Press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Suzuki's home GP leads trio of Pacific races
Publish Date: Friday, September 23, 2011
Rizla Suzuki heads into a run of three Pacific Rim races over four weekends - with Suzuki's home race at Motegi the first venue on the trip.
Buoyed from his performance in his home country last time out, Suzuki's Spanish rider Álvaro Bautista is in a determined state-of-mind to give Suzuki staff and fans something to cheer about at the 4,801m Motegi Twin-Ring Circuit. The package of Bautista and the Suzuki GSV-R has made big strides this year and is consistently challenging for top-six positions. Motegi will give the team a good opportunity to show the improvements made in 2011, because the circuit should suit rider and machine alike.
The Japanese Grand Prix is a re-scheduled event following the postponement of the original race in April due to the earthquake and Tsunami that decimated parts of the country. Rizla Suzuki has shown solidarity with Suzuki's homeland since that tragic event by displaying its support on the GSV-R and the whole team is now able to back up those words with actions as it joins the staff from Suzuki's headquarters in Hamamatsu, at Motegi next weekend.
The Twin-Ring Motegi Circuit is located approximately 90kms from Tokyo, in- between the cities of Mito and Utsunomiya. It is regarded as one of the safest tracks on the MotoGP calendar and the whole circuit has recently been re-surfaced to give an even smoother surface for the MotoGP machines to perform on Rizla Suzuki and Bautista take to the track on Friday 30th September to begin the practice sessions that will lead up to Sunday's 24-lap race, which is scheduled to get underway at 15.00hrs local time (06.00hrs GMT).
"I cannot wait to get back on the bike and continue with the work from the recent races. I am really excited by the way things have been going and know we still have some more steps to take, so Motegi will be a good place to make even further improvements. This is a really important race for Suzuki and all the Japanese people, we have been able to show support on the bike for the country at all the races since the awful disaster, but now we can go there in person and show them that we really are with them. I think it could be an emotional event, but I want to push the GSV-R and myself to the limit and give everyone at Suzuki, and all the team's fans, something to smile about and be proud of!"
MOTOGP SEASON ENTERS FINAL STAGE
MAPFRE Aspar team head to Japan with high hopes after excellent Aragon result
The first sign that the season is drawing to a close comes this weekend as the teams pack their bags for the first of three 'flyaway' races on the other side of the world. Natural disasters saw the Grand Prix of Japan postponed for the second successive season, meaning it now takes place this weekend as round fifteen of eighteen, followed in quick succession by races in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia. It is the most punishing period of the season and it is also when the main prizes are dished out, with the MotoGP title in particular close to being decided: Casey Stoner holds a 44-point lead over Jorge Lorenzo with a maximum of 100 points up for grabs.
After finishing ninth at Misano and eighth in the most recent race at Aragon MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá is gradually establishing himself as one of the men to watch in MotoGP. The Spaniard and his team are in excellent form and the results are testament to their continually improving relationship. Motegi holds mixed memories for Héctor, who suffered a serious injury there during his 250cc career but has since enjoyed some good races at the Japanese track.
Héctor Barberá: "Motegi is a very special circuit for me, firstly because I had my first big injury there but came back to recover and continue with my life and my career when things could have turned out a lot worse. I also have great memories of Japan because I took some of my first wins there and I have a lot of admiration for the Japanese people. To go there now and put on a show for them is a good way for us to help out with the difficulties they are going through. Motegi is a balanced track with some hard braking zones, which I love, and I think that with the form we are in it would be a good weekend for. Thanks to the great job the team is doing we are consistently fighting to be the top Ducati and the objective is to continue with this level of consistency. I feel very highly motivated."
Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 15: Japan
Tuesday 27 September 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
The MotoGP circus travels to Japan on 2 October for round 15 of the championship at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit near Mito and Utsunomiya, just a few hours' drive from the Tokyo headquarters of Bridgestone Corporation. The original date was set for 24 April but the natural disasters and subsequent crisis in Japan forced the postponement so the event now lies one week before an overseas back-to-back pair of races on Australia and Malaysia.
