Despite Motegi being a Honda track, Ducati has always done well at the Twin Ring. Starting with the trio of wins scored by Capirossi between 2005 and 2007, then Stoner's victory in 2010, all the way up to the battle with Marquez, won by Dovizioso at the final corner last year.
The men in red arrive in Japan with the bit firmly between their teeth, keen to repeat recent success. The strong acceleration and braking required at the track are all in a day's work for the Desmosedici, and neither is the Borgo Panigale bike bothered by the possibility of rain at Motegi.
Unfortunately the championship is as good as sewn up, and Dovizioso, 77 points behind Marc in the standings, can only only aim for the race win. Particularly satisfying if he is able to achieve this in the wolf's den...
“After the Buriram result I think that the title battle is almost over, and even though it’s not yet a mathematical certainty, we will of course be fully committed in the next few races - comments Andrea - Together with my team, we are able to understand some new important details in every race, and so we’ll continue working this way also at Motegi, where our aim is to win."
The Italian plans to be on the attack.
“I like the Japanese track a lot and our Desmosedici is always efficient in braking and acceleration there, so I can’t wait to get out on track and try and get payback on Marquez.”
Lorenzo meanwhile knows he will be battling with his physical condition. Forced to sit the race out in Thailand, he hopes the rest period has been of benefit.
“Several days have gone by since I left Buriram without being able to race and, even though now I feel better after training and resting in Thailand, only in Friday’s free practice will I be able to get an idea of how I feel on the bike."
Jorge is intent on giving it a try.
“I absolutely want to race in Japan because Motegi is one of those circuits where I think I can do really well, and so I hope that the after-effects of the injuries to my foot and my wrist won’t give me any trouble. Furthermore, the weather conditions this weekend are sure to be an important factor, because in the last few years it’s almost always rained in Japan during the race weekend.”