Yamaha Continues Championship Challenge at Motegi
After a fantastic victory by Jorge Lorenzo and a strong third place from Valentino Rossi in Aragón a fortnight ago that saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP take the Team World Championship Title, the team prepares for the first of the three flyaway races at the Grand Prix of Japan.
To mark the occasion, both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will attend a promotional "tour" in Tokyo on Wednesday, when they will visit Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.'s PR office downtown, hold interviews with local media, greet several technical partners, pay a visit to Bridgestone and JX Nippon Oil & Energy (Eneos)'s head quarters and meet with their top management.
With a busy schedule ahead of him, Rossi is more than happy to come to Japan and looks forward to meeting the passionate Japanese fans. He continues to lead the championship with a 14-point margin over his teammate. Feeling in top shape, he again aims to fight with front-runners this weekend to defend his provisional first place in the overall standings. The Doctor is no stranger to the Japanese rostrum. He stood on the top step at the Motegi circuit in 2001 and 2008, scored second place in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009 and achieved third place in 2010 and 2014.
Teammate Lorenzo suffered a small crash during training last week, but he is fit to compete and eager to keep the momentum going after his brilliant win in Aragón. He looks forward to returning to the Japanese track, where he has scored many spectacular victories. Over the last six years, the Spaniard has climbed onto the top of the Motegi podium three times, winning the Japanese GP in 2009, 2013 and 2014, and finished in second place in 2011 and 2012.
The Twin Ring Motegi circuit was built in 1997 for test purposes. The 4.8km road circuit was first visited by the MotoGP circus in 2000 as it hosted the Pacific Grand Prix and it instantly became a major attraction for motorsports fans thanks to its rich motorsports heritage. In 2004 Motegi replaced Suzuka circuit as the host of the Japanese Grand Prix and remains a circuit that produces lots of memorable and exciting racing moments as the end of the season comes in sight.
Championship: 1st, 263 points
"We're on our way to Motegi to begin a very important part of the season. Motegi is a track that I like very much. Here I made a good race in the past and also last year I had a good weekend but Jorge was stronger than me so he won. For this reason I will have to give my all because there are only 14 points between him and I. These points may seem a lot but they are few. We must give the maximum because we are competitive, which we have demonstrated up to this point. There will be three races in a row and it will be important not to make any mistakes, but at the same time make sure to get the best possible results. I feel good. In Aragon, during the test, I crashed but there were no further consequences, only a little abrasion on my arm. I'm fine and I'm ready for the tripleheader!"
Championship: 2nd, 249 points
"I have still great feelings from Aragon. It was a nice victory in front of our home crowd. We were also able to achieve the World Championship Team Title for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP. The weekend was perfect and we could make up some good points compared to Valentino. The championship is amazing in this last part of the season but from now on we need to stay more focused if we want to keep the momentum and try to win the title. Next stop is Japan a place where I have good memories, especially from the last two years. Motegi is a typical stop and go circuit but for some reason I could do great races in the past even if it may be better suited for our rivals. This year we go there eager to do another great battle so hopefully we could do another nice race and try to make the championship tighter. As you may have heard, I had a small incident while I was training but I'm well, I just have a bit of pain in my left shoulder but I will race without any problems in Motegi."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"As the end of the season is fast approaching, it's time for the three overseas rounds. It's always nice to go to Motegi, because it's similar to a home race. As a Japanese manufacturer, the Grand Prix in Japan is very important to Yamaha and we feel greatly motivated to give our all, like we always do. Motegi is known to have a stop-start character, with a high top-speed and many hard-braking zones. Both Vale and Jorge like the track a lot and we look forward to starting work on Friday during the first practice session. Despite minor crashes, our riders are both in fine shape, so I feel positive that we can again be key protagonists this weekend and we look forward to some exciting racing."
Smith and Espargaro jet to the east primed for Motegi challenge
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will contest in the 15th round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship this weekend as they aim to kick start their triple flyaway challenge with two strong results. With both riders having very fond memories of their last visit to Japan where they dominated the Suzuka 8 Hour race, together they confidently look towards battling for the top satellite honours at the demanding stop and go 4.8 kilometre Twin Ring Motegi Circuit.
Bradley Smith heads to Japan fully optimistic of producing a solid performance in front of the ever ecstatic crowd whilst he intends to extend his impressive 100% record of finishing every race no lower than 8th this season. The 24 year old rider is currently in 5th place in the championship and hopes to record another competitive result in Sunday's 24 lap sprint in order to add to his tally. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro returns to the scene of his Moto2 victory in 2013 that saw him wrap up the World Championship title and he will be aiming to ride to glory this weekend. He is confident of commencing his trip to the east of the planet with a notable start by finishing inside the top six at the tricky Motegi circuit which features six left corners and eight right.
Championship: 5th, 143 points
"I am really looking forward to throwing my leg over the YZR-M1 at the Japanese GP, which is certainly a special one for me this year. Last time I raced in Japan, I was part of the Suzuka 8 Hours conquering team with Pol and Katsuyuki so I have some great memories which will give me extra motivation for this weekend. Moreover, it's Yamaha's home GP in their 60th anniversary year and it also sponsored by Motul, one of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team's partners, so I'll do my very best to perform as strongly as possible in order to give everybody a result to be happy about! In addition, I will be wearing a special helmet at Motegi which I hope the Japanese fans will appreciate. The circuit itself is certainly one of the more challenging tracks that we go to. The stop and go nature means there is a lot of aggressive braking and we must pay special attention to the tyres as well at this race. Yet, I have always enjoyed the track and so I aim get a strong setup quickly and then get the show on the road. I need to finish inside the top six in order to keep my championship ambitions alive, but I am ready to fight right until the chequered flag."
Championship: 10th, 88 points
"We now head to the other side of the planet for the first of the three fly away GP's. It's all back to back races, so it's vital to start confidently in order to get the momentum going. Japan has been very good to me in the past as I won my 2013 Moto2 title there and also the Suzuka 8 Hours, therefore I am hoping to score another result to remember, on Sunday. Plus, the crowd in Motegi is really enthusiastic about MotoGP so I'd love to put on a great show for them. In terms of the track itself, I need to say that it is a special one and very demanding, that's why we are certainly not expecting an easy weekend. Still, we are well prepared and aim to hit the ground running on Friday in order to be able to attack qualifying at full speed and get a solid starting position for the race. I am really excited for the Grand Prix but also ready to work hard so that we can finish where we want to, especially as it's Yamaha's anniversary home GP."
Going to Motegi for the first leg of the overseas trip
Japan will be hosting at Motegi the first of the three overseas races of this weekend where the riders of the Forward Racing Team will be busy. Loris Baz and Toni Elias will defend the Open championship lead.
Loris Baz will have yet another debut on the Yamaha Forward on the Japanese track. The Frenchman has never raced at the Twin Ring and is anxious to get on track to become familiar with the circuit layout. The goal after Aragon is to score points and strengthen the lead in the standings. Toni Elias, at his second race with Forward, is motivated to perform well. For the Spaniard it will be important to pick up the pace to fight in the Open group during the race.
Championship: 15th, 28 points
"It will be my umpteenth debut on the Yamaha Forward this year! Motegi is a track that I don't know and I definitely start with a small gap compared to the others, but I'm confident we can do well. I did not score points at Aragon but I've not lost any. The goal in Japan is to fight with the other Open bikes and defend the lead in the standings."
"It will be my second weekend with the team. I will continue my familiarization process with the Yamaha Forward in view also of the other two other remaining races and the season finale in Valencia. The goal is to be able to pick up the pace to fight with the others."