Fighting fourth for fiery Marquez in Motegi

Japan, September 27, 2022:  A thrilling return to the points for Marc Marquez as he took an exciting fourth place finish in just his second race back from injury, fourth months after his last complete race. Pol Espargaro earned 12th with a defensive ride in Japan.

Weather was once again front and centre at Mobility Resort Motegi as the storms broke and brilliant sunshine beat down on the track. This presented the Repsol Honda Team with the extra work of readjusting the setting of the Honda RC213V to the hotter, and dryer, conditions of the day. A strong start to Warm Up allowed both sides of the garage to gain the data they needed. Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro each suffered falls at Turn 9 during Warm Up without serious consequence.

For the 91st time in his career, Marc Marquez lined up in pole position in what would be his 150th race in the premier class with the Repsol Honda Team. A solid launch saw Marquez defend his place inside the top three in the opening corners as the race erupted behind. Taking a steady approach to conserve his strength until the end of the race, the #93 settled into fifth and his own pace.

His plan played out and as the race entered its closing stages, Marquez reeled in Miguel Oliveira ahead. Biding his time, the eight-time World Champion struck on lap 22 with a strong pass for fourth in the race. The finish marks not only a return to the points for the first time since Mugello for Marquez but also equals his best finish of the year, achieved at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez. It was an exciting end to a race enjoyed by Honda President and CEO Toshihiro Mibe and the assembled Honda and HRC board members inside the Repsol Honda Team garage.

Like his teammate, Pol Espargaro launched well and gained several positions off the line. The #44 was fast in the opening laps as he hunted down reigning MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo and attempted to push deeper inside the top ten. Mounting pressure from Bagnaia and Bastianini behind forced Espargaro to focus on defending as his tyres began to drop and Quartararo escaped ahad. Holding the Ducati pair off for the majority of the race, Espargaro would cross the line in 12th place and netted his best finish since the French GP.

Honda enjoyed home delights as Ai Ogura became the first Japanese rider to win at home since Hiroshi Aoyama won the 250cc Japanese GP in 2006. Ogura now sits just two points back from the lead of the Moto2 World Championship.

Now the paddock once again prepare immediately for the next race, a return to the Thai GP and the final race in this triple-header. The MotoGP World Championship’s last visit in 2019 saw Marc Marquez lift his eighth World Championship title with a thrilling last-lap victory.

Marc Marquez (Fourth)

“I am very happy with how the whole weekend has gone and we were able to put together an exciting race in the end. Most importantly it was a productive weekend and overall, it was a lot better than we were expecting. It was an important race because it is the first I have finished since my operation so it was a good test of the arm and also in this area we’ve been able to learn. Of course I would have liked to finish higher, but being realistic it was a good result and I was able to maintain my rhythm and then attack in the last laps. I want to say thanks to Honda and the Repsol Honda Team for helping me to put together a good weekend. Also thank you to all the Japanese staff and fans who came this weekend, it was a pleasure to see everyone again. Now we go to Thailand!”

 

Pol Espargaro (12th)

 

“I was feeling good in the first laps honestly. I was behind Quartararo and I felt like I was faster than him, I just couldn’t get close enough to pass him and I didn’t want to risk anything. After six or seven laps behind him the performance dropped a bit and allowed some riders to get past me so I lost my rhythm a bit. My tyres dropped and I started to struggle more. But it’s important to focus on the positives, and today we were strong at the start. It is an improvement over Aragon and we will try to make another step next week.”

 

Japanese Grand Prix – Race Results

 

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 MILLER JACK 43 AUS 25 Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 42’29.174
2 BINDER BRAD 33 RSA 20 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 3.409
3 MARTIN JORGE 89 SPA 16 Pramac Racing Ducati 4.136
4 MARQUEZ MARC 93 SPA 13 Repsol Honda Team Honda 7.784
5 OLIVEIRA MIGUEL 88 POR 11 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 8.185
6 MARINI LUCA 10 ITA 10 Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 8.348
7 VINALES MAVERICK 12 SPA 9 Aprilia Racing Aprilia 9.879
8 QUARTARARO FABIO 20 FRA 8 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 10.193
9 BASTIANINI ENEA 23 ITA 7 Team Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 10.318
10 BEZZECCHI MARCO 73 ITA 6 Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 16.419
11 ZARCO JOHANN 5 FRA 5 Pramac Racing Ducati 16.586
12 ESPARGARO POL 44 SPA 4 Repsol Honda Team Honda 17.456
13 MARQUEZ ALEX 73 SPA 3 LCR Honda Honda 18.219
14 MORBIDELLI FRANCO 21 ITA 2 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 19.012
15 CRUTCHLOW CAL 35 GBR 1 WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 19.201
16 ESPARGARO ALEIX 41 SPA 0 Aprilia Racing Aprilia 25.473
17 DI GIANNANTONIO FABIO 49 ITA 0 Team Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 27.006
18 FERNANDEZ RAUL 25 SPA 0 Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 29.374
19 GARDNER REMY 87 AUS 0 Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 29.469
20 NAKAGAMI TAKAAKI 30 JPN 0 LCR Honda Honda 43.294
21 BAGNAIA FRANCESCO 62 ITA 0 Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati DNF
22 RINS ALEX 42 SPA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki DNF
23 BINDER DARRYN 40 RSA 0 WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha DNF
24 TSUDA TAKUYA 85 JPN 0 Suzuki Test Team Suzuki DNF
25 NAGASHIMA TETSUTA 45 JPN 0 Team HRC Honda DNF

 

Rider Standings

 

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor
1 QUARTARARO FABIO 20 FRA 219 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
2 BAGNAIA FRANCESCO 62 ITA 201 Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati
3 ESPARGARO ALEIX 41
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