Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the race at Motegi:
Karel Abraham will not participate in the race
The Cardion AB Motoracing rider Karel Abraham, who qualified fifteenth for the Grand Prix of Japan, will not participate in the race due to injury which he suffered during nasty crash on the opening lap of the Gran Premio de Aragón.
Team Cardion AB Motoracing and Karel Abraham, who has been having problems with concentration for the entire Grand Prix at the Motegi circuit, decided not to participate in the race after warm up session.
"It would be a risk to start the race in such a conditions," the twenty one years old Czech rider said. "I'm sorry I'm not able to participate in the race, but I believe it's the right decision not to risk anything."
Lorenzo Delivers Perfect Podium in Action Packed Japanese Grand Prix
Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo delivered yet another flawless performance of perfect riding to take second on the podium today for the Grand Prix of Japan. The race itself proved to be an action packed affair with many dramas, several riders receiving ride through penalties and Championship leader Casey Stoner riding off the track, resulting in the loss of several places. After the incident, Lorenzo tucked in to follow promoted race leader Dani Pedrosa, maintaining second to the flag with lap after lap of inch perfect lines. The result reduces his gap to Stoner to 40 points with three races remaining of the season.
Having battled with food poisoning the entire weekend Ben Spies had recovered physically and started today's race in excellent form. Quick off the line he was tucked in behind team mate Jorge Lorenzo going into turn three on the first lap when he was hit from behind by fallen rider Valentino Rossi. The Texan ran off but was able to rejoin the race in last place. Japanese fans were then treated to the famous Spies comeback routine as the American carved his way back through the field to an incredible sixth place, consistently delivering 1'46 second lap times, equivalent to the two front runners. The result puts him on 156 points in fifth, 17 clear of Rossi chasing behind as they head to Phillip Island in two weeks for the next round.
Position : 2nd Time: +7.299
"I didn't expect such a strange race, Casey going wide and Dovi having a ride through. I thought it was possible to fight with Dani but he came better and better, I think he was inspired today and at a very high level of riding. He decided the victory and I couldn't follow him. To win now is almost impossible, just maybe some small possibilities! A big thank you to my team who worked so hard this weekend to make a very competitive bike and thank you to all the Japanese fans who came out to support us. "
Position : 6th Time: +37.604
"It was a bitter sweet race for sure, we had a great start and the bike was feeling really good. I was in a perfect position coming out of turn three, right behind Dovi when I was hit from the back. I lost one hand off the handlebar and didn't have much control going into the gravel trap. I tried to slow the bike as much as I could before tipping over. When I got back on track I knew there were a couple of slower guys out there so we could probably get some points. I got my head down and pushed and thought a top ten was possible. The groups kept coming back to me and the lap times were good so we got a good result considering. It's unfortunate because I really think if we had clear track and started well we could have been in 46s all race long and battled for the podium. That's racing, it sucks but there you go. I'm not going to blame anybody it's just a shame, we'll move on."
"It wasn't the most exciting race but a lot happened. Of course we wanted to win but Dani was just a few tenths faster each lap. In the beginning Jorge had a chance to follow but mid race he couldn't follow anymore so he let him go and settled for second. With Casey running wide it was a safe move as he had no chance to challenge Dani. We gained four points so we are 40 behind now. We're still alive and let's see race by race. With three rounds to go we have to try and extend the decision to make Casey Champion, until then we still have a chance."
"Despite the incident at turn three, Ben had a really good race. Watching all the other incidents that happened I think he could have got a podium because his pace was there. These accidents can happen in a race but it's a shame. Jorge did his best; I don't think he could have done better. He made a perfect race, a good start and he was always pushing to close the gap. We're looking forward to the next race and we'll keep pushing as hard as we can."
Bautista crashes out from fourth position in Motegi
Publish Date: Sunday, October 02, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista crashed out of this afternoon's Japanese Grand Prix when he was fighting for the best MotoGP finish of his career.
Bautista started from eighth on the grid and found himself up into sixth early on after narrowly missing two riders that collided in front of him on the first lap. He was then promoted to fourth as two other riders were forced to complete a ride-through penalty for jumping the start, and then almost immediately found himself in a podium position when race-leader Casey Stoner ran off the track. Bautista held third position for six laps and fought off an attack from Nicky Hayden, before Stoner re-grouped and caught and passed Suzuki's Spanish racer. Bautista looked comfortable in fourth and began to push to secure his best-ever MotoGP finish, but lost the front near the end of the 13th lap and crashed at high-speed. He walked away uninjured, but bitterly disappointed.
