Dani Pedrosa (Honda) took the the honours in a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix where only two of the top seven riders didn't either run off the circuit or incur a ride-through penalty (or both!). Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and Pedrosa's Honda team mate Casey Stoner completed the podium.
The 24-lap race began with pole man Stoner launching into Turn 1 at the head of the field, while team mate Andrea Dovizioso jumped the start from the front row, with Marco Simoncelli (Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Tech 3) also incurring ride through penalties for the same mistake.
Ducati's Valentino Rossi crashed out on the first lap, colliding with Yamaha rider Ben Spies and forcing off the track and down the order. Meanwhile Stoner appeared set to take another victory, leading clear and free until running off the track on lap five, just before Ducati privateer Hector Barbera crashed out, and Nicky Hayden on the second works Ducati went farming while running fourth.
Lorenzo had some catching up to do, and made his way through the field to come home second, while Stoner climbed back to third. Simoncelli and Dovizioso took their ride-through penalties and then got into a dice for fourth that went all the way to the line, with Simoncelli in front by a scant 0.141sec when it mattered.
Three Americans followed next, with Spies sixth in front of Hayden and Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3). Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) avoided any drama to finish ninth in his home race with Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) tenth.
Crutchlow was 11th despite an off-track excursion in addition to his ride-through penalty.
Stoner's lead at the top of the Championship over Lorenzo now stands at 40 points with three rounds of the 2011 season remaining.
Thanks to IOL Motoring