By Neil Morrison
Dani Pedrosa relinquished any chance of winning the 2013 MotoGP World Championship after a subdued third place finish in Motegi.
Having won on his two previous visits to the Japanese circuit Pedrosa lined up as one of the pre-race favourites. Starting from fourth position and the outside of the second row the 28-year old soon slotted into third behind Jorge Lorenzo
and Marc Marquez, after taking advantage of Valentino Rossi's lap two mistake.
Pedrosa looked comfortable as he closed to within 0.4secs of Lorenzo on lap five, a gap he maintained until half race distance. However, as Lorenzo upped his pace considerably on lap 16 Pedrosa had no answer and gradually fell over four seconds back.
Speaking soon after the race Pedrosa cut a dejected figure, citing his Honda's inability to exit corners smoothly as the main factor that prevented him challenging for the win.
“Today was not the best race for me. I tried to do my best but I struggled a lot to keep up on the exit of the corners with these two [Lorenzo and Marquez]. I did a good start but I lost 2 places on the first corner,” he said.
“I was calm at the start and I didn't want to make a mistake but I couldn't go out of the corner as fast as I normally do. At the middle of the race when Jorge changed the pace I couldn't keep up. In the end I had nothing left. I couldn't perform as I expect but anyway we have to try and improve.”
Pedrosa's twelfth podium of the season keeps him third in the overall standings, 38 points behind rookie team-mate Marquez.