MotoGP: Fighting talk at Motegi: “Let’s try and make Marc wait for the celebrations!”

MotoGP: Fighting talk at Motegi: “Let’s try and make Marc wait for the celebrations!”
Marquez headlines the pre-event Press Conference at the Twin Ring Motegi – but Dovizioso is primed to try and put a pause on his march towards the crown

After Sumo on Wednesday and the now-classic minibike race at the Twin Ring Motegi on Thursday morning it was time for talk to get back down to business for the pre-event Press Conference. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – who faces his first chance at the 2018 crown this weekend – was joined by 2017 Japanese GP winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and home hero Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) to discuss the upcoming Japanese GP and get in gear.

Marquez was first to speak, looking back at recent successes before looking forward to the weekend. “The victories in Aragon and Thailand were important because in this second half of the season Ducati are very, very fast, so it was important and with these wins we were able to increase the advantage. We’re closer to our final goal! Here we have our first match point but the target is the same as every other weekend, start well in FP1 and try and be ready to fight for the victory. After Warm Up we’ll see whether we can fight – let’s not forget these guys are very strong in Motegi, so no stress and no panic.”

No stress, no panic – just like the stunning duel in the rain last season? The Spaniard says he remembers it well: “Those kinds of battles are in my mind like they happened yesterday! It was nice but a difficult race with a lot of water but a great battle. He beat me on the back straight and braked later, he was already in front and I tried at the last corner but it was too much. He made a great move in that race but this year on Sunday it looks like it will be dry, and it could be different…”

It could be very different and, as Marquez says, the forecast certainly is different for race day. But on Friday? It could well rain. Dovizioso debriefed Thailand a little – where he lost out to Marquez by thousandths –  before talking about what he thinks are very good chances in the Japanese GP.

“After the race it’s easy to think about doing things different or better,” smiles the Italian. “I think the strategy was good until the last lap when he made that special overtake at Turn 5, I answered immediately and maybe it wasn’t the best choice but I was always leading in the race. I couldn’t prepare the last braking point perfectly and I went a bit wide but it’s ok, the race went ok and the weekend was a very good one for us because we started quite far away like in the test but practice by practice we got very competitive and fought for the victory. We have to be happy about that and now here in Japan it’s a good track for us but let’s see the weather, tomorrow it could be wet.”

So does the Italian have any specific goals for the weekend? “Let’s try and win the race and make Marc have to wait for the celebrations!” And the approach, says the Italian, will be the same: “I think, unfortunately, I’ve been racing not thinking about the Championship for a long time because the gap is so big. Here is just another race and we want to win, come back to victory and it could be a good track for us.”

Next up was Maverick Viñales, who was back on the podium in Thailand to mark Yamaha’s first rostrum since the German GP – and teammate Valentino Rossi took P4 in a much-improved showing from the Iwata marque. Just in time for their home GP? The Spaniard is feeling positive: “Thailand was good, I think for me the biggest change was the balance of the bike more than the tyres so I’m confident we can be strong here. It will be important in front of the Yamaha fans and the president, so I’m really motivated.”

There was something else that came to light during the two weekends, however, that was a little less racing related – Viñales made a big donated to a man from close to his home town in order to help him with his recovery from cancer: “Normally I try to always help but keep it quieter, and try and be altruistic. But I saw it on Instagram, He lives close to my hometown and I wanted to help. We have the money to help so I wanted to, but now we’re focusing on the weekend and I want to push for the top.”

Alex Rins was the next rider to take the mic, and he’ll also be pushing for the top. The Suzuki rider has been on a good run of form and now, at the Hamamatsu factory’s home race, he’s hoping to keep that rolling. “I think this is a nice track, last year we finished in the top positions so we arrive with a lot of confidence after doing a good job in the last races. But we need to push from the beginning and we need to improve qualifying to start further forward.”

There will be more Suzuki machinery lining up than the normal contingent, too – with test rider Sylvain Guintoli, 2014 WorldSBK Champion, putting in a wildcard appearance. “For sure we have more to come,” says Rins of development when quizzed on that. “Sylvain is now testing the bike for next year so we need to see what he’s trying. They’re working a lot but no, there’s nothing for these next few races.”

From a sophomore to a veteran, Dani Pedrosa spoke next. The Spaniard has three premier class wins at Motegi and was back at the sharp end in Thailand only to suffer a crash in the race. He, like Rins, wants to qualify a little better to push from the off.

“In the last race the feeling was better, from practice I would say the problem was the start of the race and the laps at the beginning weren’t good,” says Pedrosa. “But I was getting stronger and stronger and catching the front group. The feeling was better but I want to improve qualifying so we can start further forward and try and have a better start.”

With only four races remaining before retirement, Motegi would be a great place for another top result for the much-honoured number 26. And he’s already paid a few visits in Japan ahead of Honda’s home race weekend: “We’ve already been two places with Honda, the office and a factory and you can see so much support from the Japanese people, it’s a special race and it’s always a great welcome. I’ve had a 50/50 record here with sometimes very good races and sometimes not. But I hope we can have a good weekend and try and take some energy from the people here.”

