Jorge Martin came back in tricky conditions to win rain-affected MotoGP race in Japanese GP from Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez.
It just started to rain as the MotoGP Japanese GP was underway at Twin Ring Motegi. It was a cautious start from the riders with Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin leading the pack when Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales had a slow fall at Turn 1.
Pramac’s Johann Zarco had to go through the gravel to avoid it as most of the grid pitted to swap their bikes from slick to wet. But Ducati’s Michele Pirro, Yahama’s Fabio Quartararo, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow stayed out.
While Quartararo and Crutchlow pitted early on, the likes of Pirro, Bradl and Morbidelli continued on for few more laps. There was a Long Gap Penalty for Vinales and Crutchlow for Wrong Bike Swap, as Morbidelli ran the most on the slick bike.
It was Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in the Japanese GP lead after their bike swap ahead of Honda’s Marc Marquez, VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi, Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia and KTM’s Jack Miller in the Top 5 when Martin went wide at Turn 3 to drop to sixth.
Gresini Ducati’s Fabio di Giannantonio was seventh from RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira, Honda’s Joan Mir and RNF’s Raul Fernandez, where the latter also got a Long Gap Penalty for Wrong Bike Swap as KTM’s Brad Binder suffered a race-ending crash.
As Espargaro led the way, Bagnaia was up to second from Martin who climbed up from sixth pretty quickly. He continued to stamp his authority by passing both Bagnaia and Espargaro to retake the MotoGP race lead in Japanese GP.
Bagnaia was second from Espargaro as Bezzecchi was fourth from Marquez, Oliveira, Miller, Mir, di Giannantonio and Fernandez in the Top 10. As the race scene deteriorated, Martin continued to lead from Bagnaia with Marquez on his tail after clearing Bezzecchi.
Espargaro dropped to fourth from Oliveira, Mir, Fernandez, Miller and GASGAS Tech 3’s Augusto Fernandez in the Top 10 when Zarco had a crash. The Frenchman rushed back to the pitlane when the Race Direction red-flagged the Japanese GP on Lap 12.
Post red flag –
Zarco wasn’t allowed to take the re-start after he didn’t enter into the pitlane in the right manner, while both Oliveira and Vinales were allowed to start but from the pitlane. The race, however, didn’t see the end of the light due to weather conditions.
On the warm-up lap to re-start, the Race Direction red-flagged the grand prix and ended it with further rain. Full points were awarded after 50% of the race was run with Martin winning the rain-affected MotoGP Japanese GP ahead of Bagnaia.
The gap is now down to just the three points, as Marquez took his first MotoGP podium of the season in third. Bezzecchi was fourth from Espargaro, Miller, A Fernandez, di Giannantonio, R Fernandez and Quartararo in the Top 10.
LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami earned points in 11th from Mir, Crutchlow, Bradl and Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro in the Top 15, with Pirro in 16th, Morbidelli 17th, Oliveira 18th and Vinales 19th as classified finihers.