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Ducati Team Prepares for Japanese Grand Prix

The Ducati Team is headed for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will take place on Sunday, 2 October, following a postponement due to the terrible earthquake that struck the country on March 11.

A stop-and-go track with a predominance of slow corners that are interspersed with medium-length straightaways, the Twin Ring Motegi has played host to four Ducati Team wins and one additional podium.

Valentino Rossi has posted six podium finishes at the track, including last year’s third place following a tight battle with Jorge Lorenzo, while Nicky Hayden doesn’t count the Japanese circuit among his favorites.

Starting on Friday morning, the two riders will work to refine the setup of the GP11.1, with hopes that the weather—the forecast for which is currently uncertain—allows them to take full advantage of the sessions.

“I had a nice race last year at Motegi, despite having a painful shoulder. I had a nice duel with Lorenzo, and I finished on the podium. The Ducati won last year and has also gone well there in the past, so we’ll see if we can do any better than we have at the recent races. It’s true that we’re having to work very hard, but we always approach every Grand Prix with the goal of doing better. We’ll try hard this Sunday as well, working on the track with what we have available at this time, while also simultaneously focusing on the future.”

“I’ve got a lot of fans in Japan, and there are a lot of people who love motorcycles. It would be nice to put on a good show for them, as they’ve certainly had a hard time this year. The radiation situation seems to be under control, so earthquakes are the only concern. Hopefully we can have a good race. Motegi has probably been my worst track since I’ve been with Ducati, as I’ve struggled to get turned in those hairpin corners and get out strong. I’m not expecting an easy weekend, but Ducati is really working hard to give us options and to find the best direction for the future. It’s great to see them putting in so much effort, and although we’re not seeing immediate results, we’re learning a lot and getting a bunch of data that’s going to be a big help in the long term.”

“It’s time for the Japanese Grand Prix, where we’ll continue our work program on the GP11.1, which certainly still has a margin for improvement in terms of its setup. We introduced a modified chassis with Valentino at Aragon, and we’ll try to take better advantage of it at this particular track, while Nicky will continue getting to know the GP11.1, which he’s ridden for three races now. Motegi is a circuit where we’ve done very well in the past, so we’ll see if this helps us to speed up our work in preparation for Sunday’s race.”


Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:47.091 – 161.391 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1:45.543 – 163.758 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4.801 km
2011 MotoGP Race: 24 laps (115.224 km)
2011 MotoGP Schedule: 3:00 p.m. Local Time

2010 PODIUM: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Andrea Dovizioso, 3rd Valentino Rossi
2010 POLE: Andrea Dovizioso (Honda – 2010 ), 1:47.001 – 161.527 km/h


2010: 1st (Stoner)
2009: 4th (Stoner)
2008: 2nd (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Capirossi)
2006: 1st (Capirossi)
2005: 1st (Capirossi)
2004: DNF


Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP11.1
Race number: 46
Age: 32 (born in Pesaro 16 February 1979)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
GPs: 255 (195 x MotoGP, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)
Number of wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Pole: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
World Titles: 9 (6 x MotoGP, 1 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc)

Rossi’s MotoGP track record at Motegi
2010: Grid: 2nd; Race: 3rd
2009: Grid: 1st; Race: 2nd
2008: Grid: 4th; Race: 1st
2007: Grid: 2nd; Race: 13th
2006: Grid: 2nd; Race: 2nd
2005: Grid: 11th; Race: DNF
2004: Grid: 3rd; Race: 2nd
2002: Grid: 6th; Race: 2nd
2001: Grid: 4th; Race: 1st
2000: Grid: 5th; Race: 2nd

Rossi’s 250 track record at Motegi
1999: Grid: 11th; Race: 7th

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP11.1
Race number: 69
Age: 30 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Number of GPs: 148 (148 x MotoGP)
First GP: Japanese GP, 2003 (MotoGP)
Number of wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)
First GP win: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)
Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)
First Pole: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)
World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2006)

Hayden’s MotoGP track record at Motegi
2010: Grid: 11th; Race: 12th
2009: Grid: 12th; Race: DNF
2008: Grid: 3rd; Race: 5th
2007: Grid: 3rd; Race: 9th
2006: Grid: 7th; Race: 5th
2005: Grid: 6th; Race: 7th
2004: Grid: 9th; Race: NC