Today's Japanese Grand Prix was a re-scheduled race after the initial date was cancelled due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country earlier in the year. A crowd of just over 34,000 showed their support for both the MotoGP racers and the people of Japan. The race was won by Dani Pedrosa, with current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo second. Current championship leader Stoner took the final place on the podium.
Rizla Suzuki now has one weekend off before heading over the equator to Phillip Island in Australia for the second leg in a trio of Pacific races.
"This was for sure not the result we expected today! I chose the softer rear tyre for the race because the conditions today were colder than yesterday and because for the first laps I needed to be as fast as possible. I didn't get a good start because some riders jump-started and I was a bit confused by them and when the red light went off I was little bit late. There was a crash on the second corner and I then found myself in a good position. A few laps later some riders entered the pits because they did a jump start and I was then in third, but I knew it was not my real position! When Casey went past me and I saw what the distance was between me and Andrea – who was the next rider – and how many laps were left, I tried to follow Casey and keep the gap to Andrea. Near the last corner I lost the front and crashed and that was the end of the race for me. We worked very hard this weekend and improved in all the sessions, and in the race we were in a good position. Today the luck was just not with us!
"I am sorry for the whole team because this result would have meant so much to them, and I'm sorry for Suzuki at its home Grand Prix because we wanted to make a good race and a positive result. I have to keep the good things from this weekend in my mind and in the next race we have to keep doing the same things we have done here and keep our heads up!"
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"When your rider crashes out of fourth position at Suzuki's home Grand Prix it can only be described as disappointing! However, we have to take the positives from this weekend - the GSV-R performed well in cold and overcast conditions, Álvaro achieved his equal best qualifying and we were running very strongly in the race itself. We don't quite have the speed of the Factory Hondas or Yamahas – at the moment – but apart from that we can race with anyone in the field, and when the opportunity presents itself – like today – fourth was definitely on the cards.
"Álvaro's not stupid and with just over 10 laps to go, and Dovizioso only seven seconds behind, he knew he had to push hard to keep fourth place - fifth or sixth wasn't going to do it as far as he was concerned. That's racing; it was a high-speed crash and Álvaro's completely uninjured, so let's move on and look forward to the next Grand Prix."
HEAVY CRASH FOR HÉCTOR BARBERÁ AT JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
MAPFRE Aspar rider taken from Motegi circuit to Utsunonmiya, where he has been diagnosed with a fractured right collarbone
Early crashes, run-offs, ride-throughs and jump starts. The Japanese GP at Motegi had it all in the headline attraction. It had looked as if Casey Stoner was going to run away with the race, with an advantage of almost 1.5 seconds on the opening two laps, but he came unstuck on the fifth time around the Motegi circuit. With Andrea Dovizioso in pursuit, the World Championship leader ran wide on the straight and the Italian was able to get past. However, Dovizioso was one of three riders penalized for jumping the start, and thus had to relinquish the lead to Dani Pedrosa when he came into pit lane to serve his sentence. Previously, Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies had been involved in an incident that left Rossi out of the race. Pedrosa won, followed by Jorge Lorenzo and with Stoner in third. Crashes for Barberá, Bautista and Elías reduced the number of finishers by a further three.
Héctor Barberá was looking to continue his strong run of form from previous races, and was able to repeat his best qualifying performance of sixth (taken at Jerez) for the Japanese GP. Motegi has never been a favourite track for the MAPFRE Aspar rider, as in 2008 he suffered a big crash that ruled him out of action for a short period of the season. Three years later, Japan was once again the scene of misfortune for Barberá.
Starting well, he completed lap one in ninth position. It was a position upon which to build, but on his twelfth turn of the circuit he lost the front end of his bike and hit the ground hard. Having lost consciousness, Barberá was taken to the circuit hospital, where the doctors decided to airlift him to the Dokkyo hospital in Mibu (near Utsunomiya). Barberá had suffered a hard blow to the next, and a CAT scan revealed that he had also fractured his right collarbone. Currently in recovery, the initial signs are that he will require a stay in the hospital for between 24 and 48 hours.
