After it looked at one point on race-day as if the Grand Prix of Japan would be a complete washout, the sun broke through the dark clouds and streamed onto the Motegi circuit as the Fiat Yamaha team enjoyed a clean sweep of the top two spots. With qualifying having been cancelled yesterday due to the heavy rain, both riders started the race from the front row of the grid according to their times from Friday’s free practice. Following a stunning race, Jorge Lorenzo took the glory of standing on the top step of the podium, after coming through a brilliant scrap with his team-mate Valentino Rossi, who finished a close second.
Starting from third on the grid Lorenzo briefly lost a position on the first lap, but was soon back up to his starting spot as they crossed the line for the first time. With a superior pace to his compatriot Pedrosa it seemed as though the Mallorcan was being held up, and sure enough on lap three the Spaniard edged into second place. Once there he had the unenviable task of closing a two-second gap to his team-mate Rossi, but gradually edged nearer his colleague. The two enjoyed a good head-to-head fight, swapping positions at the V-corner before Lorenzo finally found a way past Rossi. From that point there was no looking back, and as Rossi was entangled in the battle with Pedrosa behind, Lorenzo sealed a glorious second victory in MotoGP.
Leading from the first corner, Rossi had opened up the gap on the Spaniards in the early stages, but once Lorenzo had found a way past, it was Pedrosa who caused the champion most problems. With Pedrosa attacking on several occasions, the Italian was forced to keep his wits about him, but always seemed to have enough edge to keep ahead. The killer move come heading into the tunnel at turn five, and the race was decided as Rossi pulled away from Pedrosa in the latter stages.
With Lorenzo leading the championship on 40 points, one ahead of Rossi, the MotoGP World Championship moves on to his home race at Jerez in just a week’s time.
Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 43’47.238
“First of all I just want to thank my team, my Mum, Dad and whole family, my friends and all the team workers. Also Yamaha, as it is their home race, it was a difficult race because I didn’t really get a very good start, I think I even finished the first lap in third or fourth. After that I began to catch up the pace. I passed Valentino and opened up a little gap, about a second and a half, and he was following me very hard. I had to ride the best I can to get the victory.”
Valentino Rossi – Position: 2ndTime: + 1.304
“It was a great race, long, very difficult and also physical. I got a really good start from the front row, but there was a part of the race that I wasn’t quite able to ride like I wanted, there was some kind of problem and I wasn’t fast enough to pull away. I lost time from Jorge and then was involved in a battle with Dani and then in the last part of the race I was able to step up my pace and pick my lines, setting some good lap times. I tried to come back but unfortunately Lorenzo was too far away. It’s a good race, second place is not a victory but it’s still twenty points for the championship. I think the championship will become very interesting now because we have four riders ready to battle for wins at the end.”
Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“I’m really happy about today’s result, we didn’t expect a victory, maybe we were just thinking about the podium, so I’m extremely happy. We did a great job on Friday and I think that was the key because we worked a lot around the harder tyre and in the end that was the good one. With the information and the data we collected, today we just had to do some fine-tuning to the bike and it has brought us this special victory, and we are able to show the world how strong Yamaha is. Jerez will be a great battle, like today it will be a big show and so i am looking forward to that event.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“First of all, congratulations to Jorge, who rode very well, and congratulations to Yamaha, because this result confirms the great job we have done in the last months. We are always very fast and for the second time this year we have two riders on the podium. Night or day, we are always there! Valentino took a very important second place, because our target is to be always there. Now we are looking forward to going back to Europe for a very important phase of the championship and it is crucial to start this time on top”.