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Japanese Grand Prix - Preview.

It is testament to the quality of Valentino Rossi's riding this season that he comes to the latest round of MotoGP at Motegi in a very good position to secure his sixth world title, four races from its conclusion.

Victory at Indianapolis raises Rossi's advantage over Casey Stoner to 87 points and with only 100 points remaining this season, few would want to bet against the Italian from completing his endeavour in Japan.

So what exactly is required of Rossi this weekend? Perhaps the result he will be aiming for is a podium as third place will be enough for the title, regardless of what Stoner does. Failing that, should Stoner finish second, Rossi needs eighth or better, falling to 12th or 15th if the Ducati rider can manage no better than third or fourth.

The odds are certainly in Rossi's favour, not least because he has finished off the podium just twice in 14 races this season. Furthermore, Rossi has won six podiums at Motegi alone, while Stoner has had none.

Of course, it won't have escaped Stoner's notice that he could lose his crown at the very circuit he won it last season, but he will certainly be up against it this weekend. Admitting to struggling with his hand injury in the United States, the twists and turns of Motegi are unlikely to help much either.

If anything, he may spend the weekend keeping a watching brief on Dani Pedrosa, who comes to Honda's home circuit (they built it to host IndyCar races) desperate for a good result. Having made his Bridgestone-shod pneumatic-valve Honda debut at Indianapolis, the only way is up for the Spaniard and if HRC are going to pull out all the stops to win a race in a season, it will be here.

He too though is coming under increasing pressure in the overall standings from Jorge Lorenzo, who appears to have ridden out the storm of his injury-riddled mid-season, with a pair of good results at Misano and Indianapolis. Although he remains a fair 37 points adrift of countryman Pedrosa in the standings, should the Honda man continue to take time to adapt to his new machine, it could spur Lorenzo on to catch him.

Andrea Dovizioso was another rider to star at Indianapolis after leading early on and while he has lost ground to Lorenzo in the battle for fourth place overall, he still strengthened his position of fifth in the standings. With Honda rumoured to be confirming the Italian to their 2009 rider line-up this weekend, the bonus of having pressure off could help both him and the JiR Team Scot outfit to great things.

Beyond the top five, good performances are also expected from elsewhere in the field, not least from Loris Capirossi, winner at Motegi for the last three seasons.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Start, Japanese MotoGP 2007
Rossi at 2016 Monza Rally Show (Monster)
Marquez at FIM Gala
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith crash, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Smith, Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sam Lowes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sam Lowes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Redding, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Pirro, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Petrucci, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Petrucci, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016

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farmer giles

September 25, 2008 1:42 AM

Am I the only one who thinks one tyre manufacturer is a bad thing? If this had been introduced 2 years ago then we would have Michelins not Bridgestones. Where is the incentive for the selected manufacturer to innovate and strive for advances in grip? Isn`t Moto GP supposed to be about developement? Michelin could have got away with producing the same old rubbish year after year and no-one would have been the wiser without a competitor to keep them honest.

papi - Unregistered

September 24, 2008 3:47 PM

I heard it is a done deal and an official announcement is imminent (it was mentioned by the guest on the WSBK coverage on eurosport, sorry I can't think of his name). I think a contol tyre is a good thing. I am sure we all care more about good, close, fair racing than what tyres the riders are on. Too many races have been spoilt (in a "what might have been" way) in recent years because a few riders cannot compete simply because the tyres were not up to it. Lets face it, there are not enough bikes out there now and to have them split into two groups, many seconds apart, because one tyre manufacturer cannot produce the goods is not a good thing.



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