Brilliant Marquez retains MotoGP crown in second as Lorenzo wins Motegi race
Jorge Lorenzo took his second successive victory as his great recent form continued but the story of the race was all about Marquez as he got the job done to secure the 2014 title with three rounds to go. Marquez crossed the line 1.638s behind Lorenzo to collect the crucial points for the World Championship win, as Rossi completed the rostrum in third.
Marquez did not make the best start off the line but overtook Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) in the opening laps to hunt down the front group. He then picked off pole man Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and won a midrace battle with Rossi overtaking at the second attempt on lap nine for second position.
Behind Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi, Pedrosa eventually finished in fourth place, missing the podium by 0.555s, with Dovizioso in fifth.
The top ten was completed by Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) was the first faller of the race, resulting in a DNF after his Aragon podium. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) fell in the second half of the race and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) crashed on the final lap. All riders were uninjured.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Iodaracing Team) retired to the pits with a technical problem.
MotoGP Race Classification
Moto2: Hard fought Japanese triumph for determined Luthi
Thomas Luthi rode superbly from second on the grid, getting into the lead on the first lap and managing the gap throughout the race for his first victory since 2012 and his second podium this year.
He eventually crossed the line 1.209s ahead of the increasingly impressive Viñales who pushed hard in the final laps. Rabat rode steadily to third, running in fifth place early in the race after a slow start but doing enough to collect crucial championship points.
Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham) looked to be in contention for a podium result in the first half of the race but was ultimately fourth, whilst Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) could only manage fifth. Rabat’s lead in the standings increased to 38 points with three races to go.
The top ten was rounded out by Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team), Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), Ricard Cardus (Tech 3) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).
Riccardo Russo (Tasca Racing Moto2) fell early in the opening lap. Sam Lowes (Speed Up) crashed out several laps later while fighting for a top ten. Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) fell with 17 laps to go and were both able to initially remount, but neither would finish the race.
Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team) also crashed and remounted, but pulled into the pits with Pasini several laps later.
The closing laps saw Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) and Axel Pons (AGR Team) fall. There was a rare mistake from Dominique Aegerter (Technomag CarXpert) late on, the Swiss rider remounting for 18th.
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Sitag: 1st – “That was a good race, and a hard race. I was able to make a good start and a good gap in the beginning, which surprised me a bit, but I never felt safe. I could feel the pressure from behind, and that they were coming closer, but I tried to hold my rhythm, and that was important. I made two mistakes – one missed gear, and once braking a little bit too late. The rest was really perfect, which makes me feel really happy.”
Maverick Vinales, Paginas Amarillas HP 40: 2nd – “I am happy with my performance. I had a good pace, but I lost my chance of another victory in the early laps when I was held up behind other riders. When I got to second I tried to catch Luthi, and pushed my hardest at the end. But it was too hard: Luthi was almost perfect today.”
Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd – “Today was a little bit difficult for me. My start wasn’t so good and the first lap was a bit of a disaster. Afterwards I was putting in some good lap times and, when I got through into third, I tried to follow Vinales, but without taking too many risks. But this was impossible; I started to enter into the corners so early, tried to brake so late and was a little bit slow exiting the corners. This sometimes happens when you have the pressure of the championship. At the end, I’m happy because I rode an intelligent race to get onto the podium, but I’m not happy about the last part of the race. We will go to Australia now and we will start there like we did here on Friday.”
Moto2 Race Classification
Moto3: Alex Marquez takes crucial victory in tense Motegi contest
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) were both in the hunt for victory on the final lap but ran wide to allow Marquez through for the win. The result sees Marquez open up a 25-point gap at the head of the standings with three races remaining.
Ultimately Marquez crossed the finish line 0.357s ahead of Vazquez who had brilliantly worked his way through from 14th on the grid. Binder picked up the second podium of his career in third place having run with the front group throughout.
John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG) was fourth, whilst Miller and Kent touched on the last lap and finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Italian trio Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46), Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) and Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN), along with Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0), completed the top ten. Rins ran wide early on the first lap and made his way back up from 25th place.
