Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Lorenzo Claims Motegi for Yamaha with Stunning Home Victory
Motegi (Japan), 27th October 2013
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo delivered an incredible performance today to take victory in the Grand Prix of Japan, claiming the Motegi circuit for Yamaha. A dramatic weekend dominated by complicated weather conditions meant the only dry set up time for today’s race was this morning in the final warm up session.
Lorenzo rose to the occasion, firing off the start line like a bullet in front of Yamaha’s home crowd to lead the race into the first laps. The Mallorcan was able to build a gap of nearly two seconds in the first three laps then saw it cut as championship rival Marc Marquez closed in. Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were able to get onto the heels of Lorenzo but unable to pass. The defending champion held on to the line to score his 51st Grand Prix victory, crossing the line just over three seconds clear of Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi made a great start to the race from the second row and tucked in behind Lorenzo in second position as the Japanese Grand prix got underway. Unfortunately a lack of braking power on turn 11 of the second lap caused him to run wide, allowing Marquez and Pedrosa past. He then got back on track but suffered the same issue the following lap, dropping down to 11th in the process. In typical Rossi fashion he then put his head down and made several passes as he fought back up the field to finish in sixth position.
The stunning victory by Lorenzo brings him five points closer to Marquez. 13 points separate them now as they head to the final round in Valencia. Rossi increases his point score to 224 and remains in fourth place in the standings.
1st / 42'34.291 / 24 laps
“We chose the soft tyre and the others chose the hard tyre, we knew that at the end of the race we might have problems but finally I could push even more the lap times. The strategy could have been different but to take this win at the home of Honda makes me very happy.”
6th / +24.637 / 24 laps
“I made a great start but on the second lap when I arrived at turn 11 I had not enough power on the brakes and I went too deep and lost two positions. On the next lap it was the same. It was my mistake then because I should have remembered from the lap before that I didn't have enough on the brakes. I couldn’t stay on the track and lost a lot of positions. After that I tried to do the maximum. My pace was quite good and think I could have been in fourth place but it wasn't enough to get on the podium.”
Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager
“A fantastic 200th victory for Yamaha. To do it here in Japan and with the state of the championship is great. The way the team worked together with jorge today with the tyre choice was great, it was risky but we went for it, and finally made the difference with it. It's a big reward for a great season so far. We made two mistakes with the collarbone injuries but we are still alive in the championship standings so lets see what happens in Valencia.”
Massimo Meregalli Team Director
“A perfect race in really difficult circumstances. We were able to capitalise on the best results even if the weekend started with much less track time and we knew we were in a place where our competitors were stronger than us. I think the team and Jorge did a fantastic job. We came here with the target to lead the practices and win the race and we were able to do that. It has been a really amazing weekend. To win in Motegi gives us double points! Unfortunately Vale made a couple of mistakes that compromised his race, he had a good start and could have finished much further in front. We are ready to fight in Valencia!”
Double podium in Japan seals 2013 Team Championship for Repsol Honda Team
It has been another dramatic weekend with schedule changes and extreme weather conditions disturbing proceedings. However, this morning the MotoGP paddock woke up to sunshine for the first time this weekend. Once the early mist burned off, the morning Free Practice session was extended to 45 minutes as this was the only dry track time the teams had seen all weekend. Marc suffered a high speed crash in the session on a cold front tyre and was fortunate to avoid serious injury - he received an injection before the race to numb the pain.
Starting from 2nd (Marc) and 4th (Dani) on the grid, it was a fast dash into the first turn with Marc losing a place and Dani slipping back to 5th briefly. On lap two, Rossi made a mistake and both riders took advantage, closing in on pole man Lorenzo - leading the race. They rode in perfect formation with milliseconds separati ng them for the entire first half of the race. Dani started to lose touch with Lorenzo and Marc as they opened up a small gap. Having only experienced 45 minutes on a dry track at Motegi on the MotoGP machine, Marc was starting to have some issues. He attempted a few moves on Lorenzo but was unable to complete a pass and finally stopped pushing and settled for second place and important Championship points.
Behind the podium finishers, Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR’s Stefan Bradl took 4th and 5th, delivering Honda four bikes in the top five.
Dani’s 3rd position now mathematically rules him out of the Championship chase, but Marc’s 20 points leaves him 13 ahead of title rival Jorge Lorenzo with just one round remaining of the 2013 season. The Valencia GP in two weeks time will be the title decider - the first time the title has gone down to the last race since Nicky Hayden in 2006, when he won the title for Honda.
