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There is one rider on the MotoGP™ grid whose record outshines all others: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). The 'Little Samurai' has five wins at the track, with one in each of the lower categories added to his three in the premier class to make him the most successful man at Motegi.
The Little Samurai and his biggest fan: Meet-up in Tokyo
The Pacific GP in 2002 was the first time Pedrosa took to the top step at the venue, and it was his second ever win as he powered to third in the Championship in only his sophomore year. In 2003 the Spaniard would take his first title, and in 2004 he would take his second win at Motegi - as a rookie in the 250 World Championship. And a rookie who went on to take the crown, defending it the following year before moving up to MotoGP™ for 2006.
The Repsol Honda rider took his first premier class podium at the venue in 2008 and repeated the feat in 2009, but it took until 2011 for the first victory to come. It was a dramatic race of run offs and penalties for many in the field, but the 'Little Samurai' kept his nose clean to take the win; his third of the year.
Motegi 2011 - MotoGP - Race - Highlights
Again in 2012, the man on the top step was Pedrosa. Taking his fifth win of the year and becoming the first rider to win at the track in all classes, the Repsol Honda rider hunted down Lorenzo for the top step and took five points off the gap at the top of the Championship as the two men proved the key protagonists of the title fight that year.
MotoGP™ Rewind: Motegi 2012
2015 is the most recent win for the Spaniard at the track. The race began wet and Jorge Lorenzo was typically the pacesetter in the early stages. Pedrosa, who started sixth, then began to reel in both leader Lorenzo and the man behind him, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), by over a second a lap. Past Rossi soon after, the three-time World Champion took Lorenzo at the start of Lap 17 - then managing the gap to perfection to take what was his first win of the season and his 50th victory.
Pedrosa claims 50th win
2016, sadly, was a different story as Pedrosa broke his collarbone during practice and was forced to withdraw from the event. Added to 2010, when a mechanical problem caused a crash in which the Spaniard broke his collarbone; ending his title chances, that makes two premier class races the 'Little Samurai' has missed - making Pedrosa's premier class win record at the track three out of nine starts, and his podium record six out of nine. Is he the master of Motegi? The Repsol Honda rider has a chance to add even more to that record this weekend as the Japanese GP lights the fuse on the flyaways.