MOTEGI, Japan – Jorge Lorenzo scored his seventh victory of the 2013 MotoGP campaign Sunday at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, delivering manufacturer Yamaha’s its 200th premier class victory.
The Yamaha Factory Racing rider fought off a stiff challenge from Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to ensure that the MotoGP title battle goes down to the wire for the first time since 2006.
“It’s a very special day, to be the rider to get the 200 wins is a great honor,” Lorenzo said. “To win at Honda’s home race is even more special. It was a very difficult race today, they were very close but I never gave up and tried to be even faster, brake harder and open the gap more. Finally I was able to make a little gap. We are very proud of this victory, for the result, for the circumstances and for the championship, it couldn’t be better.”
Providing a truly unpredictable end to the late-season triple-header, the Motegi weekend was very much shaken up by inclement weather conditions. This led to the cancellation of all track action on Friday as well as heavy modifications to the Saturday agenda. Ironically, Sunday’s race took place under clear blue skies in Japan.
From his fourth pole position of the year, it would be a lights-to-flag victory for Lorenzo to move one win ahead of Marquez in the 2013 season. Teammate Valentino Rossi looked to be providing a buffer between the current title holder and the pair of factory Hondas, but made two mistakes at turn 11 and fell back down the order.
Lorenzo would come under severe pressure from Marquez at the mid-way point of the race, with Pedrosa in hot pursuit. However, the Mallorcan was spared some breathing space as Marquez made mistakes at both turn 11 and turn one. The 20-year-old would never be as close to Lorenzo again, eventually ending the day 3.1 seconds in arrears.
Pedrosa’s third place marked his 12th podium finish of the season, but the Sabadell rider was unable to complete a hat-trick of Motegi victories as his chances for the 2013 world title officially evaporated. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top five, with the GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider having slipstreamed his way past the LCR Honda MotoGP bike at the start of the eighth lap.
Rossi fought back to sixth place after running as low as 11th, while Cal Crutchlow got the better of impressive Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith in seventh and eighth spots. Ducati teammates Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso completed the top 10.
Sunday’s result sees Lorenzo move to within 13 points of Marquez with just one race remaining in 2013.