With the 2 nd and 3rd places in today’s Japanese GP the Repsol Honda Team have clinched the 2013 Teams Championship. Scoring a total of 598 points, the team are now 69 points ahead of their nearest rivals with only 45 to play for in Valencia. In total this season to date, Marc has scored a total of six x 1st’s, six x 2nd’s, 3 x 3rd’s and 2 x DNF’s. Dani has scored 3 x 1st’s, 6 x 2nd’s, 3 x 3rd’s, 2 x 4th’s, 1 x 5th and 2 x DNF’s. The team has celebrated 5 x 1-2 finishes and 10 x double podiums.
Marc Marquez 2nd Championship Standing: 1st - 318 points
“Second place today is a very good result. After my crash in warmup, I knew that it would be difficult to be consistent - because in the morning I hadn't managed that either. This was my first time at this track with a MotoGP bike and in practice I was unable to get any references in the dry, leaving me with only the warmup and the race in which to find my way. I saw that Jorge was a little stronger than us here and I had a couple of scary moments, making me decide that twenty points and the gap being reduced by only five points would be a decent result. There is only one race remaining - the most important of the year - so we shall try to be more focused than ever at Valencia"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd Championship Standing: 3rd - 280 points
"It was a bit of a boring race for me, because I tried to give everything but I had a lot of problems exiting the corners; I was unable to get on the gas fully and I lost a lot of time to Marc and Jorge. I was third for the entire race, trying to hold onto them. However, at the midway point of the race my pace started to become slower than theirs. Now we have to focus on the next race, in Valencia, where we shall try to do as well as possible”
Yamaha Celebrates Incredible 200 Premier Class Grand Prix Wins
Motegi (Japan), 27th October 2013
As the flag dropped at the finish line in Motegi this afternoon it signaled not just an incredible victory for Jorge Lorenzo but also a defining moment for Yamaha. The race win is the 200th Grand Prix victory for Yamaha in the premier class of Grand Prix racing.
Both Jorge and his teammate Valentino have made an incredible contribution to this score, adding the last 49 of the 50 race wins taken since 2007 with Ben Spies the only other Yamaha Factory Racing rider to claim a single race win in that time.
This incredible success story goes back to 1973, when British rider Chas Mortimer took the first ever 500cc victory in the class that would become the modern day MotoGP Championship. Yamaha is still only the second manufacturer to achieve this milestone.
The greatest MotoGP legend of all-time, Giacomo Agostini played a key part in writing Yamaha’s story of race success, taking six 500cc wins in the 1970s to add to the score. Later on in the story it was the Americans who wrote their piece of Yamaha history with three in particular, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey racking up the victories.
Roberts was the first, the pioneer of knee dragging wild riding, taking three back-to-back 500cc championships from 1978 to 1980. Eddie Lawson followed, adding 26 wins to the total and claiming three titles for Yamaha in 1984, 1986 and 1988.
The last of the three, Wayne Rainey, then took up the challenge, scoring an impressive 24 race victories on his way to taking the world title in 1990, 1991 and 1992. A tragic accident in 1992 brought an end to Rainey’s racing career, and the focus returned to Europe with riders Luca Cadalora and then Max Biaggi taking up the charge. Biaggi ironically was challenging against the then rival Rossi for the eight victories he scored.
It was in 2004 that Valentino Rossi arrived in the Yamaha garage, forming a love affair with the YZR-M1 that has endured to this day, creating an almost impossible to believe success that has won the hearts of fans worldwide. By 2007 Rossi had made it 150 wins for Yamaha at the historic Assen TT races, his own 28th MotoGP win.
2008 saw the arrival of another remarkable talent in the Yamaha garage. Stepping up to join Valentino on the YZR-M1 was hotheaded Mallorcan Jorge Lorenzo. The pairing proved unbeatable, adding two further world titles with Yamaha and an amazing 30 race wins to Rossi’s haul.
Kouichi Tsuji YMC Motorsport Development Division, General Manager
“We can be very proud and happy to witness this incredible achievement today here in Motegi. Jorge delivered a perfect performance to give us our 200th Grand Prix victory, continuing in the long tradition of success that we have enjoyed now since 1972. For Yamaha it is also very special to be able to enjoy this victory here in Japan for our home Grand Prix.”