The date change puts the race at the same time of year as it was held last season, the first weekend in October, so the weather conditions are expected to be similar – around 25 degrees Celsius ambient. This means that the tyre compound options are unchanged, but with the addition of the third soft compound front slicks, although the rear asymmetric slicks have been modified slightly.
Compared to last year the left shoulders of the rear slicks are now one step softer for improved warm-up and safety in the opening laps, in response to rider feedback. The Medium compound rear has a soft compound left shoulder whereas the Soft compound rear uses Bridgestone's extra soft rubber in the left side. This season the extra soft compound rubber will be used at a total of eight Grands Prix.
The 4.8km Motegi circuit features four long and fast straights, and its 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. With eight right-handed corners and just six lefts, warm-up performance from the left side of the rear tyres is particularly important hence the use of softer compounds this year to improve rider safety in the early laps and in the instance of cold conditions.
The fastest and most committal corner of the circuit is turn six, the 180+kmh 130R, which leads into a fast and flowing left-right section through which absolute confidence in the bike and tyres is critical.
The MotoGP field will turn-out at Motegi in force, with the addition of two more bikes from Honda supplied for HRC test riders Shinichi Ito and Kosuke Akiyoshi. Ito will compete as a HRC wildcard, whereas Akiyoshi will ride alongside Toni Elias for the LCR Honda squad.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"There has been much talk about Japan this season because of the events earlier in the year but I am honoured and proud to see so much support for our nation and for the Japanese GP within the paddock. Motegi has always been an important event for Bridgestone and one at which we have reached many milestones so I am looking forward to going, enjoying what I hope will be a great race, and doing what we can to show our support for Japan."
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"Being held at the same time as it was last year, at the start of October, we can expect the conditions at Motegi to be similar and therefore we have not revised our tyre options this season, but we have made one change based on rider comments. We have made the left shoulders of the rear asymmetric slicks one step softer, meaning that we are also using our extra soft compound for the first time at this circuit. This will give the riders improved warm-up performance and safety around the left-handers, which are fewer than the rights, in the opening laps, like they asked for.
"We saw in Aragon that warm-up performance was very good and tyre wear was relatively high, but Motegi is cooler and the surface less abrasive so durability should be better. 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, like last year's thrilling battle between Valentino and Jorge. There are eight rights and six lefts but many of the corners are quite tight and slow and this staccato nature places a lot of emphasis on braking stability from the front tyres and edge grip from the rears."
Tech 3 aims for success in Yamaha's home race
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team heads to the Twin Ring Motegi track this weekend determined to deliver strong results in front of a large contingent of Yamaha fans at the re-scheduled Japanese Grand Prix.
British rider Cal Crutchlow is eagerly-anticipating his first chance to compete in Yamaha's all-important home Grand Prix after he scored a thoroughly deserved ninth position last time out at the Motorland Aragon in Spain.
The 25-year-old has made big advances in improving the set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team YZR-M1 machine in recent weeks and he is looking forward to testing his skills on the 2.983 miles Twin Ring Motegi track, which is dominated by a series of hard braking an d acceleration points.
American team-mate Colin Edwards is determined to return to the form that has made him the outstanding non-factory rider once again in 2011.
The popular 37-year-old was uncharacteristically outside of the top 10 in the previous two races, but the Twin Ring Motegi race gives him the perfect opportunity to show the speed that established him as a consistent top six contender earlier in 2011.
The Japanese venue was a happy hunting ground for Edwards last season, the long-serving and loyal Yamaha rider racing to a season best fifth position. He's qualified in fifth place on the grid in the past two seasons and he's optimistic of mounting another top six challenge with seventh place in the World Championship standings still an achievable goal.
