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Criville ready to ride again at Motegi

Criville ready to ride again at Motegi

The 1999 World Champion Alex Criville will be on track at Motegi on Saturday on a Honda NSR500, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of MotoGP racing at the Japanese circuit.

Alex Criville will be back in his World Championship leathers this coming weekend in Japan, as he rolls out the Honda NSR500 once more as part of Motegi´s `tenth anniversary in MotoGP´ celebrations.

A number of former HRC riders are set to join Criville on track at the Twin Ring circuit on Saturday, with a series of demonstration laps on Honda machinery from the renowned museum at the Japanese venue.

Ahead of the celebratory events caught up with ex-Repsol Honda star Criville to get his thoughts on remounting the NSR500 which he rode to World title glory in 1999.

What do you remember about that first race at Motegi in 1999?
`Well, the rain was crazy! Kenny Roberts Jr made a great start and Mick Doohan went after him, chasing him down. In the wet every rider takes the race as he can. That was the second race of the year and I wanted to be careful and not take too many risks, even though I wanted to maintain a good position in the World Championship. I was fighting with Norick Abe and Sete Gibernau and at the end I crossed the line fourth, in my first race at Motegi and in fact that was my best result ever there.´

How does it feel to be getting back on a 500cc at Motegi? Are you looking forward to the celebrations?
`It will be amazing. To have that feeling of riding the NSR500 again and with Mick Doohan and Freddie Spencer will be a real pleasure. I guess it is like going back in time! It is superb that on the Japanese Grand Prix weekend we can celebrate the anniversary like this, with the Honda bosses arranging for the old bikes to come out of retirement in the museum and to put them back out on the track. We have to thank them for acknowledging the heritage of the sport like this and as soon as they asked me to participate of course I said yes.´

Did you like the circuit as a rider?
`The track is very good. It has two or three unique features which make it different. The back straight and the braking point at the end. The part just before you go through the tunnel which then brings you onto the last section and on which the races are normally decided. For me the first corner was really tricky, it is difficult to take it correctly. We have seen, and always will see, great racing at Motegi.´

Criville will participate in the tenth anniversary celebrations at Motegi early on Saturday afternoon, from 12.30pm to 12.50pm local time.

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Repsol Honda Team

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