The 2014 MotoGP calendar (provisional):
After a disastrous outing at Phillip Island, Bridgestone returned to Motegi better armed to deal with the circumstances. The weather did its best to prevent the race from happening, but Bridgestone's tires handled the circumstances well. In the traditional post-race debrief press release, Shinji Aoki explains how well Bridgestone's tires worked in the wet, and how their strategy of providing more tire choice to the riders, by producing two tire choices they can use, worked well enough at Motegi to have both compounds on the podium.
Japanese MotoGP™ debrief with Shinji Aoki
Wednesday 30 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)
Last Sunday, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo won his second consecutive race after taking victory at the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Poor weather conditions resulted in all Friday practice sessions being cancelled, with the MotoGP™ riders getting their first taste of action in a wet qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Conditions improved for race day, with a dry track greeting riders for the twenty-four lap Japanese Grand Prix.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's race at Motegi:
2013 Motegi MotoGP Sunday Round Up: On The Unpredictability Of Racing, And Why You Should Never Trust Pundits
There have been occasions over the past few years when I have asked Nicky Hayden how he manages to find the motivation to keep racing every Sunday. His answer is always the same, whether I have asked him after a surprise podium, or after coming in tenth: 'You never know what can happen in the race. That's why we line up.' Hayden is living testament to his own deeply driven mixture of ambition, hope and determination. His 2006 championship was won against the odds, and against the greatest rider of the period at the height of his powers.
Sunday's races at Motegi - indeed, the races at all three of the flyaways - have been a shining example of the vicissitudes of racing. In all three classes, the presupposed script was torn up and thrown away. In Moto3, young men facing pressure made major mistakes. In Moto2, one astounding comeback met with disaster, another astounding comeback met with triumph, and a championship. And in MotoGP, the champion elect as of a couple of races ago is finding himself having to fight for his title. The season is only over once everyone crosses the line for the last time at Valencia.
Full report and results below:
Full report and results below:
Full report and results below:
Riding with the effects of a fractured right ankle Stefan Bradl has amazingly headed a Honda top three after MotoGP FP at Motegi. The young German proved his mettle and fitness to lead the Repsol Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez by a tenth of a second. It wasn't all plain sailing for the factory Hondas though as Marquez sent a massive scare through the camp after a scary crash at the lightning fast turn twelve.
The championship leader lost the front coming out of the tunnel and cart wheeled violently through the adjacent gravel trap, knocking his head and right arm several times and losing the visor from his helmet in the process. Remarkably he was able to walk away in tact, return to his pit box to remove the gravel from his nostrils and head back out on his second bike to further improve his lap times and once again underline his uncanny resilience.
Yesterday's pole-man Jorge Lorenzo looked consistent and fast in the early running but had to settle for the fourth fastest time ahead of Alvaro Bautista. Bautista also had a crash, losing the front at turn ten in the final minutes whilst pushing on a very quick lap, he thankfully also walked away unharmed and made it four Hondas in the top five. Cal Crutchlow ended in sixth place ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi while Nicky Hayden and Bradley Smith completed the top ten after the first and only dry session of a trying Japanese Grand Prix weekend so far.
Pol Espargaro has topped the time sheets for Moto2 free practice at Motegi, the last of the morning fog that hindered the Moto3 session earlier on had completely dispersed and glorious sunshine baked the twin-ring circuit. Espargaro looked in glistening form in his quest to wrap up the Moto2 world championship later today, he finished a little over a tenth of a second ahead of Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio and Belgian's Xavier Simeon.
Local hero Takaaki Nakagami finished in fourth place ahead of Tito Rabat and a highly determined Scott Redding. Riding with a fractured and pinned left wrist, Redding posted a string of very competitive lap times and looks set to fight tooth and nail later today to try and prevent Espargaro from taking the title that he himself has held in his grasp for so much of this season. Alex DeAngelis ended in seventh ahead of the Aspar duo of Jordi Torres and Nico Terol while NGM Forward Racing's Simone Corsi rounded out the top ten.
2013 Motegi MotoGP Saturday Round Up: An Impressive Lorenzo, A Determined Redding, And Cultural Sensitivities
At the post-qualifying press conference at Motegi, Jorge Lorenzo reminded his audience of the last two times he had ridden in the wet. At Le Mans, he had had his worst race finish since his rookie season in 2008. Then at Assen, his growing confidence saw him get launched off the bike at over 250 km/h, and break a collarbone in his fall. So when the MotoGP riders took to the track at a rain-soaked Motegi, Jorge Lorenzo had every reason to be cautious. He worked carefully building his rhythm for the first 20 minutes or so of the extended practice/qualifying session, before pushing on hard, eventually destroying the opposition with a lap just under 8 seconds off the dry race lap record. It was a testament to just how quickly Lorenzo can recover his confidence.
It was good just to have any action at the Japanese circuit. After fog had prevented the medical helicopter from arriving at the circuit on Friday, making practice impossible, teams and riders headed to the Motegi Twin Ring with hope in their hearts on Saturday morning. The fog was gone, and when the medical helicopter arrived at the track, a cheer went up in the media center. Practice was on.
Except it wasn't, at least not right away. The fog had departed, making way for torrential rain. The safety car circulated forlornly several times on Saturday morning, throwing up streams of spray in its wake. With the rain easing off towards lunchtime, a new schedule was drawn up: an extended qualifying session in the afternoon (75 minutes for the MotoGP class), followed by a longer practice session on Sunday morning (40 minutes for Moto2 and Moto3, 50 minutes for MotoGP), and the race to be run as normal.
Maverick Vinales has topped the first fully dry session during Sunday morning's Moto3 free practice at Motegi, the Spaniards benchmark time was very close to last years race lap record. He lead from the familiar faces of Alex Marquez, Luis Salom and Alex Rins as the typical top four were covered by a little over two tenths of a second. The session was initially delayed by five minutes due to a light fog hovering over the circuit and reduced to thirty five minutes in length as a consequence. The track was still quite damp in patches as riders went out on wet tyres early, but with a clear dry line visible they promptly switched to slicks with around twenty five minutes to go.
Jonas Folger was the 'best of the rest' and finished in fifth place a further couple of tenths behind. He was followed by the FTR Honda trio of Niccolo Antonelli, Isaac Vinales and Romano Fenati while Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Miguel Oliveira aboard his Mahindra completed the top ten. The session was halted temporarily with twelve minutes remaining as red flags were shown due to poor visibility once again, as a thick mist cloud decided to park itself at turn one and sprawl around the circuit. The cloud eventually dispersed and the session continued, however due to the pause in proceedings, the Moto2 FP session to follow will be reduced by five minutes also.