21-year old Cassie Stoner celebrates his Ducati mechanics their 2007 MotoGP Riders World Championship.
Two weeks later Ducati would secure the 2007 Manufacturer's title with the help of teammate Loris Capirossi.
2007 MotoGP World Championship, Motegi, Japan , Round 15 of 17
Loris Capirossi wins for Ducati in Japan
Teammate Casey Stoner Clinches the MotoGP Championship
Motegi, Japan, l, Sept 22-24th, 2007 - The Ducati Marlboro Team enjoyed its greatest day in Japan today, Casey Stoner securing Ducati's first MotoGP World Championship and Loris Capirossi winning the race, run in tricky conditions on a drying track. The result triggered scenes of unbridled joy in the Ducati Marlboro Team pit, in the more than one thousand fans who watched the race in the Borgo Panigale Factory with the CEO Gabriele Del Torchio among them and in all the Ducatistis around the world.
Australian genius Stoner had to finish today's race ahead of Valentino Rossi to wrap up the title with three GPs remaining, and he did that, no problem, finishing sixth after leading the early stages. The race couldn't have been more nerve-wracking: it started on a slightly damp track, most riders choosing rain tyres, then the circuit dried out enough for riders to swap to slick-equipped bikes. Capirossi was one of the first riders to switch, at the end of lap nine, and his strategy paid rich dividends, the 2005 and 2006 Japanese GP winner going on to score a Motegi hat-trick, 10.853 seconds ahead of his closest rival. Stoner swapped bikes at the end of lap 14 and maintained his renowned cool to become the second youngest premier-class World Champion, after American legend Freddie Spencer. So far this year Stoner has won eight races, taken three further podium finished and scored five pole positions.
CASEY STONER, 6th, 2007 MotoGP World Champion on 297 points - "At the moment it all feels a little bit unrealistic! I'm struggling for words, I don't think there's any feeling that can compare to this, but I think it's really going to sink in as the day goes on and heads into tomorrow. The race started out quite well, we were able to get up front quite early and I had a reasonably good feeling with the bike, I was in a happy position. But then my rain tyres started wearing out as the track dried, and Valentino and Dani (Pedrosa) came past. I didn't really know whether to come in or not, then my team put 'box' on my pitboard, so I had a bit more confidence to come in. After I changed bikes there was something up with the steering damper, the bike wasn't allowing me to tip into corners, so I had to slow down to unwind it. Then I started to find more of a rhythm, Valentino had a problem and we managed to finish ahead of him. I guess that was the aim of the game today. Towards the end everything was creeping into my head, so I just tried to stay focused on the job in hand, I wanted to bring it home for my team. The whole thing is a bit overwhelming, because we didn't really expect to get the championship today, it's come on me quite quickly. There's a lot of people I have to thank: my parents, who have always been there for me, they've supported me throughout my career, my wife Adriana's who's been there this season and the past few and everyone else who's helped me along the way - Ducati, my whole team, Bridgestone tyres, a big thanks to everyone who's had anything to with my career - we finally did it!"
LORIS CAPIROSSI, winner, 7th in World Championship on 130 points - "We struggled a lot this weekend and only yesterday did we find a better set-up solution. When I woke this morning and saw the rain I said 'wow, for sure this is going to be a difficult day'. We didn't know which would be the best tyres to use, so we started with medium rain tyres. At first it was really difficult, so I decided to pit early, and for sure my tactic was the best because I won my third consecutive race here, it's a great moment for me. It's also a great day for Casey, for Ducati and for the team. I congratulate Casey, he's a really strong rider, I'm very happy for him."
Motegi MotoGP winner Loris Capirossi.
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM RIDERS ON THE THIRD ROW AT MOTEGI
Qualifying, Saturday Sept 23rd - Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner will start tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after running eighth and ninth fastest during this afternoon's qualifying session.s
World Championship leader Stoner scored better in free practice, using race tyres, the Australian ending the first three sessions in fourth place. During qualifying his set-up didn't work so well, but he is confident of making detail adjustments during warm-up so that he can have a strong race. Capirossi, winner here in 2005 and 2006, has moved forward during the weekend and is confident of a decent race tomorrow.
Stoner Wraps up the 2007 Championshp with 3 races in Hand
Sunday Sept 23rd - This was the MotoGP contest that defined the season with Casey Stoner securing his World MotoGP Championship title as Loris Capirossi (both Ducati) won from Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet with Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) third here in Japan.