Another lap record falls in drama-filled Japanese GP
Round 15: Japan GP – Race
Twin Ring Motegi, Sunday 2 October 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa kept a level head and rode a faultless race to take HRC's first MotoGP victory at Motegi in a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix. Starting from fourth on the grid, he was one of five riders to use the harder front and rear slicks and once at the front of the field, he didn't look back and set a new lap record to round-off what has been a very fast weekend.
Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo followed him across the finish line in second to cut Casey Stoner's championship lead, but only by four points to 40 with three rounds remaining.
Throughout the rest of the field though, the action was far more intense. Stoner got away to an early lead until he ran wide at turn eleven on lap five, demoting him to seventh although he fought back strongly to clinch third. The top three all used the harder front and rear slicks as the sun emerged just before the start of the race, warming the tarmac enough for some riders to change their minds about the durability of the softer rear. Every rider chose the hard compound front slicks which have been favoured all weekend because of their extra braking stability.
From the start of the 24-lap race, Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Cal Crutchlow were given ride-through penalties for jumping the green light, demoting Dovizioso from the lead and Simoncelli from fourth. At the first corner Valentino Rossi got caught up between Lorenzo and Ben Spies, crashing out and forcing Spies to run wide. Then Hector Barbera, Damian Cudlin, Álvaro Bautista and Toni Elias all crashed out in separate incidents, Bautista from a season-best fourth position.
As the field constantly changed as a result of crashes and ride-through penalties and riders fought to regain positions, some intense battles emerged in the closing stages, especially between Simoncelli and Dovizioso who almost traded paint to finish fourth and fifth respectively. Dovizioso was the highest-placed rider to use the soft compound rear slick.
Yoshiyuki Morimoto – Vice President and Senior Officer, Bridgestone Corporation
"I would like to congratulate the Repsol Honda Team and Dani Pedrosa for their excellent victory here today at the home circuit of HRC. We are honoured to have been able to support this Japanese Grand Prix especially after the earthquake earlier this year and for MotoGP to have shown such solidarity with the Japanese people. MotoGP remains a very important platform for us and Bridgestone will continue to strive to provide tyres of consistently high quality and safety and a fair tyre service to all teams."
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"With the incidents on track that was a very frantic race for all but Dani and Jorge who avoided trouble to stay in front. The sun emerged shortly before the race start which meant the tarmac got hotter and with race tyre choice so dependent on the weather, many riders made their selection last minute. The hard front was always favoured for its extra stability under braking, but rear tyre choice was more mixed. With the top four riders, clearly the harder rear was the faster choice, but I am pleased that even our soft compound allowed Álvaro to run in third for a time, and we could see that until the end Andrea was able to fight hard with Marco, who used the harder rear."
Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
"The race was a bit weird at the beginning! I tried to push my best but Casey and Andrea were faster in those laps, then Casey made a mistake and Andrea went into the pits so I had free road. I tried to concentrate to do the best laps I could and the bike was working well. I'm very happy for the win for the first time here and in front of Honda."
TENTH POSITION FOR DE PUNIET AT MOTEGI. CUDLIN SLIDES AND LOSES THE TWELFTH PLACE
Pramac Racing riders had a good start in the Japanese Grand Prix scheduled for today. After six laps they were in eighth and thirteenth places, respectively with De Puniet and Cudlin. In the next lap the French rider has been reached and passed by the riders involved with ride through, Dovizioso and Simoncelli, for a false start. From here, a race of containment for Randy to finish in the top ten in race and increase the points in the world championship rankings. His teammate, the roookie in the premier-class Cudlin, was sitting in twelfth position until lap thirteen when a small mistake in a late braking made him lose the front sliding into the gravel. Despite the error a good weekend for the Australian who has quickly learned the new bike and the track. The Pramac Racing Team will now return to the headquarter before heading to Phillip Island in two weeks for the Grand Prix of Australia.
