Rear tyre choice was more varied, with fifteen riders selecting the softer rear option – including race winner Lorenzo - and the ten remaining riders selecting the harder rear slick option available to them. Rear tyre choice for the race amongst the prototype riders trended towards their harder rear slick option, while among the CRT riders there was a clear preference for their softer rear slick option.
Heading into the season finale at Valencia in two weeks’ time, Lorenzo trails Marquez by thirteen points while Pedrosa has secured third place in the championship by scoring his twelfth podium of the season at Motegi.
Masaaki Tsuya – CEO and Representative Board Member Concurrently Chairman of the Board, Bridgestone Corporation
“I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to Jorge and Yamaha Factory Racing for taking such a special victory at Motegi today. I’m glad that the spectators that were present at Motegi today go to watch such an impressive race under clear, autumn skies. I am honoured that Bridgestone is able to support and participate in such a wonderful racing series as MotoGP as the official tyre supplier. We look forward to the last race of this year’s MotoGP world championship where Bridgestone will once again provide fair and equal support, and the highest level of product and service to every rider and team in the paddock.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was a very busy day for the teams and our tyre engineers who had very little time to work together to find the best race tyre for each rider in this morning’s extended warm up session. With temperatures becoming warmer this afternoon and the need for excellent braking stability at this circuit, it was no surprise to see that the harder front slick option was selected by almost every rider. For this year at Motegi, we shifted our rear slick allocation one step softer to give the riders more suitable tyre options for the race and this was a success, with both rear options working very well here today. With all the disruption due to the poor weather Friday and Saturday limiting the amount of dry track time, I am really happy with the tyre performance at Bridgestone’s home race here at Motegi.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Looking at the classification and seeing as the two riders behind me on the podium were Honda’s, it means this track is better for Honda, so to take this win at Honda’s ‘home circuit’ and winning Yamaha’s two-hundredth MotoGP victory was a pleasure. It was also a good result for me as I took a gamble with my tyre choice as I chose the softer rear tyre. It was a hard race physically, but I kept my concentration and I really wanted this victory.”
More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:
CRT win for Edwards at Motegi
The AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan sees NGM Mobile Forward Racing team rider Colin Edwards take the CRT win at Motegi with his FTR – Kawasaki bike. The last of the three back to backs has been a challenging weekend with limited track time and weather conditions changes that have made the MotoGP class race after having only two sessions.
The American rider was able to keep the promise made to his team after the Sepang race jump-start and delivered the CRT win at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit. Edward started the race from the 14th place on the grid and crossed the finish line in 12th place as both best CRT and best FTR bike. He is now getting close to securing his second place in the CRT general standing for the 2013 season.
Teammate Claudio Corti started the race from the 21st place and had a good start, on the 9th lap he went straight to avoid contact with Laverty, and later trying to recover went straight to the grass and crashed. The Italian rider is now looking forward to the last race of the season and aims to be among the best CRTs.
The 18th round and last race of the season will take place in Valencia at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in two weeks.
“It was a tough race. I got a good start, did what I wanted to do on the start and saw that Espargaro made a little mistake on the first lap right in front of me. I don’t know what happened but something must have happened with him or the bike half way through the race and he ended up crashing. After that I knew that Randy was right behind me so I just put my head down and tried to pull away from him. It was a good race, I am happy with it. I promised my guys a couple of weeks ago after I jump-started in Sepang that I wasn’t too sure about Australia but that I could promise them I would win best CRT in Japan.”
“Pity because the race pace was good and I was able to make laps in high 1´48s after I re-joined after the crash. At the beginning of the race and in order to avoid contact with Laverty I went straight and as I was try to get back on the line the front of the bike started vibrating, causing me to go straight on the grass and crash. It hasn’t been a good race and I am sorry because this morning during warm up I felt great and knew I had a good pace. In two weeks time we have the last race in Valencia and I will try to finish the season with the best possible result.”
Sergio Verbena, MotoGP Technical Director
“The positive trend from the last few races is continuing: we have finished the race as best CRT, which was our goal this weekend. After the Sepang jump-start Colin had promised that he would win best CRT in Japan and he has kept his promise. We have done a good race today; it has been a strange weekend due to the weather conditions but nonetheless he has always managed to be fast. We are happy because he has almost secured his second place in the CRT general standing. Unfortunately Claudio has encountered a series of problems during the race. He went straight twice and slid and crashed but got back up and finished the race. We go to Valencia for the final race of the season and we will give a hundred percent. We will try to finish the season in the best possible way and prepare ourselves for the new gamble that we have ahead of us for next season.”