This weekend's race was originally scheduled to take place on April 24, but an earthquake and tsunami that caused widespread devastation in north-east Japan meant the race was postponed.
Following the tragic events back in March, Crutchlow, Edwards and the rest of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team are looking forward to showing their support to management, staff and fans of Yamaha at this weekend's race, which is the 15th of 18 in this year's MotoGP World Championship.
This weekend's Twin Ring Motegi race sees the beginning of a hectic conclusion to the season, with visits to Australia and Malaysia following quickly before the campaign ends in Valencia.
Colin Edwards, 9th - 90 points:
"The last couple of races haven't gone according to plan, so there's no better place to try and put things right than in Yamaha's home Grand Prix. I had my best result of the season at the Twin Ring Mot egi last year, so I go there with a lot of confidence that I can fight for another top six. It is not going to be an easy task when you look at the level of competition, but we know the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team package is better than last year, so hopefully we'll be in the mix for a good result. Seventh in the Championship is not out of reach and there are four races to go, so we still have a lot to fight for. The Japanese Grand Prix is always a massive event for Yamaha and this year is no exception. It has been a difficult time for the Japanese people, so to go there and demonstrate our support for them is really important. Hopefully we can bring some joy to them by putting on a good show, particularly for Yamaha and all its fans."
Cal Crutchlow, 13th - 52 points:
"I am really looking forward to going to Japan this weekend and I feel full of confidence after the good result at the Motorland Aragon. Fighting for almost the whole race with a rider of the calibre of Valentino Rossi was really good for my experience, and I learnt a lot that will help me for the future. Obviously the Twin Ring Motegi is another new track for me, but I have found my way round other new tracks pretty quickly to be competitive, so hopefully it will be the same in Japan. The good thing is that after this weekend I know Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia, so hopefully I can end the season with some strong races inside the top 10. It is an honour for me to represent Yamaha in the Japanese Grand Prix, and after a difficult period following the earthquake, I am looking forward to being able to show my support to the Japanese people and everyone connected to Yamaha this weekend."
MotoGP Descends on Yamaha`s Homeland for Motegi
The MotoGP paddock finally arrives in Japan this week for round 15 of the 2011 World Championship at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The race had been delayed for the second year running, this year due to the Tsunami and earthquake which caused widespread devastation in the country. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo now has just four races left to close the gap to Championship leader Casey Stoner, currently 44 points ahead. Lorenzo is no stranger to the Motegi podium having taken victory in 2009. He narrowly missed out on a 2010 podium after a fierce battle with then team mate Valentino Rossi, ultimately finishing in fourth.
Ben Spies arrives in Motegi for his second ever Japanese MotoGP race. Last year saw the Texan deliver a master class in overtaking having lost several places after running wide on the second lap to avoid a rider. Spies recovered from 15th place to take eighth at the line, carving his way through the competition to do so.
Designed in 1997 as a test venue, Motegi features a somewhat geometric track layout. The surface offers good levels of grip without being overly abrasive but the number of second gear turns, linked for the most part by mini-drag strips, means braking and acceleration are the main prerequisite to a fast lap time. As part of Yamaha's 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing the team will again run the special ‘YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition' livery this weekend.
"Japan is a home race for Yamaha and for us it is always a pleasure to ride here. Motegi is a track where I have won before and last year I had a nice fight for the podium. I would like to win again here, so that is my aim this weekend. After all the confusion with Fukushima we are here, fit and ready to put on a good show for Yamaha in this special year for them. We will begin on Friday and try to do everything really well!"
"I really enjoyed the race here last year once I got over the frustration of losing so many places in the opening laps. I managed to overtake quite a few riders on my way back up to eighth which always makes the race more exciting. I hope to be higher this year from the start so won't have to do so much catching up! We're racing in the red and white livery again which always seems to bring me luck!"
