Lorenzo Wins, Rossi 3rd in Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo dominated at Twin Ring Motegi for the second year in a row, taking a perfect victory in the Grand Prix of Japan on Sunday, Oct. 12. Teammate Valentino Rossi also shined, making it a double podium for Yamaha with a strong third-place finish. Lorenzo’s win ties him with five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan at 54 career GP victories, the fifth most in history. And more importantly for this season, Lorenzo’s 25 points brings him up to just three points behind Rossi and rival Dani Pedrosa for second in the standings. Although second-place Motegi race finisher Marc Marquez clinched this year’s championship, Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo will battle fiercely for second in the championship during the final three races. Meanwhile Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith both finished inside the top 10 in eighth and ninth place, respectively. After qualifying on the second row, Lorenzo made a good start in the 24-lap race, arriving at the first corner in third place. He soon overtook pole sitter Andrea Dovizioso to follow teammate Rossi, who rocketed from second on the grid into the lead before turn one. Rossi quickly worked to build a useful gap of over 0.4 seconds during the first two laps, but Lorenzo soon arrived at the back of The Doctor’s YZR-M1. Feeling the heat of Dovizioso and Marquez behind him, Lorenzo took the lead from his teammate on the fourth lap and cleared off at the front to set a new lap record shortly thereafter. Lorenzo was then able to create a comfortable gap that he held to the checkers. “It’s unbelievable!” he said. “I’m very happy to win at Motegi for the second time in a row.” After dropping to second, Rossi’s race was all about trying to fend off Marquez. On lap 10 Marquez first attempted to pass the nine-time world champion, but Rossi refused to give up his position, immediately retaking second place in the last corner. Although he was unable to answer the next pass by Marquez before the hairpin, Rossi was determined to not let his rival out of sight, hoping for another opportunity to keep the championship open until the next race. When the threat grew from behind as Pedrosa started to close down the gap, Rossi pushed to the limit and was able to hold onto third at the line. “From one side I’m very satisfied because we had a high race pace and I felt good with the bike,” Rossi said afterwards. “From the other side it’s a shame that I was unable to keep the championship open for another week. Congratulations to Marc.”

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