More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:
Japanese GP: Ninth and tenth for Hayden and Dovizioso at Motegi
At the end of a race weekend marked by challenges including thick fog, heavy rain and cancelled free-practice sessions that forced the riders do a single qualifying session, the Japanese Grand Prix finally took place in perfect weather conditions this afternoon. Unfortunately, the dry track wasn’t helpful to the Ducati Team, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso unable to capitalize on their decent grid positions in the race.
The American had lined up on the front row, but he suffered a problem on the start and was quickly shuttled back through the pack, soon settling in behind Dovizioso, who had left from row 2. The teammates stayed in close formation for almost the entire race, and the Italian appeared to have ninth place sewn up until the final lap until he went long near the end of the last lap, enabling Hayden to slip by. Dovizioso recovered to round out the top ten.
This taxing overseas tripleheader now complete, the teams return home for a well-deserved weekend off before heading to Spain for the season finale, in Valencia on 10 November.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 9th
“We knew it would be a different story today in the dry, and already in the morning session, it was clear we were further back than yesterday. I don’t know what happened on the start, but the bike didn’t accelerate; it looks like it may have been something with the clutch. That’s a shame because all the work from yesterday was gone by the time I got to Turn 1. The race was very difficult because we struggled a lot with edge grip, but I went faster as the race went on. I knew it would be a big job to beat Dovi here, because this is a great track for him. He was really strong in some places and made it tough, but I was barely able to beat him on the last lap.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 10th
“I had a good session this morning, and although I still didn’t expect to be at the front, I at least thought I’d be able to ride pretty fast, but I couldn’t manage it. Maybe I rode a bit better than at the other tracks, but anyway, we still have a big gap to the front. It’s a shame about the last lap but I had some lappers in front of me that bothered me in the final braking zone. The brakes weren’t right either, and I don’t think I was the only one to have problems. Anyway, I went a bit long at the bottom of the hill, losing a position to Nicky. I’m disappointed because I had managed to stay ahead of him for the entire race.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“After yesterday’s strong qualifying session, we knew that it would probably be difficult to defend our grid positions today in the race. Unfortunately, our bike still seems to have some limits on a dry track, which makes it difficult for our riders to fight for good positions, despite their hard work. Motegi was an unusual weekend, also because Vittoriano Guareschi informed us of his desire to leave the team at season’s end in order to take on a new professional challenge in this championship. Vittoriano was with us for 13 years and he helped Ducati with the entire development of the Desmosedici project, first as a test rider and then as our team manager, so he has represented an important part of Ducati’s history in MotoGP. Obviously, we’re disappointed, but from the bottom of our hearts, we wish him every success in his new adventure.”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:
Crutchlow prevails in exciting Tech 3 battle in Japan
Cal Crutchlow triumphed in an exciting duel with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith in today’s Japanese Grand Prix to claim a hard fought seventh position that secured the British rider the honour of finishing leading non-factory rider in 2013.
With only 45 minutes of dry track time available on a weather-hit weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi ahead of this afternoon’s 24-lap race, Crutchlow and Smith engaged in a thrilling battle in the first half of the race.
In easily the best conditions of the weekend, it was Smith who led the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 charge after he made another one of his super fast reactions off the line to rocket from 13th on the grid into the top six.
Smith opted to race the extra soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre to boost his speed in the early laps and it was a strategy the paid off handsomely, as he hunted down Stefan Bradl for a place in the top five.
A mistake by Valentino Rossi in the hard braking zone for Turn 11 on lap three elevated Smith into the top five and he then rode magnificently to keep hard charging Crutchlow at bay until lap nine.
Crutchlow went for a different tyre selection strategy and the harder option rear tyre kept him firmly in contention for the top six until the final stages when he was unable to maintain a challenge to Rossi.
Crutchlow’s seventh position moved him to 188-points in the Championship rankings and with just one race remaining, Alvaro Bautista can no longer catch him to claim the accolade of being the top non-factory rider this season.