The race came to an early end for Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo), Hikari Okubo (Hot Racing with I-Factory), Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) and Sena Yamada (Liberto Plusone & Endurance), all who fell at Turn 1. Italians Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia) and Andrea Migno (Mahindra Racing) fell later on the opening lap with Ferrari able to rejoin.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) fell with 14 laps to go and was able to remount briefly. Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) took a tumble while chasing the leaders.
Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) and Jorge Navarro (Marc VDS Racing Team) came together mid race, both escaped serious injury. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) suffered a big highside fighting for a podium. Luca Grünwald (Kiefer Racing) slid off and remounted in the closing stages of the race.
Moto3 Race Classification
Ayumu Sasaki wins thrilling Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Motegi contest
Race seven of nine in the 2014 Shell Advance Asia Talent cup was a struggle of titanic proportions, hard braking, creative lines and some tough passes kept the top riders bunched together to duke it out for the podium places.
There was drama from turn one as Fakrusy Rostam crashed on entry and narrowly avoided scuttling the pack of riders, although he did force Ryo Mizuno wide and into the gravel and in his haste to recover lost ground the Japanese rider would fall one lap later.
At the front it was an eight rider battle for the podium but it was almost always headed by championship rivals Yuta Date and Kaito Toba. They swapped positions all race long with Takuma Kunimine joining in on occasion to spoil the party.
There was another crash for Thai rider Muklada Sarapuech as she high sided her bike into the gravel, thankfully she is ok and will be back to race again soon.
With one lap to go it was Date who held a slim advantage but coming into the sharp 90 degree corner at the end of the lap Toba was hard on the brakes and having a look. One corner later at the final turn he made his move but he overcooked it and sent both himself and Date wide on the exit.
That compromised their run to the line and left a gap open. It was winner of the last race in Malaysia, Ayumu Sasaki, who made the most of it, coming though the fray to win by a bikes length from Shafiq Rasol who also made his way through a gap to take his 2nd podium of the season. Takuma Kunimine took third for his second visit to the top three while Toba and Date were left in fifth and seventh respectively.
That means that with just two races to go Date leads by just two points in the championship from Toba with Sasaki only eight points further back. It’s all to play for as the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup moves onto Malaysia and Sepang for the final round of the season, where the riders will step up their quest to turn their potential into performance.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo dominated at the Twin Ring Motegi for the second year in a row, taking a perfect victory at the Grand Prix of Japan. Teammate Valentino Rossi also shone, making it a double podium for Yamaha with a strong third place.
Lorenzo had a good start to the 24 lap race when he launched off the second row of the grid to arrive at the first corner in third place. He soon overtook Andrea Dovizioso to follow teammate Rossi, who snatched the holeshot into turn one from a second place start position on the grid. Rossi worked to build a gap of just over 0.404 seconds over the first two laps, but Lorenzo was quick to arrive at the back of the Doctor’s YZR-M1. Feeling the heat from Dovizioso and Marc Marquez behind him, Lorenzo took the lead from his teammate on the fourth lap and cleared off at the front to set a new lap record of 1’45.350 four laps later. Lorenzo was then able to create a gap of nearly 2.7 seconds to take the flag and score his second consecutive Motegi race victory.
This result means Lorenzo equals five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan’s record of 54 victories in his Grand Prix career, moving him up in the all-time winners list to a joint fifth place.
Teammate Rossi’s Motegi race was focused on fighting hard to fend off Marquez. On lap 10 Marquez made a first attempt in passing the nine-time World Champion, but Rossi refused to give up his position, immediately retaking second place in the last corner. He was unable to answer the next pass by Marquez before the hairpin, but was determined not to let his rival out of his sight, hoping for another opportunity to keep the championship open for the next race. While the threat came from behind as Dani Pedrosa started to close down the gap, Rossi pushed to the limit and was able to hold on to third place over the line.
