After suffering from a arm-pump sugery at the beginning of this season, Dani Pedrosa is back to winning ways. Since his arrival in the premiere class of motorcycle racing in 2006 Pedrosa secured at least one win in every season. As for the current season, the Twin Ring Motegi was the place for things to happen. After a thrilling fight with championship leader Valentino Rossi at the Motorland Aragón two weeks ago, Pedrosa seemed to be in for the fight.
Although the MotoGP race started without pouring rain, but conditions were soaking wet due to the overnight rainfalls at Motegi. The championship-leading Yamaha duo started well, with Rossi going into the first turn as leader. But his teammate Jorge Lorenzo was able to react quickly. The spaniard took the lead and escaped with what should be called a classic Lorenzo.
Rossi tried to stick to his teammate, but soon the gap between the Yamaha pilots was wide open. Behind the injured Marc Marquez struggled to keep the pace up. Also Pedrosa hadn’t started too well, but managed to close up on the riders in front of him. He went past his teammate Marquez, as well as Ducati pilot Andrea Dovizioso, who had started in front of him in fourth place.
Slowly but surely Pedrosa came closer to Rossi, who was still somewhat chasing Lorenzo, although the gap between them had grown.
With only few laps into the Japanese Grand Prix, MotoGP veteran Pedrosa managed to achieve something incredible. He didn’t just passed Rossi, but also Lorenzo as well. Whereas Pedrosa found a solid rhythm that allowed the spaniard to keep his tire wear under control, the mallorquin rider pushed his bike to the limit while trying to escape as fast as possible. By the end of the race, Lorenzo couldn’t fight for the limit with his destroyed tires and had to fall back. But not only Pedrosa came past his former arch enemy. Lorenzo also had to let his teammate and only rival in the championship fight Rossi pass him.
For Pedrosa, it’s not about the championship, but about winning as much racer as he possibly can. With Lorenzo and Rossi, things look a little different. With the nine-time world champion securing five more points than Lorenzo, Rossi now leads the world championship by 18 points.
Behind the leading pack at Motegi the reigning world champion Marquez followed in fourth place. The spaniard managed to keep Dovizioso behind him. LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow showed a strong performance in sixth place, with his fellow countrymen on Bradley Smith on the Tech3 Yamaha followed as seventh. The Top Ten was completed by Yamaha wildcard pilot Katsuyuki Nakasuga in eighth, Hector Barbera on the open-Ducati in ninth and Marc VDS pilot Scott Redding in tenth place.
With 16 laps to go, Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci crashed out of the race, although the italian has secured his first podium finish at Silvertone under similiar conditions. Several other riders followed Petruccis example. The injured Andrea Iannone crashed two laps later. Same goes for Maverick Vinales (Suzuki), LCR Honda rider Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro, who all remained unhurt.
Forward pilot Loris Baz returned to the pits in the middle of the race to change bikes, because he wasn’t feeling quite confident. But since his second bike seemed to have problems as well, the frenchman returned to the pits for a second time and withdrew from the race.
The next round of MotoGP will take place on friday, 16th of October at Phillip Island, Australia.