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Motegi Race Review: Mixing Things Up

April 28th, 2009

The race in Japan was much more interesting to watch than the season opener in Qatar. There was much more of a fight for the podium – and some surprises.

The first surprise was to see Jorge Lorenzo on the top spot of the podium. Everyone was expecting the usual suspects – Rossi or Stoner, but Lorenzo managed to fight his way passed Rossi and stay there – showing he is a serious contender this year.

Another surprise was Dani Pedrosa. Because of his injuries and lack of track time he was not a favorite for the podium. He got one of his rocket starts that he is known for and managed to stay near the top the whole race. He and Rossi put on a great show of passing each other for a while before Rossi managed to put a gap between himself and the Spaniard. But Pedrosa himself was surprised and pleased to be in third.

Casey Stoner must have been very disappointed in the results. He got an awful start and didn’t really get a good rhythm until part way through the race. He finally did manage to get a pace that was similar to the leaders – but it was too late and he had to settle for fourth.

Marco Melandri had a very good race, ending up in 6th. This was a great result for a bike with no factory support anymore. It must have Kawasaki questioning their decision to pull out of MotoGP. Melandri is showing that he might have a great season – way better than last years anyway.

Poor Nicky Hayden can’t catch a break. After bike troubles in practice at Qatar and than an awful high-side in the Qatar qualifying, Nicky was looking forward to a better race. Yuki Takahashi made sure that his Nicky’s luck wouldn’t change – he rammed him and took him out of the race.

Again, Mika Kallio is showing that he might be the only one besides Stoner who can ride the Ducati. A very respectable 8th place after starting 17th on the grid is a great showing for a rookie.

So far the season looks like it will be interesting – Lorenzo has 41 points, Rossi is only one behind and Stoner has 38 points. Dani Pedrosa is in 5th with 21 points, but now that he is healthy it looks like he will be a real threat too. I can’t wait to see what happens in Jerez this weekend.

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