Pole sitter Loris Capirossi of Italy overtook compatriot Max Biaggi late in the race yesterday to win the MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan.
Capirossi, riding a Ducati, clocked a time of 43 minutes, 30.499 seconds over 24 laps at the 4.8km Motegi circuit for his first win of the season. Biaggi was second, 1.479 seconds back, while defending champion Makoto Tamada of Japan was third.
"It's been a fantastic weekend for us," said Capirossi. "It's great to win for Ducati and Bridgestone here in Japan. I knew I was faster than Max and just had to wait for the right time to make my move"
World champion Valentino Rossi of Italy saw his hopes of clinching the 2005 world title in Japan dashed on the 13th lap when he crashed after making contact with Marco Melandri, who led for the first 12 laps of the race.
Rossi, who started from the fourth row of the grid, needed a top two finish here to wrap up the championship. He got as high as fourth in yesterday's race before crashing out trying to pass Melandri.
After the 13th lap, it became a two-man race between Biaggi and Capirossi with Capirossi taking the lead for good on the 19th lap. It was Ducati's first MotoGP win since Barcelona in 2003.
Biaggi picked up some valuable points in the race for second place in the MotoGP standings. With five races left, Valentino has 261 points followed by Biaggi (149) and American Colin Edwards (133).
Spain's Sete Gibernau, who is seventh in the standings, crashed out on the 13th lap of the race and was one of nine riders who didn't finish. Spain's Carlos Checa was fourth followed by Americans John Hopkins, Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Kenny Roberts.
In the 250cc race, Japan's Hiroshi Aoyama gave the local fans a thrill, winning on his home track.
Aoyama, riding a Honda, clocked a winning time of 43: 52.454 seconds after 23 laps for his first win of the season.
Spain's Daniel Pedrosa, who leads the overall 250cc standings, was 5.313 seconds back of Aoyama, while Australian Casey Stoner was third with a time of 44:00.235.
In the 125cc race, Finland's Mika Kallio powered his KTM to a winning time of 30:10.854 after 15 laps. Switzerland's Thomas Luthi, who is first in the 125cc standings, was second, 0.111 seconds back followed by Spain's Hector Faubel, who had a time of 30:12.371.