Press releases issued by the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Pedrosa wins again at Motegi
Repsol rider triumphs at Japanese GP and takes fifth win of 2012. Stoner claims fifth.
Dani Pedrosa today repeated his Japanese GP victory from last year at Motegi. After a good start, the Repsol Honda Team rider stuck patiently to the back wheel of Jorge Lorenzo for the opening laps as the two escaped from the pack. With 13 laps to go, the Spaniard decided to break away from Lorenzo and gave little chance to his rivals, crossing the line with a 4.275 second advantage.
Teammate Casey Stoner took a praiseworthy fifth place on his return to the series after three races out.
With this result, Pedrosa reduces the gap to leader Lorenzo in the overall standings for the second race in a row. He leaves Japan 28 points behind with 3 races to go. Casey Stoner remains in third overall.
Fantastic win for Pedrosa in Motegi with impressive 5th for Stoner
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa clinched victory for the second year in a row in Honda's backyard in Motegi, with team mate Casey Stoner holding on to take 5th.
It is Dani's fifth win of 2012 - his record in MotoGP, and he also equals his podium record in a single season (13 in 2004). It is another important points haul as he chases down current Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo in the fight for the 2012 MotoGP title, with just three rounds now remaining. With Lorenzo leading from pole, the two Spaniards ran away from the rest of the pack. Dani matched Lorenzo lap for lap, not allowing him to pull an advantage, and recorded a new record race lap of 1'45.589 on lap 4. Then on lap 11 Dani made his move and lead the race to the chequered flag, winning by 4.275 seconds and marking a new record race time of 42'31.569. With this victory, Dani maintains his position as the only rider to record victories at Motegi in all three classes.
In his first race back since surgery, 2011 Champion Casey Stoner started from 7th on the grid. He managed to make up two places on the first lap and rode a strong race to finish 5th with his damaged ankle affecting his riding ability.
There is no rest now as the riders and teams pack up and leave Japan immediately, headed for round sixteen in Malaysia next weekend. Dani, 2nd in the Championship with 282, trails Lorenzo by 28 points. Casey lies 3rd in the Championship with 197 points.
DANI PEDROSA 1st World Championship Standing: 2nd with 282 points
"It was a hard race because the pace was very fast from the beginning. I tried to understand the bike, as yesterday we had a lot of chatter so I didn't know how it would be today. In the beginning it wasn't too bad but then it got a little worse during the race. I managed it as best I could and I stayed with Jorge, I was able to get a better line out of the corner and pass him and then I put in some good laps and controlled the gap. Jorge tried to stay with me, but then decided to settle for the second place. We did what we needed to do and it's just a pity that there is no one else who can stay with us because every race I win, he's been second. But anyway, it's a great feeling to win races and we are doing it now. Thanks to Honda and th e whole team, I'm really happy to win again here in Motegi!".
CASEY STONER 5th World Championship Standing: 3rd with 197 points
"I'm a little disappointed to be honest. We slowly improved over the weekend and got the bike to a point we were pretty happy with in warm up. At the start of the race I felt had the pace to stay with Dani and Jorge and the bike was feeling pretty good. Then as the race progressed my body started to suffer and ache in ways I didn't expect. We had the pace to run a lot higher and be on the podium but unfortunately I couldn't manage it physically today. A big thanks to my team, they gave me a fantastic bike today but I couldn't do anymore in my condition".
Lorenzo Scores Second in Motegi
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo took his eighth second place finish of the season today in the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Having started from pole, Lorenzo took the hole shot and led rival Dani Pedrosa until lap 11 when he was passed. Unable to better his rival’s pace, Lorenzo settled in behind and secured second place at the line to take 20 valuable Championship points. The result brings his total to 310, 28 ahead of Pedrosa with three races remaining.
Team mate Ben Spies had his Motegi race brought to a premature halt on the second lap of the race. The Texan’s brakes over heated going into turn one, leaving him no option but to run straight off the track for safety. The DNF means Spies remains in 10th place on 88 points.
Position : 2nd Time: +4.275
“I was completely at the maximum trying to stay with Dani but today we had such different performance on the straights and he was also riding really well. I tried to stay with him but it was impossible, maybe next time it will be different. For sure the Championship is closer now, but we are still very competitive and have the chance to win.”
