MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo wins Japanese Grand Prix to keep championship hopes alive
Last Updated: 28/10/13 11:12am
Jorge Lorenzo (R) keeps his nose in front of Marc Marquez in Japan
Jorge Lorenzo ensured the MotoGP title race will go down to the wire as he won the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez at Motegi.
The defending world champion started from pole and held off rookie Marquez for 22 hard-fought laps around the Twin Ring circuit to clinch his second straight victory.
The Yamaha rider took the chequered flag ahead of his Honda rival to trim the gap at the top of the standings to 13 points heading into the final race of the season in Valencia.
Marquez will need to finish no lower than fourth in Spain on November 10 to become the youngest world champion in the 64-year history of MotoGP.
The 20-year-old ended team-mate Dani Pedrosa's slim title hopes as his fellow Spaniard came in third, while Honda's Alvaro Bautista made it an all-Spain top four.
"This track is normally better for them so winning here in Honda's home race is a pleasure," Lorenzo said afterwards.
"It's been a really hard, physical race but I really kept my concentration and I really wanted this victory."
Marquez's eventful first season in MotoGP continued during the morning practice session when he lost control of his bike and slid into the trackside gravel trap.
He was cleared to start the race, but he slipped to third after two corners as Lorenzo got off the line well and Valentino Rossi stormed into second place.
But Rossi missed the braking point at a corner on lap two, allowing Marquez and Pedrosa to slip past, and the Honda pair soon closed the gap on leader Lorenzo.
However, the 26-year-old produced a near-flawless ride to hold off his rivals and clinch his seventh victory of the season, and the 30th of his MotoGP career.
"It was a difficult race for me because of this morning's big crash but also because it was my first time in this track," Marquez said.
"I tried to follow Jorge. In the middle of the race it looked like we were stronger but in the end I saw that Jorge tried to push a little bit more.
"I felt I was too much on the limit and I said 'okay, 20 points for the championship'. Valencia will be another race and very interesting for sure."