Casey Stoner made it two in a row after leading all 24 laps of the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi, Round 14 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
The Australian was stalked throughout the entire race by Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, but Stoner continually pulled away aboard his Ducati Team GP10. By the end of the race, Stoner won by 3.868 of a second over Dovi’s RC212V.
Joining the two on the podium was Fiat Yamaha M1 rider Valentino Rossi. The Nine-Time World Champion was engaged in a great battle with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo throughout the race. The two bumped a few times, and Rossi would beat him to the finish line.
Here’s what the riders were saying after Sunday’s MotoGP event in Motegi:
Casey Stoner says: “The win feels great. I could have never imagined when I began my first season in Grand Prix at sixteen years of age that I would reach this level and all I can say is that it is an honor to be alongside such great names. I have taken all my MotoGP wins with Ducati and it is down to their fantastic support, hard work and above all their belief in me that this has been possible.”
“Once again we put in maximum effort all weekend here to find some stability in the hard braking and acceleration zones at this circuit, which has been a massive challenge for us. We tried something in warm-up this morning that didn’t quite work so we took a bit of a lucky dip for the race and it paid off. Once I got out in front I knew we had a chance to win but it wasn’t without fighting for it because Andrea (Dovizioso) rode a great race to push me all the way to the last lap. It’s a big win for me, especially because it’s my first at this circuit and that means a lot.”
Nicky Hayden says: ”We haven’t had the best of weekends so we made a few more changes to the bike going into the race than we normally would and actually it felt pretty good from the moment the lights went out. Maybe I got a little too excited because I made a mistake into turn five on the second lap, got in there too hot and a few of us ran pretty deep. Spies went off in front of me and I followed him into the gravel. We touched coming back onto the track and then there was a big curb that I had to avoid so I lost a lot of time there.”
“Once I got into my rhythm the pace wasn’t too bad and I passed a few guys but each pass took me longer than I would have liked because I didn’t have much confidence on the brakes. By the end I could see ninth place and maybe with a couple of extra laps I could have made it but it wasn’t to be today. I have to apologize to the team because I crashed on Friday which got us behind and even though they worked hard all weekend we haven’t found the traction I needed to be competitive today. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long to put it behind us in Malaysia.”
Andrea Dovizioso says: “I pushed at 100 percent for the whole race and the lap times of Casey and me were pretty impressive and very consistent. At the beginning, Casey was really fast when the tires weren’t fully up to temperature and at that moment I knew it was going to be a hard fight with him. I don’t know what Casey did to up his pace today but his speed was amazing.”
“There were two or three places on that lap where he was faster than me every time, but I saw that he was also on the limit and so I kept pushing. It was hard to maintain the pace on the tire in the last few laps and I nearly had a big highside three laps from the end – at that moment I knew I couldn’t win the race.
“It was a little bit disappointing because I wanted the win and I thought it was possible today, but I’m really happy to be back on the podium again. Following Casey I learned a lot about the strategy for tuning the electronics settings for the final part of the race when the tire performance is dropping off, so this is really positive for the future. I want to say thank you to the team because I’m in this position thanks to their hard work. And also thanks to HRC – I’m really glad to have a good result at Honda’s home race.”
Valentino Rossi says: “What a great race! Of course I would have preferred to be battling for the win but anyway it was a great feeling, a real show and I want to congratulate Jorge because he was very strong and didn’t give up! Unfortunately I lost time at the start when he passed me so Stoner and Dovizioso got away, and by the time I passed him again they were too far ahead.”
“At the end I was tired and my tire was sliding a lot, it was a bit softer than I would have liked, so I knew I was going to be in trouble but I wanted the podium so much. Jorge came back at me and we had a great battle, proper racing – I think everyone watching enjoyed it. It’s been a great weekend because we expected it to be difficult but in fact we’ve been strong in every session and worked very well on our bike. The shoulder is okay at the moment so let’s go to Malaysia and see if we can continue like this, or better!”
Jorge Lorenzo says: “This was a big battle between Valentino and I, two warriors with the killer instinct. I have to say that at some points I do not think he was completely fair, we were both on the limit but some of his moves were maybe a bit too much and he touched me and pushed me wide when I don’t think it was right.”
“We are teammates, I am fighting for the Riders’ Championship but we are both fighting for the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship as well and we have to remember this. I am disappointed to miss the podium of course because I wanted one at Yamaha’s home, but this is racing. We chose to ride with the old engine to be safe and then I wasn’t getting the best feeling from the front tire, so things weren’t perfect for me, but anyway we took some good points. We are very close to getting our dream and I really hope we can do it next weekend in Sepang.”
Colin Edwards says: “In terms of the result I’m really happy because it is my first top six finish of the year and I think it was deserved after all the hard work the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and me have been putting in to improve our results. And it is always good to get a result in Japan with the race being so important for Yamaha and the Tech 3 Team.”
“I rode good all weekend and was only four-tenths off pole, but what I’m a little disappointed about is that I’m 27 seconds behind the winner. That’s a big chunk of time and I’m riding as hard as I can. I feel comfortable and I feel good on the bike now we improved the setting but I guess we just have to shoot for being top non-factory rider. It was hard in the first few laps because I didn’t have a lot of feel in the left-side of the rear tire.”
