One of the most exciting MotoGP races of recent times took place in Japan approximately six years ago. The 2011 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix was the fifteenth round of the 2011 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 29 September–2 October 2011 at the Twin Ring Motegi, located in Motegi, Japan. The Grand Prix, originally scheduled for 24 April, was moved to 2 October due to the effects of the Tōhoku earthquake and the Fukushima I nuclear accidents.
One of my favourite riders of that era was Alvaro Bautista, a Spaniard riding for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team. Bautista was an underdog – a very talented rider on an inferior racing bike from Suzuki.
At the time the Honda Repsol team was dominant on the track with Casey Stoner winning the overall 2011 MotoGP season.
In fact, if it wasn’t for Jorge Lorenzo riding a Yamaha, Honda would have swept the top three overall positions – they had to settle for 1st, third, and fourth place finishes for the 2011 calendar year.
Suzuki announced that they would pull out of MotoGP for the 2012 year and return in 2014. That comeback was postponed until 2015. Bautista jumped rides and signed to race for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team in 2012.
Photographs courtesy motogp.com
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