Jorge Lorenzo equals five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan's record of 54 victories in his Grand Prix career.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo dominated at the Twin Ring Motegi for the second year in a row, taking a perfect victory at the Grand Prix of Japan. Teammate Valentino Rossi also shone, making it a double podium for Yamaha with a strong third place.
Lorenzo had a good start to the 24 lap race when he launched off the second row of the grid to arrive at the first corner in third place. He soon overtook Andrea Dovizioso to follow teammate Rossi, who snatched the holeshot into turn one from a second place start position on the grid. Rossi worked to build a gap of just over 0.404 seconds over the first two laps, but Lorenzo was quick to arrive at the back of the Doctor’s YZR-M1.
The good thing about this year was that the four top riders were very similar.
Feeling the heat from Dovizioso and Marc Marquez behind him, Lorenzo took the lead from his teammate on the fourth lap and cleared off at the front to set a new lap record of 1’45.350 four laps later. Lorenzo was then able to create a gap of nearly 2.7 seconds to take the flag and score his second consecutive Motegi race victory.
This result means Lorenzo equals five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan's record of 54 victories in his Grand Prix career, moving him up in the all-time winners list to a joint fifth place.
Teammate Rossi’s Motegi race was focused on fighting hard to fend off Marquez. On lap 10 Marquez made a first attempt in passing the nine-time World Champion, but Rossi refused to give up his position, immediately retaking second place in the last corner. He was unable to answer the next pass by Marquez before the hairpin, but was determined not to let his rival out of his sight, hoping for another opportunity to keep the championship open for the next race. While the threat came from behind as Dani Pedrosa started to close down the gap, Rossi pushed to the limit and was able to hold on to third place over the line.
Todays’ 25-point gain sees Lorenzo remain in fourth position in the championship standings, increasing his championship points total to 227. This leaves him just three points behind Rossi, who rises to second place with 230 championship points.
Jorge Lorenzo (1st / 42'21.259 / 24 laps): It’s unbelievable! It has been a very difficult year but Yamaha has been improving the bike little by little and we’re getting better every race. In Aragón, because of the 'flag to flag' we were able to win. We were lucky under the circumstances and I also improved in the race compared to the practice. Here we expected to get more and more strong for the race and be able to fight for the win but we didn’t expect to lead by this much and have a gap of 2.7 seconds in the middle of the race. I’m very happy to win the race for the second time in a row.
We are happy for Marc that he won the title. This year he was the best in general, so we want to say congratulations. The good thing about this year was that the four top riders were very similar. We had very strong races that were consistent and equal, so for the next races I expect a lot of fights. We are very close to the second position and that’s our goal. We are going to try.”
Valentino Rossi (3rd / +2.602 / 24 laps): “From one side I’m very satisfied because the race had a high level. We had a high race pace and were braking the lap record. We rode like this from the beginning to the end and I felt good with the bike. From the other side it’s a shame that I was unable to keep the championship open for another week. I tried to get back on Marc, but unfortunately he had something more than me, so he arrived in front of me. I have to say that he deserves this championship. He worked well and was the stronger man this year. Congratulations to him.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director: “It’s very special to again come here to our rival’s home and take a second consecutive victory. Jorge rode a perfect race again and showed his skills in managing from the front. Vale was also very strong and definitely didn't make it easy for Marc, so deserved his podium finish. I’m satisfied with the weekend, the team worked hard from the first day and we have shown we can be competitive in all situations. We are now going to two more tracks where we know we can be strong so we look forward to fighting to continue this winning streak for the remainder of the season. Congratulations to Marc for his title victory, he rode an impressive season.”
Tech3 duo complete Motegi challenge inside the top ten
Pol Espargaro delivered a solid performance at Yamaha’s home grand prix to cross the finish line in eighth position at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in today’s round 15 event of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. The reigning Moto2 World Champion who won his title in Japan last year, leapt off the line from seventh on the grid to retain his grid position by the close of the first lap. He was then pushed back a place but locked into a firm race pace to defend his standing of eighth, a position he proceeded to hold at half race distance.
However, the premier class rookie firmly set seventh place in his sights and began consistently inching closer to Stefan Bradl. On the last lap, Espargaro had impressively reduced the gap to close right in on the rider but despite an audacious late charge and an attempt to overtake, he wasn’t able to pass.
It goes without saying that eighth isn't the position where I want to be and I can't hide my disappointment.