"Here we are finally in Motegi, at a very exciting time for us. A 44 point gap is a big one to try and close in just four races but we go into every round aiming to win, we will never give up until the end of the season. Jorge is in great form and looking forward to the challenge. He does love the track here and we've seen he really knows how to fight here. All the guys will be giving everything from the first session on Friday to see what we can do."
"This is our second ‘home' race. I've never been to Motegi before so I am curious to see how the facilities are at the track. The circuit can be a challenging one for Yamaha but we have seen from Jorge in 2009 that victory is possible. This is our fourth race in the red and white colours and they usually bring us good results so we plan to keep going like this!"
SIMONCELLI TAKES TOP FORM TO JAPAN AS AOYAMA HOPES FOR SUCCESSFUL HOME RACE
This Sunday the Motegi circuit will play host to a Grand Prix of Japan that was initially postponed back on the 11th March 2011 due to the catastrophic effects of an earthquake and tsunami. Thanks to their incredible levels of dignity and pride just six months later the Japanese people have their heads held high and their country prepared to host a World Championship event. It wasn't an easy decision for the MotoGP paddock to make to go to Japan but this week they will arrive en masse at Motegi. For Marco Simoncelli the race is an opportunity to build on his fourth place at Aragon and continue a magical run of recent form whilst for Hiroshi Aoyama this is a chance to show his true potential at his home Grand Pix. If it wasn't for some premature front tyre wear 'Super Sic' could have been fighting for the podium at Aragon and even though he didn't quite manage it he once again showed that he has the pace and the talent to be fighting at the front. Following a recent excursion in a Ford Fiesta WRC alongside Mikko Hirvonen, winner of the recent Rally of Australia, Marco has the need for speed and is determined to score the podium he was so close to at both Misano and Aragon. Hiroshi Aoyama continued to recover confidence with his bike at Aragon, bringing it home to a solid points finish with a consistent ride, raising hopes for his home Grand Prix. The Japanese rider is determined not to let the chance of showing his fans just what he is capable of in MotoGP pass him by.
Marco Simoncelli "There is no bitterness over finishing fourth at Aragon even though looking back I know I could have been fighting for the podium. Unfortunately the front tyre wear let me down and even if I hadn't run wide I couldn't have passed Lorenzo because he was so much more consistent throughout the race. It is a shame but I have a chance to make up for it now at Motegi. I am happy with the set-up changes we made to the front end of the bike at Aragon in the warm-up and that gives me optimism for the future. Motegi is not one of my favourite circuits, it has some very hard braking and acceleration zones which is not really a good thing for me but I will try and adapt as best I can. The race didn't go too bad last year and I was able to fight with Colin Edwards for fifth place and in the 250 class I took the win in 2008 and pole position in both 2008 and 2009, so those things are in our favour. I took a little time out after Aragon to go to England and drive a Ford Fiesta WRC for two intense days alongside Mikko Hirvonen, who is a true legend on four wheels, and it was a great experience. He told me I did well and that I could have a future as a rally driver. We'll see!"
Hiroshi Aoyama "I was half happy with the race at Aragon – satisfied that I was consistent to the end and able to fight with Rossi and Crutchlow but disappointed with the final result, which could have been much better. Anyway, at least I was able to get a good feeling back with the bike and that gives me motivation for my home race. I will have a lot of my fans there at Motegi and I want to give them a good result. For me it is important to be racing in Japan following the sad events of March and my people have handled this tragedy with great strength and courage. MotoGP has close ties with the Japanese people and for the Grand Prix to go ahead will strengthen this rapport. It hasn't been easy and I understand why but to have everybody coming to Motegi to race is a dream come true."
