Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet will be aiming to improve upon last year's premier class outing here, when he crashed out on lap nine. In previous years, when riding in the 250cc World Championship, the Frenchman proved more than capable of conquering the circuit: scoring a couple of top ten finishes at the track. After the disappointment of last week's Portuguese Grand Prix, where a mechanical fault ended his race, de Puniet hopes for a better result at the Twin Ring on Sunday.
Anthony West is also familiar with the circuit, having raced 1000cc V-twins throughout Japan in his younger years, as well as competing in 250s, and one 500cc race, at world championship level. He also took part in an endurance race here once, his team coming second, so he's put enough laps in to know his way around. The 26-year-old Australian, who recently signed to stay with the Kawasaki squad next season, will be hoping to overcome his recent struggles with set up and show both strength and stamina this weekend.
Yamaha has today confirmed that Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga will remain with the Yamaha Motor Italia World Superbike Team in 2008.
A flamboyant and much-loved character, Haga has worked with Yamaha for many years and his WSB career highlights include second in 2000 and third title position in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Currently Haga is fighting for the 2007 title with only 41 points separating him in second place from front man Toseland, having caught up 25 points at the last round in Lausitz. With only two rounds remaining on 30th September (Vallelunga, Italy) and 7th October (Magny Cours, France) Haga is taking the fight for WSB crown all the way to the wire. So far this season he has already won four races, including taking the double win at the team's home circuit of Monza.
Continuing improvements with the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine and the enhanced performance of Michelin's latest tyres make for another promising weekend ahead as the Fiat Yamaha Team head east for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship in Japan this weekend. A frantic pack-up operation took place at the Estoril circuit on Sunday evening as the entire paddock prepared to make the gruelling 11,000 kilometre journey from the western tip of Europe to far east Asia, where Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will do battle for Yamaha in the factory's home country.
The long trip to Motegi has at least been taken in buoyant mood thanks to Rossi's stunning fourth victory of the season in Portugal. The Italian kept his slim World Championship hopes alive with a breathtaking ride that saw him cut the gap to series leader Casey Stoner to 76 points with four rounds and a maximum haul of 100 points remaining. The race in Japan is followed by trips to Australia and Malaysia before the series returns to Europe for its traditionally grand finale at Valencia in Spain.
Designed in 1997 as a test venue, Motegi has ultra-modern facilities although the outstanding paddock is not quite matched by the intricacies and character of a somewhat geometric circuit layout.
CH Racing Husqvarna's Seb Guillaume has claimed is sixth double Enduro 3 class podium result of the '07 World Enduro Championship season, this time at the eighth and final round of this years WEC series staged in Noirtable, France.
Topping the competitive E3 class on day one to claim his first day win of the season Seb then went on to finish as runner-up to newly crowned E3 world champion Ivan Cervantes on day two to bring his '07 WEC campaign to an impressive close. A mixture of clear skies, warm temperatures, a demanding rock littered course and three challenging special tests resulted in the GP of France being one of the most physically demanding world championship races this year.
For Seb it was his best event of the championship as he finally managed to beat Spain's Ivan Cervantes and stand on top of the E3 class podium.