Energy from the people? That’s definitely one for home favourite Takaaki Nakagami as the rookie prepares to ride in front of his home crowd for the first time in the premier class. And the weekend started off in style as he got closer to sumo than ever before on Wednesday. “It was a nice experience,” smiles LCR Honda Idemitsu rider. “I’m Japanese but I’ve only ever watched it on TV! But this time I had chance to see it close up and it was an amazing experience for me.”

Finally, there was even more good news for Nakagami as the number 30 was confirmed as staying in his team next season – something he’s excited about already: “I’m really thankful to Honda and HRC, and main sponsor Idemitsu is great support so I’m really happy to stay with this team next year. It’s like home, with great people and a great team manager in Lucio. I’m very happy to stay and I can’t wait for next year!”

First, however, it’s time to face down the Twin Ring Motegi for the first time in the premier class. Practice begins on Friday morning for all classes, and the lights go out for a pivotal Japanese GP at 14:00 local time (GMT +9) on Sunday. Will Marquez take the crown? Or can Dovizioso put his celebrations on hold?

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23 minutes ago


What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕


I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Now who can stop marc win the champion ship this year ? 😅

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

Such a bad luck for Dovi 🤷🏻‍♂️

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

Kiattisak Prachumdang สุดปอดสุดโค้ง


Trop fougueux le rookie 😂😂

Rins had a moment of sliding..Fabio goes hard on the brake to avoid Rins and cause him to slide and crashed. Dovi just had nowhere to avoid that. Was unlucky.

Guillaume Le Fur ducati volante

Omg 😱

Dammmm! Hope they all ok

Get well soon Fabio and yellow fans hero in Austria (Andrea Dovizioso).

time for dovi to find another race number


What happen with Quartararo’s bike

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53 minutes ago


"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Here his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Respect 🙌🏻🙌🏻🥰🥰🥰 reminds me of a young Marco simoncelli 😇😇

One fact he gracefully accepts there are only two legends on the current grid: "I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today"

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

Congrats Alex!!

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Yamaha m1, factory team need to replace Rossi, to progress, That's from a top Rossi fan.

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.

Muy bueno #Rins42👍



Love this guy so honest not like MM93

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why



During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

Il lui as mis sa dose au Marquez. 2 gp de suite qu'il se fait cramer 😂😂😂 #marqueznecongelepluslecarburant

What an honest guy. It must feel great to defeat two of the greatest legends the MotoGP has to offer

Masa I follow markes td,I rasa motor dia tak la laju mane pun..sebab lepas potong rossi terus I cucuk angin motor dia..hahaha


Epic in the last corner... Bravo Alex 🏆

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13 hrs ago


Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

I think the fact that Kimi drags that 8th place car into the points is the most impressive

My pick is Red Bull and Honda. They were a distant third, and they showed that careful hard work done with purpose makes progress. They’re certainly not outspending Ferrari, but managed to leapfrog them with smarter and more effective development

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18 hrs ago


The crash 💥 The surprise 😱 The battle ⚔️

Spa treated us to a scintillating race last season ⚡️
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I can't wait for next weekend. Spa always produces some awesome action

That Vettel move was such a good sign and made so much hope for the title in 2018, but then horror began and continued until today 😞 I hope that Vettel will win at least one of the next two races, maybe the last chances this year

The circuit spa is amazing..

Leclerc was lucky with the halo there. Things could have ended very badly.. Also, the 4 car moment at the end of the first sector was amazing👌

I was there with my sons. Last years

Counting the days and hours for the arrival of the weekend. It is impressive, the spectacles provided in this SPA GP!

I remember this race.The best thing was Ocon almost overtook Vettal overtaking Hamilton. Ocon has to sit in the Mercedes at some point in the future.

What a race! Hoping for the same again next week 👍

Was that the very last time Vettel won a race? Wow an entire year has gone by.

Going to be interesting this year, couple nice long almost straights that Ferrari can hopefully lay down the power, those midrange corners that Red Bull look so comfortable going through at high speed, than the tighter sections that Mercedes just seems to find seconds on other cars, needless to say either Ferrari or Red Bull let the Mercedes go and that’s race over, but Charles or Max get in front of Lewis it’s going to be a great race

I have a feeling that the Ferraris will do it again. We will not hear the name verstappen so much this weekend.

Lets see next week if merc and redbull will match the straigth line speed of ferrari. Cant wait the qualifying and race on sunday.

Was a good race, hoping this yr will be just as good

I wanna know what LeClerc's thoughts process was as a McLaren flies over the top of him 😂

Clamoroso come Charlie Whiting aspettò che Vettel superasse Hamilton per dare il via alla Safety Car

Beyoncé would be proud of the Halo!

So the halo works。。👍🏼👍🏼

People cry about the halo but Charles had luck to have it.

What an overtake from Ferrari that was ...I missed the 2018's Ferrari ....not this SP90

This Race showed why the Halo Makes completly sense. Leclercs carrer could have Ended Right there

That's also why "even" Perez is a better racer than Ocon. My opinion. Look at the drag race after Eau Rouge coming up to Le Combes

Waited until Seb past Hamilton to safety car the race...who remembers this🤦🏾‍♂️🤔

Was there watching sat in the stadium right on that corner, exciting stuff!

Only one week to go, before lights out!

According to the Finnish media, Mercedes is gonna announce Bottas staying for 1 more year.

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