Dani Pedrosa pulled back another five points on Jorge Lorenzo in the championship battle with his second victory in as many years at Motegi. As they’ve been for much of the season, the two Spaniards were the class of the field and Pedrosa would prove too strong once again, winning by just over four seconds.
All seemed to be going so well for Yamaha in the early stages as Lorenzo converted pole position into the lead at turn one. Pedrosa slotted into second while the other factory Yamaha of Ben Spies surged through into third ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Casey Stoner. Unfortunately for Spies though, his race would end at the start of lap two with the American running straight on at turn one and making gentle contact with the wall.
With their nearest challenger eliminated, the front two quickly gapped Crutchlow while an error from Stoner at turn eight released Alvaro Bautista. Lorenzo was unable to break away from Pedrosa in second though and after shadowing the Yamaha for the first half of the race, Dani made his move into turn five on lap twelve. Like at Aragon, Lorenzo had nothing by way of response and concentrated on consolidating second place.
The fight for the final podium position certainly wasn’t clear cut as Bautista chased down the Tech 3 Yamaha of Crutchlow. With five laps to go, the fight swung Alvaro’s way following a terrific move at turn six but Cal gave him a taste of his own medicine with an identical pass two laps later. Bautista fought back at the turn nine hairpin to regain the position and the fight was settled on the final lap, although sadly, Crutchlow would be denied the consolation of fourth by a technical problem.
Having passed Stoner seven laps from home, Andrea Dovizioso inherited fourth with the world champion a lonely fifth. Stefan Bradl kept Valentino Rossi’s Ducati at bay for sixth while Nicky Hayden and Katsuyuki Nakasuga fought out a race-long scrap for eighth, settled in favour of the American by 0.070s.
Hector Barbera won the battle of the satellite Ducatis for tenth with Aleix Espargaro the first CRT rider home in twelfth, two places ahead of Britain’s James Ellison.