Smith’s brilliant ride to eighth saw him take a giant leap towards securing 10th in the overall World Championship standings, now he is 19-points clear of Aleix Espargaro.
Smith’s impressive rookie season is certainly finishing strongly, with the 22-year-old claiming six top 10 finishes in the last seven races and he finished just over three seconds behind Crutchlow this afternoon.
After a gruelling three-week world tour to Malaysia, Australia and Japan, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team now heads back to Europe for a well-deserved rest ahead of the final race in Valencia on November 10.
Cal Crutchlow - 7th - 188 points :
“It was a very difficult race because from the first lap I realised I was having an issue with the front brake overheating and choosing the harder rear tyre was not the best choice. Bradley used the softer tyre and in the first few laps, the problem with the brake meant I was having to focus on not running into is the back. My tyre was good for the second half of the race and I could pass Bradley but when Valentino came through he was a bit faster. We were just missing a few things to be more competitive but even with the soft tyre like Lorenzo, I wasn’t going to be racing at his pace. He really did a great job. The positive is with today’s result assured the fifth position in the Championship, and my target before the first race was to finish best non-factory rider. Now we can go home and get some rest after a tough period before trying to end the season strongly in Valencia."
Bradley Smith - 8th - 107 points :
“I’m pleased with the eighth position. I knew it would be been a tricky race starting from 13th, but fortunately I made a good start and I was trying to push at my maximum right from the off so that I was able to follow Bradl during the first laps. We definitely made some improvements on a full fuel load during this weekend and it helped me a lot to find a good rhythm. I saw Valentino making a mistake at the beginning of the race, so I knew he might come back and I just tried to follow him when he passed me. Today was probably the smallest gap to the other satellite riders so far and that makes me happy, especially considering that we had just one dry session this morning to set the bike up. I’m pleased with the progress we made during the season and this 10th place seems to be safe and now I’m just looking forward to make a good race in Valencia to end the Championship on a high.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager :
“We knew from the beginning that today was going to be a tough race because our grid positions were far from ideal. So to finish seventh and eighth is still a satisfying result and shows once again the determination and the passion our guys put into this sport. Both Cal and Bradley started well, Bradley was slightly better as he managed to pass Cal as well and their pace was fast and consistent, even if we had to admit that the top three guys were riding on other level today. I believe the soft rear tyre was the right choice today, also considering what Lorenzo did, and it was really hard for Cal to catch Bradley. I think he managed it more because of experience than for a faster speed. Both of them did a good job and we are already looking forward to the next round in Valencia. I must also congratulate Jorge on another fantastic victory, which keeps him firmly in contention for the Championship and it was also a memorable day for Yamaha with their 200th win in MotoGP. That is a stunning achievement and I am really proud to be part of the Yamaha family."
More, from a press release issued by Honda:
2013 FIM MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3 World Championships Round 17, Japanese GP, Twin Ring Motegi Race day, Sunday, 27 October 2013
Temperature: ambient 20 degrees C, track 31 degrees C
DOUBLE ROSTRUM FOR HONDA, CHAMPIONSHIP TO THE WIRE
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez rode to a strategic second place at today’s Japanese Grand Prix, preferring not to risk his world championship lead in pitched battle, with just one round remaining for a tense final decider.
Second Repsol Honda RC213V rider Dani Pedrosa was third, making it a double rostrum for Honda – with two more Hondas taking the next two places to make four out of the top five.
The double podium secured the Teams Championship for Repsol Honda, with one race to spare. Honda also leads the Constructors Championship by 13 points from Yamaha, with a maximum of 25 available.
Today’s race was won by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) adding momentum to his late-season challenge to regain the title lead at the final race. The Spanish defending champion’s chances were revived last weekend in Australia, where Marquez was disqualified for an error in interpreting special one-race pit-stop rules.
It means the World Championship battle will be decided at the final race for the first time since Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden defeated Valentino Rossi at Valencia in 2006.
A separate battle for fourth was won by Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V) from Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda); while CRT-category competitor Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) finished 22nd on his first visit to the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
The penultimate round of the World Championship was dogged by bad weather – the legacy of fading Typhoon Francisco – with no practice possible all Friday and on Saturday morning. Each class ran one extended session to determine qualifying positions, and then extended race-day morning sessions – by when the weather had cleared and the track was dry for the first time.
