Motul Grand Prix of Japan 2014

Posted on Oct 06, 2014 by Nick Harris


Fresh from their podium finishes at the previous round both Cal Crutchlow and Danny Kent chase a repeat in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan on Sunday at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Isle of Man based Midlander Crutchlow grabbed his first MotoGP podium of the season taking advantage of the adverse conditions in Aragon riding the factory Ducati. He has four more rides on the Ducati before joining the LCR Honda team next season. Wiltshire based Kent won the Moto3™ race in Motegi two years ago. He returned to the championship this season after a difficult year in Moto2™. Riding the Red Bull Ajo Husqvarna he took his second podium of the season in Aragon and lies joint ninth in the championship with Miguel Oliveira.

Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith equaled his best result of the season with a fifth place on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in Aragon. He currently lies tenth in the championship but is only seven points behind Andrea Iannone in eighth. He was third in the 125cc race at Motegi four years ago.

Scott Redding has bad memories of Motegi after a crash last year ended his hopes of the Moto2 World Championship. The Gloucestershire rider has been rewarded with a factory supported Honda ride next season after an impressive first MotoGP season. He is the leading open class Honda rider.

Ulsterman Michael Laverty continues his fight for points with four races remaining for the Paul Bird Motorsport team before they leave to concentrate on the British Superbike Championship. Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes picked up a useful ninth place in the Moto2 race at Aragon. The former World Supersport Champion was happier with a new suspension on his Speed Up machine and makes his debut at Motegi. Londoner Gino Rea is fighting for his grand prix future and was just two places away from the points in Aragon riding the AGT REA Suter. Twenty year old Scotsman John McPhee has re-signed for the SaxoPrint RTG Moto3 team next season. He was desperate to celebrate with his first podium finish in Aragon but crashed on the damp track when well placed. He likes Motegi and finished seventh last year.

Marquez closes in on title at home of Honda
Twenty-one year Marc Marquez could retain his MotoGP world title at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the home of Honda, the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit on Sunday. The Repsol Honda rider arrives in Japan with a 75 point lead over team-mate Dani Pedrosa with four rounds of the 18 round championship remaining. If he leaves with the same points advantage or more on Sunday evening he will retain the title he won last year.

It’s not a foregone conclusion round the 2.983 miles circuit with the Movistar Yamaha duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi winning the last two grands prix. Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi have won twice at the circuit situated 70 miles north-east of Tokyo. Marquez has won twice in 125cc and Moto2 and has won 11 of the 14 grands prix this year.

Lorenzo won the race last year after a superb battle with Marquez and returns full of confidence after his victory at the last round in Aragon. Team-mate 35 year old Rossi won the previous round in Misano and will be fit to ride in the 24 lap race despite a crash in the Aragon round last week.

Ducati will be a threat with Andrea Dovizioso consolidating his fifth place in the championship despite a rare fall at Aragon. Another Ducati faller was Andrea Iannone who qualified on the front row of the grid while Cal Crutchlow took advantage of the conditions to grab his first podium of the season. The Espargaro brothers are still locked in a tremendous battle for sixth. Aleix, thanks to his second place on the NGM Forward Racing Open Class Yamaha in Aragon, holds a four point advantage over Pol who won the Moto2 race last year on route to the world title.

2015 Jigsaw almost complete
The final pieces of the 2015 line up jigsaw are almost complete with news last week that Ulsterman Eugene Laverty, younger brother of Michael, returns to grand prix racing from World Superbike to join former World Champion Nicky Hayden at the Drive M7 Aspar Honda team next season. Another rider coming into MotoGP from World Superbike is Frenchman Loris Baz who joins Stefan Bradl at NGM Forward Racing Yamaha. Italian Danilo Petrucci leaves Ioda to join Pramac Ducati. As expected Suzuki also confirmed last week that Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will spearhead their comeback into MotoGP.

Motegi Moments
Motegi has not always hosted the Japanese Grand Prix the circuit first staged the Japanese Grand Prix in 1999 but from 2000 to 2003 it hosted the Pacific Grand Prix before reverting to Japanese in 2004.

Nicky Hayden’s third place in 2003 was his first MotoGP podium.The American was third 5.641s behind Max Biaggi with Valentino Rossi second.

Loris Capirossi is the only rider to win three successive races at Motegi. The Italian brought Ducati three successive MotoGP wins between 2005- 2007. Valentino Rossi brought Honda three successive Japanese Grand Prix wins between 2001-2003 but they were staged at Suzuka.

Alex Marquez, younger brother of World MotoGP champion Marc, won his first grand prix at Motegi last year. He won the Moto3 race by just 0.027s from Maverick Vinales who went on to win the World title.

Motegi Facts and Figures
Circuit Length: 4.801m/2.983 miles
Width: 15m
Pole Position: Left
Longest Straight: 762m/0.473 miles
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Eight
Pole Position Record: Jorge Lorenzo/Yamaha 1.44.969 (2012)
Lap Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1'45.589 (2012)

Television Times
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
Friday 10th September
1.00am – Grand Prix of Japan – FP1 - LIVE

5.00 am – Grand Prix of Japan – FP2 - LIVE
3.00pm – Re-run of today’s practice for the Grand Prix of Japan

Saturday 11th October
1.00am  – Grand Prix of Japan – Free Practice - LIVE
4.15am – Grand Prix of Japan – Qualifying - LIVE
11.45am – Re-run of today’s qualifying for the Grand Prix of Japan

Sunday 12th October
2.45am – Grand Prix of Japan - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races - LIVE
12.00pm – Re-run of the Grand Prix of Japan MotoGP Race
4.15pm – Re-run of the Grand Prix of Japan Moto2 Race
5.15pm – Re-run of the Grand Prix of Japan Moto3 Race

Tuesday 13th October
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: (BT Sport 1)

ITV4 Schedule
Monday 13th October
8.00pm – MotoGP Highlights Programme

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