In damp conditions after rain throughout the morning with an ambient temperature of 21-degrees, a track at 24-degrees, and perhaps most significantly 90% humidity reducing any likelihood of the track drying quickly, this 24-lap race got underway. It was poleman Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who rocketed into an early lead with a fast-starting Elias taking the fight to his fellow Spaniard leading the chasers with Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) third early on and Stoner fifth.
Dani led lap two and Anthony West (Kawasaki), who revels in wet conditions, had now jumped up to second in the early order. The Aussie would later be penalized for a jump-start with a ride-through penalty that would wreck his chances of what looked like a possible shock win.
By lap four the order was West, Stoner, the rapid Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) now in third, Pedrosa, de Puniet and then Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). But all was to change as the rain held off and a dry line began to appear. As West entered pitlane to serve his penalty, the rest of the runners began to plan when – not if – they would have to do likewise to change to spare bikes shod with different rubber; either cut slick tyres (for the majority of riders) or full slick tyres for those gambling on the track to dry fully and quickly.
Melandri now led the race as Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) pitted first to swap bikes. Rossi lay third 3.7 seconds behind Stoner in second and as the former World Champion set an early fastest lap of the race, Hayden and Elias pitted while the rest of the field circulated.
Rossi dives inside Stoner as Rossi head towards the race lead while they were all still on Full Wet tires.
The risk of full-wet rubber deteriorating or disintegrating under the drying conditions was now high but by lap ten neither Melandri, Stoner nor Rossi had taken the plunge and sacrificed those podium places for a bike change. Indeed, Rossi took Stoner for second and then Melandri for the lead on lap 15. Marco then pitted and so did Stoner as Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the race while on wet tyres. Capirossi who had taken the gamble of pitting early for slicks now led and the Italian man would lead all the way to the flag now.
Randy DePuniet (14) on the factory Kawasaki dices with Pedros and Rossi in mid pack, before pit stops moved Randy up into 2nd for the finish.
Rossi was in trouble with his brakes and pitted again before emerging once more only to experience difficulties and drop way out of contention for the podium. Capirossi would win this exciting race from De Puniet and Elias while Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha) narrowly missed a podium in fourth as Melandri made fifth, 28 seconds off the leader.
Hayden managed ninth place in the turmoil while Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) couldn’t capitalise on the chaos and fared no better than 16th. Checa ended up 18th and Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V) failed to finish, pitting permanently in the early laps.
The destiny of the World Championship was concluded here in Stoner’s favour. Casey Stoner took sixth place, which was enough to secure him the World Championship title. Rossi remains second and 26 points clear of Dani Pedrosa, who failed to finish the race, while Edwards drops two places down the standings to ninth, with three races remaining. The Aussie now has an unassailable points lead of 297 points. Dani now faces an uphill struggle to steal second overall from Rossi. Dani has 188 points to Rossi’s 214.
Weather and tyre issues brought about an end to Valentino Rossi’s slim title chances today, as he finished 13th in Motegi despite a heroic ride which saw him lead the race at one point. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards suffered similar problems in what was an extraordinary race, finishing one place behind Rossi in 14th. Here Rossi finally makes his first of 2 pit stops to change from his first bike with Full Wets, to his backup bike with Grooved Slicks.
With the asphalt still wet after a morning of light rain, the riders started with wet-weather tyres on a fast-drying track. Rossi got a poor start from second on the grid and crossed the line for the first time in seventh place, with Edwards behind him in eighth. An outstanding ride from the seven-time World Champion then saw him fight his way back to the front, making up five seconds on the leaders and taking the lead on lap 14. The racing line by now was almost completely dry however, and behind him most riders had already opted to pit and change onto their second bikes with slick tyres. When Rossi eventually came in to change one lap later he had built up such a lead that he was able to re-join the race in second place, behind eventual winner Loris Capirossi, but Yamaha’s jubilation was short-lived as Rossi immediately ran into serious issues with his front tyre and was forced to pit again. He rejoined the race in 15th but was able to make up only two places to the finish as he struggled with grip. Edwards, who was in third place when Rossi came in for the first time, rejoined in eighth but had similar tyre problems and also dropped back through the field to cross the line two seconds behind his team-mate.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 13th Time: +1'09.699 - “It’s a great pity for us how everything has turned out this weekend, because in the dry we were faster than Stoner and we could have had a good chance. The first problem today was the weather this morning, but actually we were able to find a good setting for the bike and when the race started we were quite hopeful. I got a bad start but on the drying track I had the fastest pace and I was able to make up five seconds to the leaders. After I passed Melandri I came into the box to change and maybe this was one lap too late, but our strategy was more or less okay because I was able to come back into the race with only Loris in front of me. We had an intermediate front tyre, a slick cut which is normal in these situations, but the bike was almost impossible for me to ride and turn and it felt like there was something seriously wrong. I came back in but my mechanics could see there was nothing wrong so I went straight out again, and by then it was too late; the race was over for me and the championship was gone. After four or five laps the tyre began to work better and I was able to keep going to the end, but without this problem it would have been possible for me to be on the podium or even to fight for the win with Loris. The conditions were very unfortunate. However this is racing and now we have three more races and we will do our best to find a way to win and end the season on a high note. I’m really sorry for my fans and for everyone in the team. Congratulations to Loris but especially to Casey on becoming world champion. I am very flattered that he made a dedication to me on his victory t-shirt, if someone else has to win then I am glad it’s one of my fans! He is a great rival and I hope that we can continue this rivalry into the future.”