It posed an extra challenge for former 125 and
Moto2 World Champion Marquez, whose blazing rookie season in the premier class has brought him tantalisingly close to a maiden MotoGP World Championship. With no previous experience of the class-leading Honda RC213V at the Honda-owned circuit, the severe lack of dry practice cost him vital set-up time.
Even so he challenged for the lead mid-race, before deciding that a safe 20 points would be the wiser choice. His lead now stands at 13
points: should Lorenzo win at the final round in two weeks, Marquez must be no lower than third if he is to win the crown at his first attempt.
The 20-year-old from Catalunya in Spain has made a blazing impact on the top class. Aside from the Australian mishap, he has been on the rostrum at every race bar one, and amassed a total of six race wins, including four in a row. All year he has been breaking “youngest-ever” records … but even if it all goes wrong at Valencia and he has to wait one more year, he will still be in line to be youngest-ever premier-class world champion, provided he ties it up before the end of October.
The previous youngest champion was Honda rider Freddie Spencer, in 1983.
Pedrosa has also had a season of consistent strength, but for a mid-year interruption with an injury that ultimately cost him his own championship chances. Aside from that two-race spell, the former 125 and double 250 champion has won three races and stood on the podium 12 times altogether.
The experienced 28-year-old’s third victory came three races ago in Malaysia, as his improving physical condition was matched by an important step in finding machine settings more suited to his style.
Third in today’s race was a disappointment after winning the previous two events at the circuit in the hills to the north of Tokyo, and meant an end to his hopes of finishing higher than third overall in the final standings.
Fourth place for Bautista equalled his best results of the year and continued a strong late-season run for the former 125 World Champion. The Spanish rider has an extra role for
Honda: the only rider race-developing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by Japanese associates of Honda. This position further improved his chances of retaining sixth overall.
His nearest rival is LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl, for him this was a comeback ride after missing the last two races with a fractured ankle. The race was just over two weeks after surgery in Malaysia, and to finish fifth proved the determination of the German former Moto2 champion.
While the title stays alive in the premier class, a new champion was crowned in the all-Honda powered Moto2 class, as Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP
40 Pons Kalex) gained an unassailable advantage with his sixth victory of the season.
His last rival, Englishman Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was absent from a race cut from 23 to 15 laps – one of the victims of a first-corner crash that brought out the red flags at the first attempt. Redding had led on points from round four until last weekend in Australia, when he broke his wrist and missed the race. His return a week later in Japan was a brave but ultimately unsuccessful last-ditch effort.
The organiser supply identical sealed race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines to all competitors to guarantee reliable and usually close racing, but Espargaro’s pace in the second shortened race in a row stretched out the pursuit.
First-time pole qualifier Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was second after a race-long chase, three seconds down at the flag. Swiss former 125 World Champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter) a slightly lesser distance behind for third. It was Brno winner Kallio’s third visit to the rostrum; and a sixth for Luthi.
Xavier Simeon (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team Kalex) eventually escaped from a race-long battle with Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) for fifth; double race winner Nico Terol (Aspar Team
Moto2 Suter) closed to within a second of his Spanish compatriot by the finish.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) was eighth. Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team
Kalex) had a strong ride through from 22nd on the grid to ninth, finally outpacing Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up). Ten seconds away, Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) forced his way to the front of a quartet disputing 11th, taking the place narrowly from Marcel Schrotter (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team Kalex), Axel Pons (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex), Gino Rea (Arginano & Gines Racing Speed Up) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex). Eleventh to 15th and last point were covered by just over one second.
The costly first-corner crash was triggered when three-race winner Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons
Kalex) fell near the front of the pack. Redding, who had qualified 15th, was unable to avoid his bike, and also fell heavily, while Blusens Avintia Kalex replacement rider Alex Marinelarena also crashed and was stretchered away. None made the restart.
Espargaro now the new World Champion with hi unassailable lead on points, but Rabat still has the chance to claim second from Redding, who is 20 points clear.
An exciting Moto3 race threw the championship wide open and yielded a best result of the year for the Honda riders, with the top trio in a close fight to the end over fifth place, and a fourth in ninth place. Until the last corner there had been five Hondas in the top ten … but Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) crashed out of a potential fifth almost within sight of the chequered flag.