Lin Jarvis Yamaha Motor Racing, Managing Director
“It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to celebrate our 200th Grand Prix victory here in Japan at our home race with such an incredible performance from Jorge Lorenzo. He totally dominated, not just the weekend, but also the race today under extreme pressure from his rivals. I’d like to say thanks to all of the riders and teams and all of the sponsors and partners and everyone involved in bringing us these memorable victories over the years. May we go on to 201 in Valencia!”
“It's a very special day, to be the rider to get the 200 wins is a great honour. To win at Honda’s home race is even more special! It was a very difficult race today, they were very close but I never gave up and tried to be even faster, brake harder and open the gap more. Finally I was able to make a little gap. We are very proud of this victory, for the result, for the circumstances and for the championship, it couldn’t be better.”
BRADL ENDS 5TH HIS COMEBACK RACE IN MOTEGI
Motegi, 27 October: in today’s sunny and crowded Japanese Grand Prix, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl managed to finish the 24-lap penultimate round of the season with a brave 5th place overcoming the pain of the recently fractured ankle. After the disruption of Friday and Saturday, the MotoGP paddock finally enjoyed dry conditions taking to the Japanese circuit for an extra 45-min morning free session which saw the German in first place. Bradl’s determination and the intensive physiotherapy programme gave him the chance to race today scoring 11 points.
“It has been a “crazy” weekend for everybody but, at the end, we had a dry race and I am happy about my result. I was more cautious compared to the other guys but I took a good start from the third row. At some point during the race Bautista caught me but I could feel some pain in my ankle due to the movement of the bike. Actually my ankle is at 85% and for me it was a long and tough race so we must be pleased with this 5th place”.
FANTASTIC FOURTH AGAIN FOR BAUTISTA
Despite the typhoons, heavy fog, an earthquake and two crashes Alvaro Bautista's weekend at Motegi finished with a fantastic fourth place following another excellent race performance from the Spaniard. The Team Go&Fun Gresini Honda rider delighted the home crowd with a brave battle back from ninth place on the opening lap to seal a result that consolidates sixth place in the championship and once again shows the great job being done together by Team GO & FUN Honda Gresini, Showa, Nissin and of course Honda.
Alvaro Bautista (4th) “After such a strange weekend with everything that has happened and the two crashes – one yesterday and one this morning – the race was more than positive. I felt comfortable with the bike this morning but the crash definitely didn't help and the start wasn't perfect either. I hadn't done a single lap with the front tyre so I wasn't sure how it would feel or how hard I could push it but I built my rhythm up, made some passes and picked up a solid fourth place that could perhaps have been something more if we'd had a better start. Anyway, it is a good finish to a chaotic weekend and that is the most important thing. We have consolidated sixth place in the championship and now we need to keep working to take the next step with Showa, Nissin and Honda. We owe it to everybody that supports us, but especially GO & FUN. ”
Bryan Staring (22nd) “I don't have much to say today, I think the result says it all. It has been a weekend to forget and we need to turn the page quickly and start thinking about Valencia. At a circuit I know we should have better fortunes than here at Motegi.”
Fausto Gresini “Alvaro has rewarded the team with another fantastic result after a tough few days for the team, especially with the crash yesterday and then this morning. Alvaro did a great job considering he made such a bad start, carefully making up positions and then eventually running the same lap times as the guys at the front. We're happy to confirm once again the great form we have been in during the second half of the season and to consolidate sixth place in the championship. ”
Crutchlow prevails in exciting Tech 3 battle in Japan
Cal Crutchlow triumphed in an exciting duel with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith in today’s Japanese Grand Prix to claim a hard fought seventh position that secured the British rider the honour of finishing leading non-factory rider in 2013.
With only 45 minutes of dry track time available on a weather-hit weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi ahead of this afternoon’s 24-lap race, Crutchlow and Smith engaged in a thrilling battle in the first half of the race.
In easily the best conditions of the weekend, it was Smith who led the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 charge after he made another one of his super fast reactions off the line to rocket from 13th on the grid into the top six.
Smith opted to race the extra soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre to boost his speed in the early laps and it was a strategy the paid off handsomely, as he hunted down Stefan Bradl for a place in the top five.
A mistake by Valentino Rossi in the hard braking zone for Turn 11 on lap three elevated Smith into the top five and he then rode magnificently to keep hard charging Crutchlow at bay until lap nine.
