Factory Ducati rider Jack Miller claimed the top honours in Motegi as he dominated the Japanese Grand Prix to secure the fourth victory of his career. Miller’s future teammate Brad Binder pipped Jorge Martin to deny him the second place as the Spaniard had to settle with a third spot on the podium.
Reigning champion Fabio Quartararo, despite a half-pie display, extended his lead in the riders’ championship 2022. Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia crashed on the last lap in an attempt to make a move on the inside of Quartararo.
The Italian rider’s vital championship points went up in the dust as Quartararo now sits atop the rankings with an 18-point lead with just four races to go.
Six-time premier class champion Marc Marquez had returned to pole after 1071 days for his 150th Grand Prix in a weather-hit qualifying on Saturday.
However, the 29-year-old could not hold on to his lead for long on the race day as he was overtaken on the first lap, and eventually finished fourth, making a late move on KTM’s Miguel Oliveira.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, who entered the weekend 17 points shy of the leader Quartararo at third place, had to start the race from pitlane due to an ‘engine mapping’ issue that developed on the sighting lap to the grid, forcing him to switch to his second bike.
The Spaniard said that he could have “100% won today” if it wasn’t for the technical issues as he blamed the set of softs fitted to his second bike, which hindered his charge. The Aprilia rider said, “The soft tyres, I hate it, from the last three races I never used it”.
VR46 rider Luca Marini crossed the finishing line in sixth, ahead of Maverick Vinales and Quartararo. Enea Bastianini finished ninth ahead of Marco Bezzecchi. Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco, who started second on the grid, saw the chequered flag at eleventh, ahead of Pol Espargaro and Alex Marquez.
Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow grabbed the last points on the offering finishing fourteenth and fifteenth, respectively.