Following the Friday injury for his team-mate and title contender Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso upheld some Honda pride with second place in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Starting from his first pole in MotoGP, the Italian lost the lead early on lap one to Ducati's Casey Stoner and - while staying close to the Australian for much of the race - was forced to concede defeat in the closing stages.

Nevertheless, second place meant Dovi's first podium since round five and he is back ahead of Valentino Rossi for fourth in the world championship standings, with four rounds to go.

"I don't what Casey ate today because his pace was amazing!" joked Dovi. "I pushed 100 percent all the race but I never had an opportunity to overtake him.

"It was hard to maintain the pace on the tyre in the last few laps and I nearly had a big highside three laps from the end - at that moment I knew I couldn't win the race.

"It was a little bit disappointing because I wanted the win and I thought it was possible today, but I'm really happy to be back on the podium again.

"Following Casey I learned a lot about the strategy for tuning the electronics settings for the final part of the race when the tyre performance is dropping off, so this is really positive for the future," he added.

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