The Biggest Takeaways From The Japanese Grand Prix – FULL GAS Blog

 In MotoGP, News


The Japanese Grand Prix is the first of MotoGP’s three consecutive flyaway races. This part of the season is what most riders consider the toughest as it really tests all rider’s mental and physical strength. Not only will they spend a lot of energy racing for three straight weekends, but they’ll also have to deal with hours and hours of traveling, jet lag, and being in environments with different weather.

All of these are great ingredients to make the championship that much more exciting to watch, especially the MotoGP class where the Factory Yamaha pair of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo continue to battle for the title and are just separated by 14 points. The fans expected to see a straight Rossi versus Lorenzo duel just like their epic 2010 Motegi showdown after the two of them set the fastest times in qualifying.

But surprise outcomes are not new in MotoGP. Dani Pedrosa took a shocking first win of the season and the different conditions during race day played an important role again.

In Moto2, Johann Zarco’s hard work and incredible season was finally rewarded. He is now the new Moto2 champion. The JapaneseGP has been good to Zarco. He took his first career grand prix win in the 125cc class in Motegi he won the title and the race last Sunday at the same track.

Philip Island in Australia is next, but first here are the biggest takeaways from the JapaneseGP…


Dani Pedrosa is still a “MotoGP Alien”


Dani Pedrosa is back. The Repsol Honda rider claimed his first victory of the 2015 MotoGP season with an intelligent and brave ride in wet conditions at the JapaneseGP. The win marks Pedrosa’s 50th GP win and couldn’t have done it anywhere better than at Honda’s home track.

Pedrosa took a cautious approach in the early stages of the race because of the lack of feeling from the tires. This would, however, benefit Pedrosa in the end as track conditions improved and Pedrosa was able to preserve his tire life. Pedrosa snatched third place from Andrea Dovizioso on lap 12 and then preyed on both Rossi and Lorenzo next.

Pedrosa’s last two exceptional results suggests he’s no longer having arm pump problems but he downplayed his performance, saying that they still lack the pace to fight with their rivals and the weather helped him. ìBut today is different because in the wet, you don’t have so much stress compared to the dry physically. You can focus more on the riding but like I say, technically we have to work a lot for next year and try to improve a lot because in the dry we are clearly behind,” Pedrosa said.

Dani Pedrosa has the momentum going to Philip Island in Australia and with his current form, we could expect him to make life harder for championship contenders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.


Being The Fastest Is Not Enough


Jorge Lorenzo could’ve ended the JapaneseGP trailing main championship rival Valentino Rossi by only 5 points, but he now finds himself 18 points behind instead. Lorenzo wasn’t able to maintain his pace at the top in the latter part of the race when track conditions improved and with his front tire already worn out. The lack of grip meant Lorenzo could do nothing but slow down and watch Pedrosa and Rossi pass him with ease. In the end, Lorenzo blamed bad luck for preventing him to win the 2015 MotoGP title by stating that he is the fastest but bad luck is costing him.

Is Jorge Lorenzo right for blaming bad luck again? Lorenzo clearly is the fastest man in the class. Give him a full dry or even a wet track and for sure he’ll be a nightmare to his rivals. But being fast is only one part of racing. If there’s one thing Lorenzo can learn from Valentino Rossi to have a better chance of winning the title, it’s being good at adapting to changing track and weather conditions. Afterall, every single rider in the field are also racing on the same track.

Had Lorenzo not tried his very familiar tactics of setting a lightning quick pace right from the start of the race and escaping the chasing pack, it could have been a different story for him. But then again, it could have also been a different story if that happened when Lorenzo’s not fighting for the title. So his frustrations are understandable.

With 3 rounds remaining, Rossi has the clear advantage and the only thing Lorenzo can control is trying to win the last 3 races.


A Great Relationship Between Rider & Team Can Win Championships


Johann Zarco didn’t even need to race the Japanese Grand Prix to be crowned the 2015 Mot2 World Champion. He won the title at the end of free practice 1 after Tito Rabat decided to withdraw from the competition because of an injury sustained in training. The Frenchman would go on to win the race in dominant fashion.

Johann Zarco has been dominant all season and he’s making the Moto2 class, a category stacked with talent, look easy. Zarco’s success this season can be attributed to his skill, hard work, and determination. But his partnership with his team boss Aki Ajo, who also runs the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team, also played a huge role in helping him win the title. Ajo was also with Zarco when he fought for the title in the last year of the 125cc championships.

Once motorcycle racers are out on track they are on their own, making it look like motorcycle racing is an individual sport. But at the end of the day, racing is a team sport and riders who’s surrounded by great people usually takes their career to the next level. Having loads of talent is not enough to keep on winning.

In recent years, Aki Ajo has been able to produce world champions like Marc Marquez, Mike Di Meglio, & Sandro Cortese. He also took Luis Salom, Jack Miller, and Miguel Oliveira to new heights.

If Dani Pedrosa has Alberto Puig, Casey Stoner had Cristian Gabbarini, and Valentino Rossi had Jeremy Burgess, Zarco has Aki Ajo. Aki Ajo is the perfect man to extract the talent and potential of Johann Zarco.


FULL GAS is our special, regular blog by Kermit Abadilla from the Philippines – taking a look back at the weekend’s race action and sharing other MotGP, Moto2, Moto3, and WSBK related stuff. A fan of the sport since 8, he is interested in fitness, sports, inspiring businesses and stories, reading, and likes daydreaming and helping. He also does social media & content writing.

Photos: Bridgestone, Yamaha Racing, Repsol Media, Ajo Motorsport

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