Fausto Gresini "Simoncelli showed once again at Aragon that he can now be considered as a frontrunner in MotoGP – it is just a shame because a podium was within his potential but the front tyre wear meant he could not give his maximum. Consistency in his form is the most important thing though and I am sure that over the last four races of the season he will provide us with lots more enjoyment. His relationship with the team has helped him to grow and now Marco is in a position to aim for the very top. Motegi is not one of his favourite circuits but he can be up there fighting again. It is an important weekend for all of us and with it also being Honda's home race it is down to us to do a good job. Motegi will also be important for Aoyama, who raced with great determination at Aragon and wa sunluckynot to come away with a better result. He has his confidence back in himself and in front of his fans in Japan he will have the chance to be a MotoGP frontrunner. It has not been easy for anybody in MotoGP to taker the decision to go and race at Motegi but the Japanese people deserve that we all make maximum effort to make the Grand Prix go ahead following the tragedy of the 11th March."
Repsol Honda Team heads home for Japanese Grand Prix
This weekend, the Japanese Grand Prix will mark, as it did in 2010, the beginning of the final chapter of the MotoGP World Championship, which then stops in Australia and Malaysia before the final round in Valencia on 6th November.
The Motegi circuit will welcome the travelling family of the World Championship, in particular the Repsol Honda Team, with Casey Stoner leading the standings forty-four points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Repsol Honda team mate Andrea Dovizioso lies in third place with Dani Pedrosa just 15 points behind him in fourth.
Casey Stoner, who is enjoying a fantastic season so far, in which he has achieved 8 wins and 13 podiums in 14 races, returns to the track where he was triumphant last season, now wearing Honda colours at their home Grand Prix.
Dani Pedrosa, despite physical problems, has two wins this season and a total of eight podium finishes in eleven races. Dani has visited the podium in Motegi five times in his career. He will be looking for a strong performance in front of the Honda fans and to erase last year's race from his memory, when he broke his collarbone on Friday, during the first free practice.
Motegi is also a venue where Andrea will aim to shine again, last year he achieved his first ever MotoGP pole position and took second place on the podium after one of his best races in the premier class.
HRC will present a fantastic line up in Motegi hoping to bring courage and support for the East Japan area. In addition to the riders participating in every Championship round (Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner for Repsol Honda Team; Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama for Gresini Team, and Toni Elías for LCR Team), HRC test riders Shinishi Ito and Kosuku Akiyoshi will also race in Motegi. Ito will be a wild card entry in a HRC Team while Akiyoshi will ride alongside Elías for LCR.
CASEY STONER – World Championship Position: 1st with 284 points
"Motegi is quite a different circuit, it's similar in a way to Le Mans and is very stop-start, a little like a go kart track, but in general it's nice and more fun than some of the other circuits we visit. It has a lot of hard breaking, a lot of hard accelerating, it's pretty tough on the body and physically demanding. If you miss your breaking points it's easy to run wide so it will be important to get the set up on the bike just right. As in Aragon, we will be going out there trying to win and not only looking for valuable Championship points. We had a fantastic race here last year, probably one of my best in my opinion and it will be fun to go there on the Honda and see how the bike works around the circuit".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 3rd with 185 points
"We go to Japan focused on returning to the podium, this has to be our target. We will arrive at the Japanese GP this year in the same position we were last year - straight from a crash and zero points, but I'm determined to transform this disappointment with extra motivation. Last season we had a great race and we almost won, so I'm confident to repeat a great performance at Motegi, a circuit that I like and where I have been on the podium in all the three classes. Moreover, this is Honda's home GP and it's very important to score a good result here. Regarding the characteristics of the track, the Twin Ring Motegi has a lot of acceleration zones so it suits the RC212V well, allowing us to use all the strong points of our machine. Concerning the Championship, we are third in the World Standings and we aim to strengthen our position, recovering some points on Lore nzo and maintaining the gap to Dani".
