As the battle between Fiat-Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa materialized over the last few rounds of racing action, it appeared that this past weekend's Japanese Grand Prix would offer fans somewhat of a "perfect storm" in terms of two-wheeled racing drama. Pedrosa entered as the only man with a mathematical chance of swiping the crown from Lorenzo this late in the season, with both jockeys desiring to become the pride of Spain, their home country, adding to that. Plus there's the fact this duo headed to Japan piloting two of the country's finest examples of two-wheeled awesomeness... Oh, we could hardly wait!

That was precisely when the news of Pedrosa's shoulder injury, and the need for a surgery that would put him out of the race, rolled across our desk, kind-of-like a lead balloon sent to squash our dreams. However, that feeling was quickly replaced with anticipation again as the Japanese round offered up edge-of-the-seat racing to satisfy our appetite. But as the dust settled, we were left with a podium full of all things Italian.

First, Casey Stoner continued his winning ways and put his Italian bike atop the block by passing pole-man, and Italian native, Andrea Dovizioso, who took great care to match Stoner's pace for a time, only to gladly hang on as second man under the checkers just 3.8 seconds behind the Ducati. Jorge Lorenzo did end up with a battle on his hands, albeit not as he may have expected, as team-mate Valentino Rossi put the final boot shaped nail in the podium while knocking the points leader out of the winners circle. Follow the jump for the complete top ten, which included an unexpected performance from American Colin Edwards.

[Source: | Image: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]

Lorenzo's fourth place finish left him 69 points in the lead, which inevitably seems like it will translate to a championship. It was nice to see the title of fifth fastest going to Colin Edwards, who has been heard from very little up to this point (at least when talking top 5.) As the smoke cleared over the Motegi Circuit , Yamaha and Honda did end up with their machinery on the podium, even if it was not in the way they might have expected. Mr. Stoner was able to show off a bit for his new bosses over at the Honda camp, and we remembered that we love to watch motorcycles go as fast as they can around race tracks no matter who is on top of them.

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Team Ducati 160.0 43'12.266
2 20 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 159.8 +3.868
3 16 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 159.7 +5.707
4 13 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 159.6 +6.221
5 11 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 158.4 +27.092
6 10 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 158.2 +30.021
7 9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 158.1 +31.826
8 8 11 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 157.9 +35.572
9 7 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 157.1 +47.564
10 6 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda 157.0 +49.598

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