2012 Motegi MotoGP Press Release Previews
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Yamaha Touch Down in Japan for Motegi
Yamaha Factory Racing heads east to prepare for the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit this weekend. The race is the first of three back to back overseas races before the Championship heads back to Valencia for the finale in just over one month’s time. Jorge Lorenzo prepares for Yamaha’s home race determined to maintain his Championship point lead over closest rival Dani Pedrosa. The Mallorcan can claim a victory in Motegi in 2009 and a podium in 2011 with second.
Ben Spies has yet to experience a trouble free Motegi, dropping to 15th in 2010 after having to avoid a rider and dropping to last in 2011 after being hit by fallen Valentino Rossi. In both cases the Texan mounted a determined comeback, fighting back to eighth and sixth respectively. After two fifth place finishes in the preceding rounds Spies will be looking to build on this and put on a good show for the fans.
Originally designed as a test venue in 1997, the Motegi track has a geometric layout with a surface that offers good grip levels over numerous 2nd gear corners. Braking and acceleration are the key factors for a fast lap time here.
“We start the Asiatic tour leading the Championship and in a good shape after the Aragon race. For sure it’s going to be difficult because our competitors at this moment of the season are very strong but we have to play our cards in the best possible way. Motegi is a track that I like, I won here in 2009 and I think we can fight for the win again this weekend.”
“I’m looking forward to the weekend. We had some bad luck last year on the first lap when Valentino crashed but we had really good pace. We’ve had a couple of decent results running up to this weekend so hopefully we can put together a good result for Yamaha here at their home race.”
“We have a tough few weeks coming up on this overseas tour but we start in the best possible way with the Championship lead. Motegi can be a tough track for us but Jorge is very motivated and fit. It would be the perfect start to the triple back to back races to extend our lead this weekend.”
“We are very excited to be here for Yamaha’s home race to put on a good show for our Japanese fans. With four races to go we have Jorge in a very strong position leading the Championship and Ben delivering better results with no issues. Motegi is a very unique track with a lot of stop-and-go corners. So far we've had a good base set up for most of the tracks of the season so let’s see how the 1000cc M1 performs there for the first time on Friday morning.”
Ducati Team hopes to continue good record at Motegi
As the Ducati Team focuses on its job of improving the Desmosedici, the fifteenth round on the MotoGP calendar, set to kick off on Friday at Motegi, will provide the team’s technicians with an opportunity to check the setting updates on a track where the Italian bike has traditionally worked well.
The Japanese circuit, where the Ducati Team has collected four wins and one additional podium finish, last year saw Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden working well on their bikes’ setups, enabling them to lap at a good pace all weekend, although their respective races were affected by a crash and an off-track excursion.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“I like Motegi a lot. It’s a nice track with good grip, and I have a positive memory of last year. We steadily improved the bike’s setup over the course of the weekend, and I think I could have had a good race if I hadn’t crashed on the first lap. At the moment, we’re still missing a couple of tenths with our pace to think of the podium, but at the last two races, we were still able to ride at a good, constant rhythm until the end, which is positive. At Motegi we’ll try to continue working in this direction and to take advantage of the Ducati’s potential, which is usually very high at this track.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Japan has a lot of passionate fans, and it’s a place where motorcycle racing has a rich tradition, which is nice even though I wouldn’t say Motegi has been one of my favourite or best tracks. It’s the first race of three in a row, and it’s really important. I thought I had escaped unscathed from the crash at Aragon, but unfortunately it looks like I picked up another injury. When I got home, my right hand was bothering me a bit, so I went for an X-ray and CT scan, and it turns out I have a fracture in my right radius. It’s definitely not the best situation, but as it’s not too painful and I have pretty good grip strength, I’m hopeful that it won’t cause too many problems this weekend. Racing’s full of ups and downs. We’ll try to ride this one out and hopefully get a decent result in Japan to get a little momentum going and get some confidence back.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“Our team has had many good results at Motegi. Last year we had done good work on the bike’s setup, although we weren’t able to put it to the test in the race since Valentino crashed on the first lap and Nicky, who was riding at a good pace, made a small mistake while he was in fourth place, affecting his final result. With Vale, we’ve been working in a promising direction with the setup for some races, and we’ll be able to check it again on Sunday. In addition, good grip usually helps us, and the Japanese track’s asphalt offers good traction. Nicky will have to deal with another small hand fracture, but he’s a very determined rider and he has reassured us that his condition is okay and that he has every intention of immediately returning to action.”