Crutchlow went for a different tyre selection strategy and the harder option rear tyre kept him firmly in contention for the top six until the final stages when he was unable to maintain a challenge to Rossi.
Crutchlow’s seventh position moved him to 188-points in the Championship rankings and with just one race remaining, Alvaro Bautista can no longer catch him to claim the accolade of being the top non-factory rider this season.
Smith’s brilliant ride to eighth saw him take a giant leap towards securing 10th in the overall World Championship standings, now he is 19-points clear of Aleix Espargaro.
Smith’s impressive rookie season is certainly finishing strongly, with the 22-year-old claiming six top 10 finishes in the last seven races and he finished just over three seconds behind Crutchlow this afternoon.
After a gruelling three-week world tour to Malaysia, Australia and Japan, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team now heads back to Europe for a well-deserved rest ahead of the final race in Valencia on November 10.
Cal Crutchlow - 7th - 188 points :
“It was a very difficult race because from the first lap I realised I was having an issue with the front brake overheating and choosing the harder rear tyre was not the best choice. Bradley used the softer tyre and in the first few laps, the problem with the brake meant I was having to focus on not running into is the back. My tyre was good for the second half of the race and I could pass Bradley but when Valentino came through he was a bit faster. We were just missing a few things to be more competitive but even with the soft tyre like Lorenzo, I wasn’t going to be racing at his pace. He really did a great job. The positive is with today’s result assured the fifth position in the Championship, and my target before the first race was to finish best non-factory rider. Now we can go home and get some rest after a tough period before trying to end the season strongly in Valencia."
Bradley Smith - 8th - 107 points
“I’m pleased with the eighth position. I knew it would be been a tricky race starting from 13th, but fortunately I made a good start and I was trying to push at my maximum right from the off so that I was able to follow Bradl during the first laps. We definitely made some improvements on a full fuel load during this weekend and it helped me a lot to find a good rhythm. I saw Valentino making a mistake at the beginning of the race, so I knew he might come back and I just tried to follow him when he passed me. Today was probably the smallest gap to the other satellite riders so far and that makes me happy, especially considering that we had just one dry session this morning to set the bike up. I’m pleased with the progress we made during the season and this 10th place seems to be safe and now I’m just looking forward to make a good race in Valencia to end the Championship on a high.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager :
“We knew from the beginning that today was going to be a tough race because our grid positions were far from ideal. So to finish seventh and eighth is still a satisfying result and shows once again the determination and the passion our guys put into this sport. Both Cal and Bradley started well, Bradley was slightly better as he managed to pass Cal as well and their pace was fast and consistent, even if we had to admit that the top three guys were riding on other level today. I believe the soft rear tyre was the right choice today, also considering what Lorenzo did, and it was really hard for Cal to catch Bradley. I think he managed it more because of experience than for a faster speed. Both of them did a good job and we are already looking forward to the next round in Valencia. I must also congratulate Jorge on another fantastic victory, which keeps him firmly in contention for the Championship and it was also a memorable day for Yamaha with their 200th win in MotoGP. That is a stunning achievement and I am really proud to be part of the Yamaha family."
Japanese GP: Ninth and tenth for Hayden and Dovizioso at Motegi
At the end of a race weekend marked by challenges including thick fog, heavy rain and cancelled free-practice sessions that forced the riders do a single qualifying session, the Japanese Grand Prix finally took place in perfect weather conditions this afternoon. Unfortunately, the dry track wasn’t helpful to the Ducati Team, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso unable to capitalize on their decent grid positions in the race.
The American had lined up on the front row, but he suffered a problem on the start and was quickly shuttled back through the pack, soon settling in behind Dovizioso, who had left from row 2. The teammates stayed in close formation for almost the entire race, and the Italian appeared to have ninth place sewn up until the final lap until he went long near the end of the last lap, enabling Hayden to slip by. Dovizioso recovered to round out the top ten.
