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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 15: Japan

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
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Japan
Japan
October 14, 2012

Pedrosa Storms to Victory in Japan

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) stormed to a personal best fifth MotoGP win of the season at Twin Ring Motegi, the circuit owned by Honda and with Honda Motor Company President Takanobu Ito cheering him on.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA
(Repsol Honda Team)
Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA
(Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Adding to the celebration was that Pedrosa was joined on the podium by San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista, who earned his second MotoGP podium a day after it was announced he had re-signed with the Gresini Honda team. And in his return to racing after a two month injury lay-off, world champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished fifth as he prepares to be as race fit as possible for his home grand prix at Phillip Island in two weeks’ time.

Starting from the middle of the front row, Pedrosa stalked early leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) until the 12th of 24 laps, when he made a clean pass in the right hand turn five. Pedrosa controlled the pace for the duration, opening up a second gap on the 14th lap and pushing it up to 1.6s a lap later. The gap remained constant until there were four laps to go when he put it near two seconds and over on lap.

By winning for the second year in a row at Motegi, Pedrosa closed the championship points gap on Lorenzo to 28, 310 to 282,with three races remaining. Stoner sits third in the championship with 197 points.

The victory was also a celebration of Twin Ring Motegi, the circuit which signed on to host the Japanese Grand Prix through 2018.

Bautista caught up to Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) on the 14th lap and the fight for third was on. The Spaniard patiently waited until the 20th lap before making his move. Crutchlow tried to strike back, but Bautista had the counter-measure.

The race for the final podium spot went down to the final lap but ended prematurely when Crutchlow ran out of gas. That gave Bautista a clean path to his second MotoGP podium. (He was also third in the San Marino Grand Prix.) And the podium moved him to a career high fifth in the championship.

Stoner was not sure what to expect when the race started. His surgically repaired right ankle gave him limited mobility and denied him the lean angle needed to get around the track’s many slow corners. He was also on a race bike for the first time in two months, using muscles that had mostly lain dormant since the accident in Indianapolis.

Stoner was up as high as fourth before being passed by Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) seven laps from the finish. By then he was physically exhausted, both from having to compensate for his injured ankle and the demands of racing, which he had not experienced for months.

Still, it was an important first step on his return to the race track. Now he has a few days off before the steamy heat of Malaysia, then his home grand prix at his beloved Phillip Island, where he will be looking to win for the sixth time in succession.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) finished four seconds behind Stoner while battling a pair of issues. The first was mechanical. Damage from a crash in qualifying prevented him from steering his LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V properly. The carry-on effect was that he had to ride the motorcycle differently and after 10 laps began to feel the onset of arm pump.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR) scored the final point in 15th place. The MotoGP rookie did not feel that the stop-start circuit suited his machine, though he was able to finish in the points, an important consideration for the first year CRT team. Now he was looking forward to the next few tracks which he believes will better suit the characteristics of the Honda CNR1000RR-powered machine.

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter Marc Marquez recovered from a disastrous start to win his eighth race of the season and stand on the cusp of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship.

Second on the grid, the championship leader failed to put his Honda-powered machine in gear-a “rookie mistake,” he called it-as the pack sped by on both sides, miraculously avoiding him. He was fifth from the end into the first corner, after which his serious work began.

The championship leader gobbled up riders in bunches. He was ninth at the end of the first lap, seventh a lap later, and sixth on lap three. He stalled in fourth for two laps before continuing his charge up the order. By lap six he was third, second a lap later, and on the tenth lap he passed Tito Rabat (Tuenti Movil HP 40 – Kalex) for the lead.

Pol Espargaro, Rabat’s team-mate, took over second on the 13th of 23 laps and the battle was on.

Espargaro seemed content to sit in second, waiting, watching and stalking. On the penultimate lap he made his move going into the turn five right, but nearly clipped Marquez’s rear wheel. That dropped him back and it appeared Marquez had a clear pass to the finish. But on the final lap Espargaro was right back on him. His best chance would come in the hard braking downhill turn 11 90 Degree Corner. Marquez protected the corner, then held off his fellow Spaniard and championship rival to win by .415 sec.

Marquez now leads Espargaro 283 to 230 with three races remaining. If he finishes 50 points or more in front of Espargaro following next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, he will conclude his Moto2 career as the world champion. Marquez will join Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda MotoGP team in 2013.

Rabat earned his fifth career podium and first of the season. He was nine seconds behind Espargaro. Rabat led from the second to then ninth lap before being passed by Marquez on lap ten. Three laps later Espargaro made his way past.

Rabat began riding differently, losing grip and control of his motorcycle. Then he calmed down and raced to his secure third place finish.

The battle for fourth went to Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) in a battle with Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock Suter). Toni Elias was part of the fight until he crashed four laps from the end in his debut as the replacement for Claudio Corti with the Italtrans Racing Team.

Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) moved back into second in the Moto3 World Championship by avoiding the carnage that consumed a number of riders on the race’s final lap to finish second.

Vinales rode a brilliant tactical race, not showing his hand too early as the lead pack went from four to eight to six to five, and finally to four. Vinales was sixth on the final lap when the fireworks began. First leader Jonas Folger was taken out in the first turn by Luis Salom. That reduced the lead pack to four with Vinales at the end of it.

Then, in the 90 degree corner at the end of the back straight, the order changed, and championship leader Sandro Cortese tried to forge his way past Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italian FMI – FTR Honda). Cortese went down, Tonucci did well to stay upright, and Vinales sped through to finish second by .260s to first time winner Danny Kent of Great Britain.

Vinales moved back in front of Salom in the championship. Now he is second to Cortese, who remounted to finish sixth. The gap is 56 points.

Tonucci was jubilant with his first podium on a track where he had his best race of 2011. His previous best was tenth in this year’s Czech Grand Prix and also in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 – Suter Honda) made it three Hondas in a row by winning the battle for fourth. Rins had to work his way back towards the front after running off track on the first lap. That dropped him to 14th from where he would begin his resurgence.

Rins began the final lap in eighth place, and moved up two spots after two Luis Salom crashed into race leader Jonas Folger in the first turn. A second two-rider incident involving Tonucci and Cortese moved Rins up two more spots to fourth.

The MotoGP paddock is busy packing up for the trip to the Malaysian Grand Prix where practice starts in less than five days’ time.

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Casey STONER
(Repsol Honda Team)
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL
(LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: Race winner
“ It was a hard race because the pace was very fast from the beginning. I tried to understand the bike, as yesterday we had a lot of chatter so I didn't know how it would be today. In the beginning it wasn't too bad, but then it got a little worse during the race. I managed it as best I could and I stayed with Jorge [Lorenzo], I was able to get a better line out of the corner and pass him and then I put in some good laps and controlled the gap. Jorge tried to stay with me, but then decided to settle for the second place.

We did what we needed to do and it's just a pity that there is no one else who can stay with us because every race I win, he's been second. But anyway, it's a great feeling to win races and we are doing it now. Thanks to Honda and the whole team, I'm really happy to win again here in Motegi!”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 3rd
“A beautiful great weekend with the signing of the contract for next season with Gresini Racing. I am very happy today. I knew we could do well and fight for the podium, because yesterday we had been shown to have a good race pace. I tried and I did it. I did not start very well, I lost some positions, but I quickly recovered. Then when I caught (Cal) Crutchlow I saw that we were riding at the same rate, and so I tried to keep a safe distance so as not to overheat the brakes For five laps I pushed more and I attacked and I have to say that the battle with him was beautiful and I enjoyed it. I am very happy for the guys in the team who have always worked a lot with the Showa to give me a good performance, for the sponsors and the HRC that is giving us all the support and I hope to continue like this for the next races.”
Casey Stoner: Repsol Honda: 5th
“ I'm a little disappointed to be honest. We slowly improved over the weekend and got the bike to a point we were pretty happy with in warm up. At the start of the race I felt had the pace to stay with Dani [Pedrosa] and Jorge [Lorenzo] and the bike was feeling pretty good. Then as the race progressed my body started to suffer and ache in ways I didn't expect. We had the pace to run a lot higher and be on the podium but unfortunately I couldn't manage it physically today. A big thanks to my team, they gave me a fantastic bike today, but I couldn't do anymore in my condition.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 6th
“We had a little problem today due to yesterday’s crash: Unfortunately I was not really able to steer the bike and after 10 laps I was struggling a lot and I have never had such a big problem with the arm pump. At the beginning I could easily follow the group in the front of me with Stoner and Dovizioso, but the problem with my breaking hand got worse and worse lap by lap and I could not go any faster. I had to slow down and managed to finish the race 6th. It’s a bit frustrating and this was surely not a perfect weekend for us but I aim to bounce back in Malaysia next weekend.”
Michele Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th
“I was hoping to get a better result, but in the end I must say that the result that we brought home that's fine. We managed to finish the race and for us this is already an important goal. We still have to work and do it in the next races on tracks that perhaps may better suit the characteristics of our bike.”

