Grand Prix of Japan - Loris Capirossi repeats victory at Motegi2006-09-24 09:34
Loris Capirossi repeated his 2005 victory at Twin Ring Motegi in the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan today, doing so in a similar fashion to his runaway win in the Czech Republic a month ago. The Ducati rider, starting from pole, was only troubled in the early stages by Marco Melandri, but broke free and never looked back en route to a third win of 2006.
Unlike most of the races so far this season it was hardly a classic, but the Japanese race was extremely tense and added further excitement to the battle for the world title, as Valentino Rossi took second place and cut the gap between himself and Nicky Hayden to 12 points with the American finishing off the podium once more. An all-Italian podium was completed by Marco Melandri, who gave Honda the constructor's title at their home circuit and himself moved up to a definitive third position in the classification having started the race level on points with Dani Pedrosa.
Sete Gibernau took another fourth spot, holding off a last lap challenge from Shinya Nakano that saw the local hero crash out of the race and allowed Hayden to move up a place to fifth, preventing his lead in the standings being cut even further.
Toni Elias rounded off the top six with one of his finest rides of the season, the Spaniard having made it hard for Hayden to pass him early on. Dani Pedrosa, who never really took to the circuit this weekend, came in seventh after having dropped right down the order on the first lap, finishing ahead of Colin Edwards. Kenny Roberts and Makoto Tamada, the highest placing home rider, rounded off the first ten across the line.
Aside from Nakano's late crash, there were also incidents for Jose Luis Cardoso, Casey Stoner and Randy de Puniet, without serious consequences for either rider, whilst John Hopkins ran off track before recovering impressively to finish 12th.
Despite early predictions of a typhoon approaching the remote Japanese track, the crowd were treated to glorious sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky.
Hiroshi Aoyama was the crowd-pleasing victor of the 250cc A-Style Grand Prix of Japan this afternoon, edging out Alex de Angelis at his home race. Meanwhile in a tense duel behind the lead pair, Jorge Lorenzo extended his lead over Andrea Dovizioso in the championship by three points to 27, after relegating the Italian to a second consecutive fourth place when he passed with just over three laps to go.
After de Angelis took the holeshot with a fantastic reflex start, a four-rider pack developed as the San Marino rider duked it out with Aoyama, Yuki Takahashi and Dovizioso. Takahashi would prove pivotal to the race, as a crash at the midway point directly in front of Dovizioso slowed the Italian down, allowing him to be caught by the previously off-pace Lorenzo.
Roberto Locatelli, who also had one of his trademark shotgun starts, took fifth, ahead of Shuhei Aoyama, Hector Barbera and wild card rider Ryuji Yokoe. Marco Simoncelli and Ratthapark Wilairot completed the top ten.
Defeated by Alvaro Bautista in the World Championship last weekend, Mika Kallio claimed a modicum of revenge over his rival with a last gasp overtaking manoeuvre at Motegi. The KTM rider and the Spaniard were battling amongst themselves in familiar scenes from this season, and Kallio was able to make his final pass stick and extend his lead just enough to take the chequered flag first.
Kallio's fellow KTM rider Julian Simon also managed to stave off a Master MVA Aspar team attack, as he took a podium spot ahead of Mattia Pasini. Lukas Pesek and Hector Faubel completed the top six, ahead of highest finishing local rider Tomoyoshi Koyama and the spectacular Bradley Smith. The Briton took a fantastic eighth, his best performance of the season and the highest finishing Honda rider in 125cc today in his debut ride at Motegi.
After Sergio Gadea crashed out on the final lap, Nico Terol managed to sneak into the top ten behind Gabor Talmacsi.
Winner - Loris Capirossi - Ducati
"It was an amazing race, and we started to find a good setting over the weekend which stood us in good stead. Bridgestone brought in some new tyres which worked well, and then this morning I watched the pace in the warmup and saw how fast everyone was going. I took off at the start, but I know that Marco always follows closely and I knew I had to break away. After that I saw Valentino closing the gap, so I had to give another push and take me to safety. This is the best of the two wins that I've had in Japan."
2nd position - Valentino Rossi - Yamaha
"These 20 points are so important for the championship, but they are even more important at this track. It's not my favourite but we did a great job right from the beginning. This morning we actually had a problem, but together with the team and Michelin we worked on it and found a solution. I followed Loris and Marco at the start, two riders who go very fast, but Loris broke away after he saw me on his tail."
3rd position - Marco Melandri - Honda
"It was a very good start. I tried to overtake Loris on the first lap in first lap, because I wasn't sure if I could follow him. I never rode at such pace in practice, so I wasn't ready to do so in the race. I had some rear slide, especially on left, when chasing Loris. When I lost a second I tried to catch him again, and then I lost the front end. The same thing happened when I was after Valentino, so I said "okay, twice is enough times for me to be lucky, I don't want to use up my good fortune"."
Source: Dorna Communications
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