Position : DNF Time:
“I’m incredibly frustrated with today’s result. We’ve known all weekend that the brakes could be an issue due to the tough nature of the track but I did not expect to have trouble on the second lap. The team has worked really hard all weekend and we’ve delivered podium pace with the bike so it’s not the result we deserve. We’ll go to Sepang now and try to put this behind us and hopefully have a trouble-free weekend."
“An important second place of course but a little disappointing to lose the win to Dani. You have to keep in mind that we have a lot to lose at the moment. We know how Jorge is, he would like to win each one but also in his mind is the Championship and you can see that during the race.”
“Ben had an issue with the brakes on the second lap of the race. This circuit is very demanding for the braking system and most of the riders highlighted the same problems, although Ben suffered more than anybody else. The warm-up lap and lap one of the race went relatively smoothly but then on the second lap he was not able to stop the bike. Data does not show anything different on that corner compared with previous practices. Jorge once again showed his talent and cleverness. He tried at the beginning to stay in front but then used his experience to maintain second position and look forward to bigger results. We are going to Sepang not aiming for another second but for the win.”
Rossi Seventh, Hayden eighth in Japanese GP
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden finished the Japanese Grand Prix in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The Italian rode at a consistent pace from start to finish, without suffering an excessive drop in performance near the end, but the gap to the leaders’ lap times was enough to prevent him from fighting for a better position.
Over the course of the weekend, Hayden never managed to find a satisfactory setup, and as a result he struggled to maintain a good rhythm in today’s race.
The Ducati Team now moves on to Malaysia, where next weekend will find them taking part in the second of three consecutive overseas races.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“I think we did the best that we could over the whole weekend. We worked well on the bike, and I had a good setting for the race today. Unfortunately, this is our potential at the moment, and our pace still isn’t at the same level as the others, especially in the early laps. Today I rode at the maximum for the whole race, I tried to catch Bradl, and I got closer near the end. I think we’ve found consistency since we’ve had the new frame and swingarm, but there’s still work to do. We still lose a lot on acceleration, where we’re not able to put all the horsepower to the ground because the tyre spins too much, especially exiting the slower corners. Anyway, we’ll try our best until the end and see how it goes.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th
“It wasn’t a great race for me. We were a little bit behind all weekend, but then this morning we thought we had made up some ground. In the race, though, I was having troubles getting the bike stopped, especially in the early laps. I lacked front feeling and was running wide, and although that improved as the race went on, I also had problems with vibration from the rear and didn’t have a very good pace. Normally our bike is really good in straight-line braking, so it’s a shame Vale and I struggled here, but anyway, it’s good to finish a race and have something to build on. Thanks to the team for their work and to my physiotherapist, Freddie Dente, for helping me to manage the race with a fracture in my wrist. We’ll try to regroup and look forward to Sepang.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“We certainly can’t be satisfied with the seventh and eighth places that we had today, but I still think that the team worked well over the course of the weekend, enabling Valentino to have a steady race. Now we must focus our efforts on improving the bike’s behaviour under acceleration, which is the area where we still have a big margin for improvement. Nicky had difficulties all weekend and never did find a setup that was well-suited for this track, which requires very good feeling on braking.”
Dovizioso fourth, Crutchlow frustrated in Japan
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team experienced mixed emotions in today's Grand Prix of Japan after Andrea Dovizioso took a hard fought fourth position, but Cal Crutchlow was forced to retire out of podium contention on the final lap.
Crutchlow produced an outstanding performance to engage in a titanic battle for third position with Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista that went right down to the last lap in front of a crowd of over 37,000 appreciative fans.
Determined to score his s econd rostrum finish of the 2012 World Championship campaign, Crutchlow was just preparing his attack on the final lap when his YZR-M1 machine ran out of fuel as he entered Turn 3.
Crutchlow's cruel misfortune moved Dovizioso into fourth position after he had fought his way through from outside of the top six in the early stages. The Italian moved into the top six on lap 10 when he powered his YZR-M1 by Stefan Bradl and he seized fifth on lap 17 from reigning World Champion Casey Stoner.
