Lorenzo unaware of Rossi contact
Dani normally struggles a little more than me but at this track he was really inspired today. He deserved the victory" - Jorge Lorenzo.
Reigning MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo survived turn two contact with Valentino Rossi on his way to second place in Sunday's Japanese Grand prix at Motegi (pictured).
Last year Lorenzo came off worse during a thrilling late-race battle for third with then team-mate Rossi, which included contact, but this time around it was definitely the Italian who suffered most.
Lorenzo insisted he didn't even know it was Rossi, let alone what had happened to cause the Ducati rider's crash.
"I made a bad start, really terrible and lost a lot of positions and then I nearly crashed at the second turn when Valentino was too [late] on the brakes," he began.
"I don't know what happened. I had to ask the mechanics 'which rider hit my rear wheel' after the race, because I felt a big movement and almost crashed. They said it was Valentino, but I don't know what happened. I have to see the reply."
Lorenzo then settled into fourth place, which became second when Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso lost ground due to a mistake and ride-through penalty respectively.
That left fellow Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa just over a second ahead of Lorenzo - and the Yamaha rider fancied his chances of a fourth 2011 win, but this time there was to be not stopping Pedrosa.
"The race was a little strange, Casey going wide and Dovi having a ride-through. I thought it was possible to fight with Dani for victory, because, Dani normally struggles a little more than me but at this track he was really inspired today. He deserved the victory and I couldn't follow him," confessed Lorenzo.
With title leader Stoner recovering to third, Lorenzo is now a slightly nearer 40 points behind the Australian with three rounds and 75 points remaining.
"It wasn't the most exciting race but a lot happened," said team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. "Of course we wanted to win but Dani was just a few tenths faster each lap.
"We gained four points so we are 40 behind now. We're still alive and let's see race by race. With three rounds to go we have to try and extend the decision to make Casey champion, until then we still have a chance."
Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies was bumped off-track by Rossi during the first lap incident, leaving him 17th and last. The Texan rose to sixth by the finish.