MotoGP Race Preview – Japan

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The final stretch of the MotoGP season starts at Motegi this weekend, where the Grand Prix of Japan kicks off a three-in-a-row run of races that will decide the Championship.

It's a two-horse race between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, with the former leading the latter by 33 points and Pedrosa needing to maintain his winning streak and receive a large dose of luck to deny Lorenzo a second MotoGP title.

Pedrosa is in form - he has won three of the last four rounds and took first place at Motegi last year. That might have been enough of an omen to suggest he could pull off an unlikely overturning of Lorenzo's advantage, but the Yamaha rider has finished inside the top two at every race this year. An end to that statistic and another win for Pedrosa could make the following races in Malaysia and Australia even more interesting, but can the Honda rider really pull one over on his Spanish rival in time?

Big news this weekend ahead of the Japan round is that Casey Stoner is back after missing the last three races through injury. The Australian retires at the end of the season, and will be eager to sign off with victories. His return to the fold could add fuel to the fire of the title scrap, but will his ability to challenge at the front help or hinder team-mate Pedrosa in his bid to reel in Lorenzo?

Andrea Dovizioso has pulled away from Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow in the standings in recent races but the pair remain closely matched on track, as was displayed once again at Aragón. Can Crutchlow score some points over his team-mate in the closing stages of the season, before Dovizioso heads to Ducati?

And after the high of Misano, Aragón proved a tough weekend for Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden on the factory Ducatis. The Desmosedici has performed well at Motegi in the past and as the 2012 campaign draws to a close, the pair will look to finish it on a high.

In Moto2 and Moto3 the titles look to be wrapped up, with Marc Márquez leading the intermediate standings by 48 points and Sandro Cortese the Moto3 Championship by 51 points. Anything can happen in the lower classes though, but with only four races to go can either be caught?

Let us know your thoughts on the weekend's forthcoming action in Japan!
 

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