Dani Pedrosa took his third victory of the season in a dramatic Grand Prix of Japan with Casey Stoner alongside him on the podium in third position and with Andrea Dovizioso finishing fifth.
Today, Dani celebrates the 400th win for a Spaniard in Grand Prix racing and has given the Repsol Honda Team its first ever victory at the Motegi circuit. It's also the first win for Honda at this track since Makoto Tamada was victorious aboard his Camel Honda in 2004. Joining Dani on the podium, accepting the constructors trophy was Mr. Takanobu Ito - President, Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director of Honda.
Casey, Dani and Andrea made a fantastic start and led the race as a pack for the first four laps, but then Casey experienced a big wobble on lap five and ended up running off the track, narrowly avoiding the barrier. Andrea whilst leading the race, was then given a ride through penalty for a jump start. Dani took the lead and improved his pace lap by lap to take a comfortable win by more than seven seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Casey was able to fight his way back up the field to finish on the podium taking important points for the Championship. After his penalty, Andrea also got back on the pace quickly and had a great battle with Marco Simoncelli on the final two laps for fourth position. Unfortunately he struggled with the tyres after such an effort to get back in front and was overtaken by Simoncelli on the last lap.
I'm super happy with this victory
With three races to go, Casey Stoner is leading the World Championship standings, forty points ahead of Lorenzo, with Dovizioso and Pedrosa third and fourth, separated by just one point.
DANI PEDROSA - 1st - World Championship Position: 4th with 195 points
"I'm super happy with this victory, for the team that has been working so well, for HRC because this is the first win in Motegi with the Repsol Honda Team and for myself because it is the first time I've won here in MotoGP after doing so in 125cc and 250cc. The race was strange at the beginning with Stoner and Dovi really fast on the first few laps, they pulled away and then Casey had some problem and Andrea had a ride through due to his jump start. I was alone in front with Lorenzo very close, but I tried to put my head down and push every lap to pull away. I'm really happy because at this track I've had a mix of good and bad results and some bad injuries, so come back one year later and win in MotoGP is fantastic".
CASEY STONER - 3rd - World Championship Position: 1st with 300 points
"The whole weekend had gone so well for us and even the start of the race we got a great start and everything felt good in the first laps and I was able to pull a small advantage. Andrea was riding very well on the soft tyre compound and we knew ours would work well towards the end of the race, so the pace we had at that stage I was very comfortable with. As I came out of the back straight I got a wobble on the bike, we hit the big bump and as the front came down it practically shook the bars out of my hands, I was lucky to hold on. I went for the brakes and there was nothing there so I had to pump them up a couple of times, when I pumped it the second time if flicked me up over the front and I was lucky to stay on the bike. Thankfully I avoided hitting the wall at the end of the gravel trap but this pretty much ended our race. It's really disappointing as we had the bike to win here today, but in the end I guess I should be thankful that we were able to climb back up to a podium spot after other peoples misfortunes and mistakes on track. I'm looking forward to going to Phillip Island now and to see what we an achieve there, I've got a Championship lead to protect but I also want to win races which is why I'm disappointed here today".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 5th - World Championship Position: 3rd with 196 points
"I cannot believe it. I have never had a false start in my career and it happened today, in a race where I felt that I could fight for the win! I don’t know why the bike moved a little before the green light but I realised it immediately and expected the ride through. In the first laps I had a good feeling and I was pushing hard because I knew I was the only rider up there with soft tyres, in my opinion this was the right choice today and I was catching Casey. Then Casey went wide and I found myself leading the race, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. When I rejoined the race after the ride through I pushed hard but it’s not the same as when you are fighting for the victory. In the last five laps the rear tyre started to drop off and I was no longer able to be fast in the middle of the corner. Meanwhile, Simoncelli had recovered and was behind me, I did all I could to defend my position but I wasn't able to. I’m really disappointed as I’m sure today I could have fought for the win, we can see the final gap to Dani is similar to the time it took to do the ride through. I’m sorry for the team, we did a great job and I felt competitive. It’s also a shame for the Championship points, anyway I look forward to Phillip Island because once again I showed to be fast".