Japanese GP: Gresini Racing preview

The annual visit to the Twin Ring Motegi, Honda's home circuit, is always one of the most important dates on the calendar for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini thanks to the excellent relationship they have maintained with the factory since 1997. This...

The annual visit to the Twin Ring Motegi, Honda's home circuit, is always one of the most important dates on the calendar for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini thanks to the excellent relationship they have maintained with the factory since 1997. This year both Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli will be paying a visit to Honda Racing Corporation and the famous Honda Aoyama Building in Tokyo before heading to Motegi. It is a key opportunity for them to meet the Japanese fans and to reinforce the team's bond with Honda, the most important motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Both Melandri and Simoncelli like the circuit and they are extra keen for this race to be the one where they finally achieve the results they have only been denied by bad luck this season. This is the first of five races in seven weekends that bring the curtain down on a year they both want to finish in the best possible way. Melandri's goal is to sign off from the team and the MotoGP World Championship in style before heading for pastures new in World Superbike. Simoncelli, meanwhile, is looking for a result to confirm the progress he has made over the course of the season. Both riders have good memories from past races at this circuit, with Melandri having stood on the podium in MotoGP and Simoncelli taking the 250cc win in 2008 and leading last year until suffering a mechanical problem. The biggest question mark is over the weather, with a high chance of rain here at this time of year, although that is not a major worry for the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini pair, who both ride well in wet conditions.

Marco Simoncelli "I was fairly happy after the race at Aragon although we needed to have a look at how and where I can improve my performance in the final stages of the race, when the tyres are worn. My rivals managed to keep up their pace in the same conditions but my speed dropped off noticeably and I couldn't stay with them. We have to improve the set up but we can use the one we found at Aragon as a base. Now we go to Motegi, a circuit I always quite liked on the 250. I won in Japan in 2008 and I was forced to retire from the race when I was leading last year but it is a circuit where I have always been fast and I hope that proves to be the case again in MotoGP. I'm feeling positive so let's see!"

Marco Melandri "Following our disappointment at Aragon we go into the next run of races looking to give our best, even though we know it will be tough. Motegi is the first of three races in a row outside of Europe and it is a place where the weather is always uncertain so we just hope we get chance to do a good job in practice and prepare as well as possible for the race. Unfortunately I'm not feeling too optimistic about the trip; I like the track despite the fact it is not very technical but for me it is going to be a tough race because you need a bike that is stable under braking and that is where we are having the most problems at the moment. We believe in miracles!"

Fausto Gresini "The Japanese round is always an important one for us and we always want to do our best to achieve good results at the home of Honda. In the last race at Aragon Simoncelli showed positive signs so we go to Aragon looking to take another step forward and finally come away with the result his performances have deserved. He continues to pick up experience and at the moment he is just lacking something in the final part of the race when his rivals are able to maintain their pace but I think he can do that in Japan. For Melandri we just have to hope that the circuit, which he likes, inspires him to build towards a positive weekend from Friday. It hasn't been an easy season for him because he has never managed to find a good feeling with the bike and when he did find it he had big crashes at Silverstone and then Assen. In this final part of an intense season he still has the chance to score some good results and take some good memories with him to Superbikes. "

-source: gresini racing

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Marco Simoncelli