MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA SET TO START TRIPLE-HEADER IN JAPAN
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team have used the two weeks after the Thai GP to prepare for the remaining three back-to-back flyaway races, starting with the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, Yamaha‘s home race.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team have flown to Japan for a very significant round at the Twin Ring Motegi track. Though not typically known as a Yamaha circuit, this weekend‘s Motul Grand Prix of Japan is the manufacturer‘s home GP, and Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are keen to put on a good show.
Two weekends ago Viñales stood on the podium in Buriram, celebrating his fourth third place and sixth podium of the season. Thanks to this strong ride, he currently holds fourth position in the championship standings with a 4-point margin to third.
In the meantime, the Spaniard has been keeping busy paying a short visit to Taipei to attend Yamaha Motor Taiwan Co. Ltd.‘s ’Cheer for Maverick‘ event. It gave him an extra boost to add another podium to his tally. He has visited the Motegi podium four times, securing second places at the Japanese Grand Prix in Moto3 in 2012 and 2013, a second place in Moto2 in 2014, and a third place in the MotoGP class in 2016.
Rossi used the short intermezzo between the Thai GP and the upcoming triple-header to gear up for what is quite an intense but very rewarding schedule. The fans in Japan, Australia, and Malaysia are extremely passionate and for sure will be cheering him on as he tries to climb up from sixth place in the championship standings. He has a 22-point gap to third, and with three races in three weeks he has all to play for.
Having just missed out on the podium in Japan last year, taking fourth, the Italian again aims to fight with the front-runners this weekend. He fancies his chances in Motegi, where he stood on the top step in 2001 and 2008, scored second place in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2015, and achieved third place in 2010 and 2014.
The Twin Ring Motegi circuit was built in 1997 for test purposes. It was first visited by MotoGP in 1999 for the Japanese Grand Prix. A year later the track started hosting the Pacific Grand Prix and it has remained a major attraction for motorsports fans ever since. In 2004 Motegi replaced the Suzuka Circuit on the MotoGP calendar to once again become the host of the Japanese Grand Prix, and it has kept this status ever since. The 4.8km track is known for setting the scene for lots of memorable and exciting racing moments, thanks to its challenging lay-out of six left and eight right corners, and various hard braking and acceleration areas.
For those who want to get to know the Twin Ring Motegi track better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti‘s eLap.
“The Japanese GP is always an important round for us, because it’s our manufacturer‘s home race. It‘s also the start of the triple-header: we will have three GPs in three weeks‘ time, which can be very demanding, so we have to keep focused 100% and also show physical and mental endurance as a team. Motegi is traditionally not an easy track for us, but we look forward to starting work on Friday, because we are determined to put on a good show for the Japanese fans, who are always full of support.”
“I actually like Motegi a lot as a track. I always like pushing there, so I expect that we will be good this weekend because it‘s a track where I‘m usually fast. Last year it was a difficult race, but back then we were at a point where I didn‘t feel good with the bike. At the moment I feel incredible with the bike and can push so much for good lap times. We will see, but in any case, I will be pushing.”
“During these upcoming three consecutive races we will try to solve some of our problems with the bike. Obviously, we are not happy about the latest results and in Motegi we will try other solutions, something different. Motegi is a track that I like, and I will try to do a good race.”