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 4th with 170 points
"Motegi is one of my favourite circuits not only for the layout but also for the atmosphere; I always ride well there and feel a lot of support from the Japanese fans and I think this year will be even more special for them. Obviously, last year I had a hard time there due to my injury, but I want to focus on my riding and enjoy the GP. I go there with the same approach as the last races: trying to do our best in all the sessions. We've been at a good level, with three second places in a row and I am looking forward to this race. I have won at this track in 125 and 250, but not yet in MotoGP, so that's a big motivation for me. I enjoy racing in Motegi and together with my team will do our best to perform well".
AKIYOSHI TO LINE UP ALONGSIDE ELIAS AT MOTEGI GP
Motegi, 27 September: The Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi, Honda's home track, was originally the third on the calendar in late April, but was rescheduled due to the massive and catastrophic earthquake that hit the East Japan area early in the season. In addition to the riders participating in every Championship round (Repsol Honda Team: Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner, San Carlo Gresini Team: Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama, LCR Team: Toni Elias), HRC test riders Shinichi Ito and Kousuke Akiyoshi will also join the Motegi race this weekend. The first one will ride as a wild card entry on an HRC Team, while Akiyoshi will ride alongside Toni Elias for LCR Honda MotoGP Team.
The 36-year Japanese rider already experienced the MotoGP making his debut in 2006 as a wild card. Besides that Akiyoshi won the 2007 Suzuka 8 Hours competition and rode for 5 years in the National SBK Championship proceeding also his commitment as HRC test rider.
Toni Elias: "What happened in Japan some months ago is simply incredible and racing in Motegi, despite the difficulty, is our way to help Japanese people to get back to their normal life. Motegi race track is a magnificent venue and I have experienced the podium in 2007 aboard a MotoGP bike. We arrive in Japan with high motivation despite the difficult overall situation but our aim is to close the gap to the front".
Lucio Cecchinello: "First of all I would like to thank HRC because they have asked our cooperation for next Motegi GP. We feel proud to give our support taking another Japanese racer on the grid and I hope this will give further motivation to the Japanese fans that are still facing a tough moment after the disaster of last April".
DUCATI TEAM PREPARES FOR JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
The Ducati Team is headed for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will take place on Sunday, 2 October, following a postponement due to the terrible earthquake that struck the country on March 11.
A stop-and-go track with a predominance of slow corners that are interspersed with medium-length straightaways, the Twin Ring Motegi has played host to four Ducati Team wins and one additional podium.
Valentino Rossi has posted six podium finishes at the track, including last year's third place following a tight battle with Jorge Lorenzo, while Nicky Hayden doesn't count the Japanese circuit among his favorites.
Starting on Friday morning, the two riders will work to refine the setup of the GP11.1, with hopes that the weather—the forecast for which is currently uncertain—allows them to take full advantage of the sessions.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
"I had a nice race last year at Motegi, despite having a painful shoulder. I had a nice duel with Lorenzo, and I finished on the podium. The Ducati won last year and has also gone well there in the past, so we'll see if we can do any better than we have at the recent races. It's true that we're having to work very hard, but we always approach every Grand Prix with the goal of doing better. We'll try hard this Sunday as well, working on the track with what we have available at this time, while also simultaneously focusing on the future."
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
"I've got a lot of fans in Japan, and there are a lot of people who love motorcycles. It would be nice to put on a good show for them, as they've certainly had a hard time this year. The radiation situation seems to be under control, so earthquakes are the only concern. Hopefully we can have a good race. Motegi has probably been my worst track since I've been with Ducati, as I've struggled to get turned in those hairpin corners and get out strong. I'm not expecting an easy weekend, but Ducati is really working hard to give us options and to find the best direction for the future. It's great to see them putting in so much effort, and although we're not seeing immediate results, we're learning a lot and getting a bunch of data that's going to be a big help in the long term."
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"It's time for the Japanese Grand Prix, where we'll continue our work program on the GP11.1, which certainly still has a margin for improvement in terms of its setup. We introduced a modified chassis with Valentino at Aragon, and we'll try to take better advantage of it at this particular track, while Nicky will continue getting to know the GP11.1, which he's ridden for three races now. Motegi is a circuit where we've done very well in the past, so we'll see if this helps us to speed up our work in preparation for Sunday's race."