This taxing overseas tripleheader now complete, the teams return home for a well-deserved weekend off before heading to Spain for the season finale, in Valencia on 10 November.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 9th
“We knew it would be a different story today in the dry, and already in the morning session, it was clear we were further back than yesterday. I don’t know what happened on the start, but the bike didn’t accelerate; it looks like it may have been something with the clutch. That’s a shame because all the work from yesterday was gone by the time I got to Turn 1. The race was very difficult because we struggled a lot with edge grip, but I went faster as the race went on. I knew it would be a big job to beat Dovi here, because this is a great track for him. He was really strong in some places and made it tough, but I was barely able to beat him on the last lap.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 10th
“I had a good session this morning, and although I still didn’t expect to be at the front, I at least thought I’d be able to ride pretty fast, but I couldn’t manage it. Maybe I rode a bit better than at the other tracks, but anyway, we still have a big gap to the front. It’s a shame about the last lap but I had some lappers in front of me that bothered me in the final braking zone. The brakes weren’t right either, and I don’t think I was the only one to have problems. Anyway, I went a bit long at the bottom of the hill, losing a position to Nicky. I’m disappointed because I had managed to stay ahead of him for the entire race.”
Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“After yesterday’s strong qualifying session, we knew that it would probably be difficult to defend our grid positions today in the race. Unfortunately, our bike still seems to have some limits on a dry track, which makes it difficult for our riders to fight for good positions, despite their hard work. Motegi was an unusual weekend, also because Vittoriano Guareschi informed us of his desire to leave the team at season’s end in order to take on a new professional challenge in this championship. Vittoriano was with us for 13 years and he helped Ducati with the entire development of the Desmosedici project, first as a test rider and then as our team manager, so he has represented an important part of Ducati’s history in MotoGP. Obviously, we’re disappointed, but from the bottom of our hearts, we wish him every success in his new adventure.”
Demanding race for Yonny Hernandez
After the first two days of the Japanese GP had been dominated by bad weather, the sun today shone at the Motegi circuit and the last race of the overseas tripleheader went ahead as scheduled.
Following this morning’s session held in totally different conditions compared to yesterday, Yonny Hernandez, starting from row 4 of the grid, had to settle for 15th place with a best time of 1'48 .812 recorded on lap 21 of 24. Despite the valuable assistance of the Clinica Mobile staff, the Colombian rider suffered with considerable pain in his right hand which he had injured during the second day of the Australian GP. Nevertheless he was able to maintain a steady pace throughout today’s race, which allowed him to score some points in the overall standings.
The Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider will now take advantage of the well-deserved week of rest that awaits the MotoGP championship before the final round of the 2013 season to be held in Valencia on Sunday 10 November, in order to recover from injury.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“Today I suffered a lot with my hand. The injections I had yesterday and in Australia at the Clinica Mobile helped me, and I could continue to ride without too many problems. Here, however, the pain increased. Yesterday in the rain maybe the ride was nicer and it was fine, but today I suffered a lot. During the warm-up I started to feel pain, I went back to the Clinica but the race was tough, it was really bad. The doctors told me what to do during the next week to recover faster and luckily I will not have to do any operation. In Valencia I'll definitely be better. It was the most difficult race of the season and I'm sorry because I could do more. I had some problems with the hard tyre and when I started to get the rhythm the pain also started. I did not want to quit anyway, I tried to remain constant to gain some points, and I did, but it was not easy.”
Great comeback by Andrea Iannone at the Motegi GP
After a stormy start to the Japanese GP weekend, the sun shone today at the Motegi circuit, the schedule for the final leg of the overseas tripleheader went ahead as planned.
The track conditions were completely different compared to yesterday’s session and everything had to start over again for the dry. The 50-minute morning free practice was useful for Andrea Iannone as he continued to search for the right set-up for the race. Despite his 13th position on the grid, the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider was determined to repeat his good performance at the Australian GP, but in turn 3 of lap 1 he finished off the track, and was forced to return at the back of the field. The rider from Vasto, however, immediately started to attack in order to recover some positions, and ended the 24-lap race in 14th place, and just a few more laps would have been enough to move up some more places.
After a short and well-deserved break the riders and the MotoGP teams will meet up again at the Valencia Grand Prix, the last round of the 2013 season, scheduled for Sunday, November 10.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“We didn’t have much time to find the correct setup for the bike. We tried some changes this morning after I had a few problems, but we didn’t improve much. Then we looked at the data after the session and made some additional changes that I felt in the race, which was good. Unfortunately, I found myself behind Nakasuga right after the start; I braked hard to avoid him, my rear wheel came off the ground and I went long in Turn 3. I came back on track and did everything I could to recover positions. Fortunately, I was able to find a good rhythm, and I steadily gained some positions.”
