Alvaro Bautista raised a glass to his renewed MotoGP deal with the Gresini Honda team after sealing third place at Motegi behind factory pair Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Bautista, whose ride on the Gresini RC213V next season had been the subject of much speculation prior to Saturday's confirmation that the Spanish rider will remain with the team, had been locked in an exciting personal duel with Cal Crutchlow at the Twin Ring circuit until the final lap.
Tech 3 Yamaha rider Crutchlow's M1 ran out of fuel, denying the British rider a shot at his second career podium finish after he managed the feat at Brno and paving the way for Bautista to cement the final place on the podium.
It was Bautista's second rostrum finish after he took third at the San Marino Grand Prix and represented the perfect celebration of his new deal with Gresini Honda.
“A beautiful, great weekend with the signing of the contract for next season with Gresini Racing,” said Bautista.
“I am very happy today. I knew we could do well and fight for the podium, because yesterday we had been shown to have a good race pace.
“I tried and I did it. I did not start very well, I lost some positions, but I quickly recovered,” he added.
“Then when I caught Crutchlow I saw that we were riding at the same rate, and so I tried to keep a safe distance so as not to overheat the brakes.
“For five laps I pushed more and I attacked and I have to say that the battle with him was beautiful and I enjoyed it.
“I am very happy for the guys in the team who have always worked a lot with the Showa to give me a good performance, for the sponsors and HRC that is giving us all the support and I hope to continue like this for the next races.”
The result has lifted Bautista to now fifth in the championship standings with three races to run.