Japanese GP: Repsol Honda race report

A Great Race Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa rode a great race at Honda's home MotoGP event, finishing third place after leading the early stages of a record-breaking Japanese GP. This was only Pedrosa's second race with his pneumatic-valve ...

A Great Race

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa rode a great race at Honda's home MotoGP event, finishing third place after leading the early stages of a record-breaking Japanese GP.

This was only Pedrosa's second race with his pneumatic-valve RC212V and Bridgestone tyres, and his first race with this new technical package on a dry track. Starting from the second row of the grid, the Spaniard grabbed the lead on the second lap and led for four laps. He slipped to third at quarter distance, maintaining that position to the end, despite coming under pressure from Jorge Lorenzo in the final few laps. Indeed Lorenzo's front tyre tagged the lower exhaust of Pedrosa's RC212V when Lorenzo made an optimistic move at Hairpin Curve on the final lap. Pedrosa managed to stay on board to record his first podium since June's Dutch TT. Today's race was run in cool, cloudy conditions and was watched by 58,000 fans.

Dani Pedrosa, finished 3rd, 3rd in World Championship

"Third place was not so bad today, though of course I tried to be faster. I have had some difficult races recently and some injuries, so it was a good feeling to be competitive again. I wasn't so fast at the beginning of the race, I expected to be faster. Later on I was able to improve my pace, my times got better lap by lap, so I am happy about that. My pitboard told me that Lorenzo was coming, I got 'plus zero', 'plus zero', 'plus zero'. I expected him to get faster because he was chasing me. On the last lap he touched me but I was able to stay on the bike. My thanks to Honda and to Bridgestone. Also congratulations to Valentino [Rossi, who won today's race to seal his sixth premier-class crown], he rode a great race."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Dani did a good job this weekend, always improving his race pace, always coming better, until he was fast enough to lead the race and finish on the podium. This is a great result considering that this was his first dry race with a new bike and tyres. Next race we hope he can go for the win. I would also like to offer my congratulations to Valentino for his championship victory.".

Hard-Fought Fifth

Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden rode to a hard-fought fifth-place finish in today's record-breaking Japanese GP at Motegi. This was the American's first dry race in more than two months -- he missed the Czech and San Marino GPs due to injury and scored a podium last time out at rain-soaked Indianapolis two weeks ago.

The 2006 World Champion started from the front row of the grid after a storming performance in yesterday's qualifying session. He completed the first lap in third place, but didn't quite have the pace to go with the leaders. He spent most of the race in fifth place. In the closing laps he was chased hard by a group of four riders but he kept his head to maintain his position. On the grid Hayden wore a hachimaki (Japanese-style bandana), given to him yesterday by a fan. The race was run in cool, cloudy conditions and was watched by 58,000 fans.

Nicky Hayden, finished 5th, 8th in World Championshiphampionship

"I got a pretty good start and was certainly in the mix there for a couple of laps but they just had a little bit more pace everywhere. I tried to make up for it a few times on the brakes, but I just didn't have the pace. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I had high expectations, I thought maybe we could get in there and find something extra for the race. We rode about as hard as we could and it got harder as the tyres went away. That pack was coming for me, I just tried to not make any mistakes, keep my rhythm and hold them off. I knew there was a couple of guys chasing but I didn't know there was that many coming for me. The bandana I wore on the grid, some fan gave it to me yesterday. I wore it for qualifying and got on the front row, so I figured, try it again. Congratulations to Valentino [Rossi, who won today's race to claim his eighth world title]. I know what it takes to win one and it takes a bad dude to win eight of them. Much respect."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Nicky did a good job this weekend. He qualified on the front row yesterday, showing he is very motivated after his podium result at Indy two weeks ago. He rode hard today but didn't quite have the pace to run with the leading group. Now we go to Phillip Island, a track that Nicky really loves. We know he will do his best to get back on the podium there."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa , Phillip Island