Fabiano Sterlacchini – Pramac Racing Technical Director
"Disappointing weekend despite the tenth place conquered by Randy can be considered a good result, but with all the falls and penalties views on the track today we thought to be able to finish at least in seventh or eighth place. A pity. Cudlin was doing a good race, being his debut on a MotoGP bike, but just as he was monitoring the situation to then fight for the eleventh position in the last few laps, he felt for a late braking a bit over the limit. However thanks to him, he has worked very well throughout the weekend."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Team – 10th in the race – 16th in the Championship
"I'm not very happy, today we had the potential to enter the top eight. I was behind Aoyama, Elias and other riders, but when I saw the ride through sign I thought I would be there too. I looked at the sign at every lap when it was exposed and once I tried to see well all the numbers to look for mine, so I've slowed down a bit in the straight but I used the brakes too late and made a mistake in the upcoming turn loosing contact with the group. I tried to recover but the bike did not react as I wanted. A pity because if the bike at Aragon was very good, but in the first turn I was forced to go off track to avoid a rider who had fallen, here I just did not have the right feeling. We hope to find it back in Australia to gain a better position."
Damian Cudlin – Pramac Racing Team - DNF
"I made a good start, I felt good and thought I could overtake in the first lap both Colin and Randy, but I didn't want to create accidents that would not be something very smart as a rookie. As time went on I got more and more feeling with the bike and managed to achieve and maintain the pace with Akiyoshi. I was planning to stay with him until the end, then try to overtake him in the last few laps, but in a tight left corner I braked too late and lost the front finding my self off track. I am very sorry for how it ended this weekend, before today I had fallen only once in the other categories that I have raced this year, and to conclude this experience like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I hope to have similar opportunities in the near future to be able to improve. However, I thank the Pramac Racing Team that has allowed me to live this wonderful experience."
SWEET AND SOUR JAPANESE GP FOR SIMONCELLI
A minimal jump start saw Marco Simoncelli penalised with a ride-through at Motegi today, costing him the chance to fight for the podium and possibly even the win. A big opportunity has slipped by due to a minor error although Simoncelli was the star of the race following his penalty, with a stunning charge back up to fourth place. Hiro Aoyama's hopes of a good performance in his home Grand Prix were dashed with an inconsistent performance and a disappointing ninth place finish.
Marco Simoncelli (4th) "I made a stupid mistake on the start line. The red light was slow to go out and out of the corner of my eye I saw Dovizioso move and let the clutch out just a tiny bit but enough to be given a ride-through penalty. You can't afford to make this kind of error. I am angry with myself and kicking myself especially after the race I put together following the penalty. Today could have been a great day for us, the podium was there for the taking and maybe even more than that. I had great fun on the last few laps with Dovizioso though – yet another battle between us – and I am happy to have beaten him. It was great!"
Hiroshi Aoyama (9th) "It was a difficult race. Unfortunately I didn't have the grip to push as I wanted. Yesterday was much better and I am struggling to explain why it didn't happen today. It is very strange but the change in track temperature definitely didn't help because I am struggling for confidence in the front as it is. We will make up for it in the next race."
Fausto Gresini "We leave here with a bittersweet taste because on one hand I am delighted with Marco's performance but at the same time disappointed not to finish with a better result. It is a real shame but in any case it is important to be so strong and consistent throughout the race, with good lap times to the end. It was also important that he showed such character after the "ride-through" and didn't let his head drop. It was a wonderful battle with Dovizioso and he did a great job to beat him. It was a positive, eventful and exciting Grand Prix. I was expecting more from Aoyama today because he went quite well in practice and I thought the motivation was there to do well in front of his home crowd."
Pedrosa takes maiden victory at Motegi for the Repsol Honda Team with Stoner third and Dovizioso fifth
Dani Pedrosa took his third victory of the season in a dramatic Grand Prix of Japan with Casey Stoner alongside him on the podium in third position and with Andrea Dovizioso finishing fifth.
Today, Dani celebrates the 400th win for a Spaniard in Grand Prix racing and has given the Repsol Honda Team its first ever victory at the Motegi circuit. It's also the first win for Honda at this track since Makoto Tamada was victorious aboard his Camel Honda in 2004. Joining Dani on the podium, accepting the constructors trophy was Mr. Takanobu Ito - President, Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director of Honda.
Casey, Dani and Andrea made a fantastic start and led the race as a pack for the first four laps, but then Casey experienced a big wobble on lap five and ended up running off the track, narrowly avoiding the barrier. Andrea whilst leading the race, was then given a ride through penalty for a jump start. Dani took the lead and improved his pace lap by lap to take a comfortable win by more than seven seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Casey was able to fight his way back up the field to finish on the podium taking important points for the Championship. After his penalty, Andrea also got back on the pace quickly and had a great battle with Marco Simoncelli on the final two laps for fourth position. Unfortunately he struggled with the tyres after such an effort to get back in front and was overtaken by Simoncelli on the last lap.
