2004 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2004 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix was the twelfth round of the 2004 MotoGP Championship. It took place on the weekend of 17–19 September 2004 at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

Japan  2004 Japanese Grand Prix
Race details
Race 12 of 16 races in the
2004 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season
Twin Ring Motegi map-2.svg
Date19 September 2004
Official nameCamel Grand Prix of Japan[1][2][3]
LocationTwin Ring Motegi
  • Permanent racing facility
  • 4.801 km (2.983 mi)
Pole position
Rider Japan Makoto Tamada
Time 1:46.673
Fastest lap
Rider Japan Makoto Tamada
Time 1:48.524 on lap 5
First Japan Makoto Tamada
Second Italy Valentino Rossi
Third Japan Shinya Nakano
250 cc
Pole position
Rider Spain Dani Pedrosa
Time 1:52.137
Fastest lap
Rider Spain Dani Pedrosa
Time 1:52.788 on lap 19
First Spain Dani Pedrosa
Second Spain Toni Elías
Third Japan Hiroshi Aoyama
125 cc
Pole position
Rider Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Time 1:58.385
Fastest lap
Rider Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Time 1:58.766 on lap 4
First Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Second Italy Fabrizio Lai
Third Italy Simone Corsi

MotoGP race reportEdit

This race was most notable for Makoto Tamada's home victory starting from pole, as well as Nakano's third place podium for Kawasaki and Barros' climb up to fourth from tenth on the grid.

One day before the race, on Saturday, Daijiro Kato's father presented two minibikes which will be sold this Fall in Japan. This was done to commemorate his son, who tragically died last year during the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix at the now scrapped Suzuka Circuit after a high-speed collision with the barriers at the Casio Triangle.

After eleven rounds, Valentino Rossi is ahead of the rest with 209 points. Not far behind is Sete Gibernau in second with 180 points and third in the standings is Max Biaggi with 158 points.

Home hero Makoto Tamada has given the Japanese fans something to get exciting for when he took pole position on Saturday with a time of 1:46.673. Close second is John Hopkins and third is Valentino Rossi. The second row of the grid consists out of Max Biaggi in fourth, Colin Edwards in fifth and Marco Melandri in sixth.

All riders take off and do their usual warm-up lap before lining up in their respective grid slots. As the lights go out, it is Hopkins who initially gets the better start and looks to lead going into Turn 1. However, it is Rossi manages to lunge ahead and leads going into the corner. As Hopkins turns in, he fails to spot Loris Capirossi who had a great start from seventh on the grid and collides with him as Capirossi loses the front and rear. This causes a chain reaction, bringing down Kenny Roberts Jr., Max Biaggi and Nicky Hayden with them. Six riders had now been eliminated on the opening lap, but Tamada - who had a bad start and thus lost multiple positions - was not one of the casualties. The marshalls run up to the stranded riders as the dust settles, revealing that all the riders except for Hayden had gone down (Hayden was stuck in the gravel). Biaggi is also stuck, the marshalls pushing his bike as a wounded Hopkins lies injured in the gravel. Capirossi has not moved since the incident and has been put on a stretcher, two of the marshalls lifting him up to bring him to the medical centre. Rossi meanwhile has been able to open up a gap to second place Tamada already. However, he quickly closes this entering Turn 11, pursuing Rossi for the remainder of the lap. Also at the straight before Turn 11, Sete Gibernau tries to pass Norifumi Abe by going up his inside, failing and having to stay behind him for the time being.

On lap two, the top six is as follows: Rossi, Tamada, Melandri, Shinya Nakano, Abe and Gibernau. Tamada has opened up a big gap to third place Melandri, who himself is coming under pressure from Nakano. At Turn 11, Tamada looks to be passing Rossi but stays behind for the time being.

Lap three and Tamada is still right behind Rossi, biting his time and not yet making a move. Behind him, Melandri is still being followed by Nakano, Abe, Gibernau and Carlos Checa.

On lap four, Tamada sets the fastest lap of the race. Abe has overtaken Nakano for fourth before Turn 9. Nakano then tries to retake the position at the end of the straight coming up to Turn 11, deciding to stay behind for the time being.