Repsol Honda Team heads East for decisive final races
This weekend The Repsol Honda Team return to full strength with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner for the Japanese Grand Prix, the 15th round of the MotoGP Championship.
Dani, who has won three of the last four races, currently lies 2nd in the Championship and is chasing down Lorenzo. He will be looking to repeat his 2011 victory in Motegi and reduce the 33 point gap with just 4 races of 2012 remaining. Dani has won at Motegi in all three classes, 125cc (2002), 250cc (2004) and MotoGP (2011).
Casey, who has missed the last three Grands Prix due to an injury sustained in qualifying for the Indianapolis Grand Prix in August, will be anxious to get back on track and asses the movement in his right ankle. Casey had surgery on the 30th August and has been recovering at home in Australia with his target to be fit for the final races of 2012. With 186 points Casey is mathematically out of the Championship race but he will want to finish on a high before he retires from the sport. Casey has a single victory at Motegi in MotoGP 2010.
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Position: 2nd with 257 points
"Motegi is a race I always look forward to. It's the most important weekend for Honda and I really enjoy the circuit. We have now the most demanding period of races ahead, but we will keep taking things step by step, thinking race by race. I love Motegi, it's a track with strong braking and strong acceleration. You must work very hard for the anti-wheelie, handling with the throttle, braking stability and good drive out of the corners. We had a good race there last year and we will work hard with the team to be as competitive as possible".
CASEY STONER World Championship Position: 3rd with 186 points
"It's going to be great to see all my team and get back on my bike in Motegi this weekend. The last 6 weeks have been pretty tough for me, I've had to sit around and rest my ankle, get some physio and try to occupy my time - thankfully I've had Ally around to keep me occupied. I've been watching the races at home, I felt bad for Dani in Misano, but these things can happen - as they did for Jorge in Assen. The Motegi circuit is very stop-start with a lot of hard braking and accelerating, it's pretty tough on the body and physically quite demanding. The first session on Friday will be crucial to see how my ankle feels in the boot and the degree of movement I have and pressure I can apply".
DESTINATION FAR EAST
This Sunday the Motegi circuit plays host to the first of three races in as many weekends as the MotoGP World Championship prepares for quickfire visits to Japan, Malaysia and Australia. Alvaro Bautista and his team will begin work in earnest this Friday as they look to improve his front-end setting and confidence for the season's final sprint. The Spaniard is determined to get the maximum out of his Honda RC213V and repeat his podium from Misano before the current campaign is out. Michele Pirro travels to Japan with the clear aim of being involved in the battle for CRT honours and as usual there will certainly be no shortage of effort from the rider and his crew. The Grand Prix of Japan is always a very special event for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini and it is a great source of pride to be able to represent Honda at their home circuit, thanks to a very special relationship between Team Gresini and the Japanese factory.
Alvaro Bautista “Aragon was something of a difficult weekend thanks largely to the mixed weather. We were never able to work as we wanted to during practice with the new material that Showa brought for us. In qualifying I struggled for feeling on the front, the bike was moving around a lot on the rear and we were unable to solve our problems in time for the race. I would have liked to have been fighting for a similar result to Misano but the bike wasn't in the right shape. I managed to make up positions in the race and improve my pace from practice but no more than that so we have to focus on the positives, which were championship points and important data for Motegi, where will again work hard to fix our set-up problems with the bike. If everything works as we hope then we should be competitive. We have to work a lot on the bike under braking because this is the most important factor at this circuit. Starting off the flyaway triple-header on the right foot will be fundamental, plus we are racing at Honda's home circuit and I would like to offer them a good result as a way of thanking them for all their support throughout the season. I have been competitive at Motegi in the past so I hope to repeat that this weekend. Motegi is a circuit where you need a bike that is stable on the brakes and has good traction in corner exit. It should be well suited to our bike, which has great acceleration.”
