Monday 8 October 2012
2012 AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan
ROUND FIFTEEN 2012 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY OCTOBER14
CRUTCHLOW ON COURSE TO RE-WRITE HISTORY BOOKS
Cal Crutchlow arrives in Motegi for the Air Asia Grand Prix of Japan on Sunday on course to becoming the highest placed British rider in the MotoGP™ World Championship for 22 years. With four rounds remaining the Isle of Man – based Midlander is fifth in the Championship – Niall Mackenzie was fourth in 1990. However the re-writing of the history books is no way decided with nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi and former 125 cc World Champion Alvaro Bautista breathing down his neck.
The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider is just seven points in front of the pair after finishing fourth in the previous round in Aragon as he prepares for just his second race at the 2.983 miles Motegi circuit.
Cumbrian James Ellison picked up more points on the Paul Bird Motorsport CRT machine in Aragon. He hopes to use the updated ART engine over the weekend as he chases Colin Edwards for 17th place in the championship.
Gloucestershire teenager Scott Redding was involved in a superb Moto2 race in Aragon. Despite splitting the stitches following an operation on his right wrist he finished on the podium in third place riding the Marc VDS Kalex. Right behind him was 21 year old Bradley Smith on the Tech 3 Mistral in fifth place. Redding was fifth at Motegi in the Moto2 race a couple of years ago while Smith was on the 125 cc podium the same year in third place and finished seventh in the Moto2 race last year. Londoner Gino Rea makes his first appearance at Motegi riding the Federal Oil Gresini Moto 2 machine.
Wiltshire teenager Danny Kent bounced back to form with fourth place in the Moto3™ race in Aragon. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is involved in a close battle for sixth place in the championship with his great friend Malaysian Fahmi Khairuddin whose big race is in Sepang just a week later.
Kent-based Danny Webb soldiers on aiming to score his first points of the season for the Indian Mahindra team before moving onto fresh pastures next year. Scottish teenager John McPhee embarks on the adventure of a life time starting in Japan riding the Caretta Technology KRP Honda on his first trip to the Far East.
“I was happy with fourth in Aragon because this result once again shows the huge step I have made from last season. I was close to the podium and last year struggling to be in the top ten. It was a good result for the Championship too because I pulled a small gap on Valentino and Alvaro. I can go into the last four races with a lot of confidence and hopefully enjoy some more good battles with Andrea. I tried my best to beat him and didn’t quite manage it, so hopefully next time we are in a fight like that it will be me that comes out on top.”
Danny Kent moves up to the Moto2 World Championship next season. He replaces Bradley Smith in the Tech 3 team where he joins Frenchman Louis Rossi who won the Moto3 French Grand Prix this season. Smith moves up to the MotoGP team.
Former Moto2 World Champion Tony Elias returns at Motegi where he replaces Claudio Corti in the Italtrans Racing team.
STONER RETURNS FOR MOTEGI SCRAP
World Champion Casey Stoner makes a welcome return to the MotoGP World Championship with four rounds remaining starting at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi on Sunday. The Australian Repsol Honda rider has missed the last three races after fracturing his right ankle in a qualifying crash at Indianapolis a month and a half a go.
His return to the 2.983 miles Motegi circuit will spice up the ultimate championship battle between his team-mate Dani Pedrosa who has won three of the last four grands prix and Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. The Yamaha rider holds a 33 point advantage over Pedrosa but has only won one of the last five races. It promises to be a superb fight between the three Championship leaders who between them have won at Motegi in the last three years. It’s also an important race for Stoner to hang onto third place in the championship after Andrea Dovizioso closed to within seven points of the Champion after his sixth podium finish of the season at the previous round in Aragon.
It’s also a crucial race for his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Cal Crutchlow in his attempt to hold onto fifth place in the title chase with both Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista seven points adrift. Both Rossi and Ducati have a great record at Motegi but not together. The Italian has won twice while Ducati have secured four precious victories at the home of Honda thanks to Loris Capirossi and Stoner.
Rossi’s team-mate Nicky Hayden is confident of riding despite his crash in Aragon while Stefan Bradl makes his Motegi MotoGP debut after a rare crash for the German from the LCR Honda in Aragon. Ben Spies has four rides remaining on the factory Yamaha to secure his first podium finish of the season while the CRT battle between Power Electronics Aspar team-mates Aleix Espargaro and Randy De Puniet shows no sign of abating. De Puniet holds a two point advantage over his team-mate.
Ivan Silva returns to the Avintia Blusens BQR team replacing David Salom who had replaced him for the last two races. Former 250 and Moto2 winner Italian Robbie Rolfo comes into the Speed Master team to replace Mattia Pasini.
It appears a case of when rather than if Marc Marquez clinches the Moto2 World title. The Spanish teenager can’t do it at Motegi but could easily win his second World crown a week later in Malaysia. He holds an impressive 48 point lead over Pol Espargaro after finishing second behind his great rival following a ferocious battle in Aragon. There is every chance of a repeat at Motegi with Andrea Iannone fighting to hang onto third place from Tom Luthi while Marc VDS team-mates Scott Redding and Mika Kallio battle for fifth in front of Bradley Smith.
German Sandro Cortese has a mathematical chance of clinching the Moto3 World title but once again will probably have to wait until Malaysia. He has a 51 point advantage over Luis Salom after the Spaniard won his second grand prix of the year at Aragon. Spanish teenager Maverick Vinales dropped out of the Championship race when his engine failed on the warm-up lap in Aragon He’s already won five grands prix this season but slipped to third in the Championship after his Aragon demise.
TWIN RING MOTEGI FACTS AND FIGURES
The Twin Ring Motegi circuit is situated in the wooded hills 100 miles north-east of Tokyo. The huge complex was built by Honda in the late nineties and staged its first motorcycle grand prix in 1999 which was won by Kenny Roberts Junior.
The 2.983 road racing circuit, which includes two tunnels, is surrounded by the Indy style oval while the complex includes a speedway track, World trials sections and the magnificent Honda museum.
Circuit Length: 4.801 kms
Width: 15 m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 762m
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Eight
Pole Position Record:
Friday 12 October
0510-0800 British Eurosport – Live Practice Moto3, MotoGP, Moto2
Saturday 13 October
0455 – 0800 BBC Red Button & British Eurosport – Live Qualifying Moto3, MotoGP, Moto2
Sunday 14 October
0245 – 0505 BBC Red Button/British Eurosport – Live Moto3 and Moto2 races
0530 – 0700 BBC2 Live MotoGP race
1230 — 1400 BBC2 MotoGP race repeat