Video: Motegi MotoGP: Fans reaction tells its own story
If you wondered what fans in the homeland of the four Japanese factories of MotoGP think of the stars of the series - and why Valentino Rossi is still the prime asset to the men behind MotoGP despite his being miles off the title lead - you only need look at the reaction of Japanese fans.
The cream of the MotoGP grid was rolled out for a traditional pre-race publicity bash in the heart of Tokyo yesterday (Wednesday) as the trendy Shinjuku Square was overrun with thousands of race fans eager to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
And true to form, it was seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi who got the biggest cheers.
While stars including Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden, Kawasaki’s Anthony West, Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen, Fiat Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, Tech 3’s Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda’s Shinya Nakano and title leader Casey Stoner (Marlboro Ducati) all got warm receptions, Valentino Rossi got Beatlemania treatment from the crowd, who as one turned their camera phones on the Italian.
Girls meanwhile did their best to attract his attention as the MC whipped them up into a frenzy of anticipation - including one pair of Japanese Cheeky Girls decked out in No.46 gear.
Casey Stoner was given a respectful yet relatively muted reception, indicative it would seem of him riding for Italian firm Ducati.
The race gets underway tomorrow with first practice early morning UK time.
Stoner need only finish ahead of Valentino Rossi to guarantee the title, and with Ducati and Bridgestone's performances at Motegi over recent years the title is all-but assured for the Australian.
Irrespective, the fans who are closest to the Japanese factories have already made it clear who they regard as their champion.