Dani Pedrosa battled from behind to beat championship leader Jorge Lorenzo at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, stepping up his bid to overtake his fellow Spaniard for his first MotoGP title.
And in further good news for Honda, teammate Casey Stoner retained third place in the standings after finishing fifth.
Stoner missed three races through injury and has no chance of winning the championship but he remains five points ahead of Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso who finished one place ahead of him on Sunday.
Pedrosa passed pole-sitter and Yamaha ace Lorenzo on the 12th of 24 laps and won by more than four seconds at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
Third was Alvaro Bautista on another Honda 2.477 seconds further back.
With his four wins in the past five races, Pedrosa has closed the gap to Lorenzo to 28 points with three races remaining in the season.
A win is worth 25 points.
The hardluck story on Sunday was Cal Crutchlow, whose Yamaha expired on the last lap as he was set to claim third place.