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Now Japan MotoGP faces typhoon peril

2014-10-10 09:03

THINK WE SHOULD RACE THIS WEEKEND?: Honda’s Marc Marquez speaks with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan. A typhoon could affect the 2014 Japanese MotoGP. Image: AP / Shizuo Kambayashi

HIROSHI HIYAMA

MOTEGI, Japan - Marc Marquez can retain his MotoGP title in Japan but safety fears are building as another typhoon approaches, days after a horror crash left Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi fighting for his life after the 2014 Japanese GP.

With Bianchi battling severe head injuries after losing control in treacherous conditions at Suzuka, sympathy for the Marussia driver and concerns about another crash will overhang Sunday's (Oct 12) motorcycle race.

Super Typhoon Vongfong might bring rain before its scheduled impact on Monday (Oct 13) while the situation that occured at the Japanese F1 race on October 5 remains fresh.

CLOSE SCRUTINY

With Suzuka organisers under fire for refusing to start earlier to avoid the worst of the weather, Motegi officials are likely to be under close scrutiny.

Despite the difficulties, championship leader Marquez will hope to end the weekend in triumph by sealing an astonishing campaign at Motegi's Twin Ring circuit. He said of Bianchi's crash: "Of course, it is very difficult when you see a situation like that. It is not MotoGP but it is another driver.

"Just hope the best for Jules for his family."

He said riders realised the risks involved in motor racing but also called for a thorough probe into what happened at Suzuka.

Former MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, who had a heavy fall in Aragon, also voiced concerns as he knows both Bianchi and the Suzuka track which, he said, was dangerous but one of the best in the world.

Rossi said: "He is a good guy with a lot of talent. I like Suzuka, but it is dangerous."

COMMANDING LEAD

Marquez has a commanding 75-point lead over closest rival and Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa  heading into the 2014 Japanese MotoGP with only three races remaining that. Even if Marquez fails to win, he could still seal the title, depending on how his key rivals finish.

Marquez refused to get ahead of himself, despite dominating through 2014, saying he was focused on regaining his top form at Honda's home circuit after a minor crash at rain-hit Aragon in September 2014, when he finished 13th.

Marquez said: "I will try to focus, like a normal race, try to push like always, try to be faster and try to fight for the top position. Of course, for Honda, it will be nice to win here."

The 21-year-old became the youngest MotoGP champion in 2013 and the first rookie title winner for 35 years. In an electrifying series of successes, he won 10 consecutive races since the first in Qatar, before finishing fourth in the Czech Republic in August.

He quickly returned to the top of the podium two weeks later in England but crashes in San Marino showed that he was still human.

ROSSI FULLY RECOVERED

Pedrosa has regularly enjoyed podium finishes at the demanding Motegi layout but the Honda rider will get pressure from Yamaha rivals and former champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, the latter winner at Motegi in 2013.

Rossi said he has fully recovered from a heavy fall in Aragon that sent him to hospital and was gunning for the season's second-place. "I feel very well and I look forward to the triple-header overseas races because I am feeling better and better on the bike and the team is working really well."

"The fight for second is getting interesting. We will try to achieve the best result possible."

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Read more on:    honda  |  marc marquez  |  suzuka  |  japan  |  bikes  |  motogp  |  racing

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