In a thrilling display of skill and tenacity, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) lit up the Grand Prix of Japan with a spectacular victory, solidifying his status as a MotoGP rising star.
He outshone his competitors, including Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), in both races of the weekend. This incredible feat narrowed the gap in the Championship standings to a mere three points, setting the stage for an electrifying season finale.
The Motegi circuit witnessed pure drama as rain-soaked conditions turned the race into a flag-to-flag spectacle. Despite a premature end, fans were treated to heart-pounding action. The race began with a twist as rain flags were waved on the sighting lap, forcing riders to make critical tire choices.
Moments before the start, rain intensified, leaving the grid in suspense. However, the race got underway with Martin seizing the holeshot from pole position. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) also made a strong start, while Bagnaia, the reigning World Champion, had a shaky beginning, dropping to fourth.
The drama escalated as worsening conditions led to a pitlane opening for bike changes, a decision embraced by most riders. Martin led the charge into pitlane, closely followed by Bagnaia, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing).
Remarkably, five riders chose to stay out, with Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team) surprisingly taking the lead. From those who changed bikes, Martin led a formidable group onto the track, with Espargaro, Marquez, Bagnaia, and Bezzecchi in pursuit.
The race’s early laps were nothing short of spectacular, with Martin experiencing ups and downs. He momentarily dropped to ninth but swiftly recovered. Meanwhile, Pirro maintained a commanding lead, but soon he too switched bikes, giving Espargaro the lead. The pecking order continued to shift as Bagnaia and Martin moved up the ranks, eventually overtaking Bezzecchi and Marquez for podium contention.
As the race progressed, the drama continued unabated. Espargaro, Bagnaia, and Martin battled fiercely for position. Martin ultimately surged ahead, securing second place before taking the lead from Espargaro. This impressive performance propelled him to a seven-tenths lead over the chasing pack.
Despite the chaotic start, the race began to settle down after nine laps, with Martin extending his lead. Bagnaia held onto second, while Marquez mounted a podium challenge, passing Bezzecchi and closing in on Bagnaia. However, just when it seemed Marquez might catch his rival, a red flag waved.
The red flag marked a sudden end to the race, leaving riders in uncertainty. Conditions appeared to improve briefly, prompting a restart attempt. However, the red flag resurfaced, and the race was ultimately declared with 13 of 24 laps completed, awarding full points.
Jorge Martin’s dominant victory in Japan was a testament to his remarkable talent and adaptability in challenging conditions. With the Championship battle now narrowed to just three points, the MotoGP season promises even more heart-stopping moments in the races to come.
See the Championship standings after the race in Motegi:
MotoGP returns on October 15th with the Indonesian GP at the Mandalika circuit.