Two weekends ago Viñales stood on the podium in Buriram, celebrating his fourth third place and sixth podium of the season. Thanks to this strong ride, he currently holds fourth position in the championship standings with a 4-point margin to third.
In the meantime, the Spaniard has been keeping busy paying a short visit to Taipei to attend Yamaha Motor Taiwan Co. Ltd.‘s ’Cheer for Maverick‘ event. It gave him an extra boost to add another podium to his tally. He has visited the Motegi podium four times, securing second places at the Japanese Grand Prix in Moto3 in 2012 and 2013, a second place in Moto2 in 2014, and a third place in the MotoGP class in 2016.
Rossi used the short intermezzo between the Thai GP and the upcoming triple-header to gear up for what is quite an intense but very rewarding schedule. The fans in Japan, Australia, and Malaysia are extremely passionate and for sure will be cheering him on as he tries to climb up from sixth place in the championship standings. He has a 22-point gap to third, and with three races in three weeks he has all to play for.
Having just missed out on the podium in Japan last year, taking fourth, the Italian again aims to fight with the front-runners this weekend. He fancies his chances in Motegi, where he stood on the top step in 2001 and 2008, scored second place in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2015, and achieved third place in 2010 and 2014.
The Twin Ring Motegi circuit was built in 1997 for test purposes. It was first visited by MotoGP in 1999 for the Japanese Grand Prix. A year later the track started hosting the Pacific Grand Prix and it has remained a major attraction for motorsports fans ever since. In 2004 Motegi replaced the Suzuka Circuit on the MotoGP calendar to once again become the host of the Japanese Grand Prix, and it has kept this status ever since. The 4.8km track is known for setting the scene for lots of memorable and exciting racing moments, thanks to its challenging lay-out of six left and eight right corners, and various hard braking and acceleration areas.
For those who want to get to know the Twin Ring Motegi track better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti‘s eLap.