CRT win for Edwards at Motegi
The AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan sees NGM Mobile Forward Racing team rider Colin Edwards take the CRT win at Motegi with his FTR – Kawasaki bike. The last of the three back to backs has been a challenging weekend with limited track time and weather conditions changes that have made the MotoGP class race after having only two sessions.
The American rider was able to keep the promise made to his team after the Sepang race jump-start and delivered the CRT win at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit. Edward started the race from the 14th place on the grid and crossed the finish line in 12th place as both best CRT and best FTR bike. He is now getting close to securing his second place in the CRT general standing for the 2013 season.
Teammate Claudio Corti started the race from the 21st place and had a good start, on the 9th lap he went straight to avoid contact with Laverty, and later trying to recover went straight to the grass and crashed. The Italian rider is now looking forward to the last race of the season and aims to be among the best CRTs.
The 18th round and last race of the season will take place in Valencia at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo in two weeks.
“It was a tough race. I got a good start, did what I wanted to do on the start and saw that Espargaro made a little mistake on the first lap right in front of me. I don’t know what happened but something must have happened with him or the bike half way through the race and he ended up crashing. After that I knew that Randy was right behind me so I just put my head down and tried to pull away from him. It was a good race, I am happy with it. I promised my guys a couple of weeks ago after I jump-started in Sepang that I wasn’t too sure about Australia but that I could promise them I would win best CRT in Japan.”
“Pity because the race pace was good and I was able to make laps in high 1´48s after I re-joined after the crash. At the beginning of the race and in order to avoid contact with Laverty I went straight and as I was try to get back on the line the front of the bike started vibrating, causing me to go straight on the grass and crash. It hasn’t been a good race and I am sorry because this morning during warm up I felt great and knew I had a good pace. In two weeks time we have the last race in Valencia and I will try to finish the season with the best possible result.”
“The positive trend from the last few races is continuing: we have finished the race as best CRT, which was our goal this weekend. After the Sepang jump-start Colin had promised that he would win best CRT in Japan and he has kept his promise. We have done a good race today; it has been a strange weekend due to the weather conditions but nonetheless he has always managed to be fast. We are happy because he has almost secured his second place in the CRT general standing. Unfortunately Claudio has encountered a series of problems during the race. He went straight twice and slid and crashed but got back up and finished the race. We go to Valencia for the final race of the season and we will give a hundred percent. We will try to finish the season in the best possible way and prepare ourselves for the new gamble that we have ahead of us for next season.”
Racing weekend in Japan in hands of weather, Luca Scassa retires from the race
On Saturday the substitute rider of team Cardion AB Motoracing Luca Scassa pulled out straight into the qualifying practice. It was a first meeting with Japanese track for thirty-year-old Italian rider even under these difficult climatic conditions during his premier run he managed to finish on twentieth position. The race direction settled instead of Sunday’s warm up free practice that should replace missing Friday’s program that has been cancelled due to adverse weather. While on Friday and Saturday it was rainy, windy and foggy, on Sunday got warmer and sun was shining and the team Cardion AB could start since the beginning. Despite all this complications Luca started well into the race and he was riding around seventeenth position. He was forced to retire from this position due to technical defect on the bike.
Marco Grana, chief mechanic of Cardion AB Motoracing
„We have a terrible weekend in all aspects behind of us. The weather, our starting conditions, bad luck. It was first race for Luca in Japan. Under normal condition it would not mind, the bike was quit ok with the track and Luca was very good prepared. Luca managed to reach twentieth position in qualifying practice under all this problems. Behind us stayed riders as Barbera and Corti. If we consider that it was fist time for Luca on this track thus It is a great result. On Sunday weather condition completely changed so we had to start from the beginning. On Sunday’s free practice Luca had a crash and during the race he was forced to retire due to technical defect on the bike. We suppose that it was caused by morning crash due to loosen footrest. If we had been able to finish the race we would have been close to the point positions. In Valencia we want to cross that line and we want to Luca finish the season with some points.“
Motegi Frustration For Laverty And Cudlin
Following a run of desperate bad luck in recent rounds of the MotoGP World Championship, whereas both Michael Laverty and Damian Cudlin left round 17 at the weather-affected AirAsia Japanese Grand Prix without scoring points, it was a lot more encouraging performance by both riders for the Penrith-based PBM MotoGP Team.
