Casey Stoner said his second straight race win was a pleasant surprise given the set-up tribulations his Ducati team had endured at Motegi this weekend.
The Australian had not been happy with his bike until the final stages of qualifying, when he managed to secure second on the grid. He then took the lead from polesitter Andrea Dovizioso on the opening lap today and went on to take another victory.
"This sort of track being so heavy on the front, we were trying to make the bike a lot more stable," Stoner explained. "We didn't start out the weekend with a very stable bike – we had a lot of wheelie-ing and a lot of problems with brakes, so we were consistently trying to make that better, and every time we improved that, we made the rear worse.
"So we were having a bit of a disaster weekend, we couldn't get any grip out of the bike. So we went somewhere in the middle – more traction and a bit more pitching in the bike, rather than stability under braking, and it seems to have paid off for us. We found that time that we were missing.
"We tried something else between qualifying and warm-up, and it didn't really work in the warm-up this morning, we didn't feel comfortable. So we went more or less back to what we had in qualifying with another step in another direction. A little bit of a lucky dip, but it worked."
Honda rider Dovizioso kept Stoner under pressure until the closing laps, and the Ducati man said he had needed to push extremely hard to try and get away.
"After the first couple of laps, I saw the lap times I could do and thought we could be in with a chance to win this one but this wasn't without a fight," said Stoner. "Andrea was there the whole way, pushing me and pushing me. Every time I thought I had a small gap just to take a breather, he came back again and then pulled those couple of tenths that I'd given.
"So we just had to keep pushing for the whole race, and it wasn't until the last lap that we really got to relax. It's a big victory for us."