Lap five and Tamada sets another fastest lap of the race. Checa is now losing touch with the back of Gibernau while Tamada is still all over the rear of Rossi. Exiting Turn 11, Nakano's exhaust started to blow some light smoke, but it does not indicate an engine problem.

On lap six, Tamada is still all over the rear of Rossi. At the end of the straight leading up to Turn 11, he makes the move, going side-by-side with Rossi and getting ahead upon entry.

Lap seven and Tamada now leads his home grand prix, Rossi still right behind him and ready to strike if he makes a mistake, however. At Turn 10, Rossi goes in a bit too deep and runs wide, allowing Tamada to open up a slight gap.

On lap eight, Tamada is now increasing his gap slightly. His teammate further back - Abe - is now coming under pressure from Nakano however. Exiting Turn 11, he manages to get closer again.

Lap nine and Rossi is still close to Tamada. Tohru Ukawa has crashed out of the race, the Japanese rider walking away unhurt and disappointed as the marshalls recover his bike.

On lap ten, it is revealed that Capirossi - who was taken away by stretcher earlier in the race - has a small fracture in his foot, as well as a minor concussion. Hopkins has minor bruises and a dislocated elbow for Roberts Jr. Troy Bayliss has now closed right up to Checa, then Abe suddently slows down as a mechanical problem ends his good run in fourth, the Japanese shaking his head. This promotes Melandri to third, Nakano to fourth, Gibernau to fifth and Checa to sixth. At the straight before Turn 11, Bayliss has a look up the inside of Checa, deciding better of it and staying behind for now. Behind Bayliss, Alex Barros has also closed the gap and is now behind Bayliss in eighth.

Lap eleven and Tamada's gap back to Rossi is +0.594 seconds. The top six is as follows: Tamada, Rossi, Melandri, Nakano, Gibernau and Checa. Abe enters the pits to retire his bike, visibly shaking his head in disappointment. At the straight coming up to Turn 4, Bayliss goes alongside Checa and passes him for sixth, sliding his Marlboro Ducati into the corner and just hanging on.

On lap twelve - the halfway point of the race -, Barros goes side-by-side with Checa at the start/finish straight, passing the Spaniard and taking seventh from him. In sector two, the gap Tamada has to Rossi is +1.116 seconds, which increases to +1.139 seconds in sector three.

Lap thirteen and Tamada continues to slowly extend his lead over Rossi. No overtakes happened at the front.

On lap fourteen, Nakano has closed up on Melandri, shadowing the Italian for third. Behind them, Bayliss has closed up on Gibernau for fifth, Barros closing up on the duo as well.

Lap fifteen and Bayliss has gotten past Gibernau. He goes up the inside of the Spaniard at the straight heading towards Turn 4, promoting him up to fifth position. Barros has also caught up with a now struggling Gibernau.

On lap sixteen, Tamada's gap back to Rossi is now +2.393 seconds. At the end of the straight, heading up to Turn 4, Barros passes Gibernau by lunging up his inside and outbreaking him entering the corner, moving him up to sixth place. The Brazilian is now catching up with Bayliss.

Lap seventeen and Tamada is still in front, slowly extending his lead still. The top six is as follows: Tamada, Rossi, Melandri, Nakano, Bayliss and Barros. No overtakes happened at the front.

On lap eighteen, Nakano is still behind Melandri, shadowing him and waiting for the right moment to strike. Barros is doing likewise behind Bayliss. Gibernau behind them is still struggling down in seventh place.

Lap nineteen and Nakano is now right behind Melandri. Exiting Turn 4, he tries to pass Melandri on the outside, heading into Turn 5, the Italian blocking him off and preventing him from getting by. At the straight heading up to Turn 11, Nakano goes side-by-side and passes Melandri for third, who then does a switchback move and tries to retake the position. However, he runs wide, loses momentum exiting the corner and hands Nakano the position at last, the Kawasaki section of fans on the grandstands going wild after he does so.

On lap twenty, the top six is as follows: Tamada, Rossi, Nakano, Melandri, Bayliss and Barros. At the front, Tamada has pulled a significant gap back to Rossi by now. Bayliss has gone down, the rider angrily walking away from the crash site as a marshall guides him off the circuit.

Lap twenty-one and Tamada's gap back to Rossi is now +4.079 seconds. Barros has also passed Melandri by diving down his inside at Turn 7, promoting him to fourth.