After the debacle of tyre wear in Australia the week previous, bad weather and even earthquakes threatened to disrupt the penultimate round of the series at Motegi and Friday's free practice sessions were washed out completely.
Saturday's slightly improved conditions saw both Ulsterman Laverty aboard the CRT-specification Aprilia ART and Australian Cudlin riding the PBM-chassised Aprilia qualify on row seven and eight of the grid respectively going into Sunday's dry race.
Laverty, from Toome in County Antrim, on the Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored Aprilia ART got the better start and was challenging just outside the points for the opening third of the race with German-based Cudlin aboard the unique Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored PBM machine trailing just behind.
With both riders having had very limited experience at the track and especially in the dry conditions, they didn't have the optimum settings but battled on regardless as they circulated inside the top 20 for most of the race.
Unfortunately for Cudlin, he inadvertently held up eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo in the latter stages and was reprimanded afterwards by Race Direction and for Laverty, he ran low on fuel in the last couple of laps and eventually had to push the machine home such was his determination to finish. Laverty was classified in 19th position at the end of the 24-lap race with Cudlin in 21st.
Laverty dropped one place to 25th overall in the MotoGP World Championship standings in his debut season. In the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class, Laverty occupies tenth whereas PBM occupy eighth in the Constructors Championship and 12th in the Teams Championship in their debut season with their brand new British-built machine.
Michael Laverty: "Starting a race with only 18 laps under my belt in the dry was always going to make things difficult. I got gradually faster throughout the race as I figured the circuit out and managed to catch back up to Petrucci. I began to run out of fuel on the penultimate lap and had to nurse it home so I wasn't able to make a pass. I ran dry on the home straight and had to push it the final 100 metres. I enjoyed Japan and the Motegi circuit although it was a little bit frustrating with the lack of track time this weekend meaning we didn't reach our true potential."
Damian Cudlin: "The weather really didn't help us at all this weekend as the one thing we need on the bike is time and going straight into a dry race with very limited track time wasn't ideal. I got into a good rhythm and was riding my own race and I apologise if I held Jorge up but the flags were not clear to me. I'd like to thank the team for their hard work as it has been a difficult couple of rounds but I am happy to record another finish."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "The good weather we were hoping for at Motegi arrived too late to be of any help to our riders as they both were looking for as much track time as possible. In the race we did not have the pace to challenge for the positions we should be and so we return home from the flyaway races with little to show for our hard work. Nevertheless, we will keep trying hard and hope to finish the season with some positive results at Valencia."
DIFFICULT RACE FOR POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR RIDERS AT JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Randy de Puniet finishes as second best CRT at Motegi, whilst Aleix Espargaró crashes out with braking issues to end strange weekend in Japan
The weather conditions at Motegi had caused havoc with the MotoGP schedule this weekend, and the final example of this was the reduction in length of the Sunday practice session from 50 minutes to 45. The race was able to take place, however, at its full duration. Jorge Lorenzo took off from pole position and would never look back, leaving behind the pursuing Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa after they spent a section of the race close behind him. Lorenzo won the Japanese GP to keep his title hopes alive, with Márquez second and Pedrosa third. The battle for the 2013 World Championship will go down to the final race of the season at Valencia in two weeks’ time.
The Power Electronics Aspar riders got off to a great start, with Aleix Espargaró again showing top formo n his ART. The Spaniard was up in the top five off the line, but would have to drop his pace after the opening lap when he experienced braking issues. This problem had him battling over the course of the next few laps, concluding with a crash just after the midway point of the race.
Teammate Randy de Puniet was able to overcome some issues experienced in the morning practice session, despite noting a lack of grip on his rear tyre from lap 7 onwards. The Frenchman fought hard to finish as the top CRT rider, but was just bested by Colin Edwards and would have to settle for second in the sub-class.
Randy de Puniet (13th): "This morning's free practice session was difficult, and I was nearly a second and a half off Aleix. I was a little worried about how the race would go, but my start was good. I quickly passed Yonny Hernandez, who was between Edwards, Aleix and me. After that I was able to hunt down Colin. Aleix made a small mistake, I had him just ahead and we closed the gap a bit. Unfortunately, he crashed. At that time I was less than one second behind Colin and I tried to push as much as I could to catch him, but the rear grip on my bike was not good from around lap seven or eight. I tried to handle the situation, but Edwards' bike seemed to behave better and have more grip. With seven laps to go I saw that I couldn’t catch him. It was a good race, but I'm disappointed because I think I had the ability to be the top CRT. Now we go to the last race in Valencia, where I hope to do my best and round off the year in a good way. My feeling, without much practice, was good today, so if we can sort out the rear grip issue then my pace should be more consistent. I am satisfied with the fact that I did the best I could, and my team also. We made some adjustments between the morning warmup and the race, and took things the right way. That makes me optimistic for Valencia."
