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MotoGP heads to Japan for flyaway finale

MotoGP heads to Japan for flyaway finale

MotoGP heads to Japan for flyaway finale

After one of the most exciting Grands Prix of the season in Australia, the MotoGP tour sets off for Motegi for the third race in as many weekends; the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan.

Nicky Hayden enters the land of the rising sun as the leader of a closely-fought 2006 MotoGP World Championship. Valentino Rossi has cut the gap between himself and Hayden for the last 3 races, and with third place in Australia he narrowed the Kentucky Kid's advantage in the standings to 21 points. Both will be chasing a win at Motegi to put themselves in with the best chance of raising the MotoGP trophy this season.

Behind the leading two are a duo who can't yet be ruled out of lifting their first premier class title, although both had very different fortunes at Phillip Island one week ago. Marco Melandri took victory after the pouring rain caused riders to change machines and tyres midway through the Australian race, whilst Dani Pedrosa showed his aversion to wet conditions, especially whilst riding injured, and only managed a lowly fifteenth. Both have accrued 193 points so far this season but Melandri lies ahead having won three races to Pedrosa's two.

Loris Capirossi lies 45 points behind Hayden, perhaps just one step too far for the gutsy Italian. He is always in with a shout of victory though, and could add further intrigue to the title race at Motegi, where last year he claimed his second MotoGP triumph for Ducati. He leads Casey Stoner and the American triumvirate of Kenny Roberts Jr, John Hopkins and Colin Edwards.

Australian rider Chris Vermeulen took his first MotoGP podium at his home race, and will want to do well for Suzuki in Japan. He completes the top ten in the overall classification.

In 250cc, Jorge Lorenzo comes off a run of four victories in five races and holds a 24-point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso. With both consistent podium finishers, the title race could take many twists and turns over the next two weeks, with the Phillip Island race perhaps giving a better idea of who will take this year's quarter litre crown.

Alex de Angelis and Yuki Takahashi are separated by a single point in their battle for third place, whilst Roberto Locatelli and Hiroshi Aoyama round off the top six places.

The 125cc category has already crowned its World Champion, 21 year-old Spaniard Alvaro Bautista. The Master MVA Aspar rider has been the dominant force in the class this season, with an incredible seven wins and only having been off the podium on one occasion (a fourth place at Le Mans). Mika Kallio is the frontrunner for second place in the championship, 29 points ahead of Mattia Pasini.

The top six is completed by Sergio Gadea, Hector Faubel and Lukas Pesek.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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