The following is a preview of the Japanese Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship, from Indianapolis International Speedway (IMS).
In this preview, IMS discusses the TV schedule for the Motegi MotoGP race this Sunday, and reports on what the Americans are saying who are currently competing in MotoGP: Ben Spies, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden. They also preview Kenny Noyes, the American in Moto2.
EVENT: Grand Prix of Japan
WHERE: Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi, Japan. Circuit is 2.983 miles (4.801 km), with 14 turns. Race is 24 laps.
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 3. It is the 14th of 18 events this season.
2009 RACE WINNER: Jorge Lorenzo, by 1.304 seconds over Valentino Rossi
2009 POLE WINNER: Rossi, 1 minute, 48.545 seconds
U.S. TV: MotoGP race, 2-3 a.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 3, SPEED (live). Moto2: 3-4 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Oct. 3, SPEED. 125cc: Noon-1 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, Oct. 5, SPEED (delayed).
U.S. riders Ben Spies (Longview, Texas, Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Houston, Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will compete in the MotoGP race. Spies is sixth in the MotoGP World Championship standings, with Hayden seventh and Edwards 11th.
Kenny Noyes (Borrego Springs, Calif., Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will compete in the Moto2 race. Noyes is 21st in the Moto2 World Championship standings.
Ben Spies (after practice Friday) says: “Being in the top five having never seen this track before is a really good start. This track isn’t super-technical, and it doesn’t really help us much with all the stop-and-go sections that hurt us a little bit on speed. It was a little tricky learning the track because the conditions don’t seem to be what everybody is used to. So it was even trickier for me trying to build up trust in some corners. I used the soft front tire at the start of the session and I wasn’t too keen on it.”
“I came in for the hard tire but the team wanted me to do one more stint on the soft, and on the second lap of that run, I got in deep at Turn 3. I had to let off the brake to gather it back up, but I was trying to keep the bike on the track because I didn’t want to get into the gravel with all the rain we’d had yesterday. As soon as I got to the edge of the track, I lost the front.”
“I was only going really slow, probably like 10ks, but I landed really hard on my left elbow on the curb. It’s not too painful and shouldn’t be a problem for me on the bike. It kind of proved that I didn’t like the soft front tire, but the hard one felt good on the spare bike, and the rest of the session went pretty smooth.”
Nicky Hayden (after practice Friday) says: “The session didn’t start so well. I had a brake problem and had to come in after one lap and just generally struggled to get into a rhythm over my first couple of runs. After that, we made a change, and immediately I felt better and improved my time. Unfortunately, halfway around my next lap I made a mistake in the hairpin and crashed. It was only a little one.”
“I lost the front and then saved it, but my left foot came up and I just tipped off the inside of the bike. It was a bummer because I lost quite a bit of track time, and looking at my ideal lap, I would have been seventh fastest. This track is quite unique and always takes a little bit of work on the set-up so even though things haven’t gone smoothly today I am satisfied that we are close to where we need to be and we have some clear ideas about tomorrow.”
Colin Edwards (after practice Friday) says: “It was a decent start, and I’m reasonably happy because we tried a new setting today to try and help with a wheelie issue that we’ve always seemed to struggle with at this track. You’ve got all this hard acceleration out of low-gear corners, and we’ve always found it difficult to control wheelies here.”
“I remember last year it felt like the whole weekend was wheelie management, so we put a lot of weight on the front-end today and it felt good. We were actually moving forward out of the corner under acceleration, so we might have found something that can help us at a few other tracks. Without having to concentrate so much on stopping the wheelie problem, I can focus on accelerating a bit harder, and that is helping us a lot. I was really close to sixth and not far behind Ben, so hopefully this is the start of a good weekend for me.”
They Said It:
Dani Pedrosa says: “Obviously, this has been a really bad day for us. Another injury to contend with is really not what I needed. I don’t feel as though I deserve it.” – Pedrosa, after suffering a broken collarbone in a practice crash Friday at Twin Ring Motegi
Fast Facts: This event was rescheduled from April after air travel from Europe was disrupted by ash from an erupting volcano in Iceland, forcing the postponement of the original April 25 date … 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa suffered a broken collarbone in a crash during practice Friday, ending his challenge of points leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Pedrosa, who trails Lorenzo by 56 points, will miss this race and probably the Malaysian Grand Prix on Oct. 10 after flying to Spain for surgery … Lorenzo and Pedrosa are the only riders mathematically eligible to win the title … Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has finished on the podium eight times in the premier class at Twin Ring Motegi, with victories in 2001 and 2008.
The Aragon Grand Prix marked the first time in the last 47 MotoGP races that a Yamaha rider didn’t finish on the podium. The last time that occurred before Aragon was the Grand Prix of Valencia in 2007 … American Ben Spies has been the top rookie and non-factory rider at the last five races of this season. This is the first time Spies has raced at Motegi … American Nicky Hayden has just one career podium finish at Motegi, in his rookie season of 2003 … American Colin Edwards has a best finish at Motegi of sixth, in 2005 … Loris Capirossi has been the recent MotoGP ruler of Motegi, winning three consecutive years from 2005-07 while riding for Ducati.
He also has three career premier-class poles at the track … 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP Moto2 winner Toni Elias is eligible to clinch the Moto2 World Championship this weekend … Just 11 points separate the top three riders in the 125cc World Championship, two-time Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Nicolas Terol, Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez, after 12 races this season. It’s the closest margin among the top three since the current scoring system was instituted in 1993.