While Alex Marquez won his first grand prix after title leaders Luis Salom and Alex Rins crashed out (all KTM), four Honda riders were in the big battle not far behind the remaining leading quartet. Masbou, Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italian FTR Honda), John McPhee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) had caught fast-starting Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda). The quartet changed places repeatedly, then crossed the line Fenati, Miller and McPhee after Masbou went missing, all over the line within 0.12 seconds.
Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) had been with the leaders when he crashed on the first lap, taking down points leader Alex Salom.
Later in the race fellow KTM rider Alex Rins also crashed, handing a slender points lead to Maverick Vinales (KTM), a narrow second in today’s race.
Honda MotoGP rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, 2nd
“Second place today is a very good result. After my crash in warm-up, I knew that it would be difficult to be consistent - because in the morning I hadn’t managed that either. This was my first time at this track with a MotoGP bike and in practice I was unable to get any references in the dry, leaving me with only the warm-up and the race in which to find my way. I saw that Jorge was a little stronger than us here and I had a couple of scary moments, making me decide that 20 points and the gap being reduced by only five points would be a decent result. There is only one race remaining – the most important of the year – so we shall try to be more focused than ever at Valencia.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“It was a bit of a boring race for me, because I tried to give everything but I had a lot of problems exiting the corners; I was unable to get on the gas fully and I lost a lot of time to Marc and Jorge. I was third for the entire race, trying to hold onto them. However, at the midway point of the race my pace started to become slower than theirs. Now we have to focus on the next race, in Valencia, where we shall try to do as well as possible.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 4th “After such a strange weekend with everything that has happened and the two crashes – one yesterday and one this morning – the race was more than positive. I felt comfortable with the bike this morning but the crash definitely didn’t help and the start wasn’t perfect either. I hadn’t done a single lap with the front tyre so I wasn’t sure how it would feel or how hard I could push it but I built my rhythm up, made some passes and picked up a solid fourth place that could perhaps have been something more if we’d had a better start. Anyway, it is a good finish to a chaotic weekend and that is the most important thing. We have consolidated sixth place in the championship and now we need to keep working to take the next step with Showa, Nissin and Honda. We owe it to everybody that supports us, but especially GO&FUN.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda, 5th
“It has been a crazy weekend for everybody but in the end we had a dry race and I am happy about my result. I was more cautious compared to the other guys but I took a good start from the third row.
At some point during the race Bautista caught me but I could feel some pain in my ankle due to the movement of the bike. Actually my ankle is at 85 percent, and for me it was a long and tough race so we must be pleased with this fifth place.”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 22nd “I don’t have much to say today, I think the result says it all. It has been a weekend to forget and we need to turn the page quickly and start thinking about Valencia. At a circuit I know we should have better fortunes than here at Motegi.”
Honda Moto2 rider quotes
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP 40 Pons, 1st
“I can’t explain my feelings in words – I feel like I am flying. Later we have to think about what we did, and to enjoy the championship when we get home. It was a title of a group, of the big family that is my team. I want to congratulate them. It was a difficult year for us, my team-mate Rabat and Scott were so fast, until unfortunately Scott crashed in Australia. I did some mistakes at the start, but we kept on fighting. Now I can enjoy Valencia with my people without thinking about the championship.”
Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team, 2nd
“I’m happy with the 20 points for second, but disappointed not to have won here at Motegi today. The feeling was good, the pace was good and this track has always been a little bit special for me in the past, but Pol was just too fast for me. I made a couple of small mistakes early on that allowed him to pull enough of a gap that it was impossible to catch him. Normally I’d be satisfied to be on the podium, but I’ve won many times before at this track and, today, I was expecting more.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock Moto2, 3rd “It has been a good three races for me, on the podium at each race. In the championship I am now up to sixth, which I did not expect after the bad start to my season with injury. For everyone, it was not an easy weekend. There was no chance to find the set-up for the dry. My team did a good job, and found quite a good bike for me. The race was not easy either, with the red flag. I was already up I think to sixth, but I said okay, I hope it is possible to push again. I am happy with the podium.”
Honda Moto3 rider quotes
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia, 5th “A good race, as far as I am concerned, especially if you think about what happened on Friday and Saturday. We have been able to set-up the bike only this morning – as everybody, on the other hand. On the last laps my bike was sliding very much, but it was expected.”