Dovizioso maintained a constant rhythm and he was satisfied to end a difficult weekend with a top five finish when Crutchlow's unfortunate retirement moved him to fourth. He now trails Stoner by just five points in the battle for third position in the overall standings heading to the next phase of the flyaway triple-header at the Sepang track in Malays ia.
Andrea Dovizioso 4th – 192 points:
“It's hard to be satisfied with this fourth place and there is a few reasons why. First of all I was not as fast as I believe I should be. It was actually a strange weekend because of the problems with the brakes. This track is so hard for braking that we worked a lot and tried many things to solve that problem. But at the beginning of the race the brakes did not work properly and I did not understand why and I had to keep some margin in the corners, as I could not stop as I normally do. After a few laps it started to get better and I could push more and more but I had already lost a lot of time. I did not ride as smooth as I wanted as well, so I could not catch up to Alvaro and Cal. It's a pity because I expected more from this weekend, so I suppose fourth is not so bad. Now I'm loo king forward to going to Sepang next week where I am confident I will be battling for the podium again.”
Cal Crutchlow DNF – 135 points:
“All I can do after the way the race finished is take the positives from this weekend and there are a lot. This isn't a good track for me and I was struggling on Friday, yet I managed to get on the front row of the grid again and for the whole race I was fighting for the podium. The improvements we made from Friday were massive and I am proud of the job that my crew and myself did this weekend. But there is no denying that I am disappointed as well because I was confident I could have passed Alvaro on the last lap. It wouldn't have been easy because he was riding very well and it was a very enjoyable battle with him. I had a lot of fun and I'm sure he did too and it is just unfortu nate that we couldn't take the fight right to the very end. Even fourth would have been good for my hopes of finishing fifth in the Championship but I lost a lot of points today. We knew fuel consumption was going to be critical. I was very fast and for almost the whole race I was on my own with no slipstream, so I used more fuel. I've proven again though that I can fight with the best in the world and now I'm looking forward to Sepang. I had two good tests there earlier this year and I'm excited to go back and try to battle for the top three again.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“It is a pity that we were not able to enjoy our normal strong showing in Yamaha's home race but Cal could not have done anything more to score a podium. He was giving his maximum right from the first lap to the last and it was a pity tha t he had to retire when he was so close to third. We knew this track was going to be critical for fuel consumption. It is all hard braking and hard acceleration and Cal's pace was incredibly fast. The temperature was cooler too and we knew it would be on the limit. When we saw Cal slowing and then stopping on the last lap we were pretty sure he had run out of fuel. It is a shame but we have to look at the positives and once again he started on the front row and put up another fantastic battle for the podium. Cal is certainly giving the fans some entertainment this year because he always seems to be in a big fight. He deserved to finish but once again he has proved to be fast enough to fight for the top three. It was a steady race from Andrea and he was able to score some very important Championship points. He never gave up despite not feeling totally comfortable and confident with the bike and I know he was expecting more. He is very fast at Sepang, so hopefully next weekend he will be closer to the fight at the front.”
ARM PUMP SPOILS BRADL’S JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Motegi, 14th October: in today’s cloudy and crowded Japanese Gran Prix, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl managed to finish the 24-lap race in 6th position battling with some arm pump problems. The German made his first visit to Twin Ring Motegi as a MotoGP rider but his weekend has been more difficult than he was expecting.
In yesterday’s qualifying Bradl went down very early in the session and had to chase a fast lap time to get as far up the grid as possible. He was relatively satisfied with the work carried out over the course of the four sessions but was aiming to improve his overall package for today’s race. Unfortunately after some laps Bradl had to cope with some arm pump problems that heavily affected his performance.
Stefan: “We had a little problem with my arm today and I was not really able to steer the bike and after 10 laps I was struggling a lot and I have never had such a big problem with the arm pump. At the beginning I could easily follow the group in the front of me with Stoner and Dovizioso but the problem with my breaking hand got worse and worse lap by lap and I could not go any faster. I had to slow down and managed to finish the race 6th. It’s a bit frustrating and this was surely not a perfect weekend for us but I aim to bounce back in Malaysia next weekend”.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ REGAINS CRT LEADERSHIP
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider places twelfth in Japan, whilst teammate suffers a crash
Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo have been threatening an explosive repeat of their battle for the win at Brno, but it hasn't quite materialised as of yet. Whereas in the Czech Republic they tussled right up to the final corner, in recent races there has been more of a break away. Today it was Pedrosa who escaped, after he and Lorenzo had burst free from the chasing pack early on. Pedrosa passed on lap twelve and then extended his lead to over four seconds by the time the chequered flag was shown. Lorenzo was second and Bautista third, following a fight with Crutchlow that endured until the Brit's bike gave up on him. There were three Spaniards on the MotoGP podium -just like in Moto2.
