Jorge Lorenzo: “Even if I won the last three races it doesn’t give me the world title. Casey [Stoner] must finish further back than second and I can’t see this situation in my mind.”
Jorge Lorenzo kept his slim world title hopes alive after he finished one place in front of main championship rival Casey Stoner in a gripping Japanese Grand Prix. But the Spaniard fears his title hopes have all but disappeared as he faces the thankless task of trying to overturn a 40-point deficit on Stoner with just three races remaining.
Lorenzo clawed four-points back on Stoner in the action-packed 24-lap race after the Aussie had made a shock error while leading in the early stages. The pre-race favorite ran off track on Lap 5 but recovered to salvage a brilliant third, which was just one place behind Lorenzo, who couldn’t take full advantage of Stoner’s blunder.
Lorenzo was unable to fight with compatriot Dani Pedrosa for the victory and later said: “It’s too late because there are only three races to the end and it’s too late because of the bike we have. We don’t have any big chances coming. Maybe I can win some races from now until the end of the season but I don’t see me winning three races in a row in normal conditions. And even if I won the last three races it doesn’t give me the world title. Casey must finish further back than second and I can’t see this situation in my mind, I don’t see it happening unless there is something strange.”
Ben Spies mounted a brilliant fight at Motegi MotoGP to claim his ninth successive top six finish in Yamaha’s home race. The Texan’s podium hopes were wrecked after just three corners when he was caught up in a tangle with his factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and the Ducati of Valentino Rossi.
Spies was nudged into the gravel at high speed by Rossi’s falling Desmosedici and despite his best efforts to keep control of his YZR-M1 machine, he toppled over at slow speed having avoided making contact with the trackside barrier.
The 2009 World Superbike champion lost almost 25 seconds in the incident and re-joined the 24-lap race in dead last before he recovered superbly to salvage sixth with a late overtake on compatriot Nicky Hayden.
Ben Spies: “If we had a clean race we could have battled for the podium. But that’s racing and we got the short end of the stick.”
Spies said: “At the end of the first lap the gap to the first person in front of me was 15 seconds. I knew there was a couple of wild card guys that were going a little bit slower and I knew we could get some points. I knew Dovizioso had jumped the start and somebody had crashed behind me. I didn’t know who it was so I was just going to ride as hard as I could and see what happened. Then I saw people coming back and a big group in front of me. That’s when I thought the top ten was possible. And then when I was in tenth I saw a big group of people in front of me, so I just kept pushing and pushing and didn’t give up. It would have been nice to complete the first lap with no problems because the bike felt good and looking at the times and how the other riders experienced problems, if we had a clean race we could have battled for the podium. But that’s racing and we got the short end of the stick. Nobody wants to knock anybody off the track and crash. I was actually in a good position that turned out to be bad and that’s just how it goes, but I’m happy with how the race turned out.”