Motorcycling: Pedrosa stuns Lorenzo in Japan MotoGP
Dani Pedrosa battled from behind to beat championship leader Jorge Lorenzo at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, stepping up his bid to overtake the fellow Spaniard for his first MotoGP title.
The Honda rider passed pole-sitter and Yamaha ace Lorenzo on the 12th lap of the 24-lap race and never looked back to win in 42 min 31.569 sec at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit under cloudy skies.
Lorenzo followed home 4.275 second with Alvaro Bautista third on a Honda 2.477 seconds farther back.
With his four wins in the last five races, Pedrosa closed his gap with Lorenzo to 28 from 33, with three races remaining in the season.
The Grand Prix tour will stop in Malaysia and Australia in the next two weeks with its finale set for Valencia in Spain on November 11.
"It was a hard race because from the beginning the pace was very fast," said Pedrosa, 27. "At the beginning, I tried to understand the bike because yesterday it had some chatter (vibration after braking).
"There was one moment I could get right with a right-hand corner so I could pass him and finally I tried to pull some good laps," he said. "I suffered quite a lot of chattering during the race but I could manage."
Pedrosa also beat Lorenzo into second spot here last year. "I am very happy to win again here for myself and my team," he said.
Lorenzo said to tried and failed to open a gap in the race. "Dani came and he was accelerating and there was much difference on the straights. I tried my maximum but I couldn't follow him."
Lorenzo, starting from his sixth pole position of the season, was first around the bend with Pedrosa trailing in his slipstream.
Pedrosa overtook Lorenzo on the 12th lap after narrowing a gap which had stretched to nearly four-tenths of a second at one point.
He extended his lead beyond two seconds with three laps to go.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow on a Honda kept his third position while Honda's defending MotoGP champion Casey Stoner stayed behind Bautista in fifth spot.
It was Australian Stoner's first race after missing the last three races following an ankle injury at the Indianapolis GP in August.