Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández head to Japan for the first of three races in as many weekends and look to improve their performances on the other side of the world.
Another season of the MotoGP World Championship is nearing its decisive finish and in just a little over a month’s time the 2016 champion will have been crowned. It seems only yesterday that Jorge Lorenzo was celebrating victory under the lights of Qatar but with only four races now remaining Marc Márquez is the man edging closer to the title. Márquez’s latest victory at Motorland Aragón edged him another nine points clear at the top of the standings and although his chances of claiming the title are slim at the home of his factory in Japan, where he already claimed his second MotoGP title, there is a chance. The Spaniard would have to repeat his wins there in the 125cc and Moto2 classes and hope that Valentino Rossi scores no more than two points and Jorge Lorenzo fails to finish on the podium. The Twin Ring Motegi, a circuit full of hard acceleration and even harder braking, is ready for 24 laps of action.
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The Pull&Bear Aspar Team riders are also ready for three races outside Europe before returning for the team’s home round at Valencia, as they target a return to the form that has seen them both regularly in the points earlier in the season. Eugene Laverty has been outside the top ten for the past three races, making his overall aim for the season more difficult. The Irishman is now thirteen points adrift of the top ten in the championship with four races remaining to close the gap. Yonny Hernández and his crew have work to do over these next races as they attempt to get more life out of the tyres over the final few laps to allow the Colombian to fight for more points.
Eugene Laverty: “I am not happy with the results over the past few races, we haven’t picked up enough points and I think we have much more potential. We need to start improving and getting back to where we have proved we can be. We have four races left until the end of the season and we want to get the maximum we can out of them. The changes we have made to the bike over the last few rounds have improved its performance under braking and Motegi is all about hard braking so I think we can be strong there.”
Yonny Hernández: “Generally speaking the Grand Prix of Japan usually takes place in difficult conditions like rain, the weather is variable… Even so, I like the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, I like the corners and the hard-braking. Also we saw at Aragón that when we have grip we can be competitive. We have taken a step forward in the past two races and I hope to continue like this but we know that we have to keep working to make sure the tyre lasts until the final few laps. It is an issue we need to solve.”