With three races to go, Casey Stoner is leading the World Championship standings, forty points ahead of Lorenzo, with Dovizioso and Pedrosa third and fourth, separated by just one point.
DANI PEDROSA – 1st – World Championship Position: 4th with 195 points
"I'm super happy with this victory, for the team that has been working so well, for HRC because this is the first win in Motegi with the Repsol Honda Team and for myself because it is the first time I've won here in MotoGP after doing so in 125cc and 250cc. The race was strange at the beginning with Stoner and Dovi really fast on the first few laps, they pulled away and then Casey had some problem and Andrea had a ride through due to his jump start. I was alone in front with Lorenzo very close, but I tried to put my head down and push every lap to pull away. I'm really happy because at this track I've had a mix of good and bad results and some bad injuries, so come back one year later and win in MotoGP is fantastic".
CASEY STONER – 3rd – World Championship Position: 1st with 300 points
"The whole weekend had gone so well for us and even the start of the race we got a great start and everything felt good in the first laps and I was able to pull a small advantage. Andrea was riding very well on the soft tyre compound and we knew ours would work well towards the end of the race, so the pace we had at that stage I was very comfortable with. As I came out of the back straight I got a wobble on the bike, we hit the big bump and as the front came down it practically shook the bars out of my hands, I was lucky to hold on. I went for the brakes and there was nothing there so I had to pump them up a couple of times, when I pumped it the second time if flicked me up over the front and I was lucky to stay on the bike. Thankfully I avoided hitting the wall at the end of the gravel trap but this pretty much ended our race. It's really disappointing as we had the bike to win here to day, but in the end I guess I should be thankful that we were able to climb back up to a podium spot after other peoples misfortunes and mistakes on track. I'm looking forward to going to Phillip Island now and to see what we an achieve there, I've got a Championship lead to protect but I also want to win races which is why I'm disappointed here today".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th – World Championship Position: 3rd with 196 points
"I cannot believe it. I have never had a false start in my career and it happened today, in a race where I felt that I could fight for the win! I don't know why the bike moved a little before the green light but I realised it immediately and expected the ride through. In the first laps I had a good feeling and I was pushing hard because I knew I was the only rider up there with soft tyres, in my opinion this was the right choice today and I was catching Casey. Then Casey went wide and I found myself leading the race, but unfortunately it didn't last long. When I rejoined the race after the ride through I pushed hard but it's not the same as when you are fighting for the victory. In the last five laps the rear tyre started to drop off and I was no longer able to be fast in the middle of the corner. Meanwhile, Simoncelli had recovered and was behind me, I did all I could to defend my position but I wasn't able to. I'm really disappointed as I'm sure today I could have fought for the win, we can see the final gap to Dani is similar to the time it took to do the ride through. I'm sorry for the team, we did a great job and I felt competitive. It's also a shame for the Championship points, anyway I look forward to Phillip Island because once again I showed to be fast".
Edwards and Crutchlow take points in incident-packed Motegi race
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both collected valuable World Championship points after an incident-packed Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit this afternoon.
Edwards made a welcome return to the top 10 with a hard fought eighth position, the experienced American being one of the few riders not to be involved in some sort of incident during a dramatic 24-lap race.
Crutchlow certainly had an eventful afternoon and the British rider salvaged a deserved 11th place having twice run off the 2.983 miles circuit while trying to fight his way into the top 10. He also had to ride through the pitlane for jumping the start, but determined to deliver the best re sult possible in Yamaha's home race, he mounted a brilliant recovery to finish inside the points for the fourth successive race.
Starting from 14th, Edwards kept his composure as the chaotic action unfolded in front of him to move into seventh position on lap 18 having brilliantly pulled away from Twin Ring Motegi specialist Hiroshi Aoyama.
Edwards dropped back to eighth with factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies mounting an exciting surge back through the pack after he was caught up in a first lap incident with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
At the chequered flag the 37-year-old was once again the top non-factory rider to move to 98-points with three races remaining.