Aleix Espargaró (DNF): “It was a shame about the race today, because I got away really well and was fourth or fifth off the line -the bike was going great. In fact, after the warmup I told my mechanics that I hadn’t had such fun in four or five races. We were a second off the top riders in the morning at a difficult track, so I was very excited. And I got a good start. However, from the beginning I noticed I had some problems with the brakes, so I was going very wide on the opening lap and everyone passed me. I had to ride much slower and brake early. In the end I crashed, but fortunately I escaped unhurt. It's a shame to end the flyaways like this, as it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. At least my brother win the Moto2 title today, so from me and also from all of the Aspar Team, congratulations to him. In less than two weeks we have the race in Valencia, the home race for the team, and we’ll see if we can win there again."
Lorenzo leads from start to finish in dominant Japanese Grand Prix victory
Round 17: Japanese MotoGP™ - Race
Motegi, Sunday 27 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Super-soft (Asymmetric) Extra-soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-18°C; Track 32-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo dominated today’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider leading from start to finish at Motegi to set the stage for an enticing championship decider at the final round of the season in Valencia.
Starting from pole position, Lorenzo got a great start to seize the lead on the opening lap and although he was pressured by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in the middle phase of the race, Lorenzo upped the pace – setting the fastest lap of the race on lap sixteen – to streak away and win the race by 3.188 seconds. Marquez claimed second place ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa who finished in third place to ensure two Repsol Honda’s on the podium. The top CRT finisher at Motegi was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards in twelfth place.
Dry conditions finally eventuated at Motegi allowing teams to work on race setup and tyre choice in this morning’s extended practice session. After a cool and at times cloudy morning, track temperatures increased throughout the day and reached a peak of 32°C at the start of the race. The stop-and-go layout of Motegi puts a premium on braking stability, resulting in twenty-three of the twenty-five riders selecting the harder option, medium compound front slick for the race. Rear tyre choice was more varied, with fifteen riders selecting the softer rear option – including race winner Lorenzo - and the ten remaining riders selecting the harder rear slick option available to them. Rear tyre choice for the race amongst the prototype riders trended towards their harder rear slick option, while among the CRT riders there was a clear preference for their softer rear slick option.
Heading into the season finale at Valencia in two weeks’ time, Lorenzo trails Marquez by thirteen points while Pedrosa has secured third place in the championship by scoring his twelfth podium of the season at Motegi.
Masaaki Tsuya – CEO and Representative Board Member Concurrently Chairman of the Board, Bridgestone Corporation
“I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to Jorge and Yamaha Factory Racing for taking such a special victory at Motegi today. I’m glad that the spectators that were present at Motegi today go to watch such an impressive race under clear, autumn skies. I am honoured that Bridgestone is able to support and participate in such a wonderful racing series as MotoGP as the official tyre supplier. We look forward to the last race of this year’s MotoGP world championship where Bridgestone will once again provide fair and equal support, and the highest level of product and service to every rider and team in the paddock.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was a very busy day for the teams and our tyre engineers who had very little time to work together to find the best race tyre for each rider in this morning’s extended warm up session. With temperatures becoming warmer this afternoon and the need for excellent braking stability at this circuit, it was no surprise to see that the harder front slick option was selected by almost every rider. For this year at Motegi, we shifted our rear slick allocation one step softer to give the riders more suitable tyre options for the race and this was a success, with both rear options working very well here today. With all the disruption due to the poor weather Friday and Saturday limiting the amount of dry track time, I am really happy with the tyre performance at Bridgestone’s home race here at Motegi.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Looking at the classification and seeing as the two riders behind me on the podium were Honda’s, it means this track is better for Honda, so to take this win at Honda’s ‘home circuit’ and winning Yamaha’s two-hundredth MotoGP victory was a pleasure. It was also a good result for me as I took a gamble with my tyre choice as I chose the softer rear tyre. It was a hard race physically, but I kept my concentration and I really wanted this victory.”