Yamaha Factory Racing has arrived in Japan for the final overseas race of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit.
Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both spent today engaged in special but different activities.
Defending world champion Lorenzo joined the Spanish MotoGP riders in attending the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo. The riders gathered to celebrate the fourth centenary of the Keicho Embassy, the first Japanese diplomatic mission to Spain. Hasekura Tsunenaga crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1613, becoming the first Japanese ambassador in Europe and marking the beginning of 400 years of Spanish-Japanese relations.
Rossi took the opportunity of being in Yamaha’s home country to spend this afternoon reunited with an old friend at Yamaha’s headquarters in Iwata. He took part in a live talk show with Masao Furusawa in front of 400 guests at Communications Plaza, Yamaha’s corporate museum.
The riders will now move to Motegi to prepare for the final of the overseas triple-header at Twin Ring Motegi this weekend. After the dramatic results of last weekend’s Phillip Island race left Lorenzo trailing the championship lead by 18 points, the defending champion will be going all out for victory this Sunday.
One of the stars of the final round of the 2012 MotoGP Championship, Yamaha development rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga will be making a wildcard appearance at the Japanese Grand Prix on a YZR-M1 as part of Yamaha's development squad. Nakasuga made history by finishing second in the Valencia Grand Prix last year. He is a three-time All-Japan Road Race Champion, winning in 2008,2009 and 2012 and is currently sitting in third position in the national championship.
“It was a breath of fresh air to achieve such a great victory in Australia, but with two races still remaining it is difficult to say what’s going on. Now we concentrate on Japan, the last race of this exciting and hard triple of grand prix. We have cut a bit off the distance to our main rival so I cannot wait for the next race at Motegi. I always look forward to riding at the Twin Ring. Japan is a lovely country where I feel pretty comfortable and I can feel a huge support from the fans. Motegi is also a special track for me. I won there in 2009, just my second victory in the MotoGP category. I have a lot of good memories from this circuit and I hope we can be more competitive than in the recent years. Motegi is a different track in terms of riding. It is one of the few circuits denominated a ‘stop and go’ track so it is important to have a good braking and also a great acceleration. In this subject we improved a lot compared to last year and even more with the new seamless gearbox so hopefully we will be stronger than in 2012. We have nothing to lose so we can risk a bit more than last year.”
“Motegi is a place I like a lot, it is a very good track. We will see our potential on Friday morning and of course we will give 100% to do a good performance. I was also very happy to come back to Yamaha's headquarters in Iwata and to see many "old" friends. The support is always fantastic so it is a real pleasure to be here again.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The Japanese MotoGP race is coming up and I’m pretty curious to see how our package works here in Motegi because of course the championship is back open after the thrilling Sunday at Phillip Island. Motegi is a track Jorge likes and hopefully the weather is stable despite the initial forecast announcing a typhoon coming. Anyway let’s see what is going on and try to do our best to fight again for the victory.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"We go now to the last of the three races in a row. Up to this time we did a great job and the Japanese GP will be crucial for the championship. In Australia, Jorge was able to win a very important race and Valentino rose again on the podium. What happened to Marquez allows us to believe even more in this season finale. The riders are ready to give their best, as we all are. The Motegi circuit is very nice, both our riders like it a lot. The weather is uncertain but we will do our best in any condition!”
"Its' a fantastic feeling to being able to tell the supportive fans that I will be racing again this year at whats known as the top stage at the Japan GP. Getting fired up because of the Japan GP being on my own home soil is obviously natural, but while aiming for podium prizes, it is more for me about bringing home proper data as a test rider. In fact, this is actually my number one aim. Having said that, I would like to ask everyone to give us their best support as we look forward to sharing the racing thrills with all the people on the circuit."