MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo came within four laps of taking his fourth consecutive Estoril victory, from pole, in Portugal on Sunday.
It was at that point that the Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa, which had been shadowing Lorenzo all race, suddenly pulled out of his slipstream and took the lead into turn one.
The #26 then unleashed a series of quick laps to pull a three-second victory margin over Lorenzo by the chequered flag, and is now just four points behind the Yamaha rider at the top of the championship.
“I made a good start and I'm really happy for that then I pushed to my maximum to try to open the gap to Dani,” recalled Lorenzo, who has finished 2-1-2 in this year's races. “Unfortunately today was not the day for that, he was too strong and consistent and at the end he was maybe fresher to push.
“Second is a good result, we have a lot of points from three races so I think we are in a good way to keep fighting for the championship. I want to thank my team who worked really hard this weekend to make sure we were as competitive as we could be.”
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg felt Lorenzo had no chance to respond once Pedrosa made his move.
“Jorge led for 25 laps but Dani held on and had a little bit extra in his pocket at the end,” said Zeelenberg. “He looked very stable and clean when he passed so Jorge was smart to settle for second.
“We gained a bit in split one and lost a bit in split four from qualifying, you win some, you lose some. Second place is ok and we're still leading the championship. We're going for podiums and if we can win then we'll try, today we couldn't.”