Moto GP

Dani Pedrosa Secures 50th Career GP Victory At Motegi

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Dani Pedrosa aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC213V scored his 50th Grand Prix victory in ultra-tricky conditions at Honda‰Ûªs home track today, after starting from the second row of the grid.

Thirty-year-old Pedrosa was true to the Japanese script meaning ‰Û÷Samurai‰Ûª atop his helmet, coming from fourth on the first lap to score his first victory of the season. His 50th career victory continues a unique run of at least one victory achieved every year since 2002 in the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP classes, across 990cc, 800cc and 1000cc capacities; all achieved on Honda machinery.

Today‰Ûªs win was also Pedrosa‰Ûªs fifth at Motegi, again across all classes: 125, 250 and MotoGP.

The MotoGP race started on a damp track, with dry lines at some corners created by the earlier Moto3 and Moto2 races, but with all riders choosing rain tyres. In the early laps pole-sitter Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha team-mate made the running, but as tyres wore and the track dried, Pedrosa started making relentless forward progress, closing rapidly on the leaders.

At this point he was more than a second a lap faster, so it was only a matter of time before he hit the front, though conditions were so treacherous that all the top men were riding the knife edge
Dani Pedrosa on his way to his first win of 2015
On lap 16 of 24 Pedrosa dived past Rossi to take second and two laps later his RC213V powered past Lorenzo to take the lead down Motegi‰Ûªs back straight. From there he comfortably pulled away ‰ÛÒ his bike having preserved its tyres more effectively than those of his rivals ‰ÛÒ to beat Rossi by 8.5 seconds, with Lorenzo a further 3.5 seconds in arrears.

Pedrosa now stands fifth in the championship, despite missing three of the first four races due to surgery to fix an arm-pump problem.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm so happy with this win!" Pedrosa enthused. "It has been a long time since my last one and I‰Ûªm really pleased. It was a fun race, because at first I took things calmly and lost too much time, but the strategy worked out because afterwards I recovered ground gradually.

"I had a special feeling at that point in the race and I‰Ûªm happy to take this victory for Honda at their home track, for the team, the sponsors, my friends and family, because it has been a difficult season.

"It‰Ûªs not been an easy weekend here in Japan, I‰Ûªd also like to wish Alex De Angelis all the best and hope he recovers soon."
Valentino Rossi increased his points lead to 18 with just three races left in the 2015 championship
Rossi had one goal for today's 24-lap race: to extend his lead in the championship, which he achived after passing his team-mate to finish in second place and extended his lead in the process by four points.

"Physically it wasn't so bad, but mentally it was very hard to always keep the concentration, because it's very easy to make a mistake." Rossi admitted after todays race. "At the beginning we had a good pace, but Jorge was stronger than me and was able to create a small advantage.

"After that my pace was good, I stayed with him and tried not to lose more time and used it as a motivation to keep my concentration, but when the track started to dry everything became more difficult. The tyre gave up and started spinning a lot on the straight and Dani arrived. It was a difficult situation, because if Dani beat me and not Jorge I would have lost another nine points after AragÌ_n.

"I was able to do three or four very strong laps behind Dani and catch Jorge, who then made a mistake. I took an additional four-point advantage, which was our target, so we are very happy.

"The track was a lot better when it was fully wet, because the tyres worked well. When it starts to dry up it feels like you are in a boat at sea, the bike moves everywhere. Three or four times when I touched the throttle I felt the front go and said "no, no, no!", so it was difficult, lots of stress."
Jorge Lorenzo lead early before finishing in 3rd.
With just three races remaining, Rossi leads his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who finished third today by 18 points.

"It was a pity because I think that on the dry I was the fastest and the more consistent rider." Lorenzo commented regarding the rain falling during the race. "Also in the rain I was very fast, but unfortunately the track dried up and my push at the beginning of the race probably made my tyre a bit worse than Valentino's and Dani's.

