They say Jorge Lorenzo doesn't like the rain. When the heavens open up, they say, the man from Mallorca feels the heat. And, if they told you about the dark, damp and gloomy conditions at the Twin Ring today and about how #99 finished third, you'd join them in making statements like those.But the fact is, today, the rain staying away is what possibly kept Lorenzo from reducing Valentino Rossi's championship lead to a single digit.Inclement weather at Motegi this morning had ensured the track was greasy, and all riders started the race on their wet-weather bikes. Rossi, who had qualified second, led Lorenzo into Turn 1, but it was a brief stay at the top for The Doctor, as JL passed him right after, putting the hammer down.The fact that Lorenzo clocked the fastest lap of the race - a 1'54.867 - on Lap 3 itself, tells you how hard the championship elect was pushing right from the get-go. Rossi was a good three seconds behind within the first five laps, trying to get away from third-placed Andrea Dovizioso and keep up with his team-mate, who had made a clean break from the pack.Far, far behind, Dani Pedrosa was struggling with the rear tyre on his RC213V.For the first 10 laps, it looked like Lorenzo was on course for another win, Rossi content with a second place finish, and Dovi, unable to stay with the Yamaha, would gladly accept third.The rain stopped. The track dried up. And then came Pedrosa.Steadily, he first overtook Dovizioso, and then set about chipping away at the gap between himself and Rossi. He took out nearly half a second in every sector, and memories of the duel at Aragon rushed back. If the Spaniard put himself between the two Yamaha men, Rossi's c'ship lead would've been down to a mere five points. This would be perfect for Lorenzo's title hopes.Or not.Lorenzo had obliterated his front Bridgestone trying to ride on the limit in the first half on a drying surface, and Rossi had also chewed through the hard compound front trying to keep up. It took Dani just a couple of laps to reel in and leave Rossi behind, and then two more to snatch first from JL99. Lorenzo had slowed down so much, even Rossi had caught up with him, and on Lap 20, the Mallorcan was forced to run wide and let his team-mate through, simply because the front tyre was absolutely destroyed. And, that's how they finished - Pedrosa, Rossi, and the man who doesn't like the rain.In the post-race presser, The Doctor explained what riding on those deteriorating wet-weather tyres felt like.'When it starts to dry up it feels like you are in a boat at sea, the bike moves everywhere. Three or four times when I touched the throttle I felt the front go and said “no, no, no\\!”, so it was difficult, lots of stress. But I was able to do three or four very strong laps behind Dani and catch Jorge, who then made a mistake. I took an additional four-point advantage, which was our target, so we are very happy,' concluded Rossi.18 points now separate the Men in Blue, and things are looking tougher than ever for Jorge. It could've been worse for him, had Dovizioso not been hindered by front tyre wear, and had Marc Marquez not been riding with an injury.But he's still quite upbeat about his chances.'The championship is not over, because I remember in 2013 I was even further from Marquez in the standings and I lost the championship by just four points. Eighteen points is a lot, but if I win all races and another rider finishes between me and Valentino, I can still win the championship.'Three rounds to go. Sit tight, boys and girls. We're in for a nerve-wracking finish.