[2010 MotoGP, Motegi report] - Being out in Roppongi until 4am the night before had put a serious dint in our Motegi plans. In fact, we nearly missed the whole thing....nearly. The track is two hours north of Tokyo and normally I would have been picking out the back roads to avoid the traffic, but we were so late we had the main roads more of less to ourselves all the way to the track.
We passed these guys on the Tohoku Highway on the way up to Motegi
As we parked, we were hit with the roar of the engines bouncing off the Tochigi hills where Motegi is nestled. It was 3pm, the race had started and Dovizioso, Stoner, Lorenzo and Rossi were already battling it out while we fumbled for cash at the ticket window. Each gate of the reserved seating sections A thru D was well guarded and impenetrable to our charm and incorruptible to our foreign sleight of hand, so we headed to join the masses in section E, which was actually not a bad spot at all.
Motegi track - the race had already started
Two battles were being waged; the first - Andrea Dovizioso against Casey Stoner for first place; the second - top man so far this year, Jorge Lorenzo against fellow teammate Valentino Rossi; almost neck and neck for third.
Casey Stoner & Andrea Dovizioso
Jorge Lorenzo & Valentino Rossi
Casey Stoner was holding his own, while somewhere on the 6th lap Rossi edged in front of Lorenzo. The Spanish have dominated this season, but this wasn't to be their race. Dani Pedrosa was out with a fractured collarbone after a fall on Friday, and Lorenzo was now back in 4th.
The sheer concentration, and adrenaline was palpable. These guys really deserve to be respected for their sheer fearlessness and raw psychotic nerve. The speeds were simply amazing, the noise deafening and the atmosphere intense. Casey Stoner was putting in his 40 minutes of perfection and his zen-like concentration had him across the line and on the podium, claiming victory.
Casey Stoner victorious
The Australian national anthem blared while Japanese campaign girls showered these living gods with kisses. Champagne was cracked, the media got their photo fix and then the crowd wandered off to watch the campaign girls strut their stuff on the open stage.
Japanese 'Campaign' girls strutting their stuff
The rain which had been forecast was thankfully still just in the forecast, so we spent some time wandering around the shops and stalls, picking up some souvenirs and chatting to a few people...surprising how many non-Japanese were there.
By now it was getting late and time to hit the back roads and avoid the traffic out. Too bad it was dark. A clever little detour had us off the main drag and flying down a great little country road all the way to the highway. Mission accomplished. Casey Stoner had won and we were there to see it. Did today just happen? Time to get some ZZZss...