Todays’ 25-point gain sees Lorenzo remain in fourth position in the championship standings, increasing his championship points total to 227. This leaves him just three points behind Rossi, who rises to second place with 230 championship points.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st / 42’21.259 / 24 laps – It’s unbelievable! It has been a very difficult year but Yamaha has been improving the bike little by little and we’re getting better every race. In Aragón, because of the ‘flag to flag’ we were able to win. We were lucky under the circumstances and I also improved in the race compared to the practice. Here we expected to get more and more strong for the race and be able to fight for the win but we didn’t expect to lead by this much and have a gap of 2.7 seconds in the middle of the race. I’m very happy to win the race for the second time in a row. We are happy for Marc that he won the title. This year he was the best in general, so we want to say congratulations. The good thing about this year was that the four top riders were very similar. We had very strong races that were consistent and equal, so for the next races I expect a lot of fights. We are very close to the second position and that’s our goal. We are going to try.”
Valentino Rossi – 3rd / +2.602 / 24 laps – “From one side I’m very satisfied because the race had a high level. We had a high race pace and were braking the lap record. We rode like this from the beginning to the end and I felt good with the bike. From the other side it’s a shame that I was unable to keep the championship open for another week. I tried to get back on Marc, but unfortunately he had something more than me, so he arrived in front of me. I have to say that he deserves this championship. He worked well and was the stronger man this year. Congratulations to him.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s very special to again come here to our rival’s home and take a second consecutive victory. Jorge rode a perfect race again and showed his skills in managing from the front. Vale was also very strong and definitely didn’t make it easy for Marc, so deserved his podium finish. I’m satisfied with the weekend, the team worked hard from the first day and we have shown we can be competitive in all situations. We are now going to two more tracks where we know we can be strong so we look forward to fighting to continue this winning streak for the remainder of the season. Congratulations to Marc for his title victory, he rode an impressive season.”
Tech3 duo complete Motegi challenge inside the top ten
Pol Espargaro delivered a solid performance at Yamaha’s home grand prix to cross the finish line in eighth position at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in today’s round 15 event of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. The reigning Moto2 World Champion who won his title in Japan last year, leapt off the line from seventh on the grid to retain his grid position by the close of the first lap. He was then pushed back a place but locked into a firm race pace to defend his standing of eighth, a position he proceeded to hold at half race distance. However, the premier class rookie firmly set seventh place in his sights and began consistently inching closer to Stefan Bradl. On the last lap, Espargaro had impressively reduced the gap to close right in on the rider but despite an audacious late charge and an attempt to overtake, he wasn’t able to pass. The seamless performance by the 23 year old Spaniard, who was attending his first race in Japan aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, boosts his championship point score to 116 with only one point separating him from sixth position with three rounds remaining.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith rode a firm and tireless race to clinch ninth position at the stop and go Twin Ring Motegi track. The young British rider began his challenge from tenth on the grid and ascended up one place by the close of the first lap as he looked to make further ground in the field. He then set into a competitive rhythm as he stayed with his team mate just in front of him in eighth. By the mid point of the 24 lap dash in Japan, Smith remained in this position and battled onwards as the laps proceeded to count down at the hard braking 4801 meter circuit. The 23 year old set his fastest lap on the 15th as he continued to push thoroughly right to the finish line which he crossed in ninth at Yamaha’s home Grand prix. This result leaves the British star fully confident for the two remaining flyaway races where he intends to clinch further point scoring finishes to boost his standings in the World Championship.
Pol Espargaro – 8th / +19.815 / 24 laps – “It goes without saying that eighth isn’t the position where I want to be and I can’t hide my disappointment. It was a tough race today and I just never felt comfortable and couldn’t go any faster. My start was an ok one and I did recover a position initially, but I struggled a lot in stopping the bike on full fuel load. From the middle of the race on, I regained some tenths every lap to close the gap on Bradl who was in front of me but unfortunately I caught him too late and couldn’t find a way through. At each corner I lost a lot in acceleration so I tried to make it up whilst braking at every turn, but it just wasn’t enough. I guess this is all part of my learning experience and we have to analyse our data now to see where we can improve for the next round in Phillip Island in just a couple of days.”
