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Old 10-11-2015, 01:50 PM   #1
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Pedrosa Upsets The Movistar Yamaha Duo At Motegi

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa ran a steady race to upset the Movistar Yamaha duo at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix. Photo Courtesy of Repsol Honda

Sometimes, riding hard and fast is simply not enough to win a race. Dani Pedrosa perfectly explained this paradox in Motegi, Japan, playing the turtle against rabbits to score his first win in 2015. The forecast rain hit before the MotoGP race, which started in wet conditions and was utterly dominated in the early phases by Jorge Lorenzo, with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso a few seconds behind. However, as the track progressively dried up, the Honda rider mounted a furious comeback on less worn-out tires to erase an eight-second gap, passed the three riders in front of him, and sealed the 50th victory of his career.

“I wasn't expecting this kind of race,” Pedrosa admitted. “It was difficult to even choose what tires to use. I had very little confidence on the rear early on, but then I hit my stride and maybe the others killed their tires a bit. I was nervous, but slowly cut the gap entirely. I think I wouldn't have had a chance in the dry, but I made the most of this opportunity.”

At first it looked to be another trademark disappearing act from Jorge Lorenzo. Photo Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

While Pedrosa was adding the final touches to his masterpiece, most spectators focused on the title fight between Rossi and Lorenzo. The Spaniard faced a somewhat familiar change in fortune – something he already experienced, to his chagrin, in Silverstone and Misano – after dominating in practice and early on in the race, where he went from potentially gaining nine points on Rossi (when the Italian was briefly third behind Pedrosa) to losing four in the end. With three races to go, the gap between the two Yamaha riders now amounts to 18 points.

“Now my only target can be to win all races left in the calendar, and hopefully some riders can step in between me and Valentino,” said Lorenzo. “I had the best pace in the dry and pushed hard in the wet, but the rain stopped and nullified my attempt to escape. I stressed the front tire more early on, and without the rain it got completely destroyed. If the rain hadn't stopped, the victory would have been mine. I only lost four points, but it's a shame I was unlucky once again.”

Valentino Rossi (46) moved closer to his 10th title by beating Lorenzo for second, earning four points over his championship rival. Photo Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

Rossi, unsurprisingly, did not agree with Lorenzo's fatalistic viewpoint. “I think it's a bit disrespectful toward me to blame the results on luck,” the Italian retaliated. “I could find excuses as well when I finish behind him, at least 20 each time. It was a long and difficult race today. It was easy to make mistakes. One could say I was more clever, but let's just say I was luckier.”

The tension is visibly rising among the Yamaha duo. With three rounds left, Lorenzo is forced to attack, while Rossi could play defense. Even if the Spaniard manages to win all the remaining races, the Italian's margin would allow him to secure his 10th title with three second places. However, Rossi is not keen on making calculations.

Pedrosa (center) is overjoyed on the top step of the podium; Lorenzo (right), not so much. Photo Courtesy of Repsol Honda

“I have to keep pushing and put Jorge behind me in the next race as well,” Rossi added. “I don't want to think about math too much, it doesn't help. I have to stay focused and aggressive. Jorge was simply faster than me in the beginning, it wasn't a matter of strategies, but I knew conditions could change. After the halfway point, a new race began. I saw Jorge was struggling and I tried to get a tow from Pedrosa to catch him. It was a good result for the championship, but very stressful to obtain.”

Both Rossi and Lorenzo need to get used to it. With the season quickly approaching its end and a title on the line, things will only get more stressful.

2015 MotoGP Motegi Results
  1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
  2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  4. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
  5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team
  6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda
  7. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  8. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha Factory Racing Team
  9. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing Ducati
  10. Scott Redding (GBR) EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
  11. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar
  12. Takumi Takahashi (JPN) Team HRC with Nissin Honda
  13. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team Honda
  14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
  15. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing Ducati
  16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  17. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team Honda
  18. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  19. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) AB Motoracing Honda
  20. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing Yamaha
DNF Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3

DNF Jack Miller (AUS) LCR Honda

DNF Maverick Vi๑ales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar

DNF Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing

DNF Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team

DNF Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing

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