While Motegi MotoGP most of the weekend was shaken up by inclement weather, which led to the cancellation of all track action on Friday as well as heavy modifications to the Saturday agenda, Sunday’s race took place under clear blue skies in Japan.
From his fourth pole position of the year, it would be a lights-to-flag victory for Lorenzo to move one win ahead of Marquez in the 2013 season. Teammate Valentino Rossi looked to be providing a buffer between the current title holder and the pair of factory Hondas, but made two mistakes at Turn 11 and fell back down the order.
Sunday’s result – marking the 200th premier class race victory for Yamaha – sees Lorenzo move to within 13 points of Marquez with just the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana remaining. This signals the first final-race MotoGP title-decider for seven years; in 2006 it was also a duel between the Honda and Yamaha factory teams, with the crown won by Nicky Hayden as the American picked up a maiden title from then reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi.