Andrea Dovizioso said he was very satisfied to be back on the MotoGP podium in Japan even though he was not able to convert his maiden pole in the series into a victory.
With Dani Pedrosa breaking his collarbone in a Friday practice crash, Dovizioso was the factory Honda team's only representative at its home race. He made an impressive step up by taking pole, and although Casey Stoner passed him on lap one, he was able to keep the Ducati under pressure all the way.
Dovizioso had not finished on the podium since the Silverstone race in June. He said it had taken a mammoth effort to stay in touch with Stoner so could not be disappointed with the runner-up spot.
"I don't know what Casey did today because his pace was amazing," Dovizioso admitted. "I pushed 100 percent all the race, but I never had the possibility to overtake him.
"I lost a little bit by three quarters through the race. I tried in the last three laps to catch him again but we were on the limit. We made small mistakes in some corners, me and him, so I believed in catching him, but I had a big high-side three laps before the end and, unfortunately, I couldn't fight for the victory. But we need to be really happy about our pace today and our comeback to the podium."
The result moved Dovizioso back ahead of Valentino Rossi into fourth in the championship with four races to go, though third-placed Stoner's race victory extended his advantage over Dovizioso to 21 points.