Jorge Lorenzo might be edging closer to clinching a second MotoGP world title, but the Spaniard couldn’t hide his disappointment after he failed to defeat Honda in its own backyard at the Twin Ring Motegi.
Lorenzo led for the opening 12 laps but for the second race in succession he could do nothing to stop title rival Dani Pedrosa clearing off into the distance as the Repsol Honda rider cruised to a fourth win in the last five races.
Pedrosa’s fifth win of 2012 – a personal best tally in his MotoGP career – cut Lorenzo’s championship lead to 28-points on a historic day, as for the first time in history the podium was an all-Spanish affair with Alvaro Bautista taking a hard fought third.
Lorenzo still hasn’t finished lower than second this season but he has faced an onslaught from HRC in the second half of the season and Repsol Honda has now seven of the last nine races.
And he said: “I am disappointed because I had high hopes of trying to win this race. I felt strong all weekend and I tried my maximum at the beginning of the race to open this gap but it was impossible.
"Dani could stay with me and he seemed more prepared with the rear tyre when it was sliding and going down. And there was too much difference on the straight. I couldn't recover everything in the corners. I’m disappointed but also happy because I am still leading the championship by a lot of points.”
Lorenzo rode a faultless race but still had no answer for Pedrosa and his frustration at not being able to fight more closely for the victory was obvious and he added: “You can look at my face. I cannot stay happy and smiling when I am a little bit disappointed with this race.
"If we look at the general points, we must be happy because we are closer to the championship. But I want to win and today I felt like I have a chance to win, but I see it was almost impossible.”
Pedrosa’s latest win in the hottest streak of form in his MotoGP career kept his world title hopes alive and he said once he had adjusted his riding to cope with a severe rear tyre chatter issue, he felt confident he could win Honda’s home race for the second year in a row.
He said: “It was kind of difficult in the beginning because yesterday (Saturday) I had so much chattering that I was a little concerned. I didn’t know really how much chattering I would have in the race.
"And the first laps I was trying to understand the bike. I see immediately I had some severe chattering on the exit of the corner, but I could find a way to manage it and keep riding fast.
"Lorenzo was really doing a good job and riding very good, so it was hard to find a point to overtake. But finally I could get a good spot and make the pass and then a few laps later I could make some good lap times and pull out a nice gap.
"In the end I could more or less manage the gap and control the gap and get a win here. It’s good because its Honda race track, so it’s great to get a win here.”
For more coverage from the Motegi race, including Danny Kent’s maiden Grand Prix victory, see the October 17 issue of MCN