Crutchlow was running in ninth place when he ran off track at Turn 3 on lap four after contact with Toni Elias. He dropped back to 15th and then lost a further 17 seconds when he was pena lised with a ride through pitlane for a jump start. He returned to the track in last position but never gave up and he salvaged five important World Championship points to strengthen his bid to be crowned 2011 Rookie of the Year.
Colin Edwards 8th – 98 points:
"What a race that was and I'm struggling to remember everything that happened because it seemed like each time I went round a corner somebody else was in the gravel! There was so much chaos it was just about surviving. Right away I knew Cal had jumped the start and then Valentino and Ben were in the gravel. Casey was then off track, so I just got my head down and once the hard rear tyre got heated up and working good, I put in some decent times around the halfway stage. It took me too long to get by Aoyama though and it is tough to sit behind somebody for such a long time without being able to pass. His style is basically to stop in the middle of the corner and fire it out using the power of the Honda, so he'd get a jump of a few metres with the advantage he had in acceleration. Honestly speaking, my pace wasn't there all weekend, so to get eighth is a positive result and we can move on and try be much faster at Phillip Island, which is a great track."
Cal Crutchlow 11th – 57 points:
"Where do you start after a race like that? I knew I'd jumped the start because directly in front of me was Simoncelli and I just let the clutch out when I saw him move. After that I just wanted to push to pick up as many places as I could before I needed to come in for the pitlane ride through. I was pushing to pass Elias but he braked really sharply at Turn 3 and I nearly ran into the back of him. That put me in the gravel, so if you take off the time I lost in that incident and the time I lost with the penalty, I'm sure I could have been in the top seven. After all the drama I just wanted to finish and get as many points as I could for Yamaha and for Tech 3 in such an important race. This is the fourth race in succession now that I've finished and I'm gaining a lot of experience. I haven't felt my best physically this weekend and I didn't know the track either, so to bag a few more points is a positive outcome and now I'm really excited about the last three races. I know Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia, so hopefully I can have a really strong finish to the season."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
"That was an eventful race to say the least and I am really glad at the end that Colin and Cal were able to score good points. Colin had a relatively trouble-free race com pared to some of the others and it was good for him to be back inside the top 10 after a couple of difficult races. He took full advantage of the luck that came his way and once again the only riders in front of him are on factory machinery, so he can be pleased with his effort in Yamaha's home race. Cal probably hasn't had too many races like he experienced today but he deserves a lot of credit for never giving up and finishing. I think he just let the clutch out because he saw Dovizioso and Simoncelli move but he didn't let that distract him. It was unfortunate that he ran off track in the early laps because as the race developed, he could have easily finished inside the top 10, despite the ride through. Both Colin and Cal showed a lot of fighting spirit today and I am sure the Yamaha fans appreciated their effort and hard work. Now we can look forward to Phillip Island hoping to see both of them inside the top 10."
Shinichi Ito proud to race for HRC, bringing hope to East Japan
In an action packed race today at the Motegi circuit, HRC test rider Shinichi Ito finished thirteenth and very proud with his achievement.
Ito rode a strong race in front of his home crowd at Motegi, and took this opportunity as training for testing the 1000cc machine to be ridden by HRC factory riders in 2012.
HRC would like to thank Ito san and congratulate him on his performance in the Japanese Grand Prix.
SHINICHI ITO – 13th
"First of all, I'd like to say big a very big thank you to Honda. They gave me this possibility to race a MotoGP machine again and through this I hope I brought courage to the victims of the East Japan disaster. My target for this race was to simply take the checkered flag and I achieved this. Considering that today was no ordinary race, I'm very happy with the result! I had a physical problem after Friday's crash, so the first part of the race was difficult for me. I reminded myself the main reason for participating and I knew I could not give up. After that, in the last part I managed faster laps and I'm happy with this. The experience of today will contribute towards my training for the 1000 machine test. At this moment I don't have any plans to participate in another Motorcycle race, but if I take part in another race category, such as GT300 Japanese Car Championship, I would like to do so with a Honda Machine".
