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Japanese GP: Miller magic at Motegi, Marquez fourth

Jack Miller

Bengaluru, September 25: Jack Miller dominated the Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi but fellow Ducati Lenovo Team rider Francesco Bagnaia's 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship hopes took a big blow after a final-lap crash.

Bagnaia was locked in battle with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) over eighth position when he hit the deck, while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) also failed to score points after a technical problem before the start at the Motegi.

Second on the day went to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Brad Binder and third to Primac Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin, while the Repsol Honda Team's Marc Marquez turned his first pole position in almost three years into fourth at the chequered flag after 24 frenetic laps.

Japanese GP: Marc Marquez ends three-year pole draughtJapanese GP: Marc Marquez ends three-year pole draught

The Thrllier, as he is known in paddock circles is a runaway winner at the Japanese GP where two 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship contenders did not finish. Game on!

Marquez is back

Marquez is back

Binder had been multiple seconds behind Martin before halfway but had closed the gap back to less than one second inside the final five laps.

On Lap 22, Marquez squeezed past Oliveira and into fourth position at the V Corner, as Binder applied the blowtorch to Martin. The KTM pilot finally made the pass at Turn 1 on the 24th and final lap, but Miller was already 5sec clear.

Talk of the town

Talk of the town

So Miller cruised to the fourth victory of his MotoGP career by an official margin of 3.409sec from Binder, Martin, and Marquez.

Fifth position was only decided right at the end, with Marini looking like he had made the move on Oliveira at the 90 degree corner, only for the Portuguese rider to snatch the spot back in the last few turns. But the talk of the town was Marquez.

Battle for eighth

Battle for eighth

There was the literal 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship battle for eighth! Bagnaia had snatched ninth position back from Bastianini through Turn 12/Turn 13 on Lap 20 and that gave him a clear shot at Quartararo.

He put the pressure on the Yamaha rider and appeared to be trying to fashion a pass as they braked for Turn 3 on the final lap, but asked too much of his front tyre and hit the deck.

Over to Thailand

Over to Thailand

After the mayhem in Motegi, Quartararo's 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship lead has grown to 18 over Bagnaia, while Aleix Espargaro is another seven behind, and there are still four rounds to go in a topsy-turvy title fight! Even better, the next event, the Thailand Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit, is just a few short days away on October 2.

RESULTS (Top 10)

1. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team)

2. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 3.409

3. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 4.136

4. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 7.784

5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 8.185

6. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 8.348

7. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 9.879

8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 10.193

9. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) + 10.318

10. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 16.419

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Story first published: Sunday, September 25, 2022, 13:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 25, 2022