MCN's MotoGP reporter Matt Birt is publishing a daily blog to give you an even better insight into the racing world. Here's his latest post from Japan:
Anyone for a wet weekend in Japan?
You know you could be in trouble when the first three people you bump into in the paddock tell you that the weekend is likely to be badly disrupted by a typhoon.
The weather forecast certainly wasnt the brightest Ive seen upon arrival in Japan this morning and Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi spoke of their fears for a long wet weekend. Some people reckon its a 50-50 chance of rain on Sunday, so what price a repeat of the chaotic scenes of the first flag-to-flag race we witnessed for the first time in Phillip Island?
With that in mind it was a case of making hay while the sun shines today and after a quick shower, shave and change at the hotel, I made it to the track just before 1pm this afternoon and already have a few good yarns in the notebook.
Straight away one of the big rumours is that Shinya Nakano is to leave Kawasaki to replace compatriot Makoto Tamada in the Konica Minolta Honda squad. As previously reported in MCN, Nakano is maintaining that his mind wont be made up until after the race, while a quick chat with Konica Minolta Honda boss Luca Montiron failed to shed any light, though he finally admitted to talking to Nakano and proposing his name to HRC.
From what Ive been told though the ink is already drying on a contract that will see him continue on Bridgestone tyres.
Until its in black and white though you just never know, but most people in the media centre this afternoon seem pretty convinced, and its hard to keep secrets for too long in this paddock.
That would leave Kawasaki in a major hole, as Randy de Puniet is still learning his craft in the premier class and isnt ready to be elevated to number one rider status.
It seems a big part in Nakano looking elsewhere has been Kawasaki falling behind in the development of the new 800cc machines. Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki will all be testing at Motegi on Monday, while Kawasakis new contender has been hit by more delays.
Nicky Hayden has still not made his mind up and was being particularly cagey at the pre-event press conference. Tapped up a couple of Honda sources who reckon its make or break this weekend for Nicky to tell HRC bosses what his plans are. Yamaha are obviously expecting an answer as well, as Colin Edwards has been told that he will be told about his future and whether hes got a Yamaha ride alongside Valentino Rossi this weekend. Collared Marco Melandri too in the paddock and quickly asked him about various speculation on his future, to which he gave a quick no comment and retreated to the sanctuary of his garage.
Everybody is sniffing for information on everybody else though at the moment. Pretty much everyone you speak to is asking what have you heard about this, or what is such and such doing?
I decided to give Nicky and his manager Phil Baker some peace for a change today. Theres only so many times you can ask either of them about 2007, and that big question Ive popped every day in Sepang and Phillip Island. Hopefully we wont have to wait much longer.
Im off to try and find something to eat. My options are limited, as I dont eat any seafood. Bit of a problem where Sushi tops the menu pretty much everywhere. Cutting a long story short, I had a nasty bout of food poisoning at Paul Ricard a few years back. Prawns obviously werent as fresh as they claimed.
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