Bradley Smith – 9th / +23.575 / 24 laps – “Although ninth position is nothing to be hugely excited about, there are still a lot of positives to take from today’s race. In terms of the distance back from the leader, I would have been inside the twenty second bracket with Pol, had I not made a small mistake with three laps to go. However, my finish today was still one of the closest for me this season, which is a good step forward. I made this mistake on the first corner which unfortunately caused me to miss out on potentially fighting with Pol and Bradl, so I completed the race in ninth. This position seems to be where we are at right now or at least for this race and I extracted the most from myself and my motorcycle here in Motegi. However, in Philip Island I am sure that we can have a better result as it is a track that I really enjoyed last year on the Yamaha, which performed well. So, I hope to take the consistency and the positives from here and turn it into a stronger result in Australia next week.”
Espargaro, first Open bike at Motegi
The Japanese GP saw the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro and his Forward Yamaha as first Open bike. On the technical and demanding Twin Ring Motegi, the Spaniard finished in 11th position and on top of the Open bike category.
Espargaro made a good start but after some laps he couldn’t push too hard in order to manage the brakes, that work really hard on this “stop and go” track. He lost some positions and eventually crossed the finish line 11th. With the five points earned today, Aleix maintains the sixth position in the World Championship.
It was a difficult race for his team mate Alex De Angelis who finished in 17th position. The rider from San Marino, who was taking the start from the 20th spot on the grid, suffered some technical and electronics problems that spoiled his race.
Aleix Espargaro – 11th / +40.668 / 24 laps – “It was a really difficult race. I made a good start but in the first laps I started to struggle with the brakes that work hard on this “stop and go” track. I lost some positions and then it was impossible to reduce the gap from the front guys. I pushed hard and I crossed the finish line as first open. I look forward to race in Australia next week, one my favourite racetracks in the MotoGP calendar. My congratulations to Marc Marquez for clinching his second MotoGP title. He has made a great season and he deserved it well.”
Alex De Angelis – 17th / +1’16.547/ 24 laps – “Motegi is a very technical and demanding track and today I struggled a lot. I was confident for the race but since the first laps I had some technical and electronics issues and I couldn’t fight with the other open bikes as I would have wanted.”
Strong race for “YAMALUBE Racing Team with YSP” team
Regular wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga rode a strong race at the Grand Prix of Japan, round 15 of the 2014 FIM MotoGP World Championship. His 12th position finish at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit gives him four championship points, moving him up to 24th place in the championship standings in front of regular riders Hector Barbera and Micheal Laverty and Nicky Hayden’s former replacement rider Leon Camier.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga – 12th / +51.027 / 24 laps – “The start went well for me, but the competition for position going into the first turn was so intense that I decided it was too risky to try to cut in aggressively. That caused me to be passed right away, so I decided to work steadily to get my position back after that. I am very glad that I was able to realize my initial goal of finishing in the points (in the top 12), and throughout the race week I was able to complete my schedule of test work successfully. Also, as a development rider , I was very glad to see Jorge win the race and Valentino finish 3rd. That’s because their success gives me confidence as well. I feel that this was a very satisfying race week in which I was able to give 100%, both as a development rider and as a racer in my own right.”
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez, already the youngest ever World Champion, claimed his second successive championship at Honda’s home circuit of Motegi in today’s Japanese GP.
The defender rode to a secure second place in the race to make his points lead unassailable, with three races to spare.
The 21-year-old from Cervera in Spain, already 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, won his second straight premier class to become the youngest ever winner of consecutive titles, beating the record of Mike Hailwood that had stood since 1963. The prodigious talent of Marquez means that he has also claimed this title still at a younger age than the previous youngest-ever winner, Honda’s 1983 champion Freddie Spencer. The win, celebrated with the ceremonial release of a high-flying balloon cut free with a traditional Japanese samurai sword, comes after a near-perfect season, with 11 race wins out of 15 races, 11 pole-position starts and setting the fastest lap in 10 races.
It also took Honda a step closer to securing a fourth successive Constructors’ Championship with the class-leading V4 RC213V MotoGP prototype.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was fourth today, just half-a-second away from his own tenth podium finish, in a race run in dry conditions in spite of the threat of an imminent typhoon, in front of a Sunday crowd of 42,856. The position kept alive his hopes of finishing second overall to give Honda a classic championship one-two.