Moto2

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter: Race winner
“I made a huge mistake on the start —it was a rookie mistake. When I engaged first gear I noticed something strange, but at that moment I was only focusing on the lights and on making a good start. I didn't think to check that the gear had slotted in correctly. When the lights went out I found I was still in neutral and the first thing to cross my mind was to hope that nobody hit me from behind. I wasn't just because I didn't want to miss the race, but rather that the other rider and myself could have been very badly hurt. I had a lot of luck in that respect, but on the opening corner I was very far back and had to give 100% on the early laps. When I saw that I wasn't with the lead group, my aim was to take as many points as possible. However, I surprised myself with how I moved up places and reached the frontrunners. From then on, I took things much more calmly when it came to overtaking. From the midway point through to the end we had a better pace than in qualifying, which is very positive as Motegi is a track where the Kalexes go very well. To take 25 points here is important.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex: 2nd
“I've had enough trouble in the first laps on the new tyres and I had a couple of scares that almost led me to the ground. After I began to move up, I met Tito (Rabat) and then I started the pursuit of (Marc) Marquez. As before I could ride a little faster, as the final lap of 1.51.0, but I have less acceleration and good braking is not enough to overtake. We will work to have a little more acceleration in Malaysia and try to not let Marc become champion. I will keep fighting as long as a one percent chance, but this time the distance has increased and is a race less. I took ten podiums all season long, but we lack a little to win more races.”
Tito Rabat, Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex: 3rd
“It was a very difficult race and I'm happy, because I worked very hard and I deserved it. I want to dedicate this to my mother, who since early this year is not with us, and I hope in the future to devote a further step of the podium. I started well and felt comfortable, but when I have gone into the lead, first Marc (Marquez) and Pol (Espargaro) went past. I attacked a bit, I lost concentration and I lost them. When I was behind them, instinctively I changed my riding, I start to lose grip and wasn’t controlling the bike. After I calmed down, I came back to ride with ease and have had no trouble keeping the distance with those ahead of me and ensured the podium. I think it was a great weekend and we have learned that we are able to go fast in some circuits. It would be a dream to fight to win before the year-end.”

Moto3

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: 2nd
“It was a very difficult race, but Lady Luck smiled upon us a little today. We were able to claw back 10 points and I am happy. On the other hand, I am also displeased because we don't have the bike with which to fight against the rest of the riders. I couldn't do any more today; I went at my own pace and tried not to lose sight of the group. I was at the limit on every lap, which is why I am a little disappointed. We had a very good pace in practices and a strong engine which put me right behind the KTMs, but in the race the engine didn't work like it should have —which was a pity.”
Alessandro Tonucci, Team Italia FMI – FTR Honda: 3rd
"It was a fantastic race. I love this track and to win my first podium in the World Championship at Motegi, Honda's track, it gives me great satisfaction. We have worked well with the team since Friday and we have improved steadily, finding the right balance in motion. I want to thank my family, my girlfriend, the FMI (Italian Motorcycle Federation) and the team. They’ve always helped me in difficult times and I dedicate this podium to them. Now I want to do very well in the next three races. I'm in shape and I will give my best. "
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0 - Suter Honda: 4th
“We are very happy with fourth. On the start I found it a little hard to latch onto the lead group. Then I had a little scare which ran me off-track and took me away from Maverick (Viñales). I continued at the same pace as them, until Maverick passed Khairuddin. Then my own battle began: I wanted to finish ahead of him. It was a shame that the three riders crashed, but it also cuts the gap to (Romano) Fenati in the battle for Rookie Of The Year.”
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix
Round 15: Japan

MotoGP
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Alvaro BAUTISTA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5 Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
7 Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)
8 Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
9 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA (Yamaha YSP Racing Team)
10 Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)
11 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
12 Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
13 Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
14 James ELLISON (Paul Bird Motorsport)
15 Michele PIRRO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Moto2
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol)
2 Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti Movil HP 40)
3 Esteve RABAT (Tuenti Movil HP 40)
4 Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
5 Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)
6 Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
8 Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)
9 Axel PONS (Tuenti Movil HP 40)
10 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
11 Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)
12 Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)
13 Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
14 Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 Racing)
15 Mike DI MEGLIO (Kiefer Racing)
Moto3
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Maverick VINALES (Blusens Avintia)
3 Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)
4 Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)
6 Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
8 Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)
9 Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)
10 Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)
11 Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
12 Niccolo` ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
13 Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)
14 Alex MARQUEZ (Ambrogio Next Racing)
15 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)

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