Michelin rider Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) fought like a tiger in today's Japanese Grand Prix, completing the 24 laps just 1.3 seconds outside a podium finish, after a last-lap attempt to take third place didn't work out.
Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) also rode a determined race, holding on to fifth position. Michelin's other top-ten finishers were Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) and Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin), who were seventh and ninth. The race was won by Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1) who also secured his sixth premier-class crown.
Conditions were considerably cooler than yesterday when Lorenzo and Hayden starred in qualifying, Lorenzo taking pole posit ion, Hayden joining him on the front row with third-best time.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate Valentino Rossi for winning the World Championship here," said Michelin's director of motorcycle racing Jean-Philippe Weber. "He has ridden great races this year, including today's Japanese GP, and has fought very hard for the crown. Our own results today were not as good as we expected after some promising performances in practice and qualifying. Conditions were not as good as yesterday afternoon when our riders did some better lap times. I also think that the warm-up of our tyres was slightly worse, which made the early laps a bit difficult for some of our riders. Jorge rode a fantastic race, pushing hard all the way. He was very close to taking third on the last lap. Nicky started well, but he didn't quite have the pace to go with the leaders."
Lorenzo knew the race would be difficult in the cooler conditions, but he still came close to passing Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) for third place at Hairpin Curve on the last lap. "Yesterday I thought I could win, but the lower track temperature made things difficult for us," he said. "I have been getting stronger these last few races and I did my best today. I tried to attack Pedrosa at the hairpin because I knew that was my last chance, I didn't think I could out-brake him at the next corner. He left some room, but not quite enough."