MotoGP No Spoiler Results – 2015 Motegi MotoGP
Ahead of 2015 Motegi MotoGP, round 15 of 18, four riders had a mathematical chance of securing the title – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, the nine-time World Champion’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone.
But following the Grand Prix of Japan, that number shrunk to just two, the outcome of the race pushing Iannone and Marquez out of the mix.
Lorenzo looked strongest ahead of Sunday’s 24-lap MotoGP Japan, the two-time title holder setting the quickest pace during free practice, and following that up with claiming pole – his fourth of the season. Conditions were nearly perfect during practice and qualifying, allowing Lorenzo to set new records. Conditions were much different Sunday, though, as rain fell at Twin Ring Motegi ahead of the race.
Lorenzo began strong, and would lead until lap 17 when he was passed by the man who rode strongest at Motegi, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Once the Spaniard passed his fellow countryman Lorenzo, he went on to win his first win of 2015 MotoGP – and the 50th of his GP career. The win was Lorenzo’s 27th in the premier class, and the first since Brno in 2014.
The 30-year-old RC213V pilot earned the win by 8.573 seconds ahead of Rossi and 12.127 ahead of Lorenzo. Due to the finishes, Rossi now has an 18-point lead over Lorenzo with three rounds remaining. Due to only 75 points up for grabs, the YZR-M1 pilots are the only ones capable of securing the 2015 MotoGP title.
This also was the ninth double podium for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, which helped them secure the 2015 Rider MotoGP Championship Title at Motegi.
The 36-year-old Rossi put much energy into Sunday’s 2015 Motegi MotoGP: “Physically it wasn’t so bad, but mentally it was very hard to always keep the concentration, because it‘s very easy to make a mistake. At the beginning we had a good pace, but Jorge was stronger than me and was able to create a small advantage.
“After that my pace was good, I stayed with him and tried not to lose more time and used it as a motivation to keep my concentration, but when the track started to dry everything became more difficult. The tire gave up and started spinning a lot on the straight and Dani arrived. It was a difficult situation, because if Dani beat me and not Jorge I would have lost another nine points after Aragón.
“I was able to do three or four very strong laps behind Dani and catch Jorge, who then made a mistake. I took an additional four-point advantage, which was our target, so we are very happy. The track was a lot better when it was fully wet, because the tyres worked well. When it starts to dry up it feels like you are in a boat at sea, the bike moves everywhere. Three or four times when I touched the throttle I felt the front go and said ‘no, no, no!’, so it was difficult, lots of stress.”
Lorenzo also had much stress at 2015 Motegi MotoGP, the 28-year-old two-time MotoGP title holder’s front rain tire wearing quickly near the end of the race due to a dry line developing.
“It was a pity because I think that on the dry I was the fastest and the more consistent rider. Also in the rain I was very fast, but unfortunately the track dried up and my push at the beginning of the race probably made my tire a bit worse than Valentino’s and Dani’s,” Lorenzo says.
“When the track was almost dry, my front tire was destroyed and I couldn’t ride like before. For this race it was important to finish in front of Valentino, but the championship is not over, because I remember in 2013 I was even further from Marquez in the standings and I lost the championship by just four points. Eighteen points is a lot, but if I win all races and another rider finishes between me and Valentino, I can still win the championship.”
Pedrosa has no shot at his earning his first MotoGP title, but was happy with his first win of the season: “I’m so happy with this win! It has been a long time since my last one and I’m really pleased. It was a fun race, because at first I took things calmly and lost too much time, but the strategy worked out because afterwards I recovered ground gradually.
“I had a special feeling at that point in the race and I’m happy to take this victory for Honda at their home track, for the team, the sponsors, my friends and family, because it has been a difficult season. It’s not been an easy weekend here in Japan, I’d also like to wish Alex De Angelis all the best and hope he recovers soon.”
2015 Motegi MotoGP Results – Race Recap
Before 50,000 fans present despite the rain, Rossi got the holeshot but was passed between turns three and four by Lorenzo. From there, Lorenzo broke away, opening up a two-second lead by lap three.
Rossi remained in second after fighting off a few advances from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. But the Ducati GP15 pilot experienced front-tire issues as a dry line occurred, and began to lose positions. While Dovi moved backwards, Pedrosa was moving forward. Pedrosa moved into third on lap 11, and began chasing down Rossi, who was nearly three seconds ahead.
This was not an issue; Pedrosa was lapping Motegi 1.5 seconds faster, and passed Rossi with nine laps remaining. Two laps later he passed Lorenzo, and was untouchable as he earned his 50th-career GP win, passing his teammate Marquez who has garnered 49.
Rossi finished second, with Lorenzo earning third. Marquez finished in a lonely fourth, 27.841 seconds behind Pedrosa, and over eight seconds ahead of Dovizioso.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow earned the top satellite position with sixth after an intense battle with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, who finished seventh. Roudning out the top 10 were wildcard Yamaha Factory Team pilot Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera and Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding.
The sole American in all of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, Marc VDS Racing’s Nicky Hayden, took the top Open Class rider with 13th. This will be Hayden’s final MotoGP at Motegi – the Kentuckian has signed with Ten Kate Honda for 2016 World Superbike.
With three rounds remaining, Rossi has 283 points – 18 ahead of Lorenzo. Marquez remains in third with 197 points.
The 2015 MotoGP Championship now heads directly to Phillip Island, the second of three back-to-back races.
2015 Motegi MotoGP Results
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 46’50.767
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 8.573
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 12.127
4. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 27.841
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 35.085
6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda + 37.263
7. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 37.667
8. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha Factory Racing Team + 44.654
9. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 48.572
10. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS + 50.121
11. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar + 1’00.535
12. Takumi Takahashi (JPN) Team HRC with Nissin + 1’01.211
13. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team + 1’11.261
14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing + 1’13.896
15. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 1’15.421
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 1’20.507
17. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team + 1’31.224
18. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 1’46.833
19. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) AB Motoracing + 2’00.072
20. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing After 1 laps
21. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 N.C. (2 laps)
22. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda N.C. (8 laps)
23. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar N.C. (11 laps)
24. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing N.C. (11 laps)
25. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team N.C. (14 laps)
2015 MotoGP Point Standings
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 283
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 265
3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 197
4. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 172
5. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 154
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 152
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 150
8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda 98
9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing 93
10. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 88
11. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 81
12. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 74
13. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 73
14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing 49
15. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 30
16. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing 28
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 26
18. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda 16
19. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team 16
20. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 11
21. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team 9
22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 8
23. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Repsol Honda Team 5
24. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion IodaRacing Team 2
2015 Motegi MotoGP Results – Photo Gallery