Aleix Espargaró is becoming ever more consistent as the crucial moment of the season draws ever closer. He was again the best CRT rider today, crossing the line twelfth and claiming four points for his tally. He thus regains the lead of the CRT standings, with three races remaining.
Teammate Randy De Puniet was less fortunate at Motegi. The Frenchman suffered a crash in the morning warmup at turn 10, which would hint at what was to happen in the race itself. On lap one, at that very same corner, he crashed again. He rejoined the race, but on lap fourteen he was forced to retire from the Japanese GP.
12th Aleix Espargaró: "In general I am happy with how the weekend went. We were very strong in practice and also in the race, with a great pace. This morning in the warmup we put in an old engine, because we noticed a strange sound from the new one. When the race began I noticed that the bike wasn't going fast, but we still managed to put in a good performance. We were the best CRT and are leaders again. I hope that this rollercoaster ride in the standings comes to an end and I can finally place at the top, ahead of Randy. It is a shame for him to have had problems today and I hope that next weekend we can fight alongside one another again."
Randy De Puniet (DNF): "This weekend was rather difficult for us. From Friday we had trouble finding our feeling. In qualifying we improved a little and today, in the warmup, we tried some changes that we liked. I had a very strange crash on turn ten. It seemed as though the brake was permanently engaged, even when I had let it go. In the race I had the same issue and fell at the same point. I will look at the reason for this with the team. It definitely hasn't been the best weekend for us, as I have two hurt ankles from the crash this morning. I hope that in Malaysia we can go back to our positive form."
Pedrosa tops all-Spanish podium at Motegi
Round 15: Japanese Grand Prix – Race
Motegi, Sunday 14 October 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 19-19°C; Track 29-27°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa continued his imperious form in the MotoGP™ World Championship by setting a new circuit lap record on course to claiming his fifth victory of the season.
Pedrosa’s main challenger once again was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo with the two riders closely matched for the first half of the race before Pedrosa passed his rival on lap eleven and went on to win by 4.275 seconds. Lorenzo’s second place secures a valuable twenty points for his championship challenge while San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista took third place to ensure an all-Spanish MotoGP™ podium.
Tyre choice for the race was the same for every rider with the combination of the harder front and softer asymmetric rear slick best suiting the numerous acceleration and braking zones at Motegi. Weather conditions today were dry yet slightly cooler than yesterday due to some cloud cover in the afternoon with a peak track temperature of 29°C recorded during the race.
Pedrosa’s win at Motegi means he closes the gap to Lorenzo in the championship table to twenty-eight points with three rounds remaining. On the other Repsol Honda, Casey Stoner remains third overall in the riders classification after a valiant fifth place in his comeback race following an ankle injury.
Yuichiro Takenami – Vice President and Senior Officer, Corporate Communications and Motorsport
“My warmest congratulations to Dani and Repsol Honda for their victory at Motegi today. This was a very enjoyable weekend for the fans with the nice weather, various paddock activities and an exciting race combining to create a pleasant atmosphere, and I am pleased that Bridgestone is able to take part in such a wonderful activity. We are proud of our partnership with MotoGP as it provides the best possible environment for us to develop motorcycle tyre technology for the racetrack and road, and we are committed to continuing our fair and equal support of every rider and team in the paddock with the highest level of service.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s race was held under cooler conditions than those experienced on Friday and Saturday, though this didn’t have any effect on tyre choice. All riders selected the same tyre combination of the harder front and softer rear slick as high levels of rear grip and front-end stability are important at Motegi due to its stop-and-go layout. The tyres performed well during the race with a new circuit lap record being set and the top three riders completing the race faster than last year’s total race time. Overall, it was a positive showing for our 2012 specification MotoGP tyres at Bridgestone’s home Grand Prix.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“It was a hard race because from the beginning the pace was very fast. I tried to get a feeling for the bike in the early laps and it wasn’t too bad, and there was a moment where I got good drive out of a corner which allowed me to pass Jorge and then I just tried to build a gap. I suffered a bit of chatter towards the end of the race but I was able to manage it, and it’s great to get another win for my team and Honda here at Motegi, so I am happy.”