On lap twenty-two, Barros now pulls away from the Italian and is going after third place Nakano for the podium. Tamada's gap back to Rossi is now +4.672 seconds.

Lap twenty-three, the penultimate lap, and the top six is as follows: Tamada, Rossi, Nakano, Barros, Melandri and Gibernau. Barros has not been able to get much closer to Nakano so far.

The last lap - lap twenty-four - has begun and Tamada is still out in front, with Rossi a distant second. The Japanese fans at the Camel Honda booth go wild as Tamada approaches the last set of corners and heads onto the start/finish straight, the Japanese briefly looking behind him before doing a wheelie and crossing the line to win the race - his second race win of the season and his MotoGP career. Rossi finishes second and Nakano, on the Kawasaki, finishes a sensational third for the young constructor.

On the parade lap back to parc-fermé, Rossi shakes hands with Tamada while still on the bike, congratulating him on his win. The marshalls also wave their flags and congratulate all the riders as well. Tamada celebrates by putting his arms up in the air to signal victory. The fans in the grandstand put up a big banner of the Camel Honda team to celebrate Tamada's and the team's victory. Tamada waves at the crowd and a rider shakes his hand as congratulations, then pulls another wheelie in joy. Nakano waves the Kawasaki flag, celebrating his and the team's first podium in the premier class since their return in 2002. The Kawasaki stand also goes wild, waving flags in salute of Nakano and the team. Rossi also celebrates, doing a wheelie at the straight before Turn 11 as well, briefly waving at the crowd. Tamada meanwhile is still happily waving at the crowd, Rossi doing likewise, then pulling right to stop his bike at the barrier. Tamada stops at the straight before Turn 11, two Japanese fans invading the track to run up to him and give him the Japanese flag. The fans then run off the circuit, Tamada riding again and proudly displaying the Japanese flag for everyone to see. He waves his arms around a bit more before going under the tunnel and heading onto the start/finish straight.

Rossi is the first one to arrive to parc-fermé, unbuckling his helmet and waving to the camera. Tamada also heads to the pits and parc-fermé, then gets greeted cheerfully by his crewmembers who - one hugging him and the other holding the Japanese flag. Tamada then hugs his other crewmember also before runnin up to his team and celebrating with them. Nakano also arrives at parc-fermé, stepping off his bike with the Kawasaki flag still in his hand. One of his crewmembers hugs him, then another one does so as well, dragging him to the rest of the team to celebrate third place. Tamada is now being interviewed by Japanese television.

The riders head up to the podium, the first one being Nakano, who gets a very warm welcome as the Japanese fans clap and cheer loudly for him. Second is Rossi who also gets a warm welcome from the fans. Rossi then shakes hands with Nakano. Then Tamada is announced, sending the home fans into a frenzy, the airhorns blowing and the cheers being heard loudly. He shakes hands with Rossi and Nakano, then steps onto the podium. Ikuo Shimizu, then president of the Twin Ring Motegi, hands out third place trophy to Nakano, the fans clapping loudly as he receives it. Next up is Rossi, who also gets a loud applause as he lifts his trophy and then Martyn Griffiths, then Vice-President Marketing Asia of Japan Tobacco International, hands Tamada the winners trophy. He happily receives it and lifts it up, the fans loudly cheering and blowing their airhorns as a result. The Japanese nation anthem plays for Tamada, the fans once again cheering loudly once it stops. The girls on the podium hand the riders the champagne, Rossi then cheekily spraying one of them as the other two spray into the crowd, then each other. Once they're done, they put the champagne down and pose for the group photo. Tamada then thanks the fans in a short interview on the podium.

Rossi's second place, Gibernau's sixth place and Biaggi's back-to-back DNF now means that Rossi extends his lead in the championship. 'The Doctor' leads the title hunt with 229 points, followed by Gibernau with 190 points and Biaggi, still stuck in 158 points.