The race was won at lap-record speed by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), with his team-mate Valentino Rossi third.
Marquez overcame a second-row start, and fought his way to second place after finishing the first lap fifth. He claimed the position on the 16th of 24 laps of the 4.801 Honda-built Motegi circuit, in mountainous country north of Tokyo.
It was a fitting climax to a landmark season for the youthful superstar. Marquez won the first ten races without interruption, and added another victory in round 12. Each win was another chapter in the legend of a potential all-time giant of the sport.
Pedrosa started from the front row, but was shuffled back to sixth in the first-lap melee. Patiently he picked his way forward, and was closing on third place in the latter part of the race. The 29-year-old from outside Barcelona was the first rider other than Marquez to win a race this year, taking victory in the Czech Republic round. The experienced Honda rider has backed it up with eight more top-three finishes.
While Marquez’s championship position is unassailable, Pedrosa is in a close fight for the second spot. With three rounds remaining and a possible 75 points still available, he is now equal on points with Rossi, and Lorenzo is just three points behind.
Pedrosa required corrective surgery for an arm-pump condition at the start of the European season, but recovered strongly.
Two more riders campaign the class-leading Honda V4 MotoGP prototypes. German former Moto2 champion Stefan Brad (LCR Honda RC213V) was seventh today, up two places from his qualifying position, and holding off a fierce attack from satellite Yamaha riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith.
Former 125cc champion Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V) finished tenth, also two better than his grid position. The Spaniard and his GO&FUN team-mate Scott Redding have a special role, race-testing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by Japanese companies with close links to Honda.
Redding is one of four riders campaigning the new-this-year production Honda MotoGP machine, a close replica of the factory machine. The best of them today was Japan’s Hiro Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R). The former 250cc champion was a close 13th, narrowly failing to overtake compatriot Katsuyuki Nakasuga’s factory Yamaha.
Second Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R rider Nicky Hayden was five seconds behind and one place lower, after a brave race for Honda’s 2006 World Champion. The American has finished in the points in the last two races, after missing four rounds following radical surgery to his right wrist. The hard braking of Motegi was a severe test for the courageous Kentucky competitor.
Redding (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV1000R) just missed the points, losing 15th place on the final lap. The Briton, youngest-ever GP winner, is still the top-scoring production Honda rider, placed 13th overall.
Czech law graduate Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) crashed out of today’s race, with ten laps remaining.
Honda is guaranteed to win in the intermediate Moto2 category, where the series organisers supply all competitors with identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines. This assures not only close competition, but also reliable racing.
A first win of the year went to front-row qualifier Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag Suter), who led the 23-lap race from the first corner to the last. But the Swiss former 125cc champion had to work hard for it, as two-race winner Maverick Vinales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Pons Kalex) pushed through to second before the halfway point, and closed a lead that had been almost 2.5 seconds to less than a second as they started the final lap. Vinales secured a new lap record in the process.
Title leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was third after starting from his eighth pole position of the season, extending his points lead over team-mate Mika Kallio, who was fifth today, just over half-a-second behind French star Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter). Sixth-placed former 125 champion Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) was a similar distance behind, with rookie team-mate Franco Morbidelli challenging to the end.
Rising Malaysian star Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex) came through for eighth, with Ricard Cardus (Tech 3 Tech 3) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) rounding out the top ten.
Rabat now has an advantage of 38 points over Kallio, with reigning Moto3 champion Vinales a strong third, another 32 points behind. Fourth-placed Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) failed to score after falling and remounting to finish 18th, and is now out of touch.
In Moto3, the closest battle of the series, Honda is up against machines from KTM and Mahindra, and with his third win of the year Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) extended the World Championship lead that he took for the first time at the last round at Aragon. The younger brother of MotoGP champion Marc is now 25 points clear of erstwhile leader Jack Miller (KTM). He also set a new lap record in today’s race.