“But once I got confident, Simoncelli passed me but I was happy just to sit behind him and study him, check where I was faster while making sure I wasn’t going to leave the door open for Capirossi. I think my rear tyre had good grip for a little bit longer than Simoncelli’s and I managed to pass him, put my head down for a couple of laps and managed to pull a gap.”
Ben Spies says: “Considering everything that happened this weekend with me not being totally happy with the bike and then running off early on, I’m extremely happy to finish eighth, especially coming from 15th. We made a big change to the bike before the race with the geometry in the front and I ran a rear shock that we hadn’t run all weekend and it was a big step. It was a big gamble but it paid off. The front was a bit better in the turns and we definitely had better traction and it made the bike a bit easier to ride and more confidence inspiring.”
“Going into turn five I think Loris was in front of me and it seemed like he braked really, really early. To avoid hitting him I had to move over and get on the curb and run off track. After my pace in the warm-up I was wondering how I would be able to fight with anybody but I made some passes and I never gave up. I rode as hard as I could and while it wasn’t my best result it was still a really good race. Even coming through the field I was still turning some really fast laps that without the mistake would have given me a chance of running in the top five.”
Aleix Espargarò says: “I’m really disappointed with how things went. It was absolutely the worst weekend of the year, since the first free practice I had handling problems with my bike and unlike other races where I had the possibility to change my pace during the race, in this case I have not been able to fight with my opponents for a better position. I started quite well, maintaining my position, I unfortunately found in front of me some riders who were very slow in the first few laps, this has effectively divided the group into two with a gap of several seconds in the first few laps.”
“I struggled with Aoyama and Barberà to try to gain a better position. Their lap pace, however, was much faster than mine, because I’ve never been able to run under a 1:49. Over the last few laps I was also overtaken by Hayden. This result will help us to react in the best way and try to our best next week in the Malaysian Grand Prix. ”
Mika Kallio says: “This was a weekend and a race to quickly forget, one of the worst races ever. During the warm up we had partially reduced the gap from the other riders, this has gave us a good feeling for the race, but unfortunately it was not like this. Only in one occasion I was able to turn with a lap time less than 1:50. That is not a good thing if your direct rivals are turning two seconds faster than you. We will work hard to close the gap that we have accused today so that we can be as much as possible more close to other riders in the next Grand Prix.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “It was not a good, but also not a bad result! We improved on our position from the last few races, but I had a problem in the first few laps with the rear tire because it was just not getting enough temperature in it, this made it difficult to follow the others riders. After three or four laps I got back into my rhythm and saw that I could keep a similar distance and time to the front group, but the gap was too big and I wasn’t able to catch them.”
“I am happy with the result and the whole team has worked very hard all weekend, but we need to improve on what happened in the first few laps, because in this category those laps are very important. I hope that in Malaysia we can make steps with this and we’ll try to be in the position that I think we should be – which at the moment is in the top-six.”
Randy de Puniet says: “Honestly I did not take a superb start but I was quite aggressive in the first part of the race. Then on lap ten at turn 5 I missed the downshift because of my injured leg which still hurts and went wide in the gravel loosing few places. After that it was not easy for me as I was alone in the race but I am quite satisfied about this result as we still hold the 8th position in the championship.”
“We have been waiting a long time for a good race and I think we made a good jog this week end especially on race trim. This top ten finish is mentally positive for me after the bad period I had after the injury. There’s still a lot to do but now I feel more confident ahead the rest of the season. I want to thank the guys for their good job and2 their support in the last races…. I am looking forward to racing again in Malaysia”.
Loris Capirossi says: “Overall the weekend has been quite positive and we have been in a good position all the time – apart from right at the end of today! I started well and got into a good rhythm behind Marco and Colin, at some points on the track I would lose time on them, but in other places I would make a lot of time on them.”
“Then five or six laps from the end the bike started to slow down a bit. I don’t know what happened, but then it started to go ok again and then with a couple of laps to go it completely stopped. I am very sorry for the whole team, but it seems the luck is just not with me this season – we will still try to finish the season in the best way that we can.”
Hiroshi Aoyama says: “The conditions in the race was a bit cooler today and that was not so good for the tires. I had to wait a couple of laps to warm the tires up and then I could start to overtake the other riders in front of me. On this track you don’t have so many possibilities to pass them. This race was not ideal for me, but at least I could repeat my best result of the season so far. This week I started to understand my bike a bit better and especially as I know this track so well I could learn more about the bike and we improved the set up. Now I am looking forward to Malaysia, which is my favorite track.”
Marco Simoncelli says: “That was a really nice race for me and to be honest after the warm-up I thought I could have done even better and been a little closer to the front guys. I got a bad start though and couldn’t manage it. Anyway, I had a positive race, setting a good pace until the end, when I had a few problems with my forearms and had to back off, losing touch with Colin Edwards. I would have liked to attack him again at the end of the race but I am happy and now the objective is to improve again in the next race.”
Marco Melandri says: “That was terrible – another race just like all the rest. I got a good start but didn’t have any grip. The tires were cold from the first lap and I had a lot less traction than the guys around me. Even when I thought they were up to temperature there was no change and they felt like they were spent. The usual problems with the bike continue and I just can’t get it stopped. When Spies passed me I tried to push and stay with him but I just ran wide. It is a depressing situation and we have been completely forgotten about. Honda aren’t helping and I can’t understand why.”