Bautista looking to improve qualifying performance at Motegi
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP welcomes back Loris Capirossi from injury for this weekend’s race in Japan, the first of three Grands Prix over as many weekends around the Pacific Ocean.
The first race of the trio tour sees the Rizla team heading to Suzuki’s homeland of Japan for the Motegi Twin-Ring Grand Prix. Capirossi has an enviable record at the 4,801m Japanese circuit; he has won three MotoGP races and been on the podium a further three times. Capirossi will be looking to try to add to that record as he makes his comeback following a one race absence, after a crash at Misano earlier this month left him needing surgery on his right-hand.
Álvaro Bautista heads to Japan on the back of three very strong performances – he too has a good record at the Motegi circuit with victory last year in the 250cc class and second place finishes in 2008 and 2006. Bautista is now at full-fitness following his early season injuries and will be hoping to challenge the top-six on a regular basis as the season starts to near its climax.
Motegi is situated about 90km/s north-east of Tokyo, approximately half-way between the towns of Mito and Utsunomiya. The track was constructed in 1997 as a oval test-track for evaluating the performance of cars, but it also incorporates a road circuit that is used for the MotoGP. This coming weekend will also see Suzuki celebrate its 50th anniversary of racing. Famous bikes and riders from Suzuki’s history will be present at Motegi including Mitsuo Ito, who still holds the title of the first – and so far only – Japanese Isle of Man TT winner, a feat he accomplished in 1963.
Rizla Suzuki will take to the track on Friday 1st October for a solitary free practice session in the afternoon followed by another practice the following morning. Saturday afternoon will see the Rizla Suzuki pair battle it out in an hour of qualifying to decide grid positions for Sunday’s 24-lap race which gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (06.00hrs GMT).
Álvaro Bautista: “Motegi is not one of my favourite circuits, it is a bit too plain and does little to test a rider, it is just a lot of straights and then short corners put together, so it is difficult to get a flowing rhythm. I have done quite well there in recent years though so I probably don’t dislike it that much! We still have a lot of work to do on the GSV-R, but we are improving every race and so is my riding, I know I need to qualify better on the Saturday, because this is leaving me a lot of work to do in the race, so that is my first priority this weekend. If I can get on the first couple of rows who knows what might happen in the race.”
Source: Rizla Suzuki MotoGP