Jorge Lorenzo keeps title fight alive
Jorge Lorenzo has ensured that the 2013 MotoGP World Championship will go down to the final race after a workmanlike victory in Japan.
The Yamaha Factory Racing rider clipped Marc Marquez’ championship lead to 13 points, leading from start to finish after seeing off his compatriot’s attacks in the first half of the race.
Marquez ultimately settled for second, with a comfortable margin to his Repsol Honda Team team-mate Dani Pedrosa after the 24 laps were completed.
Lorenzo was the best away at a Motegi Twin Ring bathed in sunshine after Friday’s typhoon, while Valentino Rossi jumped to second from the second row and Marquez slotted into third at Turn 1 despite initially falling behind Pedrosa.
While the 2012 champion might have hoped for some protection from his team-mate, Lorenzo soon lost his rear gunner when Rossi outbraked himself at the 90-Degree Corner on Lap 2 and let both Hondas by.
Marquez and Pedrosa soon closed up on the race leader, the former attempting to strike after a series of cagey laps, but Lorenzo held his nerve to keep bike #93 at bay at the 90-Degree Corner on Lap 14.
The points leader ran wide then had a big moment at the same corner on the next two laps, respectively.
Those incidents offered respite to Lorenzo, who gladly seized the opportunity to build a margin as Marquez continued to struggled to pull up his Honda.
The gap ultimately blew out to over three seconds as Marquez saw fit to consolidate his position safe in the knowledge that Pedrosa was a safe distance back.
Alvaro Bautista made for an all-Spanish Top 4, leaving Stefan Bradl to ride a lonely race to fifth after passing the German on Lap 8.
Valentino Rossi recovered to sixth after completely running off the track at the 90-Degree Corner just one lap after giving second position away, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, and Bradley Smith.
Nicky Hayden quickly plummeted from his front-row starting berth in the dry, finishing ninth from Ducati Team team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Colin Edwards was the leading CRT rider in 12th after Aleix Espargaro was forced to jump from his bike when the throttle appeared to jam open on Lap 13.
The Espargaro family enjoyed happier times earlier in the day when brother Pol won the Moto2 World Championship with his sixth race win of the season, after Scott Redding was caught in a first-lap incident and failed to finish.
The Moto3 title, on the other hand, will go down to the wire with Luis Salom, Maverick Viñales, and Alex Rins now covered by just five points.
All three classes conclude with the Valencia MotoGP on 10 November.
Japan – Results
|1||25||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||162.3||42’34.291|
|2||20||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||162.1||+3.188|
|3||16||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||162.1||+4.592|
|4||13||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||161.1||+19.755|
|5||11||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||160.9||+22.810|
|6||10||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||160.8||+24.637|
|7||9||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||160.6||+27.496|
|8||8||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||160.4||+30.969|
|9||7||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||160.0||+37.010|
|10||6||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||159.7||+42.944|
|11||5||21||Katsuyuki NAKASUGA||JPN||Yamaha YSP Racing Team||Yamaha||159.0||+53.345|
|12||4||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR Kawasaki||158.4||+1’03.213|
|13||3||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||158.2||+1’06.840|
|14||2||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Energy T.I. Pramac Racing||Ducati||158.1||+1’08.218|
|15||1||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Ignite Pramac Racing||Ducati||157.5||+1’18.240|
|16||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||FTR||157.5||+1’19.108|
|17||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Avintia Blusens||FTR||157.3||+1’21.174|
|18||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||156.8||+1’30.546|
|19||70||Michael LAVERTY||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||153.7||+2’23.358|
|20||71||Claudio CORTI||ITA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR Kawasaki||154.4||1 Lap|
|21||50||Damian CUDLIN||AUS||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||153.4||1 Lap|
|22||67||Bryan STARING||AUS||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||FTR Honda||153.2||1 Lap|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||158.3||12 Laps|
|23||Luca SCASSA||ITA||Cardion AB Motoracing||ART||144.3||23 Laps|
|52||Lukas PESEK||CZE||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda-Suter||139.3||23 Laps|