Motegi MotoGP: Honda's Pedrosa wins, Rossi extends points lead

Honda's Dani Pedrosa claimed his first MotoGP victory in more than a year, as Valentino Rossi extended his points lead at a damp Motegi

Motegi MotoGP: Honda's Pedrosa wins, Rossi extends points lead

Japanese Grand Prix polesitter Jorge Lorenzo got the jump in wet conditions, quickly building a three-second advantage over Yamaha team-mate Rossi.

As the laps ticked by, that result would have allowed Lorenzo to reduce Rossi's championship lead to five points.

However, the Yamaha riders started to struggle with their front tyres on a drying circuit, Lorenzo more so than Rossi, as Pedrosa's second-half charge began.

The Spaniard started sixth, but moved up to fourth on the first lap.

He passed Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso - who shadowed Rossi early - and quickly erased Rossi's four-second advantage.

With nine laps remaining he passed Rossi, then Lorenzo two laps later.

Pedrosa then romped away to win by 8.753 seconds at Honda's home circuit, his first victory since the 2014 Czech GP at Brno last August.

Lorenzo's hard front tyre was cooked and Rossi also found his way past, finishing second, 3.554s clear.

As a result, Rossi's points lead grows to 18 with three races remaining.

Honda's Marc Marquez joined Lorenzo and Rossi on the front row of the grid but lost time at the start and eventually finished a lonely fourth, ahead of Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow was sixth, holding out fellow Brit Bradley Smith, with Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga progressing from 15th to eighth.

Danilo Petrucci was typically strong in the wet, the Pramac Ducati rider moving from 17th to ninth in the early stages.

However, he crashed at out of the race at Turn 7.

In tricky conditions, crashes also accounted for Jack Miller, Maverick Vinales and Pol Espargaro, while Andrea Iannone suffered an engine problem.

RESULTS - 24 LAPS:

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 46m50.767s
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 8.573s
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha 12.127s
4 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 27.841s
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 35.085s
6 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 37.263s
7 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha 37.667s
8 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Yamaha 44.654s
9 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing Ducati 48.572s
10 Scott Redding Marc VDS Honda 50.121s
11 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 1m00.535s
12 Takumi Takahashi Honda Honda 1m01.211s
13 Nicky Hayden Aspar Honda 1m11.261s
14 Yonny Hernandez Pramac Racing Ducati 1m13.896s
15 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing Ducati 1m15.421s
16 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 1m20.507s
17 Eugene Laverty Aspar Honda 1m31.224s
18 Stefan Bradl Aprilia Gresini Aprilia 1m46.833s
19 Kosuke Akiyoshi AB Motoracing Honda 2m00.072s
20 Toni Elias Forward Racing Yamaha Forward 1 Lap
- Pol Espargaro Tech 3 Yamaha Retirement
- Jack Miller LCR Honda Retirement
- Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki Retirement
- Loris Baz Forward Racing Yamaha Forward Retirement
- Andrea Iannone Ducati Ducati Retirement
- Danilo Petrucci Pramac Racing Ducati Retirement
- Alex de Angelis IodaRacing Project ART/Aprilia Withdrawn

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Rider Points
1 Valentino Rossi 283
2 Jorge Lorenzo 265
3 Marc Marquez 197
4 Andrea Iannone 172
5 Dani Pedrosa 154
6 Bradley Smith 152
7 Andrea Dovizioso 150
8 Cal Crutchlow 98
9 Danilo Petrucci 93
10 Pol Espargaro 88
11 Aleix Espargaro 81
12 Maverick Vinales 74
13 Scott Redding 73
14 Yonny Hernandez 49
15 Hector Barbera 30
16 Loris Baz 28
17 Alvaro Bautista 26
18 Jack Miller 16
19 Nicky Hayden 16
20 Stefan Bradl 11
21 Eugene Laverty 9
22 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 8
22 Michele Pirro 8
24 Mike Di Meglio 8
25 Hiroshi Aoyama 5
26 Takumi Takahashi 4
27 Alex de Angelis 2


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