The seamless performance by the 23 year old Spaniard, who was attending his first race in Japan aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, boosts his championship point score to 116 with only one point separating him from sixth position with three rounds remaining.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith rode a firm and tireless race to clinch ninth position at the stop and go Twin Ring Motegi track. The young British rider began his challenge from tenth on the grid and ascended up one place by the close of the first lap as he looked to make further ground in the field. He then set into a competitive rhythm as he stayed with his team mate just in front of him in eighth. By the mid point of the 24 lap dash in Japan, Smith remained in this position and battled onwards as the laps proceeded to count down at the hard braking 4801 meter circuit.
The 23 year old set his fastest lap on the 15th as he continued to push thoroughly right to the finish line which he crossed in ninth at Yamaha’s home Grand prix. This result leaves the British star fully confident for the two remaining flyaway races where he intends to clinch further point scoring finishes to boost his standings in the World Championship.
Pol Espargaro (8th / +19.815 / 24 laps): "It goes without saying that eighth isn't the position where I want to be and I can't hide my disappointment. It was a tough race today and I just never felt comfortable and couldn't go any faster. My start was an ok one and I did recover a position initially, but I struggled a lot in stopping the bike on full fuel load. From the middle of the race on, I regained some tenths every lap to close the gap on Bradl who was in front of me but unfortunately I caught him too late and couldn't find a way through.
At each corner I lost a lot in acceleration so I tried to make it up whilst braking at every turn, but it just wasn't enough. I guess this is all part of my learning experience and we have to analyse our data now to see where we can improve for the next round in Phillip Island in just a couple of days."
Bradley Smith (9th / +23.575 / 24 laps): "Although ninth position is nothing to be hugely excited about, there are still a lot of positives to take from today’s race. In terms of the distance back from the leader, I would have been inside the twenty second bracket with Pol, had I not made a small mistake with three laps to go. However, my finish today was still one of the closest for me this season, which is a good step forward. I made this mistake on the first corner which unfortunately caused me to miss out on potentially fighting with Pol and Bradl, so I completed the race in ninth.
This position seems to be where we are at right now or at least for this race and I extracted the most from myself and my motorcycle here in Motegi. However, in Philip Island I am sure that we can have a better result as it is a track that I really enjoyed last year on the Yamaha, which performed well. So, I hope to take the consistency and the positives from here and turn it into a stronger result in Australia next week."
Espargaro, first Open bike at Motegi
The Japanese GP saw the NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro and his Forward Yamaha as first Open bike. On the technical and demanding Twin Ring Motegi, the Spaniard finished in 11th position and on top of the Open bike category.
Espargaro made a good start but after some laps he couldn’t push too hard in order to manage the brakes, that work really hard on this “stop and go” track. He lost some positions and eventually crossed the finish line 11th. With the five points earned today, Aleix maintains the sixth position in the World Championship.
It was a difficult race for his team mate Alex De Angelis who finished in 17th position. The rider from San Marino, who was taking the start from the 20th spot on the grid, suffered some technical and electronics problems that spoiled his race.
Aleix Espargaro (11th / +40.668 / 24 laps): “It was a really difficult race. I made a good start but in the first laps I started to struggle with the brakes that work hard on this “stop and go” track. I lost some positions and then it was impossible to reduce the gap from the front guys. I pushed hard and I crossed the finish line as first open. I look forward to race in Australia next week, one my favourite racetracks in the MotoGP calendar. My congratulations to Marc Marquez for clinching his second MotoGP title. He has made a great season and he deserved it well.”
Alex De Angelis (17th / +1'16.547/ 24 laps): “Motegi is a very technical and demanding track and today I struggled a lot. I was confident for the race but since the first laps I had some technical and electronics issues and I couldn’t fight with the other open bikes as I would have wanted.”
Strong race for "YAMALUBE Racing Team with YSP" team
Regular wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga rode a strong race at the Grand Prix of Japan, round 15 of the 2014 FIM MotoGP World Championship. His 12th position finish at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit gives him four championship points, moving him up to 24th place in the championship standings in front of regular riders Hector Barbera and Micheal Laverty and Nicky Hayden’s former replacement rider Leon Camier.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga (12th / +51.027 / 24 laps): “The start went well for me, but the competition for position going into the first turn was so intense that I decided it was too risky to try to cut in aggressively. That caused me to be passed right away, so I decided to work steadily to get my position back after that. I am very glad that I was able to realize my initial goal of finishing in the points (in the top 12), and throughout the race week I was able to complete my schedule of test work successfully. Also, as a development rider [for the M1], I was very glad to see Jorge win the race and Valentino finish 3rd. That’s because their success gives me confidence as well. I feel that this was a very satisfying race week in which I was able to give 100%, both as a development rider and as a racer in my own right.”
|11||Aleix Espagaro||Forward Yamaha||ESP||0'40.668|
|17||Alex De Angelis||Yamaha||SMR||1'16.547|