ROLFO ENDS THE RACE OF THE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN IN SIXTEENTH POSITION
The race of the Airasia Grand Prix of Japan, the fifteenth round of the season for the top class, was held today, at Motegi.
The warm up of this morning was used to try out some modifications to the setting of the ART machine. In the race, Rolfo started from the seventh row, improving his position in the initial phases and staying with the other CRT machines. After that, the Italian lost sight of the group that was ahead of him, but he still managed to set a consistent rhythm and crossed the finishing line in sixteenth position.
Roberto Rolfo #84 - 16th
“This was the first race for this new experience on top of a CRT machine. On one side I’m quite happy, even though the result isn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted to fight more with the other CRTs that were ahead of me. The start worked out well, during the first two laps I was with the CRT group and I tried to keep their pace. I couldn’t deal with braking as I would have liked, even if the bike was improved from yesterday. The bike was working well and most of the problems we had in the practices got sorted out, but that wasn’t enough to battle with the other CRTs in the first laps. I lost touch with the group and I was on my own. When the grip of the rear tyre was less, I was struggling to deal with it in a couple of points in the first and the second turn, so I tried to be as consistent as possible. We put together a lot of informations, which will help us in the next race: Sepang is a track I really like, from which I have great memories and some good references.”
Excellent result at Motegi for Edwards
Colin Edwards and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team finish off an important weekend in thirteenth position at the Japanese Grand Prix and as the second best CRT.
A very small gap separates the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team with this Suter- BMW bike from their direct competitor in the CRT category Aleix Espargaro, with who he could have had rivaled with if it hadn’t been for Edwards unfortunate el lose of the right knee pad on the fourth lap.
Colin Edwards – 13th
“The race started good and I saw Espargaro was right there I started pushing and felt good, four laps in, I went to put my knee down in the last corner and it nearly ripped me off the bike and I looked down on the straight and I saw I had no knee pad. It just fell off, I don’t remember hitting a curb or anything. Initially I was thinking I had to pull in because I ride like a tripod, put my knee down and let the bike work underneath me. Just thought about the bootcamp, feet up, use your body, be smooth. We had a small issue with electronics during the race but overall the package is getting a little better. Thanks to my team, they’ve done a great job this weekend.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“It has been a very positive weekend in which we have been very close to the top CRTs during the race but have yet to decrease that gap some more. During the race Colin has practically annulled the difference that separated him from the ART getting really close to it but not actually overtaking Espargaro in the end. At the end of the race when he came in to the pit box we realized that the race could have been even more successful had he not lost his kneepad during the fourth lap, we all know how important they are for a rider. He even considered for a second coming into the pits but decided to make the best of it and went for it. We are very pleased.”
Abraham rides to eleventh place in Japan
Karel Abraham finished eleventh in the MotoGP race at the Motegi track in Japan. The Cardion AB Motoracing rider crossed the line 1’15.658 seconds behind race winner Dani Pedroso, and less than five seconds behind Hector Barbera on the other satellite Ducati.
“The start went surprisingly well, but I was exasperated by what followed. Once again, I had problems with the brakes – they became progressively worse, and whenever I broke hard, the brake lever was virtually touching the handlebars. The first four laps were a disaster, after which things started to improve. Unfortunately Barbera had got away from me, and despite the fact I was starting to close the gap, I ran out of time. A few laps before the finish, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to catch him and there was no point in taking any risks, so I just protected my position through to the finish line.”
Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic
“There’s no way we can be happy with this result, but on the other hand, I’m glad that we finished the race. After all, this was a really tricky weekend for us, with two crashes and a race circuit that doesn’t suit Karel. Motegi is one of the worst tracks for braking: it demands a lot of hard braking and Karel was complaining of braking problems. Unfortunately, it’s all about trusting the bike, and over the course of the season Karel has found it harder and harder to maintain that trust”