ROUND 15 : 13th to 15th of October, 2000

The penultimate round of the 2000 Grand Prix season brings the Repsol YPF Honda team back to Japan for the second time this year. Motegi was a newcomer to the Grand Prix calendar last year. The state-of-the-art circuit is owned by the Honda Motor Co, so even though this year's 500cc championship has now been decided with Suzuki's Kenny Roberts taking the title last week in Brazil, the Motegi race is very important for the Repsol YPF Honda team. 1999 world champion Alex Crivillé intends to use this race to continue development of his Repsol YPF Honda NSR 500. "Motegi will be another chance for us to work on the 16.5 rear tyre," Crivillé explains. "We've lagged behind with this type of tyre but if we find the right type of set-up for it and I'm able to build up my confidence of using the tyre, I'm sure we can run a good race on Sunday. I don't give up easily and the way I see it, we still have two races left before the end of the season to get some good results. Last year, it rained in Motegi so we haven't got that much data to go on but I do like the circuit and I enjoyed riding the bike there. It's a twisty track and it's smaller and slower than Suzuka."

Tadayuki Okada is more than eager to get a good result at Motegi. For the second time this year, Okada will be racing on home soil. Last time, in Suzuka, he brought the Repsol YPF Honda team their first podium of the year and now Okada is looking for an even better result. "We had a problem with our front suspension in Brazil and that spoilt my race," says the Japanese ace, who stormed to the front of the pack the instant the lights turned green in Rio but was unable to hold first place. "We really need to find a cure for this because I know it won't be possible for me to get the result I want with the bike handling the way it was in Rio."

Sete Gibernau might have to set his sights slightly lower than his two team-mates because for him, Motegi will almost be a brand new track. "I was 5th in the rain last year at Motegi, but that was on the Repsol Honda twin," Gibernau remembers. "I've never ridden the V4 there so I'll be starting from scratch. But I'm confident and optimistic. We've improved a lot over the last few races and if luck goes our way, I think we have a good chance of fighting for the win. I have to admit that Motegi isn't one of my favourite tracks ­ it's too slow and technical ­ but in the end it's just another race track."

<pre> STARTING GRID IN 1999 1. K. Roberts 1'50.826 2. M. Doohan 1'51.153 3. C. Checa 1'51.332 4. J.Kocinski 1'51.353 5. M. Biaggi 1'51.439 6. A. Barros 1'51.636 7. R. Laconi 1'51.646 8. T. Okada 1'51.785 9. A. Crivillé 1'51.890 10. N. Abe 1'52.105 11. N. Aoki 1'52.243 12. Y. Kagayama 1'52.244 13. S. Itoh 1'52.263 14. S. Gibernau 1'52.391 15. J. Borja 1'52.509 16. T. Harada 1'53.215 17. JL. Cardoso 1'53.220 18. H. Aoki 1'53.587 19. J. Vd. Goorbergh 1'53.608 20. JM. Bayle 1'53.615

Pole position in 1999 :         K. Roberts              1'50.826
Fastest lap in 1999 :           M. Doohan               2'02.889
Circuit Record Lap :            New circuit

RACE IN 1999 1 K. Roberts 51'54.386 2 M. Doohan 51'58.227 3 N. Abe 52'16.144 4 A. Crivillé 52'17.996 5 S. Gibernau 52'18.370 6 C. Checa 52'31.866 7 S. Itoh 52'44.968 8 A. Barros 52'46.394 9 M. Biaggi 52'47.910 10 N. Aoki 52'59.454 11 J. Borja 53'02.700 12 Y. Kagayama 53'07.685 13 N. Numata 53'13.631 14 JL. Cardoso 53'21.384 15 T. Okada 53'24.611

Not Classified J. Kocinski 31'54.327 H. Aoki 27'36.852

Length: 4.801 metres Race distance : 120.025 kms.

World Championship Standings after Rio Pos Rider Points 1 K. Roberts 224 2 V. Rossi 173 3 G. McCoy 150 4 C. Checa 142 5 A. Barros 141 6 M. Biaggi 129 7 N. Abe 126 8 L. Capirossi 126 9 A. Crivillé 112 10 N. Aoki 103 11 R. Laconi 96 12 T. Okada 94 13 J. vd. Goorbergh 80 14 S. Gibernau 68 15 J. McWilliams 66 16 T. Harada 33