Jorge Lorenzo settled for a safe second place in yesterday’s Motorland Aragon MotoGP clash to keep himself firmly in the driving seat to clinch a second premier class title in 2012.
The Spaniard led for the opening six laps but he was powerless to match the pace of main title rival Dani Pedrosa, who bounced back from his recent Misano misery to claim a crucial victory.
A big rear tyre slide exiting the first corner that threw Lorenzo out of the seat of his factory YZR-M1 saw him call off his pursuit of Pedrosa, with a safe 20-points only surrendering five pints to the Repsol Honda rider.
Lorenzo still has a commanding 33-point lead in the standings with four races remaining and he said: “I had a half a second advantage but soon I knew my bike would start to spin a lot and Dani was faster.
"I tried to follow him but I made a mistake and almost crashed and that's when I said OK, second place will be good. The championship is closer but we keep the same focus.
"It is so easy to make a mistake and so far we have done a good job this year being first or second place. But one small lack of concentration and you are out of the track.
"I am focussed to be competitive in every track, in every lap and this is the only way to stay ahead because Dani and Honda are very competitive."
With rumours growing that Casey Stoner might be ready to return from injury at the next race in Japan, Lorenzo played down the impact the Aussie could have on the destiny of the title chase.
Stoner has been sidelined with a serious ankle injury he picked up in a qualifying crash in Indianapolis and HRC is yet to officially confirm that he will be back at the Twin Ring Motegi.
But Lorenzo played down the fact that Stoner’s return could take precious points away from him as the season reaches a climax.
He added: “When Casey is here it will make my life more difficult but we have to play with our cards even when he is not here and second place here was great.
"We will see what happens when he arrives back and if he is competitive. We also have to improve our bike to have the option to win more races."
For full coverage of the Motorland Aragon MotoGP race, see the October 3 issue of Motor Cycle News.