Motegi Gets Ready For Possible Title Decide


20th September, Sepang - In a swift cross-continent turnaround after the thrilling race at Estoril, MotoGP heads to the Far-East for the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan this weekend. The race will have big implications for the 2007 MotoGP title race, with two possible scenarios that will decide when or whether Casey Stoner can be crowned with his first MotoGP World Championship.

With a 76-point gap separating current standings leader Stoner and nearest rival Valentino Rossi, either the factory Ducati rider will leave Japan with the title in the bag or the chase will be prolonged until his home race at Australia. Stoner simply has to finish ahead of the five-time MotoGP World Champion in what is sure to be a tough race for the 21 year-old.

Rossi is still very much capable of beating Stoner in a straight fight, having done so at the last round in Estoril. The Yamaha rider will not be conceding defeat on the track any time soon, and has set himself the target of ending the season with more than his current tally of four victories. He also has to fend off Dani Pedrosa to consolidate second place in the standings, currently leading the Spaniard by 23 points.

A second place finish for Pedrosa in Estoril gave him room to breathe in third overall, with a gap of over 30 points separating himself and the tightly packed group consisting of John Hopkins, Chris Vermeulen and Marco Melandri. Further down, Colin Edwards, last year's race winner in Japan Loris Capirossi and reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden also occupy spots in a top ten completed by Alex Barros.

Two wild card riders will be participating in the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, under the Suzuki and Kawasaki banners respectively. Paul Denning's boys in blue will be joined by test rider Nobuatsu Aoki at the race, whilst Kawasaki will run one of their original riders from their MotoGP return, Akira Yanagawa, in his first premier class race since 2003.

Last year's race was won by Loris Capirossi in a runaway victory from pole, ahead of his fellow Italians Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri.

Before the on-track action gets underway in Japan, a special event featuring some of the biggest names in MotoGP will take place in Tokyo. A huge attendance is expected for the "MotoGP Lands in Tokyo" event, which takes place on Wednesday in Shinjuku Station Square. Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner, Shinya Nakano, Chris Vermeulen, Colin Edwards, Makoto Tamada, Carlos Checa and Randy de Puniet are all
confirmed participants in an on-stage talkshow and autograph session accompanied by five 800cc machines. 250cc

Jorge Lorenzo still leads the way in 250cc, 51 points ahead of Andrea Dovizioso as he looks to retain his quarter-litre World Championship. The Spaniard has never won a race at Japan, finishing third last year in his most recent visit to Motegi. He is rumoured to be staying on after the race to test the 800cc Yamaha M1, in anticipation of his move up to MotoGP next season

Dovizioso will have to keep one eye on the challenge to his second place from Alex de Angelis, just nine points behind him in the classification but on a run of poor results after a near year-long spell finishing no lower than fourth. The top three are relatively clear from the remainder of the field, with Estoril racewinner Alvaro Bautista in fourth, Hector Barbera in fifth and Hiroshi Aoyama in sixth. Aoyama has won the last two races at Motegi, breaking down in tears at the end of the 2006 race due to the emotion of his second home victory.

The gap between Gabor Talmacsi and Hector Faubel at the top of the 125cc classification stands at just five points, with the team-mates both eyeing up the World title. They battled right up to the line in Portugal, with Faubel slipstreaming his Hungarian team-mate to take victory and earn an important psychological victory.

Home-rider Tomoyoshi Koyama will be one of the favourites for the win at Motegi onboard the KTM machine, and the Japanese rider currently lies third in the classification. The remainder of the top six consists of the level-on-points duo of Simone Corsi and Lukas Pesek, and the rider with more pole positions than any other in 125cc this year, Mattia Pasini.

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