Michele Pirro “Unfortunately the conditions at Aragon were a disaster and ruined the work we had planned after a fantastic weekend at Misano. It really wasn't easy to try and find a set-up for the bike but in the end we managed to finish the race and pick up an important point which gives us all renewed belief in the project. It promises to be an important finale to the season and we need to try and close the gap down to the top CRTs. At Motegi we'll try to take another step closer. It's a technical track and even though it is not one of my favourites I will try my maximum alongside the guys in the team to fight to be the best CRT and come away with a good result. ”
Fausto Gresini “Japan is like a second home for us because we have always had such a great relationship with Honda so as always we are happy and proud to go back there to race. We will try to do our best and figure at the front because we will be closely watched. We also have a close bond with the people of Japan because over the years we have had several Japanese riders race for us and that is another reason I am always happy to go back there. The championship is proving to be a difficult one this year but we are trying to keep our concentration high and take that step in quality that we saw in Misano and to a lesser extent at Aragon. The team is determined to find the right setting at a difficult and technical circuit. It will be another new circuit for the CRT bike so we have to continue with the positive recent progress and keep moving forward. We had some chatter issues at Aragon that affected Michele but we managed to come out of it with a point and that gives us all renewed enthusiasm for the project for the remainder of this season and next season too.”
JAPAN TO HOST FIRST RACE OF ASIA-OCEANIA TRIPLE-HEADER
De Puniet and Espargaró to continue CRT fight in final four rounds of 2012
It is the most exciting but also the most toughest period of the season for the MotoGP teams and riders as the paddock packs up for three races in as many weekends on the other side of the planet. Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island are the venues for an intense intercontinental triple-header, starting this weekend at the Japanese track. The fifteenth round of the season sees Dani Pedrosa arrive with his championship hopes still alive after victory at Aragón although a 33-point gap to Jorge Lorenzo remains significant with just four rounds remaining. Casey Stoner returns to action and could well be the deciding factor in the battle between the two Spaniards.
Aleix Espargaró nicked a point back from his team-mate Randy De Puniet with his latest CRT win last time out in what was probably the tightest scrap of the season between the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair. Just two points now separate them in an entertaining battle for championship supremacy that looks certain to run until the final round in Valencia. Whichever way their personal duel goes it seems certain that a historic first ever CRT title will end up in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar trophy cabinet.
Randy De Puniet: "You could say that Motegi isn't one of the most interesting circuits on the calendar as far as I am concerned. There are too many braking zones and I don't enjoy riding there really although the flip side of that is that it has always been good to me in terms of results and performances. It will be an important Grand Prix for us anyway. There are just four remaining this season and the fight with Aleix is going to be very tight, so we have to remain competitive over the next three weekends and at Valencia. Hopefully the weather is good to us because normally in Japan it tends to rain a lot in October. Whatever the conditions we have to give our best to bring home as many points as possible from each of the remaining four rounds."
Aleix Espargaró: "Now we go to Japan and we have three races in a very short space of time. To be honest I don't like spending so much time away from home but the good thing is that we're going to race at some of my favourite circuits, especially Sepang and Phillip Island. We will have to work hard at Motegi this weekend if we want to leave there with a good result. It is a circuit with a lot of hard braking and that should suit us because it is probably our strong point. We are highly motivated after an excellent weekend at Aragón and the objective will be to finish ahead of Randy again and make up the points he took from us at Misano a couple of races ago. Every race has to be like that now if we want to get to Valencia fighting to finish the season as the top CRT rider."
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Round 15: Motegi, Japan
Tuesday, 09 October 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round fifteen of the 2012 MotoGP™ season takes place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for one of the most important contests of the year, as the strong Japanese presence in the paddock – including Bridgestone - celebrate their home Grand Prix as the championship battle enters a critical phase.
At approximately 4.8 kilometres in length Motegi is characterised by four straights that create numerous heavy braking and acceleration zones. As a result, the centre section of the tyres at this circuit are placed under considerable stress, requiring the supplied tyres to grant high levels of front stability under braking, and good rear grip for acceleration.
The tarmac at Motegi is quite abrasive and with the race now being run in October, track temperatures are generally quite cool so Bridgestone must develop tyres with good warm-up performance and durability for the Japanese Grand Prix. Tyre compounds for this year remain unchanged with the soft, medium and hard front slicks being offered alongside the asymmetric soft and medium rear slicks. The asymmetric rear slicks feature slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder in response to the greater number of right-hand turns at the Motegi circuit.
The main wet tyre for Motegi will be the soft option to ensure maximum grip levels in the likely cool temperatures, although all riders will be able to select a limited number of the alternative wet tyre, which for this race is the hard option, if required.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Motegi is one of the highlights of the season as the large Japanese contingent in the paddock gets to celebrate its home grand prix and put on a big show for all the local fans. This is certainly the case for Bridgestone and we will be hosting a large number of guests, for many of whom Motegi presents the only chance to see some live MotoGP action. Like every year we will have a large display booth in the public area where we will be hosting a talk show with many riders and this year we are also holding a charity auction to help victims of last year’s Tohoku earthquake, and I look forward to meeting many MotoGP fans there over the weekend.
