As the MotoGP world championship arrives in Japan it is only fitting given the excellent manga style poster they are using for this years race (see here: https://survivalofthefastest.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/motogp-airasia-grand-prix-of-japans-epic-manga-poster/) that Cal Crutchlow, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi were sent to a Manga pre-event to have their caricatures drawn again by Ranka, the artist behind the 2012 poster. The racing stars then coloured in the pictures themselves, with Crutchlow last to finish, blaming Pedrosa for hoarding the pens!
The organizers are also presumably happy that centre star and main focus of said poster, Casey Stoner returns at the Twin Ring, his first appearance since he was told to have surgery after a gallant fourth place in Indianapolis where he rode through the pain of the ankle fractures he sustained during qualifying. These will be the last four races of his career as he is due to retire from the MotoGP paddock at the end of the season.
The Championship is currently lead by Jorge Lorenzo, who enjoys a 33 point margin over nearest rival and fellow Spaniard Pedrosa despite not haven beaten him since July.
There will also be an extra Yamaha on the grid as Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga will be competing for the Yamaha YSP Racing Team.
Nicky Hayden is set to compete despite revealing in the build up to the race he added to his injury woes in Aragon with another fracture after initially thinking he had walked away from his horror crash injury free.
Moto2 arrives at the circuit with Marc Marquez leading the way with a 48 point lead. Randy Krummenacher is replaced at GP Team Switzerland by Jesko Raffin, while SAG have decided to use local rider Khota Nozane to replace Marco Colandrea who the team said in a statement has ‘ physical problems’.
Toni Elias is back in Moto2 until the end of the season at the Italtrans Team, replacing the ousted Claudio Corti.
The Pons team, home to Espargaro, Rabat and Axel Pons is listed on the entry list as Tuenti Movil HP 40, instead of Pons 40 HP Tuenti, as it has been all season.
Moto3 has two Japanese wildcard riders present – Hyuga Watanabe for Project U 7C Harc and Yuudai Kamei for 18 Garage Racing Team, both on Hondas.
Josep Rodriguez takes over from Jasper Iwema at Moto FGR after the Dutch rider decided he was getting nowhere at the team and left.
The Moto3 championship is currently lead by Champion-elect Sandro Cortese who is currently 51 points ahead of Luis Salom.