Jorge Lorenzo was putting a brave face on his title hopes after losing further ground to his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi in the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

Lorenzo, who was the dominant force in free practice and held on for pole in qualifying despite Rossi's unexpected pace to push him all the way for the top spot on the front row, looked on course to gain more ground in the championship after controlling the race from the front until the final third.

Front tyre degradation saw his comfortable advantage reduced to nothing by Dani Pedrosa, who breezed into the lead with the minimum of fuss before pulling away for the victory while Rossi landed another title body blow on the Majorcan, pouncing for second when Lorenzo almost ran off the track at Turn 3.

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The 28-year-old is now 18 points adrift with three races remaining but Lorenzo says he has lost none of his belief that he win a third premier class crown.

"I have to be really disappointed because again the conditions, the weather, didn't help us to get the best result: first, because it rains and in dry conditions I believe I was the fastest and the one who has the better pace," he said.

"But especially because it rains and finally I was the fastest on full wets, then this time the conditions change and it dries up and this was the reason today why I couldn't win the race.

"I was really fast, really concentrated and I made more or less the same race as Niccolo [Antonelli] and [Johann] Zarco, but I didn't have the same luck like them to ride in the full wet.

"Obviously, if I knew that the track was going [to] dry, I wouldn't have pushed so much at the beginning, but I think everyone believed that the track will keep wet for the race and I make what I have to do," he added.

"[I] just didn't have the luck in the circumstances, like in some other races this year - this is why we are losing points, but finally in a difficult situation we did the maximum we can and we lose four points; I could have lost 20 points if I had crashed in Turn 3, but I saved."

Lorenzo's confidence in his title challenge stems from his assertion that he is now 'in the best moment ever' in terms of his pace in either dry or wet conditions and he has vowed to keep believing until the final race at Valencia in November.

"Finally, we are in the best moment ever in dry conditions as in wet conditions, so that means that we are able to fight for the three wins in the next Grands Prix, so that gives me the confidence and the belief that we still can win the championship and I want to believe this until the end," Lorenzo said.

"Phillip Island is special and it is always very cold, windy and also it can rain, but I am confident in the conditions and maybe in the next races some luck can change to us - it is possible so we will see."


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I think the only thing that Lorenzo is concerned about the most, is that an old fart that was put in as the number two is beating the number one in the team and the number two took a large pay cut, but will probably get paid more next season than the number two then. Call it bad luck, but since Jorge entered Rossi's domain at Yamaha, Lorenzo tried to get rid off Rossi. History is repeating itself, but it's the lost oldest son who claims what is his and not Lorenzo's. Rossi made Yamaha good again in 2004 and after a two years absence Rossi again is the one who puts Yamaha where it once was. Lorenzo plays it down as bad luck, I call it karma. Consistency is key this season, and Rossi has only one none podium finish.