MotoGP World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo fought valiantly throughout the 24-lap Japanese Grand Prix, crossing the finish line in eighth place to extend his lead in the MotoGP championship standings to 18 points.
After a washout Saturday, skies cleared for round 16 of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship as the series made its long-awaited return to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Having splashed his way to ninth on the grid, Quartararo hoped for the best after limited dry track time and held position in the opening stages before briefly passing Luca Marini for eighth. Slipping back behind the Ducati, the Frenchman was promoted back up into eighth by the mid-way stage before he launched his attack on Maverick Viñales ahead.
Unable to get within striking distance of the Aprilia, Quartararo continued to brave the challenges from the chasing pack, which featured two of his championship challengers. On the back of Viñales, but unable to make the pass for seventh, the rider from Nice’s last lap of the Motegi venue was made fractionally easier when Francesco Bagnaia crashed out, leaving the Yamaha rider to cross the line in eighth and extend his advantage at the top to 18 points.
Cal Crutchlow’s return to the Japanese venue rewarded him with a World Championship point. The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP rider has plenty of data from the 2.98-mile venue thanks to his role as Yamaha test rider and was out to prove a point in Japan. After a tricky start from 23rd on the grid, the British rider fought through the field and eventually found himself chasing down Franco Morbidelli in 15th. Matching the race leader's pace, the 36-year-old couldn’t find a way past Morbidelli in the closing stages but was promoted one position after the last lap crash for Bagnaia, crossing the line in 15th.
A strong starting Franco Morbidelli had an uphill battle on Sunday following a tricky qualifying in Saturday’s sodden conditions. Starting from 14th, the Italian crossed the line to end the opening lap in 16th. Picking off Johann Zarco, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider completed a mostly uneventful race in 15th eventually crossing the line to claim two points in 14th place.
WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP’s Darryn Binder had a tricky Japanese Grand Prix as he fell victim to a turn nine crash on lap 14. Uninjured, the South African remounted but later retired from the Grand Prix.
Picking up eight championship points, Quartararo extends his series lead over Francesco Bagnaia to 18 points while Franco Morbidelli remains in 19th. Darryn Binder lies in 22nd, five points behind the now retired Andrea Dovizioso with his replacement Crutchlow in 25th with three points.
The MotoGP paddock continues their Asian leg of the 2022 calendar this weekend as the series heads straight to Buriram, Thailand for the Thai Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit from the 30 Sep - 02 Oct.
Grand Prix of Japan Results:
1. Jack Miller – Lenovo Ducati 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 Viñales - 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
11. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing +16.586
12. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team +17.456
13. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL +18.219
14. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +19.012
15. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +19.201
16. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing +25.473
17. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP +27.006
18. Raul Fernandez – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +29.374
19. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +29.469
20. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +43.294
NC. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team + 1 lap
NC. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +10 laps
NC. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +10 laps
NC. Takuya Tsuda – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +13 laps
NC. Tetsuta Nagashima – Honda HRC +15 laps
2022 MotoGP World Championship Standings:
1. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 219 points
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 201 points
3. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing 194 points
4. Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP 170 points
5. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 159 points
6. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 148 points
7. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing 138 points
8. Jorge Martin – Prima Pramac Racing 120 points
9. Maverick Viñales - Aprilia Racing 113 points
10. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 108 points
11. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 106 points
12. Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 101 points
13. Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 80 points
14. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 77 points
15. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 73 points
16. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 47 points
17. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 46 points
18. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL 42 points
19. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 28 points
20. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP 23 points
21. Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 15 points
22. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 10 points
23. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 9 points
24. Raul Fernandez – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 8 points
25. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 3 points
26. Stefan Bradl – Repsol Honda Team 2 points
27. Michele Pirro – Aruba.it Racing 0 points
28. Lorenzo Savadorri – Aprilia Racing 0 points
29. Kazuki Watanabe – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
30. Takuya Tsuda - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
31. Tetsuta Nagashima – Honda HRC 0 points