Third-placed Elias said: “I’m really happy to be back on the podium. This is an incredible result after the accident at Assen. It’s been a tough couple of months for me and this was a nice reward. I got a good start but I lost a few positions and found myself some way back. I didn’t have anything to lose so I came in early to change bikes. It proved to be the perfect time and the perfect strategy. In general it has been a perfect day, following on from a difficult weekend and a particularly tough race.”
His team-mate Melandri in fifth said: “I was having a good race in the wet, my feeling with the bike was really good and I was able to take over from Stoner and build a bit of a lead. When the track started to dry it was really difficult for me because I was leading the race and it was hard to judge the right moment to come and change the bike because there were still some wet patches. The positive thing is that I've closed the gap to fifth and fourth in the Championship.”
Ninth-placed Nicky Hayden said: “After the weekend we were having and how we felt after qualifying yesterday, it was a shame to see it rain this morning, but the weather is what it is. Really I think we’re lucky to salvage some kind of result out of the day – if it had stayed wet we could have been in even more trouble. But ninth position for Honda’s home race is not the result we’d hoped for. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been on cut slicks – I’ve been in rain tyres or intermediates before – so I did get some useful experience. We’ve still got three more races and we’ll keep fighting. Lastly, congratulations to Casey. There’s a new World Champion today and so congratulations to him and his whole team – they truly deserve it.”
Dani Pedrosa, now confirmed as Honda rider for another two years, said: “Well this is obviously a very disappointing finish to what had been a promising weekend until this morning. In the dry we seemed to have a very good package, but the drying track for the race turned things into a bit of a lottery. With hindsight, perhaps I should have come into the pits a little earlier, but that’s an easier call to make now than at the time. Congratulations to Casey on the championship. He has been very strong all season and really deserves the title today.”
Results MotoGP : (24 laps = 115.224 km)
Pos/ Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time/ KM/H / Gap
1 / Loris CAPIROSSI / ITA / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 47'05.484 / 146.808 /
2 / Randy DE PUNIET / FRA / Kawasaki Racing Team / KAWASAKI / 47'16.337 / 146.247 / 10.853
3 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Honda Gresini / HONDA / 47'17.010 / 146.212 / 11.526
4 / Sylvain GUINTOLI / FRA / Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 47'17.676 / 146.178 / 12.192
5 / Marco MELANDRI / ITA / Honda Gresini / HONDA / 47'34.053 / 145.339 / 28.569
6 / Casey STONER / AUS / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 47'36.663 / 145.206 / 31.179
7 / Anthony WEST / AUS / Kawasaki Racing Team / KAWASAKI / 47'55.485 / 144.256 / 50.001
8 / Alex BARROS / BRA / Pramac d'Antin / DUCATI / 47'57.827 / 144.138 / 52.343
9 / Nicky HAYDEN / USA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 47'59.113 / 144.074 / 53.629
10 / John HOPKINS / USA / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 48'05.199 / 143.770 / 59.715
11 / Chris VERMEULEN / AUS / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 48'08.288 / 143.616 / 1'02.804
12 / Makoto TAMADA / JPN / Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 48'14.797 / 143.293 / 1'09.313
13 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 48'15.183 / 143.274 / 1'09.699
14 / Colin EDWARDS / USA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 48'17.219 / 143.173 / 1'11.735
15 / Shinichi ITO / JPN / Pramac d'Antin / DUCATI / 48'17.774 / 143.146 / 1'12.290
Pole Position: Dani PEDROSA 1'45.864 163.262 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Toni ELIAS 1'50.718 156.104 Km/h Lap 23
Circuit Record Lap: Valentino ROSSI 1'47.288 161.095 Km/h 2006
Circuit Best Lap: Loris CAPIROSSI 1'45.724 163.478 Km/h 2006
World Championship Positions:
1 STONER 297 (World Champion), 2 ROSSI 214, 3 PEDROSA 188, 4 HOPKINS 156, 5 VERMEULEN 152, 6 MELANDRI 148, 7 CAPIROSSI 130, 8 HAYDEN 112, 9 EDWARDS 108, 10 BARROS 91, 11 ELIAS 87, 12 DE PUNIET 78, 13 HOFMANN 65, 14 CHECA 54, 15 WEST 54.
