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MotoGP has often been accused of being about as entertaining as watching hair grow, but there were still reminders in 2012 of why we all fell in love with motorcycle racing.

The new 250cc four-stroke Moto3 category was a welcome addition to the Grand Prix schedule, with some unforgettable and compelling racing that meant the 125cc two-strokes were quickly forgotten.

The Moto2 category remained the must see race of the weekend and was so cut throat the action at times resembled a knife fight in a phone box.

But too often the MotoGP race felt like a huge ant-climax after the captivating battles that had unfolded before, and the debate about how to make the racing more spectacular and exciting for the live and TV audience raged all year.

Even MotoGP talisman Valentino Rossi couldn’t deny having a dig at the sport when in an end of season BBC interview he said racing in MotoGP was more boring in 2012 that at any other time in his illustrious career.

The racing was often as processional as the Lord Mayor’s Show but 2012 did throw up some moments of pure drama and theatre.

One memorable encounter came in Brno when Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo delivered a rare spectacle in MotoGP – a last lap battle for the victory.

It was a race in which Pedrosa finally showed he had the mettle to win such a close battle that went right down to the wire and came in a spell when the Spaniard was arguably in the form of his life.

The Repsol Honda rider said: “On the last lap I knew I had to close all the lines and not make any mistakes. He had much better corner speed than me and much more grip in the corners but I have to ride the Honda in a different way.

In one part of the race I was really confused with the engine mapping and the bike was sliding so much that the traction control was coming in so strongly and taking away too much power. I took out some traction control and let the bike slide. I was having to let the rear tyre slide to help me turn. I left the smallest gap at Turn 7 and bang, he was underneath me. His fairing was very close to me.”

The superior acceleration of the Honda also enabled Pedrosa to line-up his attack at the final chicane and he added: “I got beside him and I passed him on the brakes and I thought it was done but then suddenly he arrived on the outside very quick. But fortunately for me he ran wide and it was an incredible feeling when I crossed the line.”

Lorenzo said he had been undone by Pedrosa’s prowess in the hard braking zones and also his faster corner exit acceleration.

“He was very hard to pass on the brakes. He was better than me in this area and the only way for me to pass him was in the chicanes where I could use my better corner speed. At Turn 7 I saw a gap and took it but Dani just wouldn’t give up, “said the 2010 world champion.

He added: “Going to the final chicane I don’t think with any other rider I would have lost my position. But coming from the corner before because Dani is very light and his Honda has a lot of acceleration he could close on me. Dani was very brave and he wanted to win badly. He just played his cards good and I wasn’t very good. This was my mistake and he took his opportunity.

My heart was pumping a lot on the last lap and I think the last time I had that sensation was in 2010.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt