Rossi closes the gap with another hard-earned podium

24.09.2006: Rossi closes the gap with another hard-earned podium

Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi now trails MotoGP World Championship series leader Nicky Hayden (Honda) by just twelve points with two rounds remaining thanks to his fourth consecutive podium, his eighth from the last ten races, in Japan today. Rossi took second place in a race dominated and won by Loris Capirossi (Ducati), with Marco Melandri (Honda) completing the podium in a carbon copy of the front row order. The 20-point reward for Rossi moved him another nine closer to Hayden, who finished fifth behind Sete Gibernau (Ducati).

Colin Edwards had shown promise of mounting a podium challenge himself this weekend but unfortunately his excellent practice pace on race rubber did not translate into the top result he was hoping for. Despite making a good start from tenth on the grid the American was forced wide by another rider into turn one and lost several positions, dropping back to twelfth. However a determined ride from that point onwards saw him battle back to eighth place - a position he also now holds in the championship after moving above John Hopkins (Suzuki).

Valentino Rossi (2nd; +5.088)

"I'm really happy with this second position today. It wasn't a great battle like in Sepang, but my rhythm was really good and my bike worked very well. We had a few problems in warm-up this morning and, like always, my mechanics, the Yamaha engineers and Michelin did a great job to make some last-minute changes to our race set-up. At the start my M1 was a little bit hard to ride but slowly I found my rhythm and then bit by bit I started to come closer to Marco. Once I passed him I started pushing to try to reach Loris and made the fastest lap, but once he realised I was coming closer he opened the throttle again and he was just too fast for me to catch. My bike worked brilliantly since Friday morning and I want to thank everyone for all their hard work, it seems that when everything is working for us then it's hard for the others! 20 points is a great result for me at this track, which isn't one of my favourites, and now we're only 12 points behind in the championship. We have two races left and if we can continue in this way then it's possible!"


Colin Edwards (8th; +22.492)

"I got off the line pretty well but then (Dani) Pedrosa pushed me out a bit on the exit of turn one and I had to chop it. I lost speed and then about three people went by me so I was playing catch-up from then on. I had to spend some time getting past (Makoto) Tamada and (Randy) De Puniet but then I got my head down and just kept going in the same rhythm. I was doing good lap times, consistent with what we were doing all weekend, but it wasn't enough to make up for our grid position and the problems in turn one. About 15 laps in I hit a bit of a wall, couldn't hold the load on the rear tyre and started losing corner speed, so life was more difficult from then on. Of course I'm really disappointed; we had a plan but it was messed up by our starting position and turn one. On the bright side we were able to run the same good pace we ran all weekend for most of the race, but it seems a few others, my team-mate included, found a bit extra today and what we had just wasn't enough!"

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director

"Today was a very important race for us because we have been able to reduce the gap by another nine points, which keeps us on target. Our goal today was to finish on the podium and we did that so we are happy, even though Loris had a pace that Valentino wasn't quite able to follow. Unfortunately Colin couldn't quite live up to the high hopes he had raised before the race so we will investigate the reasons for that. We still have two races left and we want to help get him back to the front of the pack. The last three weeks have required a lot of energy, effort and concentration from the whole team and I am delighted the way every one of them has responded. Now we need them to keep it going for two more races and hopefully we will continue to get our rewards."

Tech 3 Yamaha Team satisfied with Motegi result after difficult weekend

It wasn't the result that the Tech 3 Yamaha Team desired as Carlos Checa celebrated his 200th Grand Prix start but the team will come away from the Japanese Grand Prix at the Motegi Twin Ring satisfied with the outcome after an extremely difficult weekend of practice and qualifying.

Carlos and his team mate, James Ellison battled as hard as they could for the entire race mixing it with the factory Suzuki team as Carlos eventually came home in 14th position and James secured one championship point to finish 15th in a race won by Loris Capirossi (Ducati)

Carlos Checa (14th, Fastest lap 1'48.992)

"I cannot be really happy but I'm quite satisfied because we did our best. We must have some satisfaction because we did our best but certainly we are not happy because the result is quite far from where we want. After the many tyres we tested over the two days it was a bit of a compromise on tyre choice but it didn't end up too bad in the end. The pace has increased a lot this year and this makes it more difficult to demonstrate the evolution we are doing. I think to keep in the 1'49's all race is not so bad .I did these times last year and finished fourth but I think Dunlop need a little more time to improve the tyres. I was with the Suzuki team the entire race and we passed each other quite a few times then my tyre went off a little and I couldn't go with them. For me it was quite a cool race to be battling with others. I know inside myself I did my best and basically the main limitation is technical. It is good training for me and it is better to be here than at home as I'm still enjoying what I am doing very much. We knew that this year would be difficult and we would have different races where we would be struggling like here and then have other races like Phillip Island where we would have good results but then the wet tyre didn't work so well. Our target is to keep improving - even myself - I think we had a great opportunity even with all the problems because we fought against the limitations and the problems we had so we will keep going and we will keep learning. "

James Ellison (15thFastest lap1'49.616)

"Truthfully, it's not such a bad end to the weekend after the struggle we had early on and to finish with a point is quite satisfying although I'm always hoping for a better result. It is the best race I have had yet, dicing with people and the one I have enjoyed the most. For the first time in a few races I really had fun out there today as I was actually able to race with a few guys and Carlos wasn't really that far in front of me, but in a way it was frustrating as I know I can go a lot faster. I was thinking if I didn't have these problems how much higher could I finish than where we are now? Honestly, I couldn't have tried any harder to get that one point. It is good because the team are very happy with the effort we both put in and it is nice to finish this bunch of races like this after the difficulties we have had. I still I want to do a lot more but this is where we are at the minute."

Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director

"It was definitely a difficult weekend but at least we had a bit more of a positive ending as we have been struggling on Friday and Saturday big time. We were very disappointed especially coming from Australia with such a good feeling with the bike and tyre package. Fortunately today both of our riders showed great fighting spirit and determination in battling from the first to the last lap with both of them in the top 15 getting points. That was something we didn't expect even after the positive warmup this morning. Sure we are down on performance but it was also good to see the top Dunlop management here from the chairman to the general manager and everyone involved in the project for them to see what was happening here, to see where we are an dto understand what we have to do in the future if we want to be competitive against our rivals. Hopefully, this difficult weekend will have some positive outcome. We have another two races to keep on working and try to improve our best race result which was a seventh in the USA. There is a possibility that we can do that. Finally, I want to congratulate Yamaha and Valentino for their brilliant race here and where they are now in the championship shrinking the points to the leader."

Circuit Length: 4801
Temp: 27
Weather: Dry

2006 MotoGP Motegi 24/09/2006 Race 1 - 24 Laps

1 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 43'13.585
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 0'5.088
3 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 0'8.378
4 Sete Gibernau Ducati ESP 0'9.712
5 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 0'11.944
6 Toni Elias Honda ESP 0'18.108
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0'19.937
8 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0'22.492
9 Kenny Roberts Team Robert KR USA 0'26.824
10 Makato Tamada Honda JPN 0'30.970
11 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 0'39.263
12 John Hopkins Suzuki USA 0'39.440
13 Kousuke Akiyoshi Suzuki JPN 0'45.595
14 Carlos Checa Yamaha ESP 0'49.571
15 James Ellison Yamaha GBR 1'9.085
Best Lap Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1'47.288

Rider Standings 24/09/2006
1. Nicky Hayden Honda USA 236
2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 224
3. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 209
4. Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 205
5. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 202
6. Casey Stoner Honda AUS 119
7. Kenny Roberts Team Robert KR USA 110
8. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 104
9. John Hopkins Suzuki USA 101
10. Sete Gibernau Ducati ESP 95
11. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 91
12. Shinya Nakano Kawasaki JPN 83
13. Toni Elias Honda ESP 81
14. Makato Tamada Honda JPN 81
15. Carlos Checa Yamaha ESP 60
18. James Ellison Yamaha GBR 21

Team Standings 24/09/2006

1. Repsol Honda Team 438
2. Camel Yamaha Team 328
3. Ducati Marlboro Team 307
4. Fortuna Honda Team 290
5. Rizla Suzuki 192
6. Honda LCR 119
7. Kawasaki Racing Team 114
8. Team Roberts KR 110
9. Konica Minolta Honda 81
10. Tech3 Yamaha 81
11. Pramac D'Antin 26

Manufacturer Standings 24/09/2006

1. Honda 319
2. Yamaha 262
3. Ducati 218
4. Suzuki 136
5. Team Robert KR 110
6. Kawasaki 94

- Yamaha Racing Communications, Amsterdam -


24.09.2006 / MaP

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