Above: the entire Ducati MotoGP team with Capirossi (65) and Stoner (27). Click for a biiger photo
250cc GP to Kallio on KTM
Mika Kallio (KTM) won his first 250cc race in his rookie season ahead of second-placed man Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) and Hector Barbera (Aprilia) in third. Perhaps of equal importance runaway series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) could only manage 11th.
Poleman Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) led into turn one, but Dovi soon took the initiative at the front of the pack in the dripping wet conditions with Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM), Kallio, Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) and
Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) in close pursuit.
But the field would soon spread itself out and by lap eight Dovi led Takahashi with Barbera third, with the KTM duo fourth and fifth. But not all of them would make it to the flag. The unfortunate Hiro Aoyama falling on the penultimate lap.
On the final lap backmarkers marginally held up the progress of Dovizioso as he tried vainly to make up ground on the rapid Kallio. The Italian lost a third of a second on that last of 23-laps but Kallio was unlikely to be troubled by the man who knows a points finish might yet prove invaluable in his quest to catch Lorenzo for the title.
Lorenzo still leads with 262 points to Dovi’s 226, but with 75 points still available in the next three rounds, Dovi has everything to ride for still, having caught Lorenzo and narrowly lost out to him in last season’s series.
Dovi said: “That was a very difficult race, but at least the possibility of a World Championship is still alive. I’m happy enough now but on that last lap I really had to slow down and not risk crashing because Kallio was so fast. It seems there’s always someone in front of me at the moment but we’ll keep trying and see what happens.”
Race Classification 250cc: (23 laps = 110.423 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Red Bull KTM 250 / KTM / 48'28.585 / 136.672 /
2 / Andrea DOVIZIOSO / ITA / Kopron Team Scot / HONDA / 48'33.478 / 136.442 / 4.893
3 / Hector BARBERA / SPA / Team Toth Aprilia / APRILIA / 48'50.112 / 135.668 / 21.527
4 / Yuki TAKAHASHI / JPN / Kopron Team Scot / HONDA / 48'52.073 / 135.577 / 23.488
5 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / Master - Mapfre Aspar / APRILIA / 48'53.963 / 135.490 / 25.378
6 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Repsol Honda 250cc / HONDA / 49'10.849 / 134.714 / 42.264
7 / Marco SIMONCELLI / ITA / Metis Gilera / GILERA / 49'17.367 / 134.417 / 48.782
8 / Hiroshi AOYAMA / JPN / Red Bull KTM 250 / KTM / 49'26.367 / 134.009 / 57.782
9 / Shuhei AOYAMA / JPN / Repsol Honda 250cc / HONDA / 49'37.634 / 133.502 / 1'09.049
10 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia / APRILIA / 49'39.422 / 133.422 / 1'10.837
11 / Jorge LORENZO / SPA / Fortuna Aprilia / APRILIA / 49'41.620 / 133.324 / 1'13.035
12 / Seijin OIKAWA / JPN / Will Access With Plus Myu / YAMAHA / 49'54.956 / 132.730 / 1'26.371
13 / Jules CLUZEL / FRA / Angaia Racing / APRILIA / 50'04.821 / 132.295 / 1'36.236
14 / Youichi UI / JPN / Malossi & Spruce & Pro-Tec / YAMAHA / 50'15.683 / 131.818 / 1'47.098
15 / Alvaro BAUTISTA / SPA / Master - Mapfre Aspar / APRILIA / 50'18.666 / 131.688 / 1'50.081
Pole Position: Shuhei AOYAMA 1'51.327 155.250 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Andrea DOVIZIOSO 2'04.160 139.204 Km/h Lap 13
Circuit Record Lap: Shinya NAKANO 1'52.253 153.970 Km/h 2000
Circuit Best Lap: Shuhei AOYAMA 1'51.327 155.250 Km/h 2007
World Championship Positions:
1 LORENZO 262, 2 DOVIZIOSO 226, 3 DE ANGELIS 208, 4 BAUTISTA 161, 5 BARBERA 146,
6 KALLIO 119, 7 AOYAMA 116, 8 LUTHI 104, 9 SIMON 93, 10 AOYAMA 79,
11 SIMONCELLI 75, 12 TAKAHASHI 69, 13 LAI 49, 14 LOCATELLI 42, 15 ESPARGARO 35.
Our British lasses and official SBK Fast Dates Superbike Calendar Kittens at Brands Hatch, (left to right) and Rhian Sugden and Gemma with a mock-up new 2008 Ducati 1098R Superbike. SCREENSAVER
New 2008 Ducati Superbike R model goes to full 1198cc!
and more sharply focused for racing than previously
Sept 15th, 2007 - FastDates.com is starting to get snippets of information on the new generation Ducati R-model Superbike which will certainly be unveiled in 2 months time at the annual Milan International Motorcycle Show where Ducati likes to make all its new model introductions. The bike will just be entering production around that time with dealer deliveries beginning around January 1st.
Most significantly the new R-model will receive increased displacement to a 1198cc to take full advantage of the new 1200c allowable FIM displacement limit for V-twin superbikes. But the production racer may still be called a 1098R to help support sales of the regular Ducati 1098 Superbike models, confusing, something Ducati has done historically in the past with its other Superbikes. Power will be increased on the new R-model to 180hp, up 20hp from the 160hp of the current 1098 Superbike.
We've also been told the new R production racer bike, though still street legal, will be much more narrowly focused than previous R models. We are guessing this means higher caliber Ohlins race track suspension units like fitted on the new Desmosedici RR, possibly the RR's forged magnesium instead of aluminum Marchesini wheels, plus a slipper clutch. We hope it gets the adjustable steering head that was deleated from the current 1098 Superbike to help cut cost, and is critical for a quicker responding track bike. Of course, carbon fibre bodywork as fitted on this year's special edition 1098S Tri Colore. And as usual a full race Termignoni Exhaust System will be included in the packing crate with the street legal bike. While the new generation 1098 Superbikes saw a significant $4,000 price drop over the previous 999 generation Superbike, the higher priced components on the 1198R will keep it priced back up the $32,000 range of previous R-models.
We shot the above photo in the Ducati Paddock at Brands Hatch World Superbike this past month, where we found a new 1098 Superbike painted up in the current team Ducati Corse Xerox livery to give us an idea of what the new factory Ducati 1298F Superbikes will look like next season when they change from the old 999 model to the new 1098 generation bikes. The factory Team Corse F-model race bikes are always based on the homologated R-model production bikes.
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NEW Just Published!
The AMA to Get Out of Professional racing!
The one flash of hope on the bleak horrizon of roadracing in America, where attendace averages are down under 5,000 fans per race, is this statement last week from new AMA President / CEO Rob Dingman - "We are getting out of the racing series and event promotions business and we are activerly searching for series promoters for all race disciplines.. In the future, we will continue to sanction events and provide operational staff to assist qualified series promotion groups in the growth of the sport."
With the AMA finally out of the way after half a century of failure, and American roadracing taken over by a for-profit owner like Dorna in MotoGP and FGSport in World Superbike, perhaps finally American roadracing can grow to equal the stature of the sport in other areas of the world. - Editor
Inside the new Ducati Desmosedici RR
Going into production next month for a lucky few!