MotoGP classificationEdit

Pos. No. Rider Team Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 6   Makoto Tamada Camel Honda Honda 24 43:43.220 1 25
2 46   Valentino Rossi Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Yamaha 24 +6.168 3 20
3 56   Shinya Nakano Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 24 +13.396 12 16
4 4   Alex Barros Repsol Honda Team Honda 24 +15.435 10 13
5 33   Marco Melandri Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Yamaha 24 +23.577 6 11
6 15   Sete Gibernau Telefónica Movistar Honda MotoGP Honda 24 +27.378 13 10
7 7   Carlos Checa Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Yamaha 24 +35.834 11 9
8 50   Neil Hodgson D'Antin MotoGP Ducati 24 +47.976 17 8
9 11   Rubén Xaus D'Antin MotoGP Ducati 24 +49.881 18 7
10 66   Alex Hofmann Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 24 +56.107 19 6
11 19   Olivier Jacque Moriwaki WCM Moriwaki 24 +1:21.237 21 5
12 99   Jeremy McWilliams MS Aprilia Racing Aprilia 24 +1:27.683 20 4
13 67   Shane Byrne MS Aprilia Racing Aprilia 23 +1 lap 23 3
14 9   Nobuatsu Aoki Proton Team KR Proton KR 23 +1 lap 22 2
15 41   Youichi Ui WCM Harris WCM 23 +1 lap 24 1
Ret 12   Troy Bayliss Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 19 Accident 16
Ret 17   Norifumi Abe Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Yamaha 9 Retirement 15
Ret 72   Tohru Ukawa HRC Honda 8 Accident 14
Ret 10   Kenny Roberts Jr. Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 0 Accident 8
Ret 21   John Hopkins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 0 Accident 2
Ret 3   Max Biaggi Camel Honda Honda 0 Accident 4
Ret 45   Colin Edwards Telefónica Movistar Honda MotoGP Honda 0 Accident 5
Ret 65   Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 0 Accident 7
Ret 69   Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team Honda 0 Accident 9
Sources: [4][5][6]

250 cc classificationEdit

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 26   Dani Pedrosa Honda 23 43:36.798 1 25
2 24   Toni Elías Honda 23 +3.174 4 20
3 73   Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 23 +15.991 2 16
4 19   Sebastián Porto Aprilia 23 +20.075 5 13
5 55   Yuki Takahashi Honda 23 +25.450 6 11
6 51   Alex de Angelis Aprilia 23 +33.451 7 10
7 2   Roberto Rolfo Honda 23 +43.084 12 9
8 76   Shuhei Aoyama Honda 23 +43.270 13 8
9 21   Franco Battaini Aprilia 23 +48.773 9 7
10 6   Alex Debón Honda 23 +52.000 14 6
11 7   Randy de Puniet Aprilia 23 +1:00.707 3 5
12 78   Yuzo Fujioka Honda 23 +1:01.472 15 4
13 8   Naoki Matsudo Yamaha 23 +1:02.120 16 3
14 9   Hugo Marchand Aprilia 23 +1:06.488 25 2
15 33   Héctor Faubel Aprilia 23 +1:09.070 18 1
16 70   Choujun Kameya Honda 23 +1:12.091 17
17 54   Manuel Poggiali Aprilia 23 +1:15.444 10
18 44   Taro Sekiguchi Yamaha 23 +1:17.484 30
19 50   Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia 23 +1:17.753 24
20 79   Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha 23 +1:27.294 28
21 28   Dirk Heidolf Aprilia 23 +1:44.246 23
22 36   Erwan Nigon Aprilia 23 +1:45.825 20
Ret 11   Joan Olivé Aprilia 22 Retirement 26
Ret 57   Chaz Davies Aprilia 20 Accident 19
Ret 14   Anthony West Aprilia 18 Retirement 8
Ret 17   Klaus Nöhles Honda 17 Retirement 33
Ret 43   Radomil Rous Yamaha 13 Retirement 32
Ret 16   Johan Stigefelt Aprilia 12 Retirement 29
Ret 10   Fonsi Nieto Aprilia 11 Retirement 11
Ret 25   Alex Baldolini Aprilia 6 Retirement 31
Ret 96   Jakub Smrž Honda 5 Accident 21
Ret 12   Arnaud Vincent Aprilia 1 Retirement 27
DNS 34   Eric Bataille Honda 0 Did not start 22
DNQ 88   Gergő Talmácsi Yamaha Did not qualify
Source: [7]

125 cc classificationEdit

The race, scheduled to be run for 21 laps, was stopped after 8 full laps due to an accident. It was later restarted for the remaining 13 laps, with the grid determined by the running order before the suspension. The second part of the race determined the final result.

