Jorge Lorenzo triumphs at Motegi and takes title fight to the final round at Valencia
Jorge Lorenzo took a masterful lights-to-flag victory - his 7th win of the season - to kept his MotoGP title hopes alive after winning the Japanese Grand Prix and on Honda’s home turf at the Twin Ring circuit at Motegi.
Lorenzo’s latest victory which gave Yamaha their 200th premier class win, cut Marc Marquez’lead in the standings to just 13 points – the rookie finished second - and the battle for the championship title will now be taken to the final round of the season at Valencia for the first time since 2006.
However, if the Yamaha rider does win in Spain, Marquez has just to finish fourth to be crowned world champion, but motorcycle racing is never a sure science, as Lorenzo proved at the gas guzzling and hard braking Motegi, that was supposed to clearly favor the Hondas.
Lorenzo opted to run the softer rear tire for the race, and he took the lead from the first corner after starting in pole position, and never lost it despite being pressured by Marquez (who suffered a huge crash during warm-up practice) and Dani Pedrosa, especially during the tense middle stages of the race.
Dani Pedrosa’s third place podium at Motegi has now mathematically ruled him out of the championship title hunt.
Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista grabbed fourth ahead of a heroic Stefan Bradl – he fractured his ankle at Sepang two weeks ago and underwent surgery and returned to take fifth – making it four Hondas in the top five positions.
Valentino Rossi had a grueling race. The Italian slotted into second in the first turn right behind his team mate in his best start ever, but missed his braking mark at turn 11 on the second lap running wide that dropped him into fourth behind the Repsol Honda duo.
Another braking issue at the same turn and just one lap later forced him to run into the gravel and then rejoin in 11th.
He fought back to finish sixth demoting Yamaha Tech3s Cal Crutchlow (who had qualified only 11th) and Bradley Smith to 7th and 8th respectively.
After qualifying third, Nicky Hayden melted to ninth in the sun and heat of Japan, and ended up in another Ducati challenge with his team mate Andrea Dovizioso, who made a huge error in the final lap that pushed him into 10th.
Yamaha’s wildcard rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga finished in 11th. The Japanese rider who is Yamaha’s test rider and competes in the All Japan Superbike championship took a shocking second place in last year’s highly eventful Valencia round.
Colin Edwards was the best CRT rider, after Aleix Espargaro – who had run as high as fifth on the opening lap crashed his ART when he seemed to suffer a braking or throttle problem.
2013 MotoGP Motegi Race results:
- 01- Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – 24 laps in 42’34.291
- 02- Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team – Honda RC213V – + 3.188
- 03- Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Honda RC213V – + 4.592
- 04- Alvaro Bautista – GO&FUN Honda Gresini – Honda RC213V – + 19.755
- 05- Stefan Bradl – LCR Honda MotoGP – Honda RC213V – + 22.810
- 06- Valentino Rossi – Yamaha Factory Racing – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 24.637
- 07- Cal Crutchlow – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 27.496
- 08- Bradley Smith – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 30.969
- 09- Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 37.010
- 10- Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 42.944
- 11- Katsuyuki Nakasuga – Yamaha YSP Racing Team – Yamaha YZR M1 – + 53.345
- 12- Colin Edwards – NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR Kawasaki – + 1’03.213
- 13- Randy De Puniet – Power Electronics Aspar – ART GP13 – + 1’06.840
- 14- Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 1’08.218
- 15- Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 – + 1’18.240
- 16- Hector Barbera – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – + 1’19.108
- 17- Hiroshi Aoyama – Avintia Blusens – BQR FTR – + 1’21.174
- 18- Danilo Petrucci – CAME Iodaracing Project – Ioda Suter BMW – + 1’30.546
- 19- Michael Laverty – Paul Bird Motorsport – ART GP13 – + 2’23.358
- 20- Claudio Corti – NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR Kawasaki – 1 lap
- 21- Damian Cudlin – Paul Bird Motorsport – PBM 01 – 1 lap
- 22- Bryan Staring – GO&FUN Honda Gresini – FTR Honda MGP13 – 1 lap