“Adding to the excitement is that there is still everything to fight for in the championship between Jorge and Dani, and with Casey making a welcome return to the paddock there are many reasons why this weekend should be a great show.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Now that the Japanese Grand Prix takes place in October, the temperatures for the race are generally cool, so warm-up performance is a key consideration for tyre development at the Motegi circuit. The track surface is high-grip and abrasive which combined with the circuit’s heavy braking and acceleration zones, places high loads on the centre section of the tyres.
“The circuit has a stop-and-go layout and features eight right-hand corners compared to six left-handers. Though the circuit doesn’t place significant loads on the either shoulder of the tyre, the greater number of right-hand corners means asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder are provided here. Overall, Motegi is one of the gentler circuits for MotoGP tyres and this is why we have selected softer tyre compounds selected for this race.”
HECTOR WANTS THE RESULT AT THE TWIN RING IN MOTEGI
The MotoGP paddock arrives in Japan this week for the 15th round of the 2012 World Championship, the first of three flyaway races that will take place in Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
After a difficult race at the MotorLand Aragon two weeks ago, the Pramac Racing Team rider Héctor Barberà is eager to take the track and achieve the top ten, having missed out it in the last races.
The Twin Ring Motegi holds mixed memories for the Spaniard, who suffered a serious injury both in 2011 and in 2008, but he has also enjoyed some good races at the Japanese track.
The Motegi circuit has modern facilities and features a somewhat geometric track layout. Braking and acceleration are the main prerequisite for a fast lap time.
Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider –
“In Aragon I had an unsatisfactory weekend and unfortunately I had also missed out the last four races because of my injury. This run of three races will be tough for everyone, but I will be working hard as ever, looking for re-acquaint myself with the bike and hoping for some good results. As always our target will be the top ten and catch as many points we can take without risking too much. We will do our best and see what happens!”
BRADL POSITIVE AHEAD HONDA HOME GRAND PRIX
Motegi, 11th October: LCR race Stefan Bradl and his crew hits Motegi circuit this weekend for the first of the three flyaway races. Honda's home track is one of the favourites of Bradl who not only likes the track, but also the people of Japan.The young German continues his rookie of the year season at a track where he won the second grand prix of his career in 2008 in the 125cc class.
The 22-year-old is just behind Bautista in the current championship and well ahead of the second best rookie. The Motegi race gives Bradl another opportunity to earn his first MotoGP podium, a finish that is certain to come.
Before the first session on Friday, Stefan and his Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello visited the NISSIN R&D Tochigi Centre (the R&D division one of the world most popular braking system factory). Both Stefan and Lucio enjoyed very much the special tour inside the Japanese factory including the various departments and the test laboratories: the duo met the Nissin engineers involved in the development of MotoGP technology and had a “car driving braking test” at the Nissin Tochigi test circuit.
Stefan: “Motegi is one of my favorite race tracks and this GP it's even more special to me because I am a Honda MotoGP racer. I like the warmth of Japanese fans and will do my best to get a good result for my team and the Honda fans. I already cancelled the bad memory of last race in Aragon. We have the potential to fight for a podium finish and now we must stay very concentrated."
ROBERTO ROLFO REPLACES MATTIA PASINI FROM THE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN
Speed Master announces the replacement of Mattia Pasini, the team’s rider in the MotoGP category, starting from the Grand Prix of Japan.
For the final part of the 2012 World Championship, in the last four races of the season, the CRT machine of the team will be given to Roberto Rolfo, who took part in the top class in 2005 and stepped regularly on the podium in the 250cc.
Rolfo is back on a motorbike for the last rounds of the Championship, with a new challenge, ready to get to know the ART bike and to prove his determination.
Roberto Rolfo #84
“I’m really happy there was the chance to reach this agreement with Speed Master Team, as I’ll be taking part in the last four races of the season in the circuits of Motegi, Sepang, Phillip Island and, eventually, Valencia. It’ll be awesome to be back on top of a bike with such horsepower and to do it on the tracks that are among my favourite ones, where you really have a good time. Thanks to the Team for giving me this opportunity, I’d like to take advantage of it at its best to prove that the desire to compete is high, as well as the intention to achieve good results.”