Jack Miller, Caretta Technology RTG, 6th “We can be a lot better. With the lack of practice time we didn’t have the gearbox correct – first gear was very short. The first laps were okay but when the tyres went down a bit I was getting big long slides every time I got first gear and I couldn’t carry the corner speed. I was losing a lot in the back part of the circuit.”
John McPhee, Caretta Technology RTG, 7th
“It’s a personal best for my career, and I’m really happy with the result. We got a good base set-up this morning, and didn’t make many changes – just a bit harder front and rear. We’ve struggled with braking stability all season, and now it was really good. The bike was turning well, I felt really comfortable from the first laps, and I could run with these guys quite happily. Really pleased.”
More, from a press release issued by FIM:
2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan - Decision of the Race Direction
On 27 October, 2013 during the MotoGP race of the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan the rider number 50 Damien Cudlin did not respect the blue flags. The rider stayed on the racing line and did not allow the race leader Jorge Lorenzo to pass at the earliest opportunity whilst he was lapping him.
This is an infringement of Article 1.22.1 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.
A Race Direction hearing was held on 27 October at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit where the rider gave evidence. The decision of Race Direction was to impose the addition of one Penalty Point to the record of rider number 50 Damien Cudlin for the 2013 season, according to Article 3.2.1. of the 2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.
No appeal has been lodged. The decision of Race Direction is final.
More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:
Racing weekend in Japan in hands of weather, Luca Scassa retires from the race
On Saturday the substitute rider of team Cardion AB Motoracing Luca Scassa pulled out straight into the qualifying practice. It was a first meeting with Japanese track for thirty-year- Old Italian rider even under these difficult climatic conditions during his premier run he managed to finish on twentieth position. The race direction settled instead of Sunday’s warm up free practice that should replace missing Friday’s program that has been cancelled due to adverse weather. While on Friday and Saturday it was rainy, windy and foggy, on Sunday got warmer and sun was shining and the team Cardion AB could start since the beginning. Despite all this complications Luca started well into the race and he was riding around seventeenth position. He was forced to retire from this position due to technical defect on the bike.
Marco Grana, chief mechanic of Cardion AB Motoracing
„We have a terrible weekend in all aspects behind of us. The weather, our starting conditions, bad luck. It was first race for Luca in Japan. Under normal condition it would not mind, the bike was quit ok with the track and Luca was very good prepared. Luca managed to reach twentieth position in qualifying practice under all this problems. Behind us stayed riders as Barbera and Corti. If we consider that it was fist time for Luca on this track thus It is a great result. On Sunday weather condition completely changed so we had to start from the beginning. On Sunday’s free practice Luca had a crash and during the race he was forced to retire due to technical defect on the bike. We suppose that it was caused by morning crash due to loosen footrest. If we had been able to finish the race we would have been close to the point positions. In Valencia we want to cross that line and we want to Luca finish the season with some points.“
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Jorge Lorenzo has triumphed for the seventh time in 2013, winning Sunday’s AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider fought off a stiff challenge from Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to ensure that the MotoGP™ title battle goes down to the wire for the first time since 2006.
Providing a truly unpredictable end to the late-season triple-header, the Motegi weekend was very much shaken up by inclement weather conditions; this led to the cancellation of all track action on Friday as well as heavy modifications to the Saturday agenda. Ironically, Sunday’s race took place under clear blue skies in Japan.
From his fourth pole position of the year, it would be a lights-to-flag victory for Lorenzo to move one win ahead of Marquez in the 2013 season. Teammate Valentino Rossi looked to be providing a buffer between the current titleholder and the pair of factory Hondas, but suffered braking issues at Turn 11 twice, and fell back down the order.
Lorenzo would come under severe pressure from Marquez at the mid-way point of the race, with Pedrosa in hot pursuit. However, the Mallorcan was spared some breathing space as Marquez made mistakes at both Turn 11 and Turn 1. The 20-year-old would never be as close to Lorenzo again, eventually ending the day 3.1 seconds in arrears.
Pedrosa’s third place marked his 12th podium finish of the season, but the Sabadell rider was unable to complete a hat trick of Motegi victories, as his chances for the 2013 world title officially evaporated. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top five, with the GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider having slipstreamed his way past the LCR Honda MotoGP bike at the start of the eighth lap. Rossi fought back to sixth place after running as low as 11th, while Cal Crutchlow, who suffered from overheating brakes, got the better of impressive Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith in seventh and eighth spots.
