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GP Week : Issue 102
Jorge threatens Rossi:“You’ll get it back ...” THE magnificent Motegi complex was built by Honda as a 50th birthday present to itself. As well as the banked oval outside the road course there are extensive other driving training facilities, and Honda’s superb collection of landmark road and racing bikes and cars. Although incongruously placed in a mountainous area of natural beauty, it was a fine birthday celebration. In recent years, the gift has been firmly seized by others. In fact, Suzuki (with Kenny Roberts Junior) won the first two races here, in 1999 and 2000; then Honda took control until 2004. But that was the holding company’s last top-class win here. Instead, the monument to the Japanese industry seems to play into the hands of the only non- Japanese MotoGP contender. Ducati rider Loris Capirossi seized control in 2005, and won for the next two years straight. In 2008 Rossi’s Yamaha won, but Stoner’s Ducati took fastest lap and was less than two seconds behind. Last year it was Lorenzo’s turn. This year Stoner came back for his first win at the track. It had been, as always, a matter of finding the right chassis balance, and it hadn’t come easily. The result had been another Motegi win for Ducati, making it four in the last six years. “It’s nice that we can finally give back to the team and to Ducati the effort that we’ve been putting in,” said Stoner. Honda’s present – to Ducati Moto GP MOTEGI >> 37