Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Japanese riders target home glory as MotoGP launches Asian triple

The teams, staff and riders of the MotoGP World Championship convened in the
paddock of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit today after filtering west from the
Czech Republic onto Japanese shores over the past two weeks. The Grand Prix of
Japan gets underway on Friday and is the first of three consecutive races for
the series on Asian shores as the 2005 campaign prepares for its traditional end
of season climax with a gruelling trip across three continents.

Just six rounds remain in total, with the Japan, Malaysia and Qatar triple to be
followed by visits to Australia, Turkey and, finally, the Valencia circuit in
Spain, giving reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi several opportunities to
retain his crown. The first comes this Sunday when the Italian simply needs a
top-two result to secure the title, whilst his 132-point advantage at the top of
the standings means a lower finish could suffice depending on the results of
other riders.

"The advantage we have in the championship means that I can ride at each of the
remaining six rounds without pressure and try to win every race," observed Rossi
today. "That is the way it has been all season. The championship victory is
really near and we have a great advantage.  As at every race, we will try to
fight for the victory in Motegi. That is the thing I like the most and this will
be my main aim on Sunday, even though this track doesn't suit my style very well."

Whilst Rossi has finished outside the top two only once from the eleven rounds
so far this season, on the occasion of his first visit to the Laguna Seca
circuit in the United States, his destiny is anything but certain at Motegi, a
circuit he earlier admitted is "not the ideal place for a party." Two riders who
would disagree with that theory are Makoto Tamada and Shinya Nakano. The
Japanese pair enjoyed the highest point of their respective careers in last
year's race, with Tamada clinching a clear victory over Rossi, his first in the
MotoGP class, and Nakano leading Kawasaki back to the podium for the first time
in over two decades to trigger joyous celebrations for the home crowd.

Things have not progressed as well as Tamada would have hoped after that
breakthrough victory, with a wrist injury early in the season putting paid to
his hopes of a consistent challenge, but he said today that he was hopeful of
recapturing his best form at his home race. "I have been waiting anxiously for
this race," commented Tamada. "Finally my home Grand Prix, where I desperately
want an excellent result. It will not be easy given the high level of my rivals
but I would really like for things to go back in the right direction for me and
for luck to be on my side."

Nakano's season has been more encouraging, qualifying regularly in the top six
and boasting a best finish of fifth in the opening race at Jerez. However, the
former 250cc race winner at Motegi is looking to better that performance and
even match his result from last year. "I'm chasing my best result of the season,
I want to show the potential of the Kawasaki team," said Nakano, who will be
boosted by an upgraded engine specification for the Ninja ZX-RR machine as well
as a sell-out grandstand of "Green Team" fans.

"The latest engine parts have improved top end power, with more over-rev, and we
have also found a good balance with bottom-end power, which is very important at
Motegi. My podium last year is a very nice memory but everyone is going much
faster now - even a top four result will not be easy." Nakano added that he was
"99% certain" that he would be extending his contract with Kawasaki for another
season, on a day that Loris Capirossi also announced a new one-year deal with

Gunning for home glory in the 250cc class are former Japanese national champions
Hiroshi Aoyama and Yuki Takahashi, who both made their names as Grand Prix
wildcards on a career path being followed this weekend by their younger brothers
Shuhei and Kuoki. "We have been racing against each other since we were boys,
our brothers also, we are very good friends and so are our families," said
Aoyama, whose Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa currently leads the series by 59
points from Casey Stoner. "Obviously the pressure is higher at Motegi - my
brother is racing against me, everybody around me wants me to win and so do I
but I feel comfortable with pressure and it motivates me even more. Last year my
best race was at Motegi and now I am even more experienced and better prepared
so I hope to be fighting for victory."

Whilst local stars seemingly hold the key to potential success for Honda at
their own purpose-built circuit in the MotoGP and 250cc class, Swiss youngster
Thomas Luthi has come a long way to impress factory bosses as he looks to
strengthen his grip on the 125cc World Championship. Luthi currently leads by
eight points from KTM rival Mika Kallio as he aims to end a record sequence of
49 races without rider taking consecutive wins in the class.

INFO 2005/131. 15-09-2005