Pedrosa wins Japanese MotoGP, Rossi extends title lead

Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:39am EDT
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(Reuters) - Spain's Dani Pedrosa claimed the 50th Grand Prix win of his career on Sunday, taking victory in the Japanese MotoGP as runner-up Valentino Rossi extended his lead in the championship standings.

Pedrosa, who almost quit the sport earlier this year because of an arm problem that needed surgery, grabbed the lead seven laps from the end of a wet race at the Twin Ring circuit in Motegi.

He surged clear of his rivals to win for the first time this season and the 50th of his career, which began in the 125cc class in 2001.

Rossi finished second while his Yamaha team mate and championship rival Jorge Lorenzo faded to third after leading for most of the race until he had dropped back when having tire problems.

"It's a real pity because today if the track didn't dry I would have won," Lorenzo of Spain said.

"There was a dry line and I couldn't follow them. I just had to survive.

"Now there is only one target and that is to win the three races. Let's see if we can do it."

Rossi now leads Lorenzo by 18 points in the standings with a maximum of 75 available from the remaining three rounds, in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia.

"It was a very long race. It was very easy to make a mistake," the Italian said.   Continued...

Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa of Spain sprays champagne after winning the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Motegi, north of Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato