The Samurai of Motegi

4 minutes

Riders who can make the most of the Motegi circuit are few and far between, but there’s one in particular that can use it to work marvels. The Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa is crazy about the Japanese track and always gives it his all. There’s a reason why they call him the “Baby Samurai”.

Dani Pedrosa levantando el trofeo de Motegi
The Samurai of Motegi

“The Japanese fans are incredibly devoted to their idols!” Dani

Motegi is known as the twin ring because its track shares space with the oval circuit used for the NASCAR Cup Series. The two tracks don’t intersect, but they use the same facilities, making it impossible to hold races on both tracks simultaneously.

The Honda circuit was originally intended to be used as as a training area for the brand. However, Motegi had the specifications necessary to be a circuit in the World Championship, and since the fastest bikes come from Japan, they wanted a new circuit where they could watch their heroes race.

And so it was that Motegi was listed on the ’99 schedule, substituting Suzuka in the Japanese GP. Starting in 2000, the Pacific GP was also held there. In 2004, with Suzuka off the schedule, Motegi hosted the Japanese GP once again and has continued to do so ever since.

The track begins with a stop-and-go section and ends with a very technical part with a long downhill straight stretch, followed by hard breaking and tight turns.


A GP good luck charm for Pedrosa

Appearances tend to be deceiving on this track; Dani Pedrosa himself says “Motegi comes with a lot of accelerating and a lot of breaking, but the track itself isn’t too bad. A rider can get a lot out of it, but it’s hard to see how to set yourself apart, some things are a bit hidden”. The circuit provides few moments for riders to get ahead of their competitors, so it’s crucial for them to identify and make the most of those points on the track.

If anyone has shown themselves capable of a high-level performance at Motegi, it’s Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. With three MotoGP wins in 2015, 2012, and 2011, Dani is tied with the Mallorcan Jorge Lorenzo and Loris Capirossi as the pilot who has stood the most times atop the podium at Twin Ring Motegi in the top class.

Furthermore, in the Japanese GP he’s got two wins in the lower categories: in 2004 he won a Grand Slam (the pole position, the fastest lap, and the win) in 250cc, and in 2002 he won the fastest lap in 125cc. He also started from the pole position in 2007, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

Dani Pedrosa atendiendo a los fans en Motegi
Dani Pedrosa atendiendo a los fans en Motegi

The Japanese fans love Dani

The Japanese fans also have a special place in their hearts for this rider from Castellar del Vallés. Dani can’t help but smile when he talks about the passion of his fans at Motegi, their energy, and the admiration they show for the riders: “The Japanese fans are incredibly devoted to their idols!” In 2015, these fans witnessed the Repsol Honda rider’s 50th win, and without a doubt, they will always remember the magical moments they’ve experienced with Dani. Motegi brings out the best in number 26!

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