A double for Dani, fuel misery for Cal
Dani Pedrosa made it two wins from two starts, to take the Motegi Moto GP race from fellow Spaniard and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. As in Aragon Spain two weeks ago, Lorenzo could not keep up the relentless pace being set by Pedrosa on the HRC Honda and finished 4 seconds adrift in a solid second place.
Cal Crutchlow had qualified on the front row and had a good scrap with Ben Spies on lap one until Spies outbraked himself at the end of the long straight and ran into the gravel trap. This handed third place to Crutchlow and he seemed in a very safe podium position, until, towards the final ten laps Alvaro Bautista visibly closed the gap. Was Cal in tyre trouble or was his bike failing? For two great laps Crutchlow fought off every move Bautista made but astonishingly his Tech 3 Yamaha then ran out of fuel, giving Bautista the third spot and making it an all Spanish Podium at the end of the race. How can this happen? Moto GP bikes are only allowed 21 litres of fuel per race and since all the other bikes finished, and his team mate Andrea Dovisioso finished 4th, Tech 3 have some head scratching to do! Elsewhere in the field Casey Stoner, returning from injury, completed a steady comeback ride finishing in 5th behind Dovisioso and retaining his 3rd place in the championship so far. The Ducati pairing of Valentino Rossi and the still injured Nicky Hayden finished 7th and 8th respectively. Stefan Bradl continues his impressive year as a rookie with a 6th place finish behind Stoner, whilst ride of the day has to go to Japanese wild card and Yamaha test rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga. The Japanese rider caught and pressurised Nicky Hayden over the last lap to finish just 0.07 seconds adrift in 9th. The CRT honours and championship lead went to Aleix Espargaro, who finished 12th overall after his main rival French rider Randy De Puniet fell on the first lap.
Cal Crutchlow's incomprehensible failure to finish means that Rossi swaps places with him in the Championship standings. This is Dani Pedrosa's fourth win in five races, but with Jorge Lorenzo's 27 point lead in the championship and with only 3 races left, it is Lorenzo's title to lose. Dani will need to keep winning to keep his chances alive. All the ingredients are there for a fantastic finale to the 2012 Moto GP.