FIM ANNOUNCES 2008 PROVISIONAL MotoGP CALENDAR
Sept 2nd - The FIM today announced amendments to the provisional calendar for the 2008 MotoGP World Championship. The events in Portugal and Valencia will be held a week earlier than originally scheduled, whilst Japan and Australia exchange their dates:
Date Grand Prix Circuit
March 9th Qatar Losail
March 30th Spain Jerez de la Frontera
April 13th Portugal Estoril
May 4th China Shanghai
May 18th France Le Mans
June 1st Italy Mugello
June 8th Catalunya Catalunya
June 22nd Great Britain Donington Park
June 28th Netherlands Assen
July 13th Germany Sachsenring
July 20th United States* Laguna Seca
August 17th Czech Republic Brno
August 31st San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
September 14th Indianapolis Indianapolis
September 28th Japan Motegi
October 5th Australia Phillip Island
October 19th Malaysia Sepang
October 26th Valencia Ricardo Tormo - Valencia
* Only MotoGP class
** Saturday race
Kawasaki Celebrate DiPuniet's 2nd place
An elated Kawasaki Racing Team are today celebrating Randy de Puniet's superb second place at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, after one of the most thrilling races in recent MotoGP history.
The 26-year-old Frenchman, starting from fourth on the grid, got off to a patchy start when he dropped back to 10th place as the pack launched itself off the line. He then had to contend with a couple of trips into the gravel, and a pit stop to change bikes, but it all failed to stop him from scoring his first ever premier class podium position.
What started as a wet race soon turned out to be a dry one and pit lane was a hive of frenzied activity as, one by one, riders came in to change bikes and slick tyres became the order of the day. De Puniet swapped machines at the end of lap seven and went from eighth position to 13th when he rejoined the track. From there, he made steady progress until finding himself behind eventual winner, Loris Capirossi, on lap 16, where he stayed until the end. It is a longed-for and hard-earned reward for him, his crew, the team and Bridgestone who are also celebrating: all today's top three riders, plus new world champion, Casey Stoner, are in partnership with the Japanese tyre manufacturer.
Anthony West, also rode what can only be described as an incredible race. From sixth on the grid, the Australian found himself leading by the end of the second lap but, after a jump-start, he had to complete a ride through penalty and rejoined the pack in 14th. However, the 26-year-old was in no mood to give in and continued to fight his way back until he then had to pit again, this time to change bikes. In the process, he went from seventh to 11th but still he rode hard, eventually, and against all odds, finishing the race in a magnificent seventh, equalling his previous best MotoGP performance at Laguna Seca, where he'd encountered none of today's obstacles.
Wild card rider, Akira Yanagawa, also has something to smile about. Five years after debuting the first 990cc Kawasaki MotoGP bike at Motegi, but failing to finish after a mechanical problem caused him to crash out, the 36-year-old has now completed a premier class race, taking 17th position in a field of 21. He pulled a huge wheelie over the line, much to the delight of the team who were, by this stage, clambering all over pit wall in euphoria over all three riders' achievements.
It was a particularly special race for Kawasaki: the team's first 800cc podium, the first podium this season, West leading a MotoGP for the first time and Yanagawa finally completing a premier class race. And all at the manufacturer's home round.
DUCATI CORSE SIGNS MICHEL FABRIZIO FOR 2008 WORLD SUPERBIKE SEASON
Bologna (Italy), Monday 10 September 2007 : Ducati Corse wishes to announce that it has signed the young Italian rider, Michel Fabrizio, to compete in the 2008 World Superbike Championship season in the factory Ducati Xerox Team alongside Australian Troy Bayliss.
Rome-born Michel Fabrizio, who turns 23 next week on September 17th, has joined the team on a one-year contract and his first race for Ducati Xerox will be the opening round of the 2008 championship.
"I am really happy!" declared Michel. "I hope I will give a good impression of myself within the team and I also hope I can enter the hearts of all the Ducatisti throughout the world. The decision came about while I was on holiday in August. I received a telephone call from Davide Tardozzi, who said there was a possibility of racing for Ducati, and that was a great satisfaction for me. It's a big commitment, we will have the new bike and I'm going to have to work really hard. I know we have 12 days of testing available and I've got to make the most of them, because I immediately have to get to know the new bike and start to gel with my new team. My first appearance will for sure be after October 30th, when my contract with Honda comes to an end, so that means in the scheduled tests in November. My team-mate Troy Bayliss is the only thing that I'm not worried about because Troy is a great person and a great rider, so I think I can learn a lot from him. I can't wait to start this new adventure!".
