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Honda riders seek home glory

Honda riders seek home glory

While Casey Stoner will be looking to clinch the World Championship this weekend and Valentino Rossi will be doing his best to prevent the Australian from doing so, the emphasis will be on all the HRC riders on the MotoGP grid to push hard for good results too - at the Honda owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

While Casey Stoner will be looking to clinch the World Championship this weekend and Valentino Rossi will be doing his best to prevent the Australian from doing so, the emphasis will be on all the HRC riders on the MotoGP grid to push hard for good results too - at the Honda owned Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

A victory for the Japanese firm at home would also bring up their half century milestone of 50 wins in the premier class since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP rules in 2002 - which would be a nice way to mark the 25th anniversary this year of the founding of Hondas competition focussed Honda Racing Corporation unit in 1982.

The Honda man with perhaps the best chance of maximum points at round fifteen of the World Championship, on recent form alone, is Repsol Hondas Dani Pedrosa, who goes into this weekends race on the back of a superb run to second place days ago at Estoril.

Motegi is where Pedrosa first rode the improving RC212V and as the only Honda rider to have won a MotoGP race this season he approaches the Japanese challenge saying: For sure the race in Portugal has given us a boost and so Im really looking forward to going straight to Motegi and hopefully picking up where we left off at Estoril. We made some small changes to the machine during the weekend in Portugal and they helped us improve the speed in the race, so well continue with those in Japan.

Defending World Champion Nicky Hayden (also Repsol Honda) has had a tough time this year, but the Kentucky Kid has never let his work-rate drop and after notching up three podiums in the second half of this season as his competitiveness has improved, the American would love to get back to winning ways at the track where he scored his first ever rostrum finish way back in 2003.

Hayden commented: Japan is always an exciting Grand Prix because its in the home country of most of the manufacturers, including Honda, which definitely adds a bit of an edge to it. Plus the Japanese fans are pretty cool and theyre always really good to me.

Gresini Hondas Marco Melandri, meanwhile, has been hampered by injuries recently but returning to full fitness he certainly has the ability to pick up his first win of the year in Japan, while his team-mate Toni Elias is still battling back from his Assen horror crash. Both Honda riders will of course be pushing it to the limit this weekend in their typical aggressive styles.

For LCR Hondas Carlos Checa who represented Honda in Japan earlier this year at the Suzuka 8 Hours event - the recent improvements demonstrated at Misano and Estoril, where he finished sixth and seventh respectively, mean he arrives in the Far East in a positive frame of mind.

Where additional Honda competitors are concerned, this is without doubt Shinya Nakanos biggest date of the season and the Konica Minolta Honda rider enthusiastically stated this week: As you can imagine Im very much looking forward to my home race in front of both the fans, the Honda factory and my sponsors. Being a Honda track its very important to do well here. I like Motegi very much, but its a stop-and-go circuit with some hard braking and accelerating areas.

The overall grip on the circuit isnt too bad, although in the past Ive found the circuit pretty tough on tyres, so well see what happens with my 2007 package with the Honda RC212V and Michelin tyres. With the steady improvements weve made over the last few races, I think well have a pretty good package here.

Anyone looking for a true outsiders bet could place some money on Kurtis Roberts, whose Roberts KR212V machinery runs on a Honda engine. Aiming to better his best result thus far of 12th in Germany, the American revealed: Were expecting a bit of extra help from Honda here and we sure appreciate what the factorys been doing for us all season. Hopefully we can repay that with a decent result after a long season.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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