Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa claimed his fifth victory of the season as he kept the pressure on MotoGP title favourite Jorge Lorenzo with a polished victory at Motegi.
Pedrosa has now reduced the Yamaha rider's advantage to 28 points with three rounds remaining.
It was Pedrosa's 13th finish on the podium this season, equalling his previous best tally from 2004, but the Spaniard is only too aware that his quest to land the title is a forlorn hope as long as Lorenzo continues to claim the runner-up spot each time he triumphs.
“We did what we needed to do and it's just a pity that there is no one else who can stay with us because every race I win, he's been second,” said Pedrosa.
“But anyway, it's a great feeling to win races and we are doing it now.”
Pedrosa, celebrating his second MotoGP victory in succession at Motegi in Honda's backyard, tracked pole man Lorenzo from the opening lap as the pair pulled away from the chasing pack.
He set a new lap record of 1m 45.589s on lap four and hit the front on the 11th lap, eventually powering away to win by 4.275s in a new race record time.
“It was a hard race because the pace was very fast from the beginning,” said Pedrosa, who remains the only rider to hold victories in all three classes at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
“I tried to understand the bike, as yesterday we had a lot of chatter so I didn't know how it would be today.
“In the beginning it wasn't too bad but then it got a little worse during the race. I managed it as best I could and I stayed with Jorge, I was able to get a better line out of the corner and pass him and then I put in some good laps and controlled the gap,” he said.
“Jorge tried to stay with me, but then decided to settle for the second place.
“Thanks to Honda and the whole team, I'm really happy to win again here in Motegi.”