MOTEGI CIRCUIT RECORDS
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:47.091 – 161.391 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1:45.543 – 163.758 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4.801 km
2011 MotoGP Race: 24 laps (115.224 km)
2011 MotoGP Schedule: 3:00 p.m. Local Time
2010 PODIUM: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Andrea Dovizioso, 3rd Valentino Rossi
2010 POLE: Andrea Dovizioso (Honda – 2010 ), 1:47.001 – 161.527 km/h
DAMIAN CUDLIN MOUNTS DUCATI PRAMAC FOR MOTEGI RACE
The MotoGP championship moves to Japan for the first stop on the four-race stretch that will conclude the season. Loris Capirossi is forced to miss the Japanese round due to the right-shoulder dislocation suffered at Aragon. The MotoGP veteran will rest in hopes of recover for the Australian GP. Twenty-nine-year-old Australian Damian Cudlin will ride in his place. Randy De Puniet is ready to take on the Motegi track, where he has posted two podiumfinishes in the past (a third place in 250cc, and a second place in MotoGP).
Fabiano Sterlacchini - Technical Director Pramac Racing
"Motegi is a fairly complex track, with its many stop-and-go sections that will certainly demand a change to the bike's setup. Randy has done well here in the past, so we expect a good showing from our Frenchman.Meanwhile, it will be a good opportunity for Damian Cudlin, who will substitute Loris at this race, to showcase his talents. He's a good guy, and we had the opportunity to get to know him a little last year in Moto2, where he raced at the Sachsenring GP."
Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Team
"I really want to finish out this season as well as possible. I've been unfortunate in many races, and I've committed errors in others. But we worked well in the last race, at Aragon, and I hope to also start Motegi off on the right foot. It's one of my favorite circuits, and I've had some good results there in the past."
Damian Cudlin - Pramac Racing Team
"It's hard to put into words what this opportunity means to me. I've dreamed about starting in MotoGP since I was a boy, and until now it's been just that- a dream. Now it's become a reality and to be honest, I'm still in shock! I'm under no illusions about how difficult this race will be. I've never ridden a real MotoGP bike before and I've never been to Motegi either, so realistically my expectations can't be too high. I just want to do the best job I can, enjoy the experience, and just see what happens. I've really got nothing to lose, so why not? I don't know what I've done to deserve this. I still can't believe I'll be replacing Loris Capirossi- I had posters of him on my wall as a kid! I just want to thank Sito Pons for recommending me, the Pramac Racing Team for giving me a chance, and also my current BMW Team for allowing me to use this opportunity. I hope I can make everyone proud that they took a chance with a guy like me."
Shinichi Ito to compete for Team HRC, showing support for East Japan
In recognition of the hard times that his countrymen and women are experiencing, HRC test rider Shinichi Ito will take part in this weekend's Japanese GP to help bring encouragement and hope to those in the East Japan region.
The forty-four year old from Miyagi Prefecture who witnessed the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami first hand, came out of retirement and won this year's Suzuka 8 Hours and Honda's 24th victory in the endurance classic and will take part in the Motegi race on a factory Honda RC212V.
"This year I started the role as HRC test rider, but I never thought that I would participate in the World Motorcycle Championship again considering that I'm 44 years old. I'm very proud of this as a rider and I am very grateful to all the people who worked to make this possible. After the East Japan disaster, TwinRing Motegi has recovered to be able to hold Grand Prix, but in Miyagi prefecture, where I live, there are still many people who cannot return to work. Many people still live in temporary container housing without knowing about the possibility to return back to normal life. I am aware that what I am able to do for the victims is very limited but as one of the victims myself, I will do my best to cheer up and to encourage those who suffered the most in the East Japan region and I sincerely hope you can all continue to give your valuable support".