Motegi : Ducati - Preview
The Ducati Marlboro Team comes to Japan this week aiming to get back on the podium after fickle weather thwarted its chances of success in Australia last Sunday. Riders Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau were both fast enough to make the top three
at Phillip Island and they come to Motegi in upbeat mood, confident that they will have an excellent bike and tyre package for the Japanese track.
Last year at Motegi Capirossi took the ‘triple crown' - pole position, race victory and lap record - an unforgettable performance at the Japanese motorcycle industry's home race. And both the team's riders are on fine form at the moment, Capirossi taking a win and a second place at the two races preceding the Australian round, while Gibernau led at Phillip Island to prove that he is fully up to speed following a second round of surgery on the left collarbone he broke back in June.
Loris Capirossi (5th overall, 180 points)
"I am really looking forward to riding another proper race because I hate races like last weekend's, when the weather decides everything. Last year's Motegi victory is a very special memory for us. For Ducati to win a MotoGP race in the home of the Japanese bike factories was incredible, a really amazing achievement for everyone involved in this project. Looking back at last year, Motegi was one of our easier races because our bike and tyres worked so well there."
"You also need a lot of horsepower for acceleration from the many slow corners, and the Ducati engine has always been very strong. This time we will do our best to win again, but we will wait and see. Same for the championship, we will have to see what happens. Motegi is also Bridgestone's home race, so we want to give them another great result.
Their tyres work so well there, the lean angles you get are amazing. Bridgestones also work for my style."
Sete Gibernau (12th overall, 82 points)
"I can't wait to get to Motegi because I need a victory and I feel like we are getting close to achieving that. The team is working well and Bridgestone is giving us great tyres. After last weekend I'm looking for payback even though I have never really liked Motegi. I'll just have to see if Loris can help me out because he's very fast there. Ducati and Bridgestone also perform really well there, so I hope this will be the year that the circuit changes for me. I find it hard to get into a rhythm at Motegi, I find the track boring, and I need to enjoy my riding. The layout is very stop- and-go, so I can never use the front tyre the way I want to use it. Hopefully Ducati and Bridgestone will help me out, help me find some pace. In fact I have done some pretty good races there, fighting for the podium once, but I have yet to click a result which would change the place for me."
Livio Suppo (Ducati MotoGP project manager)
"It's good to race again immediately after such a strange race. We could have had both riders on the podium at Phillip Island so it's good to move on from that. We were strong in the wet and in the dry but the strange weather spoiled our day. We go to Motegi confident that we can be very fast again. It is a special event and for us to win there is a very special feeling! Japan is a very important market for Ducati, so we want to do well for all the Ducatisti."
THE TRACK – Twin Ring Motegi is stop-and-go in character with few high-speed corners. The track features plenty of slow turns linked by medium-length straights which puts the emphasis on braking and acceleration performance.
Motegi hosted its inaugural Grand Prix, the Japanese GP, in 1999. From 2000 to 2003 the venue hosted the Pacific GP while the country's older Suzuka track ran the Japanese GP until it was declared too dangerous. Twin Ring Motegi is so called because it features both a Grand Prix track and an Indy oval. Constructed by Honda in 1998 to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, the venue is located in the hills to the north west of Tokyo, between the cities of Mito and Utsonomiya. Motegi's construction entailed a massive civil engineering project that included the razing of seven hills and the filling of two valleys.