Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS head east to Japan this week, for the first of three overseas races in as many weekends.
Franco Morbidelli has led the Moto2 World Championship since the opening round in Qatar but with just four races remaining of the 2017 season, the pressure is starting to mount.
An inspired win after a race long battle with compatriot Mattia Pasini in Aragon means that Morbidelli currently leads the championship by 21 points from Tom Lüthi, with a maximum of just 100 points available in the final four races of the season.
Morbidelli finished on the podium in Motegi 12 months ago and the Italian is keen to repeat that success this time around, as he looks to wrap up the championship before returning to Europe for the final round of the season in Valencia.
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider has won eight races so far this season and one more victory would equal Marc Marquez's record of nine wins in one season, set during his Moto2 championship winning year in 2012.
Álex Márquez returns to action in Motegi after injury forced his retirement from the Aragon Grand Prix, which he started from the front row. The former Moto3 World Champion has battled to regain fitness in the intervening period and he heads to Japan in a better physical condition than he started the race in Aragon just over two weeks ago.
"We're heading into a key part of the championship; with three races in three weekends where anything can happen. The championship is obviously our priority, but so is continuing in the way that's been so successful for the team and me this season. Yes, I could go into the next four races with the aim of riding cautiously just to pick up points, but that's not my way and that wouldn't be working to our strengths. This year we've been strongest when fighting at the front of the race so, if it's possible to win in Japan, then I will push to the maximum to win. If it's not possible to win then that's a different scenario and picking up maximum points will be important, but this is something we won't know until we line up to race on Sunday."
"I had more problems in Aragon with the injured leg than I was expecting, with the inflammation and pressure on the sciatic nerve forcing me to retire early from the race. My subsequent recovery wasn't as quick as I was expecting either but after almost three weeks my physical condition is definitely better. I'm still not 100% but I'm a lot closer to full fitness than I was in Aragon. Only when I get back on the bike in Motegi will I understand fully my condition and what is possible in terms of results. Even so, I head to Japan fully motivated and, if my condition is good, determined to reclaim third place in the championship standings."
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