With SaxoPrint-RTG Honda rider Efren Vazquez coming though from 14th on the grid to second place, it was a one-two finish for the upgraded Honda NSF250RW Moto3 bike; with yet another of the 250cc single-cylinder four-strokes taking a very close fourth. That was ridden by second SaxoPrint-RTG rider John McPhee, the 20-year-old Scotsman’s best result, in his second full GP season.
It was another hard-fought and exciting Moto3 race, with the first four over the line in less than seven tenths of a second, and the next pair half-a-second behind, after tangling in the third-last corner. Brad Binder (Mahindra) was third, erstwhile title leader Jack Miller (KTM) fifth.
Second Estrella Galicia 0.0 Honda rider Alex Rins, twice a race winner this year, was a disappointed tenth, after a collision on the first corner sent him off the track, finishing that lap in 20th place.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) finished 14th, in the points; but Brno GP winner Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) was out of luck, crashing out of the 20 lap race.
The next round is the Australian GP next weekend, the middle of three consecutive flyaway races, concluded by the Malaysian GP in a fortnight. The season ends two weeks later in Valencia.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd – “I am very happy to have sealed this second consecutive World Championship, because although it is difficult to maintain this level, in the end we succeeded! Today is the time to enjoy this title. In the race I had a very clear objective, which was to finish ahead of Valentino and Dani – the other riders did not matter to me so much today. I just had one goal in mind and the important thing is that I was able to achieve it. I want to dedicate this title to all the people who have helped me – they know who they are – and especially to my family and the team, who are the foundation for all of this.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th – “I wasn’t as fast off the start as the riders at the front, which meant that I lost two or three seconds early on. However, later I was able to come back, set good times and cut the distance a lot. However, as has happened to me before on other occasions this season, I was continually having to make up the time that I had lost at the start. I have to congratulate Marc and his team today, because they have done a really good job this season and deserve the title.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 7th – “Well, seventh is okay for this weekend considering my position in the qualifying yesterday. I took a good start and could pass Pol Espargaro catching Iannone straight after. I was behind him the whole race, but could not pass him especially in the braking areas where the Ducati seemed to be really strong. I made some small imperfections in the last laps trying to overtake him, but managed to finish. Now we look forward to the next race trying to qualify in a better position to have an extra advantage during the race.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 10th – “Given the pace we showed during practice, today our target was to fight for the seventh position: unfortunately, I was not able to do that. As always, I couldn’t ‘feel’ the rear tyre and I struggled to stop the bike under braking, so it was difficult to ride. Hernandez passed me at the start and then I was stuck behind him many laps because I couldn’t overtake it: I couldn’t brake hard, while he was able to brake deep into the corner. When I finally passed him, it was too late to reach the riders in front of me, so I closed the race in tenth position. If these problems will continue it will be very hard to do better results, so we hope to find a solution for the next races.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 13th – “It was a long race, and not easy, especially after two crashes. I didn’t have a good feeling for the front end, but my team worked until midnight, and made me a really good set-up for the race. We were able to finish top Open Honda. I could stay with Espargaro’s Open Yamaha until the middle of the race, so we are closing the gap.”
Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 14th – “My day didn’t start too great, with a crash early in warm-up, so I didn’t get too many laps in. I got an okay start in the race, but early on Redding went onto the grass and threw a couple of rocks up and broke my screen, and gave me some difficulty especially with aerodynamics. So it was a complicated race, but I got a couple of points. I’m glad to get this race behind me. I knew it would be difficult, with the hard braking after my wrist surgery. Now I’m looking forward to the last three races.”
Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 16th – “Today I struggled to follow the right line under braking: I went deep several times and I also went off the track on the grass two times, losing a lot of time. It was difficult today to be consistent. We still don’t know why we had this problem: we will check all the data in order to fix it ahead of the upcoming races. In addition, in the last five laps the front was pushing a lot, because I used a lot the front tyre at the beginning of the race. I’m not satisfied with the result.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: DNF – “What to say: all weekend I was pointing out that the braking was not ok. All weekend everyone was looking at me as if there was no problem. It was the same from the start of the race, but I was trying to go. Then, when I was entering into the corner with speed of 200 km/h, the brake came to the bar. I think that it is impossible to race in that way. Braking is something you need to count on 100 percent. It has happened to me twice this season. I tried to make the corner but I finished in the gravel. I am really upset.”
