Stoner won't play it safe in Japan

MotoGP World Championship leader Casey Stoner has no intention of playing it safe as he looks to close in on his second world title in Japan.

MotoGP News: Casey Stoner

The Australian has been the dominant force in the sport in 2011, claiming eight wins from the 14 races so far to hold a 44-point lead over defending champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Four of those wins have come in the last five races and it appears only a matter of time before the 25-year-old from Kurri Kurri in New South Wales becomes a double world champion.

And while a succession of steady points finishes from the final four rounds of the series would almost certainly be enough to claim the title, Stoner is keen to get things wrapped up at the earliest possible opportunity, which means collecting more wins.

He said: "As in Aragon, we will be going out there trying to win and not only looking for valuable championship points. "We had a fantastic race here last year, probably one of my best in my opinion and it will be fun to go there on the Honda and see how the bike works around the circuit."

The Motegi circuit is not generally among the riders' favourites due to its twisting nature, but Stoner says he enjoys the challenge of the track, which was built by Honda in 1997.

He added: "Motegi is quite a different circuit, it's similar in a way to Le Mans and is very stop-start, a little like a go-kart track, but in general it's nice and more fun than some of the other circuits we visit.

"It has a lot of hard breaking, a lot of hard accelerating, it's pretty tough on the body and physically demanding. If you miss your breaking points it's easy to run wide so it will be important to get the set up on the bike just right."

The staging of this weekend's race had been in doubt after it was moved from its original April date due to Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the resulting nuclear accidents at the Fukushima power plant.

Several riders had pondered boycotting the race due to fears for their health due to radiation levels in Motegi, which is just over 120 kilometres from Fukushima.

But with those fears alleviated Lorenzo is eager to get down to business as he desperately seeks to hold on to his crown.

"Japan is a home race for Yamaha and for us it is always a pleasure to ride here," he said.

"Motegi is a track where I have won before and last year I had a nice fight for the podium. I would like to win again here, so that is my aim this weekend.

"After all the confusion with Fukushima we are here, fit and ready to put on a good show for Yamaha in this special year for them. We will begin on Friday and try to do everything really well."



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