Yamaha Racing press release
Lorenzo Delivers Perfect Podium in Action Packed Japanese Grand Prix
Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo delivered yet another flawless performance of perfect riding to take second on the podium today for the Grand Prix of Japan. The race itself proved to be an action packed affair with many dramas, several riders receiving ride through penalties and Championship leader Casey Stoner riding off the track, resulting in the loss of several places. After the incident, Lorenzo tucked in to follow promoted race leader Dani Pedrosa, maintaining second to the flag with lap after lap of inch perfect lines. The result reduces his gap to Stoner to 40 points with three races remaining of the season.
Having battled with food poisoning the entire weekend Ben Spies had recovered physically and started today’s race in excellent form. Quick off the line he was tucked in behind team mate Jorge Lorenzo going into turn three on the first lap when he was hit from behind by fallen rider Valentino Rossi. The Texan ran off but was able to rejoin the race in last place. Japanese fans were then treated to the famous Spies comeback routine as the American carved his way back through the field to an incredible sixth place, consistently delivering 1’46 second lap times, equivalent to the two front runners. The result puts him on 156 points in fifth, 17 clear of Rossi chasing behind as they head to Phillip Island in two weeks for the next round.
Position 2nd - Time +7.299
“I didn’t expect such a strange race, Casey going wide and Dovi having a ride through. I thought it was possible to fight with Dani but he came better and better, I think he was inspired today and at a very high level of riding. He decided the victory and I couldn’t follow him. To win now is almost impossible, just maybe some small possibilities! A big thank you to my team who worked so hard this weekend to make a very competitive bike and thank you to all the Japanese fans who came out to support us. ”
Position 6th - Time +37.604
“It was a bitter sweet race for sure, we had a great start and the bike was feeling really good. I was in a perfect position coming out of turn three, right behind Dovi when I was hit from the back. I lost one hand off the handlebar and didn’t have much control going into the gravel trap. I tried to slow the bike as much as I could before tipping over. When I got back on track I knew there were a couple of slower guys out there so we could probably get some points. I got my head down and pushed and thought a top ten was possible. The groups kept coming back to me and the lap times were good so we got a good result considering. It’s unfortunate because I really think if we had clear track and started well we could have been in 46s all race long and battled for the podium. That’s racing, it sucks but there you go. I’m not going to blame anybody it’s just a shame, we’ll move on.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It wasn’t the most exciting race but a lot happened. Of course we wanted to win but Dani was just a few tenths faster each lap. In the beginning Jorge had a chance to follow but mid race he couldn’t follow anymore so he let him go and settled for second. With Casey running wide it was a safe move as he had no chance to challenge Dani. We gained four points so we are 40 behind now. We’re still alive and let’s see race by race. With three rounds to go we have to try and extend the decision to make Casey Champion, until then we still have a chance.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Despite the incident at turn three, Ben had a really good race. Watching all the other incidents that happened I think he could have got a podium because his pace was there. These accidents can happen in a race but it’s a shame. Jorge did his best; I don’t think he could have done better. He made a perfect race, a good start and he was always pushing to close the gap. We’re looking forward to the next race and we’ll keep pushing as hard as we can.”