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 34   Andrea Dovizioso Honda 13 25:52.175 1 25
2 32   Fabrizio Lai Gilera 13 +11.082 12 20
3 24   Simone Corsi Honda 13 +11.101 10 16
4 6   Mirko Giansanti Aprilia 13 +11.341 15 13
5 21   Steve Jenkner Aprilia 13 +11.519 14 11
6 58   Marco Simoncelli Aprilia 13 +14.491 11 10
7 48   Jorge Lorenzo Derbi 13 +25.279 6 9
8 14   Gábor Talmácsi Malaguti 13 +25.320 7 8
9 89   Tomoyoshi Koyama Yamaha 13 +25.863 17 7
10 62   Toshihisa Kuzuhara Honda 13 +30.172 24 6
11 23   Gino Borsoi Aprilia 13 +30.432 13 5
12 12   Thomas Lüthi Honda 13 +30.562 19 4
13 33   Sergio Gadea Aprilia 13 +32.170 25 3
14 15   Roberto Locatelli Aprilia 13 +32.971 2 2
15 66   Vesa Kallio Aprilia 13 +41.950 29 1
16 42   Gioele Pellino Aprilia 13 +42.058 37
17 67   Suhathai Chaemsap Honda 13 +44.536 31
18 43   Manuel Hernández Aprilia 13 +51.234 32
19 28   Jordi Carchano Aprilia 13 +51.283 30
20 16   Raymond Schouten Honda 13 +1:04.719 35
21 45   Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia 13 +1:11.829 33
22 8   Manuel Manna Malaguti 13 +1:13.894 36
23 9   Markéta Janáková Honda 13 +1:36.250 38
Ret 47   Ángel Rodríguez Derbi 11 Accident 22
Ret 64   Shigeki Norikane Yamaha 10 Accident 28
Ret 3   Héctor Barberá Aprilia 8 Retirement 4
Ret 36   Mika Kallio KTM 7 Accident 5
Ret 52   Lukáš Pešek Honda 3 Accident 8
Ret 7   Stefano Perugini Gilera 1 Retirement 23
Ret 19   Álvaro Bautista Aprilia 0 Accident 18
Ret 26   Dario Giuseppetti Honda 0 Accident 26
Ret 22   Pablo Nieto Aprilia 0 Retirement in 1st part 9
Ret 25   Imre Tóth Aprilia 0 Did not restart 27
Ret 27   Casey Stoner KTM 0 Retirement in 1st part 3
Ret 50   Andrea Ballerini Aprilia 0 Did not restart 16
Ret 54   Mattia Pasini Aprilia 0 Accident in 1st part 20
Ret 63   Mike Di Meglio Aprilia 0 Accident in 1st part 21
Ret 95   Yuki Hatano Honda 0 Accident in 1st part 34
DNS 69   Robbin Harms Honda Did not start
Source: [8]

Championship standings after the race (motoGP)Edit

Below are the standings for the top five riders and constructors after round twelve has concluded.[9]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ "2004 Japanese MotoGP". Motorsportmagazine.com. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Malcolm. "2004 MotoGP Class (FIM Grand Prix World Championship) Programmes - The Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Progcovers.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Malcolm. "Twin Ring Motegi - The Motor Racing Programme Covers Project". Progcovers.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  4. ^ "2004 Japanese MotoGP - Motor Sport Magazine Database". Motorsportmagazine.com. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Camel Grand Prix of Japan – MotoGP – Race Classification" (PDF). MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. ^ "motogp.com · JAPANESE GRAND PRIX · MotoGP Race Classification 2004". Motogp.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Camel Grand Prix of Japan – 250cc – Race Classification" (PDF). MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Camel Grand Prix of Japan – 125cc – Race Part 2 Classification" (PDF). MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 19 September 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Standings" (PDF). resources.motogp.com. 2004. Retrieved 2019-08-22.

Previous race:
2004 Portuguese Grand Prix
FIM Grand Prix World Championship
2004 season
Next race:
2004 Qatar Grand Prix
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2003 Japanese Grand Prix
Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix Next race:
2005 Japanese Grand Prix