DUCATI TEAM HAS BAD LUCK AT MOTEGI, BUT SHOWS PROMISING SIGNS
After a weekend of continuously improving performances in the practice sessions, followed by a strong morning warm-up, Valentino Rossi wasn't ultimately able to take advantage of the good work carried out on the GP11.1. The Italian crashed just a couple of corners into the race after he and Jorge Lorenzo made contact, which sent him into Ben Spies. When sliding in the gravel, he suffered a hard blow to a finger on his left hand. X-rays carried out after he returned to the garage didn't reveal any fractures.
Nicky Hayden was fighting with Alvaro Bautista for fourth place and lapping at a very competitive pace when he entered Turn 1 too quickly and went off the track, losing several positions. He finished the race in seventh place.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
"Our bike was pretty good this weekend. Even though I was only eighth fastest this morning, I was pretty consistent, and this weekend is really the first time I've been kind of competitive here. On the start, everybody flinched, and I almost got baited into jumping. Then I got touched by Vale on the exit of Turn 1 and went off the track and lost a lot of time. We were all racing, and it was normal for the first lap. I got into a pretty good rhythm, and when Casey came past me, I wanted to try to follow him past Bautista, but I came in way too hot and went off the track. It's a shame, because with everybody making mistakes, I had a chance to get us a good result. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry to Ducati and everybody, because they worked so hard. Phillip Island is a track I like, so hopefully there we can do a decent race there."
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) DNF
"It's really a shame to be out of the race after two corners, especially after the progress that we made this weekend, and with the knowledge that we'd worked on the bike well. I was fourth in the morning warm-up, and it would have been possible to have a pace in the high 1:46 range. I also think our choice of tyres for the race—hard on the back and soft on the front—was correct. When you also consider the troubles that Stoner, Simoncelli and Dovizioso had, we could have fought for the podium, which would have been really nice for us. We were a little unlucky. Unfortunately, Lorenzo went onto the grass slightly in Turn 1, and in the next turn he moved suddenly to get his trajectory right. He didn't see me because I was slightly behind. When he touched me, it pushed me into Spies, who touched my front brake lever. It was normal racing contact, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, we did a good job this weekend, and we were more competitive than usual. It's a challenging time for us, but we hope we're on the right path."
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
"Sundays like this are difficult, but anyway, we have to look at the positives from the weekend. We worked very well with Valentino and Nicky over all three days, and we were ready to have a nice race. Vale rode quite well this morning in the warm-up. He was happy with the setup, and confident that he could fight for a good position. Unfortunately, he and Lorenzo immediately made contact. It happens, but we're really disappointed. Nicky was riding at a fast pace and was in a battle for fourth place when he made a small mistake that cost him dearly. He finished seventh, a result that certainly doesn't show the potential that our team had this weekend, but we'll try to take advantage in the last races of the season."
ELIAS CRASHES DOWN AFTER A STUNNING PERFORMANCE
AKIYOSHI SCORES POINTS IN FRONT OF HIS HOME CROWD
Motegi, 2nd October: 34.906 Japanese MotoGP fans crowded the Twin Ring Motegi grandstands today enjoying a dramatic 24-lap race which saw Pedrosa winning the fifteenth round of the calendar followed by Lorenzo and Stoner. Three riders had to deal with ride through penalty and five riders crashed out including LCR Honda Toni Elias who showed his determination for 17 laps before going wide into the gravel.
The Spaniard started from the fifth row (taking Abraham's spot on the grid as the Czech racer was not capable to complete an entire race after his last injury in Aragon) and, at the end of the first lap, he was already holding the 7th position and he could have gone for a top ten finish but at 7 laps to go he fell off on turn five.
His Team Mate Akoyoshi was looking forward to racing at his home soil to support the Japanese population and Kosuke conducted a positive race scoring 7 points thanks to his 12th final place.
Elias: "Well... first I am very disappointed because we could fight for the 7th position taking the best result so far. The adjustments we made this morning after the warm up session made the bike more stable and even today I took a very good start from the back of the pack. I was faster than qualifying and front tyre feeling was a lot better: with this pace I could have obtained a brilliant result for me and the guys but in turn five, which is a very hard braking point, I hit a bump and I lost the front crashing down. Anyway I would like to thanks the guys for their efforts and I am looking forward to racing in Phillip Island".
Akiyoshi: "I am very happy about my performance today. Maybe I could have started a bit better but my pace was consistent till the end. I hope that Japanese fans enjoyed this racing weekend and want to thank the Team for their good job".