Motoette -in forward motion

Hayden’s comments stir up a storm at Motegi

MotoGP: Motoegi Japan Pre Race Review:

This Friday will kick off the 15th round of the MotoGP Championship at the multifaceted Twin Ring Motegi Raceway in Japan. Motegi was originally to be hosting the GP event earlier in the season, but was regrettably postponed due to a devastating earthquake that resulted in a massive tsunami in March.
The isolated 2.98 mile long circuit was first built by Honda in 1997 as a test facility for Indycar Racing, but did not win a race until 6 years later by Dan Wheldon. The road course houses 6 left and 8 right mostly flat corners, but is still considered intricate in its challenging stop and start hairpin style, creating less of a flowing layout for the premiere riders.

There will be no denying this race weekend will be an emotional one as all the GP paddocks touched down on Japanese soil earlier this week to show their support for the proud country.
San Carlo Honda Grisini’s Hiroshi Aoyama will be one rider feeling the emotional effects while racing on his home soil. The Japanese rider has publicly urged his fellow riders to support his recovering homeland in past interviews and recently stated his gratitude in the full attendance of all the teams participation.

Hiroshi’s teammate, Marco Simoncelli announced on Tuesday that he will be returning to the Grisini team for another year. A smart move by the radical rider that will further establish his growing relationship with Grisini and HRC and who will be setting him up with a factory RC213V machine next year. The continued union will also serve as a solid platform for the big haired Italian to be taken more seriously as a viable contender for the Championship.

With the four races remaining, Motegi will play an important role in where the Championship titles will be decided. With the Repsol Honda riders leading the procession at the top with front runner, Casey Stoner currently ahead with 284 points in standings and teammates, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa right behind in the top four.

It’s still a mystery where Dovizioso will go for the 2012 season. Current reports indicate the Italian rider will want to stay within the Honda circle and move over to the satellite LCR team. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s interest in Dovizioso has certainly motivated Honda to hang on to the talented rider, but with Honda’s hefty pay roll, can they afford Dovi?

If Dovizioso does indeed move to Tech 3, LCR has also shown interest in American BSB rider John Hopkins and Pramac’s Randy de Puniet. The LCR team has also been looking at Rizla Suzuki’s blossoming Alvaro Bautista to replace the struggling former Moto2 rider, Toni Elias after a less than favorable season.

The only rider to keep the Honda trio from standing three astride on the podium for the Championship is Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in second with 240 points. The reigning World Champion has his work cut out for him if he wants to hang on to his title for one more year with 4 races, 25 point maximum and a 44 point difference to Stoner. You do the math!

Lorenzo’s teammate, Ben Spies had a great start at Aragon but lost momentum with tire issues. The handsome American hopes to have a reprise experience as last year at the Japanese track, being able to let go a little and enjoy rather than banter in frustration in his ability to move up the line. Both riders will once again be sporting the snazzy red and white 50th anniversary Yamaha livery. You have to admit, it’s nicely done, which is more than I can say for Repsol Honda’s “secretive” attempt at updating their aging colour scheme at Aragon.

Ducati’s Valentino Rossi will be granted the good fortune to start from the grid at Motegi after having to take a pit lane start penalty at Aragon after exhausting Dorna’s newly enforced 6 engine limit rule. The good-natured Italian will be piloting the GP11.1 aluminum chassis for the second time this race weekend. Although it’s probable that he will not make the Championship this year being in 6th place, it has given him numerous opportunities to make crucial set up improvements to the GP11.1 and GP12 Desmosedici. Revered as one of the most successful riders in GP history, Valentino Rossi along with his loyal crew chief, Jeremy Burgess have managed to persuade the stubborn Ducati team to see the light in reevaluating their prize double-L twin engine machines, which has most recently led to some drastic improvements. A feat that no other rider has been able to do.

With Rossi being made by example in what the repercussions can be after maxing out a 6th engine, there are other riders not far behind. Hiroshi Aoyama, Toni Elias, Jorge Lorenzo and Nicky Hayden are all on their sixth engines as well. Hayden is most at risk after using his sixth engine for the 3rd consecutive race. The Southern lad also fell under scrutiny earlier this week with allegedly joking on Twitter about not attending Motegi because of the unwarranted threat of radiation after-effects from the tiny islands earthquake.

Hayden initially wrote:
“I have taken a very difficult decision not to go to japan out safety concerns & radiation levels. Hope the fans understand & will support me”

He quickly countered his comment with:

“Gotcha… I was kidding with all that Nonsense bout not going to japan. Most saw thru the BS, but a few of ya bite on it pretty hard. Sorry to any fans who took that joke wrong 2 much airport boredom. Please except & if not just unfollow me…”

It’s uncertain if the American GP rider was actually serious about his first comment, but one thing is for sure, the tragedy and destruction associated with Japan and its citizens is no joking matter!

Pramac’s Loris Capirossi will be sitting out yet another race after he re-injured his right collarbone in a crash at Aragon. The veteran rider has only a few races left before his permanent retirement from the Grand Prix. After consulting with several doctors, he has been given the green light to finish out the next three races, if he can successfully stay up right! Damian Cudlin, an Australian multi-talented racer, has been chosen to fill in for the recuperating Capirossi for the singular round at Motegi. Cudlin, is an interesting choice with his inexperience in the GP divisions and various appearances in an assortment of motorsport venues.

Damian Cudlin:
“It’s hard to put into words what this opportunity means to me. I’ve dreamed about starting in MotoGP since I was a boy, and until now it’s been just that- a dream. Now it’s become a reality and to be honest, I’m still in shock! I’m under no illusions about how difficult this race will be. I’ve never ridden a real MotoGP bike before and I’ve never been to Motegi either, so realistically my expectations can’t be too high.

In heartfelt support for the valiant country of Japan, look for all the racing action to commence this Friday, September 30, starting with the first free practice round at 10:10am (GMT+9)

MotoGP Standings

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 284
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 240
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 185
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 170
5 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 146
6 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 139
7 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 114
8 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 106
9 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 90
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 87
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 77
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 67
13 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 52
14 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 50
15 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 47
16 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 33
17 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 29
18 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 3
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September 28, 2011 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Aragon, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, girlracer, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, marco simoncelli, Motegi, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Nicky Hayden, Randy De Puniet, toni elais, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

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