Japan: Capirossi wins, Stoner clinches
Casey Stoner is the new MotoGP World Champion after he finished sixth at the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan on a great day for Ducati Marlboro, with the Australian’s colleague Loris Capirossi completing a hat-trick of Motegi wins.
Stoner took the title after a complicated contest in which Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi came home an unlucky 13th due to tire problems. The Italian lost time after he entered the pits twice, with the Japanese track drying after some morning rain which saw the riders required to change from wet tires midrace – Rossi uncomfortable after his swap of bikes.
Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet got his first MotoGP podium finish as he crossed the line second, ahead of Honda Gresini’s remarkable Toni Elias who was third despite still suffering due to his Assen injury.
Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Sylvain Guintoli rode brilliantly for his best ever premier class result too, missing out on a rookie season podium by just 0.666s.
Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) was fifth having led the race, whilst sixth place was good enough to give Stoner the World Championship. De Puniet’s team-mate Anthony West also led at one stage but was called in for a ride through penalty after a jump start and eventually crossed the line a creditable seventh. Pramac d’Antin’s Alex Barros, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden and Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins completed the top ten, with Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Makoto Tamada the highest placed Japanese rider in 12th on a good day for his team.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa did not complete the race due to a nasty highside crash on lap 15.
Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro (winner, 47’05.484s) “At the beginning it was really hard for me, but I decided to stop before everybody else and I think my tactic was the best. I’ve won for the third consecutive time at Motegi, so it’s a great moment for me.”
Randy de Puniet Kawasaki (2nd, 47’16.337s) “A first podium for me and here in Japan with Kawasaki… it’s perfect. Also a big thank you to the technical staff because they did a great job to change my bikes between stops. I would like some more podiums to finish the season!”
Toni Elias Honda Gresini (3rd, 47’17.010s) “When I went in to change my bike it was the right decision and I was able to overtake a lot of riders. I tried to follow Randy and in the end third position was perfect for me after two hard months.”
Pos Rider Bike Time/Behind
1. Loris Capirossi Ducati (B) 47:05.483
2. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki (B) + 10.853
3. Toni Elias Honda (B) + 11.526
4. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha (D) + 12.192
5. Marco Melandri Honda (B) + 28.569
6. Casey Stoner Ducati (B) + 31.179
7. Anthony West Kawasaki (B) + 50.001
8. Alex Barros Ducati (B) + 52.343
9. Nicky Hayden Honda (M) + 53.629
10. John Hopkins Suzuki (B) + 59.715
11. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki (B) +1:02.804
12. Makoto Tamada Yamaha (D) +1:09.313
13. Valentino Rossi Yamaha (M) +1:09.699
14. Colin Edwards Yamaha (M) +1:11.735
15. Shinichi Ito Ducati (B) +1:12.290
16. Shinya Nakano Honda (M) +1:32.979
17. Akira Yanagawa Kawasaki (B) + 1 lap
18. Carlos Checa Honda (M) + 1 lap
Rider Bike Laps
Kousuke Akiyoshi Suzuki (B) 20
Daniel Pedrosa Honda (M) 14
Kurtis Roberts KR (M) 1