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.
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.
Red Bull KTM 250 star Mika Kallio rode to his maiden 250 cc victory in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix to score a hat-trick on the Motegi circuit, an appropriate way to also mark the birth of his first child, a baby girl born last Sunday Kallio won the 125 cc races on this circuit in 2005 and 2006. "It looks like Motegi is a very good track for us," he said. The 24-year-old Finn had a great start from the second row of the grid, but calculated his moves very carefully in tricky and damp conditions, before opening a lead of almost five seconds by the end of the race.
"By mid-race, I overtook Dovizioso and continued to push, but I was always followed very closely. There didn't seem to be any change to get away so I decided to just ride at my own rhythm. Then it started to drizzle again, which was disturbing, but I was able to keep my speed. I only noticed in the last lap that Dovizioso was the only one left behind me and the fact that he slowed made it easier in the end."
Kallio's performance also drew praise from Technical Director Harald Bartol. 'His race was a tactical masterpiece. In the beginning, he was looking carefully how the grip level was and how the tyres were doing, and in the end, he had an ace up his sleeve that he pulled out in the right moment.'
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.
Coming from a racing family, Ratthapark Wilairot is the Thai rising star in the world of motorcycle racing. Being the eldest son of motorcycle Champion Christmas Wilairot, Ratthapark (Film), who has been officially named to represent Thailand by the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Christmas Wilairot has two sons Fort and Film who both race for their father's racing team, with Film (Ratthapark Wilairot) now racing for AP Honda in the All Japan championships and GP250. Ratthapong Wilairot (the youngest son) doing some Thai domestic 125cc road champion racing.
Ratthapark Wilairot, 19, from Chonburi started to ride motorcycle when he was between 5 or 8 years old and quickly became under the guidance of his father as a skilled rider.
The Honda Air Blade is the latest addition to the fleet of Honda motor bikes available in Thailand at the moment. The Honda Air Blade designed by Kaoru Hayashi and his team is one of the sleekest of the scooter style motor bikes available on the market.
The Honda Air Blade with its sharp wide beam twin headlights has numerous features that make it one of the best value and most reliable motor bike, the Honda Air Blade is a strong competitor on a highly competitive motorcycle market.
The Honda Air Blade's 110cc four-stroke engine with built-in liquid cooling is compact but packs more horsepower than a standard 125cc air-cooled automatic motorcycle engine. Ride comfortably, confidently and smoothly at all speeds with the efficient new V-Matic belt-drive transmission that uses a long-lasting reinforced steel belt.
Rizla Suzuki's Chris 'Stalker' Walker took his best qualifying position of the season securing second place on the grid at the 12th round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park today.
Stalker spent three practice sessions building up his effort, slashing his lap times every outing on circuit. He started strong in qualification but left his best effort to the final minutes, setting a blistering pace at the 2.5-mile long twisting and challenging circuit.
Cal Crutchlow was vying for the top spot on the time-sheets during every session and was challenging again in qualification but was held up by traffic on his quick laps, eventually ending up fifth fastest and heading up the second row.
In previous stories I talked about carburetors Rich conditions and Lean Conditions, this is all fine of course if you know how to detect if your engine carburetor is set Rich or Lean.
To help with that, I will explain simple means to detect the setting of your bike. With a perfectly tuned engine you will get the power you need, it amazes me sometimes what people spent on kits to improve performance, while all they needed to do is get the settings right.
Okay that said what is a Rich Condition, while a black, scooty spark plug is a sure sign of richness, there are other indicators that are a bit subtler and better ways of dialing in the carburetor jetting.
If your engine responds crispy at low throttle when it is cold, chances are the main jet is one size larger than it needs to be. Assuming, of course, that the idle circuit is correctly tuned.
Poor fuel mileage is another sign of richness and because of the way most of us ride our motorcycles, that richness is unusually the result of a needle that is too small.
Valentino Rossi sealed his tenth front-row start of the season ahead of tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi today, the Italian taking second place on an all-Michelin front row in between Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden. Colin Edwards also had a good session, qualifying seventh at the head of the third row.
After making a poor start to the weekend by finishing 14th yesterday, Rossi made a step up this morning and put in the second fastest time in free practice. His qualifying session did not get off to plan however as he made an off-track excursion in the opening minutes and then found himself down in 18th place mid-way through. Edwards meanwhile, was doing little better in 17th, but both began to steadily improve as they worked on refining their race settings and finalizing their tyre choices for tomorrow
Once it came down to qualifying tyres it was clear that Rossi especially was on top form and his first run put him in second place, before improving again with his second tyre and moving one place higher
Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Anthony West overcame soaring temperatures and exhausting humidity at the Motegi circuit this afternoon, to qualify their Ninja ZX-RR machines on the second row of the grid for tomorrow's 24-lap Japanese Grand Prix.
Kawasaki wild card rider, Akira Yanagawa, will be chasing his team mates from the seventh row of the grid, after qualifying in 19th position today.
De Puniet opened proceedings this afternoon by switching to a qualifying tyre just before the halfway point in the session, capturing pole position with his first attack lap. The 26-year-old Frenchman held onto the top spot until the final six minutes, before finally being deposed by eventual pole sitter, Dani Pedrosa.
At 21, Casey Stoner sits at the top of his chosen sport, one race away from being crowned champion of the motorcycling world with the customary shower of champagne. Casey Stoner, met his wife Adriana Tuchyna, 18 at Phillip Island four years ago when Adriana asked him to sign her stomach.
In March, Stoner won the opening race of the MotoGP championship in Qatar, forcing Valentino Rossi, the sport's biggest name, to settle for second place.
It was no fluke. Stoner has now won eight of 14 races this year and enters the Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow (Midday, 12:00 pm Thai time) having virtually lapped the field. But if you're thinking he is an overnight sensation, think again.