Fresh from back-to-back wins with Dani Pedrosa at Misano and Marc Marquez at Aragón, the Repsol Honda Team are en route to Motegi for the first of three fly-away races, on a trip that will also bring them to Australia and Malaysia.
Honda’s home Grand Prix is held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, a 4.8 km race track that was built by Honda in August 1997 as the ultimate test facility and began hosting MotoGP in 2000.
Marc has won at Motegi in 2012 (Moto2) and 2010 (125cc), and although a Japanese victory has eluded him in the premier class, he has scored two second-place finishes, in 2013 and 2014—the latter making him the first Honda rider to clinch a World title in any class at the Motegi circuit. He also took second place in Moto2 in 2011.
Dani, who just turned 31, has enjoyed brilliant results at Motegi, where he is currently the most successful rider, with five victories including last year’s fantastic win in the wet (2011, 2012 and 2015 in MotoGP; 2004 in 250cc; 2002 in 125cc when the Pacific GP was held at Motegi) and four additional podium placements—one second-place finish in 2005 (250cc) and three third positions in 2013, 2009 and 2008 (MotoGP).
With a margin of 52 points over second-place Valentino Rossi and a maximum of 100 points available across the season’s remaining four races, there is an outside chance that Marc could again win the 2016 MotoGP title at Honda’s home Grand Prix (with Marc finishing first, Rossi 15th or lower and Jorge Lorenzo fourth or lower).
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING: 1ST – 248 POINTS
“The triple-header always marks a demanding period in the season because there are three races in a row in different time zones and different conditions, so we must handle them calmly and with the same mind-set we have kept throughout this season. The Japanese Grand Prix is an important appointment for us as it is Honda’s home race and one where we have great memories, as we clinched the title in 2014. On the other hand, it’s a circuit that has always been a bit challenging for us. So for example, if Aragon was a track that I marked for attacking, Motegi is one that I marked for giving up as few points as possible. That said, we’ll approach it with an open mentality, aiming for the best result possible but ready to adapt to the circumstances.”
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING: 4TH – 155 POINTS
“Motegi is one of my favourite tracks, and in addition to the fact that it’s Honda’s home circuit, I’ve had good results there. Clearly, we want to get the best result possible in front of our Japanese fans, but we must arrive there and start working on the bike and the tyres to understand if we’ll be able to be as competitive as we have been lately. At this moment, the most important thing is to find the best combination between the tyres and the bike, with myself also in the formula of course, to try and start to go well beginning Friday.”
Limited to top 30 results
|1||MARQUEZ Marc||93||SPA||248||Repsol Honda Team||Honda|
|2||ROSSI Valentino||46||ITA||196||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha|
|3||LORENZO Jorge||99||SPA||182||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha|
|4||PEDROSA Dani||26||SPA||155||Repsol Honda Team||Honda|
|5||VINALES Maverick||25||SPA||149||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki|
|6||CRUTCHLOW Cal||35||GBR||104||LCR Honda||Honda|
|7||DOVIZIOSO Andrea||4||ITA||104||Ducati Team||Ducati|
|8||ESPARGARO Pol||44||SPA||97||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha|
|9||IANNONE Andrea||29||ITA||96||Ducati Team||Ducati|
|10||BARBERA Hector||8||SPA||84||Avintia Racing||Ducati|
|11||LAVERTY Eugene||50||IRE||71||Aspar MotoGP Team||Ducati|
|12||ESPARGARO Aleix||41||SPA||69||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki|
|13||REDDING Scott||45||GBR||55||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati|
|14||BAUTISTA Alvaro||19||SPA||54||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia|
|15||PETRUCCI Danilo||9||ITA||50||Octo Pramac Racing||Ducati|
|16||BRADL Stefan||6||GER||49||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia|
|17||MILLER Jack||43||AUS||42||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda|
|18||SMITH Bradley||38||GBR||42||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha|
|19||PIRRO Michele||51||ITA||36||Ducati Team||Ducati|
|20||RABAT Tito||53||SPA||27||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda|
|21||BAZ Loris||76||FRA||24||Avintia Racing||Ducati|
|22||HERNANDEZ Yonny||68||COL||13||Aspar MotoGP Team||Ducati|
|23||LOWES Alex||22||GBR||3||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha|
|24||HAYDEN Nicky||69||USA||1||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda|