Dorna press release:
World Champion Valentino Rossi, Qatar race winner Casey Stoner and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa were amongst the group of riders in Thursday’s pre-event press conference in Japan.
Looking forward to the second round of the season in the press conference at Motegi on Thursday the 2007 World Champion Stoner spoke of the track’s unknown quantities as he previewed the weekend’s action.
The Polini Grand Prix of Japan pre-event press briefing was attended by Stoner (Ducati Marlboro), Rossi (Fiat Yamaha), Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and MotoGP newcomer Yuki Takahashi (Scot Racing) at 5pm local time as the riders faced local and international media.
Unlike Qatar -the venue for round one- and Jerez -the scene of the third race of the year- there has been no winter testing at Motegi, meaning the riders will have to quickly reacquaint themselves with the Twin Ring circuit on their 2009 Bridgestone tyres, as Stoner pointed out.
“We haven’t tested our new tyres here so we have to see how things will work out,” commented the Ducati Marlboro man. “I think Bridgestone will have done their homework. We have been pretty happy with the way our bike is working this year but now we have to make sure it is suited to the characteristics of this circuit on these new tyres. This is like the real start to the season where any small mistakes will show out.”
Having wrapped up the 2008 title at Motegi last year, Rossi stated, “Coming here brings back a lot of great memories for me and my team after our last visit just a few months ago. It was so good last time, not just for the championship but also it was a great race after I had struggled in practice and then went very, very fast on the Sunday. We will work from Friday to understand the track, because the temperatures could be different to our last visit and it could rain this weekend too.”
Rossi and teammate Jorge Lorenzo arrived in Japan earlier this week to make a presentation of the new Yamaha R1 streetbike in Tokyo, with both ready to challenge Stoner for leadership of the standings onboard their conventional MotoGP machinery this weekend.
Pedrosa, meanwhile, won at Motegi as a 250cc rider in 2004 and was on the podium last year behind Rossi and Stoner, although he is still battling back from preseason knee and arm injuries. Arriving at the press conference fresh from a pre-event visit to HRC headquarters with team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, Pedrosa remarked; “This is a track where I normally go quite well and I will try to go as fast as I can.”
He continued; “We know we will have to work hard on the setting because the weather conditions could be quite mixed. Of course I would like to be on the podium again but we just have to wait and see.”
Free practice at the Polini Grand Prix of Japan commences on Friday (24th April) at 1.05pm local time for the 125cc riders, 2.05pm for the MotoGP class and 3.05pm for the 250cc category.