"When the track was almost dry, my front tyre was destroyed and I couldn't ride like before. For this race it was important to finish in front of Valentino, but the championship is not over, because I remember in 2013 I was even further from Marquez in the standings and I lost the championship by just four points.

"Eighteen points is a lot, but if I win all races and another rider finishes between me and Valentino, I can still win the championship."

This was always going to be a difficult Grand Prix for Marquez who fractured the fifth metacarpal on his left hand while mountain-biking in Spain last week. His mechanics fitted a broader-than-standard left handlebar grip to spread to load, but he unsurprisingly struggled to perform at his best through the weekend.

Behind Marquez is was Ducati's Anrea Dovizioso in 5th, finishing just ahead of LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith. Local rider Katsuyuki Nkasuya cracked the top ten on a Factory Yamaha finishing in 8th position, with Bector Barbera 9th and Scott Redding 10th.
Australia's Jack Miller was mixing it with the facotry bikes until a crash put him out of contention
Rookie Jack Miller (LCR Honda RC213V-RS) had been going great guns in the early stages, mixing it with a bunch of factory Ducati, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha riders aboard his Open Honda until he slid off on lap seven. The young Australian bravely remounted, only to slide off again.

As the MotoGP circus heads directly to Phillip Island for next Sunday‰Ûªs Australian GP, the thoughts of the whole paddock are with Italian MotoGP rider Alex De Angelis who is undergoing medical checks at nearby Dokkyo Medical University Hospital following a crash at Motegi yesterday.

The Australian GP is followed by the Malaysian GP on October 25th. The season concludes in Valencia, Spain, on November 8.

Race Results:
1 Dani Pedrosa 46'50.767 ESP HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Valentino Rossi 8.573 ITA YAMAHA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
3 Jorge Lorenzo 12.127 ESP YAMAHA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
4 Marc Marquez 27.841 ESP HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Andrea Dovizioso 35.085 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
6 Cal Crutchlow 37.263 GBR HONDA CWM LCR Honda
7 Bradley Smith 37.667 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 44.654 JPN YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
9 Hector Barbera 48.572 ESP AVINTIA Avintia Racing
10 Scott Redding 50.121 GBR HONDA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
11 Aleix Espargaro 1'00.535 ESP SUZUKI Team Suzuki MotoGP
12 Takumi Takahashi 1'01.211 JPN HONDA Team HRC with NISSIN
13 Nicky Hayden 1'11.261 USA HONDA Drive M7 Aspar
14 Yonny Hernandez 1'13.896 COL DUCATI Pramac Racing
15 Mike De Meglio 1'15.421 FRA AVINTIA Avintia Racing
16 Alvaro Bautista 1'20.507 ESP APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
17 Eugene Laverty 1'31.224 HONDA Drive M7 Aspar
18 Stefan Bradl 1'46.833 GER FORWARD YAMAHA Forward Racing
19 Kousuke Akiyoshi 2'00.072 JPN HONDA AB Motoracing
20 Toni Elias 1 Lap SPA FORWARD YAMAHA Forward Racing
21 Pol Espargaro DNF ESP YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
22 Jack Miller DNF AUS HONDA CWM LCR Honda
23 Maverick Vinales DNF ESP SUZUKI Team Suzuki MotoGP
24 Andrea Iannone DNF ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
25 Danilo Petrucci DNF ITA DUCATI Pramac Racing

Championship standings
1 Valentino Rossi 283 pts
2 Jorge Lorenzo 265 pts
3 Marc Marquez 197 pts
4 Andrea Iannone 172 pts
5 Dani Pedrosa 154 pts
6 Bradley Smith 152 pts
7 Andrea Dovizioso 150 pts
8 Cal Crutchlow 98 pts GBR
9 Danilo Petrucci 93 pts
10 Pol Espargaro 88 pts
11 Aleix Espargaro 81 pts
12 Maverick Vinales 74 pts
13 Scott Redding 73 pts GBR
14 Yonny Hernandez 49 pts
15 Hector Barbera 30 pts
18 Jack Miller 16 pts AUS

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