Andrea Dovizioso scored another positive result today in the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, the Ducati Team rider finishing in fifth place at the end of the 24-lap race. Starting from pole, Dovizioso crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in third behind Rossi and Lorenzo. On lap 9 the Italian was then passed by Marquez and by Pedrosa five laps later, after which he was able to maintain his fifth place until the chequered flag.
Cal Crutchlow, who started from row 3 after qualifying eighth yesterday, crossed the line in tenth place at the end of lap 1, but a crash at turn 3 on the second lap brought an early end to his race.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th – “I think we have to be upbeat about this weekend’s result and look at things in a positive way. We went really well in practice and qualifying, yesterday we got a fantastic pole position and we have always been up at the top of the timesheets. We are making our fans dream again and so it’s obvious that we are creating expectations, but the fact is that we are still not ready to aim for the win. But it was great to do the early laps in the leading group. I really pushed hard but when the rear tyre started to drop off I was no longer able to keep with them. It’s all good experience that will help us for next year and I’m very pleased with the work we have done so far.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF – “I’m really disappointed for today’s result, and I’m sorry for the team first and foremost. I made an error by slightly jumping the start, so then on the actual start I released the clutch too late and got a really bad start in the end. I tried to make up some time because I didn’t want the leaders to get away so much, and I pushed too hard and made a mistake on the wide line into turn 3 and crashed. I was actually quite pleased with my pace this weekend, we did a better job of it as a team, so I’m obviously very disappointed with the result. Hopefully we can make amends in Phillip Island.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “This weekend was again positive for us: Andrea’s pole position gave us a lot of satisfaction and it is another step in the right direction. At the start of the year I didn’t think we could manage to take a pole this season, so I’m really happy about that. Together with all the guys in Ducati Corse we’ve done a great job up until now, but we know that we still have to improve to be able to stay with the leaders for the entire race. I’d just like to congratulate Marc Marquez for his second successive world title: it’s an exceptional result!”
Round 15 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship took place at Motegi with the Motul Grand Prix of Japan but the first of the series of flyaway races saw PBM MotoGP duo Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes unable to add to their points tally.
The Penrith-based PBM team were hoping to continue their remarkable consistency this season but soon it became apparent that there was work to do with both riders languishing down the order during Free Practice. Qualifying didn’t quite go to plan either for Ulsterman Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM, nor Australian team-mate Parkes, on the Silkolene-backed PBM, neither of whom could break into the top 20.
Despite starting on row eight of the grid, former British Supersport Champion Laverty and Parkes, twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship, were confident of a good performance in the 24 lap race.
Both PBM riders made good starts with Laverty gaining a few places before settling into a rhythm just outside the top 20. As the race progressed, Laverty clawed his way up to 19th before crossing the line in a battling 18th place with Parkes just a couple of places further back.
Although neither rider added to their points score, it was yet another pair of finishes for the Cumbrian team meaning that out of the 30 available finishes so far this season, Laverty and Parkes between them have brought the British-made bikes home in 27 of them, remarkably scoring top 20 placings in 23 races.
Parkes, who holds 21st in the championship table, has scored points in Assen (11th), as well as in Qatar and Indianapolis (15th) whereas Laverty, who occupies 26th in the standings, has managed just the one points scoring ride into 14th, also at Indianapolis, where both riders created history for Paul Bird’s British team to score points in the same race.
Parkes is eighth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. Laverty occupies 12th in the Open class whilst importantly for the PBM team, they hold sixth place in the Constructor’s table and 11th in the team’s standings.
The PBM MotoGP team is next in action at Phillip Island in Australia next weekend for round 16 of the series, followed the week after at Sepang before the final race of the season in Valencia on November 9th.