Michel began racing in 1999 at the age of 15 in the Honda Trophy events and was already on the podium after two races. The next couple of years saw Michel emerge with a series of wins and titles in the Coppa Italia (2000) and Challenge Aprilia, Supercampione and Sport Production (2001). In 2002 he arrived on the world scene when he was given a ride on a Gilera in 125 GP but results were disappointing. Alstare Racing then offered Fabrizio the chance to race in the European Superstock category and the Roman repaid the faith in him by winning the title in 2003 at the age of 19. In 2004 Michel was again back in the World Road-Racing Championships, but this time on the WCM machine in MotoGP. The next year Fabrizio scored a few good results in World Supersport with a Team Megabike Honda and this was followed in 2006 by a move up to World Superbike with a Honda for the DFX Corse team, where he is currently competing. Michel's best results in World Superbike have been a second and a third at Brno in 2006, a third at Assen and another third place at Brno this year.
Ducati Corse Superbike Project Leader, Davide Tardozzi, added: "We'd like to give a warm welcome to Michel who is a talented young rider and who in our opinion has not yet expressed all of his considerable potential. 2008 will surely be an important season for him, seeing as for the first time he is part of a factory team. All of us here in Ducati Corse would like to thank Lorenzo Lanzi for the commitment he has demonstrated in these years, and for the popularity he has been able to create with all the many Ducati tifosi".
Toseland Looses Ground
With 2 Rounds Remaining
James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) battled as hard at Eurospeedway Lausitz as he ever has to win races in the 2007 series, but was rewarded with only a ninth and fourth place finish, and a reduced championship lead to boot. Despite losing ground to both his main championship rivals, he still leaves Germany with a healthy 41-point championship lead. Noriyuki Haga won the first race and Troy Bayliss the second.
In the championship Toseland now has 375 points, Haga 334, Max Biaggi 322 and Bayliss 296. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Honda has a five-point advantage, with four races and two rounds still to go.
25 points are awarded for a race win, with 4 races remaining in the 2 final rounds.
In the first race, second row qualifier Toseland was in trouble from the start, with a mystery lack of rear traction throughout, leading to a reduction of forward push that caused him to drop from the leading bunch to ninth. He was passed on the very last lap by Lorenzo Lanzi; finding himself unable to do anything about it.
Top Honda finisher in race one was thus Roberto Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) in fifth, with next best rider being Karl Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR) who took tenth place. Rookie rider in his first SBK race, Yoann Tiberio (Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR) scored one point for finishing 15th.
Michel Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda CBR1000RR) crashed and had to pull out of race one while in a top position, while his teammate Luca Morelli (DFX Corse Honda CBR1000RR) also failed to finish.
In race two, Toseland was in the leading group at the start once more but although not able to compete for the podium places, he fended off the close attentions of Troy Corser to secure fourth place, and more valuable points to take into the final rounds.
Rolfo was seventh in race two, Muggeridge again tenth, with a tiring Fabrizio 13th, and Tiberio 18th. A second technical issue, on lap eight of the second race, forced Morelli out.
For Toseland the story of his day was clear - sheer bad luck. The fact that he had to swap to his second bike to eradicate the mere possibility there was a problem with his first machine was not an ideal way to finish a race weekend as important as this one.
James Toseland - “A tough day at the office today,” said the championship leader. “I have worked so hard to get the advantage I took away from Brands Hatch that to be riding round in ninth in race one does not do me or this team justice. The second race was just normal by comparison, but because things were so bad with traction in the first race we had to swap to my spare bike because we didn’t know what was happening with the lack of grip in race one. We set the second bike the same as the first one was in race two - and it was two or more seconds a lap quicker. But the bikes were the same, so it was nothing mechanical in race one. If I had a third and a fourth today, which was more than possible, then I would have left here without too much of an indentation in my championship lead. It could have been worse, but after a double win at Brands Hatch I shouldn’t have been worrying about my lead being cut here.”
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MotoGP video content available on YouTube
Sept 1st - MotoGP commercial rights holders Dorna Sports S.L. today announced that they are making World Championship motorcycle racing content available on YouTube by launching a branded Channel on the popular video-sharing site. (www.youtube.com/motogp)
The dedicated MotoGP Channel features video highlights, action clips and feature programs such as the ever-popular ‘After the Flag’. The Channel also gives YouTube users worldwide the ability to not only view MotoGP clips but also to rate them, recommend them to friends and post their own video responses to communicate with other MotoGP fans.
The new branded Channel will also include links to the official MotoGP website (http://www.motogp.com)
YouTube is the world’s most popular online video community to discover, watch and share originally created content.
MotoGP already has a huge presence on the world wide web, courtesy of official website motogp.com. The agreement with YouTube means that more video content can be found at www.youtube.com/motogp