Ducati Team completed the top ten with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, while 11th place was taken by wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga for the Yamaha YSP Racing Team. In 12th was lead CRT rider Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), with Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro having become the third of three retirements courtesy of a high-speed accident due to loss of braking power – he escaped with a left hip contusion. Lukas Pesek (Came IodaRacing Project) was first to retire, while Cardion AB Motoracing’s Luca Scassa pulled into the pit lane with a loose right foot peg.
Sunday’s result - marking the 200th premier class race victory for Yamaha - sees Lorenzo move to within 13 points of Marquez with just the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana remaining. This signals the first final-race MotoGP™ title-decider for seven years; in 2006 it was also a duel between the Honda and Yamaha factory teams, with the crown won by Nicky Hayden as the American picked up a maiden title from then reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Pol Espargaro has become Moto2™ World Champion of 2013, winning Sunday’s AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in fine style. The Spaniard’s task was aided when chief rivals Scott Redding and Tito Rabat were both removed from the action in a multiple collision on the first lap. Mika Kallio and Tom Luthi completed the podium.
Under clear skies and with ambient temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius, it was a clean start to proceedings until a crash occurred on the exit of the second corner; Redding, Rabat (Tuenti HP 40) and Alex Mariñelarena (Blusens Avintia) were involved, and none of the trio would restart. Mariñelarena unfortunately suffered a broken left wrist. At Turn 3, Dominique Aegerter suffered a separate incident but the Technomag carXpert rider was able to re-join the grid following a red flag stoppage.
On the first of 15 laps for the restarted race, Espargaro took the lead from Marc VDS’ Kallio and would not be headed for the rest of the afternoon. This left the Finn second from a pole position start, with Interwetten Paddock Moto2’s Tom Luthi on the podium for the third race in a row and the sixth time this season.
Xavier Simeon (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team) and Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) completed the top five from Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis and Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami – the leading Japanese rider in his home event. It was a race of high attrition, with no less than nine riders failing to make the finish, although the aforementioned Aegerter impressively fought back to eighth position after running last at the restart.
With the title wrapped up in favour of Espargaro, a single race remains on the 2013 Moto2™ calendar. The Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana will take place at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit on 10 November.
Alex Marquez has claimed his first ever World Championship race victory in the Moto3™ AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan. In a race full of surprises, title contenders Luis Salom and Alex Rins both suffered crashes before Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Marquez beat Maverick Viñales by just two hundredths of a second.
The events of Sunday could not have been scripted at Twin Ring Motegi. Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) started from his seventh pole position of the season, whereas championship leader Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was fourth on the grid and would claim the title if he won with Rins 11th or lower. However, the destiny of the championship would be shaken up on various occasions throughout the race.
It was a shocking opening lap for Red Bull KTM Ajo. Just seconds after Zulfahmi Khairuddin was taken out in a Turn 1 incident with Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder, Salom was collected in V Corner by Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Isaac Viñales. The Mallorcan re-joined the race and proceeded to post lap records as he began a charge back up the order, only to highside out of contention at Turn 4 on Lap 8.
Knowing the championship leader was out, Rins was set to top the points table as he ran third behind Viñales (Team Calvo) and teammate Marquez on the 14th lap, following an entertaining scrap with both of the riders in front of him. Unbelievably, a mistake from Rins saw him lose control to throw the championship fight wide open once again. He re-joined the race but recovered only to 24th position, out of the points.
It was Viñales who led into the final tour, but an error at the Turn 10 hairpin was more than the invitation Marquez needed. The younger brother of MotoGP™ World Championship leader Marc would hold on for his first victory by the slim margin of 27 thousandths of a second. Viñales shot back up into title contention with second place, with the podium completed by Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger.
A somewhat quiet place for Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira ended with fourth position, while a dramatic fight for fifth saw San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati beating Caretta Technology – RTG duo Jack Miller and John McPhee. The top ten was rounded out by Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3) and the aforementioned Binder. There was also contentment for Japan’s Hyuga Watanabe, who scored for La Fonte Tascaracing. Nine riders failed to make the finish, including Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou who crashed on the final lap.
The remarkable events of Motegi leave Moto3™ with a triangular final round shootout for the title. Salom will head into the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana with a two-point lead over Viñales, with Rins only a further three in arrears.