Michael Laverty: “It was a tough weekend for us; we really struggled for rear grip right from the first session. We made some improvements throughout practice and qualifying to have our best setting for the race but it was still a struggle. The race was fun though; it was a good battle with Di Meglio and Broc keeping me on my toes throughout. We have a quick turnaround now as we move onto Phillip Island in just a few days and do it all again at one of the best circuits of the season.”
Broc Parkes: “At the start the race was OK although I didn’t have a great pace but I was in the battle with the Open class guys and could just hang in with them but unfortunately could not attack them. I felt I was losing a lot of time on the back straight and had to work hard to catch back up. My lap times were consistent so I’m happy with that. We lost rear grip and I had still a lot of chatter which is something I have struggled with all year but it was not as bad here. The last five laps I dropped off a couple of seconds to the guys in front. I gave good feedback to the team so I hope we can fix the problems for my home race at Phillip Island this weekend.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “We have had another difficult weekend and again struggled for pace, with similar problems to those we encountered at the last race. Although we made some improvements during the practice sessions, we did not find a setting that gave us the rear grip we needed to be more competitive. Hopefully at our next race, the flowing nature of the Phillip Island circuit will suit our bike more and we can be closer to some of the other Open bikes.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 17-18°C; Track 26-27°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo continued his irresistible form in the second half of the 2014 MotoGP season as he won his second consecutive race at Motegi as Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez made it back-to-back MotoGP™ World Championship titles by taking second place in the Japanese Grand Prix.
An exciting start to race saw Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi get the holeshot to lead into turn one, a position he held for the first four laps before Lorenzo squeezed past his teammate to take the over at the front. As his rivals battled behind him, Lorenzo set a scorching pace at the front of the field, setting a new Motegi race lap record of 1’45.350 on lap eight and going on to take the chequered flag by 1.638 seconds from Marquez, with Rossi rounding out the podium in third place a further second back.
Race day at Motegi experienced the coolest conditions of the weekend with the peak track temperature recording during the race being 27°C which was 13°C cooler than measured during qualifying yesterday. The fresher temperatures didn’t have a significant effect on race tyre choice, with almost every rider opting for the same tyre combinations they used in race simulations earlier on the weekend. All twenty-four riders selected the medium compound front slick, while fifteen riders selected the soft compound rear slick, and the other nine riders opting for the extra-soft compound rear. After record-breaking pace in yesterday’s qualifying sessions, more records were set at the Motegi circuit during the race with race winner Lorenzo setting a new race lap record of 1’45.350 on lap eight and the overall race time today being over ten seconds quicker than the existing record.
With Marc Marquez wrapping up the title at Motegi, the focus now shifts to the battle for second place in the riders’ standings. Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa are currently tied on 230 points, while Jorge Lorenzo is now just three points behind on 227 points and fourth in the standings.
Masahiro Higashi – Vice President and Officer, Global Marketing Strategy and Motorsport, Bridgestone Corporation – “Congratulations to Jorge on his victory today and Yamaha on their continued good form which has given them three wins in the past four races. I would also like to congratulate Marc and Honda for securing their second consecutive MotoGP World Championship today, especially here in Japan at Honda’s home circuit. This weekend has been a successful one for Bridgestone with many records being set on our tyres and it is a source of pride for our company to share in such special moments as we witnessed at Motegi today. We now are looking forward to supporting the MotoGP championship for the remaining three races and hope to see more exciting battles to come.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “Today was a great end to what was a very successful weekend for Bridgestone. After a new qualifying lap record was set yesterday, today Lorenzo set a new race lap record and the overall race time was also the quickest ever, with the top riders averaging around half a second per lap quicker for the entire twenty-four laps compared to the previous record race time at Motegi. The track temperature today was also significantly cooler than yesterday, but our tyre allocation for this year’s Japanese Grand Prix proved adaptable enough to deal with this change in conditions, so overall I am very happy with our results here at Motegi.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Race Winner – “I’m really happy to get this second win in a row after my victory at Aragon. Here I knew I had a good pace, I want to thank Yamaha for the great job they’ve done to make our bike so competitive. I didn’t expect to build such a big gap during the race, but in the final laps both Marc and Valent