Dani Pedrosa came from behind to grab his first win of the season in stunning fashion at the Japan Grand Prix on Sunday, while championship leader Valentino Rossi finished second.
The Spanish Honda rider clocked 46:50.767, 8.573 ahead of Rossi on Yamaha and 12.127 in front of Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
The results meant the Italian stretched his championship points lead over Lorenzo to 18, with three races to go.
Pedrosa, who was placed fourth early in the race, stunned rivals and spectators with an electrifying charge from lap 15 of the 24-lap race. He stormed past Rossi and then Lorenzo two laps later.
“I couldn’t go fast in the beginning,” Pedrosa said.
“But at the end my pace was faster and could win the race. I am very happy.”
Lorenzo controlled the first half of the race as drizzle fell and appeared destined for another victory.
The Spanish Yamaha rider, who won the Japan Grand Prix in 2014, 2013 and 2009 and finished second in 2012 and 2011, went wide on the first corner after the start and allowed Rossi briefly to take the lead.
But Lorenzo quickly overtook the Italian on the following straight and began building up a long lead – until Pedrosa started to speed up halfway through the race as the rain stopped and began clocking nearly a second faster than Rossi.
With seven laps to go, Pedrosa caught up with Lorenzo. After a brief duel, Pedrosa moved into the lead and extended his distance from his challengers.