|Japanese MotoGP, Motegi – Free Practice (1) Results|
|1||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||1’44.509s||25/28||311k|
|2||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+0.028s||24/26||313k|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.049s||28/30||310k|
|4||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.068s||25/26||310k|
|5||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+0.136s||26/27||312k|
|6||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.147s||23/26||311k|
|7||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.169s||24/26||312k|
|8||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.226s||29/30||311k|
|9||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.234s||27/28||310k|
|10||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.288s||24/25||311k|
|11||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+0.289s||24/25||314k|
|12||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+0.377s||26/28||307k|
|13||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.404s||27/31||309k|
|14||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||+0.469s||19/24||312k|
|15||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+0.500s||26/28||313k|
|16||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.556s||24/28||306k|
|17||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+0.678s||23/27||308k|
|18||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+0.857s||27/30||307k|
|19||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+0.917s||27/29||312k|
|20||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.091s||29/30||309k|
|21||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.230s||25/27||309k|
|22||Tetsuta Nagashima||JPN||HRC Team (RC213V)||+1.336s||22/24||304k|
|23||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.482s||25/27||308k|
|24||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+1.856s||17/24||311k|
|25||Takuya Tsuda||JPN||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+2.209s||22/22||304k|
Official Motegi MotoGP records:
Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1m 43.790s (2022)
Fastest race lap:
Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1m 45.350s (2014)
Jack Miller leads factory Ducati team-mate and title contender Francesco Bagnaia during the lone, lengthened Friday practice session for the Japanese MotoGP at a dry but overcast Motegi.
To allow time for freight to arrive from last weekend’s Aragon round, Friday’s MotoGP action – the first official premier-class running at Motegi since 2019 – was limited to a single extended session from 15:05-16:20.
But rain is a threat throughout the weekend, with drops falling during the previous Moto2 session, increasing the sense of urgency to set a fast lap time.
Reigning champion Fabio Quartararo, now just 10 points clear of Bagnaia after the opening lap disaster at Aragon, was still wearing bandages on his chest as he took his Monster Yamaha to the head of the timesheets, ahead of Miller, on his tenth lap.
The Frenchman remained on top when rain flags began waving with 45-minutes to go but fortunately, as with the previous Moto2 and Moto3 sessions, the moisture soon passed.
Quartararo, second to Marquez on his only previous (2019) Motegi MotoGP race appearance, kept control on medium tyres until Alex Rins – running some new ‘rabbit ear’ style rear wings – fitted new soft rubber and reminded Suzuki of what they are throwing away at the end of this season by putting the GSX-RR fastest.
— Team Suzuki Ecstar (@suzukimotogp) September 23, 2022
Johann Zarco followed suit with a new soft rear to put his Pramac Ducati into P1, while HRC wild-card Tetsuta Nagashima became the first faller of the day in the deep gravel at the end of the back straight.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro briefly elbowed Zarco from the top spot, with Quartararo launching his soft tyre attack with 20mins to go. But it was Aragon winner Enea Bastianini who headed the #20 as the final ten minutes approached, when Rins hit the front once again.
Factory Ducati’s Miller then stormed 0.404s clear with 4mins to go, before Marc Marquez – again using the Kalex-built aluminium swingarm – slotted his Repsol Honda into second.
Despite being just 0.147s from Miller, Marquez was pushed down to sixth by the end of the session with Francesco Bagnaia, Quartararo, Aleix Espargaro and Luca Marini all jammed in between!
Bastianini crashed at Turn 5 in the final minutes, ending his Friday challenge and leaving him to look on helplessly as he was pushed out of the top ten.
The Italian wasn’t the only one in the gravel with Zarco then tumbling at turn 7 and top rookie Darryn Binder at turn 5, bringing out more yellow flags.
Pol Espargaro enjoyed one of his best sessions of late with seventh, while Miguel Oliveira (KTM) was as high as third in the closing stages on his way to ninth – Aragon star Brad Binder regaining top KTM honours in the closing minutes.
Wet weather is forecast for Saturday, meaning today’s results might decide the top ten riders with direct access to Qualifying 2. If so, the likes of Zarco, Rins and Takaaki Nakagami (visibly struggling with pain from his injured right hand) will join Bastianini in taking part in Qualifying 1.
HRC wild-card Nagashima, making his MotoGP debut this weekend and highlighted as one to watch by Cal Crutchlow after testing alongside the Japanese at the same track in July, eventually finished 22nd (+1.3s).
Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, replacing Joan Mir, was 25th and last.
Just 17 points cover Fabio Quartararo, Francesco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro at the top of the MotoGP World Championship standings as the series head into the unknown with its first Asian and Australian races since 2019.
Quartararo’s opening lap accident with Marc Marquez at Aragon, combined with Bagnaia’s second place behind Enea Bastianini, has put the factory Ducati star just 10 points from the Monster Yamaha rider, with Aprilia’s Espargaro also back in the hunt in third.
Home star Takaaki Nakagami has been passed fit to ride despite requiring surgery for injuries to his fingers in last Sunday’s clash with Marquez at Aragon.
The tight travel window to transport freight from Aragon to Motegi means a revised practice schedule in Japan, with a delayed and extended opening practice session running from 15:05-16:20 on Friday. Free Practice 2 is pushed over to Saturday morning and will now be the cut-off for direct access to Qualifying 2. FP3 will be reduced to 30-minutes (replacing the usual FP4) followed by Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2.
The absence of Motegi from the calendar in both 2020 and 2021, due to Covid restrictions, means ten of the full-time riders have never raced at the circuit in the premier-class: Brad Binder, Alex Marquez, Jorge Martin, Enea Bastianini, Luca Marini, plus this year’s rookies Marco Bezzecchi, Fabio di Giannantonio, Darryn Binder, Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez.
Also on track this weekend will be Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda and Honda test rider Tetsuta Nagashima. Both have been entered as wild-cards in front of their home fans this weekend, although Tsuda will now technically be replacing the injured Joan Mir.
Following Andrea Dovizioso’s retirement, Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow will be starting his second weekend at RNF, where he will complete the season alongside Darryn Binder. Unlike most of the grid, Crutchlow has some private testing experience at Motegi this year.
Japanese MotoGP – Full race weekend schedule (UK time)
Friday September 23rd
05:15 – 05:55am Moto3 FP1
06:10 – 06:50am Moto2 FP1
07:05 – 08:20 MotoGP FP1
Saturday September 24th
01:00 – 01:40 Moto3 FP2
01:55 – 02:35 Moto2 FP2
02:50 – 03:35 MotoGP FP2
04:35 – 04:50 Moto3 Q1
05:00 – 05:15 Moto3 Q2
05:30 – 05:45 Moto2 Q1
05:55 – 06:10 Moto2 Q2
06:25 – 06:55 MotoGP FP3
07:05 – 07:20 MotoGP Q1
07:30 – 07:45 MotoGP Q2
Sunday September 25th
02:00 – 02:10 Moto3 Warm Up
02:20 – 02:30 Moto2 Warm Up
02:40 – 03:00 MotoGP Warm Up
04:00 Moto3 Race
05:20 Moto2 Race
07:00 MotoGP Race
|Aragon: MotoGP World Championship standings|
|1||=||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||211|
|2||=||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||201||(-10)|
|3||=||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||194||(-17)|
|4||=||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||163||(-48)|
|5||^1||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||134||(-77)|
|6||˅1||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||133||(-78)|
|7||=||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||128||(-83)|
|8||^1||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||108||(-103)|
|9||^1||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||104||(-107)|
|10||˅2||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||104||(-107)|
|11||=||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||95||(-116)|
|12||=||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||91||(-120)|
|13||=||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||77||(-134)|
|14||=||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||74||(-137)|
|15||=||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||60||(-151)|
|16||=||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||46||(-165)|
|17||=||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||43||(-168)|
|18||=||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||39||(-172)|
|19||=||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||26||(-185)|
|20||=||Fabio di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||23||(-188)|
|21||=||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||15||(-196)|
|22||=||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||10||(-201)|
|23||=||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||9||(-202)|
|24||=||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||8||(-203)|
|25||=||Stefan Bradl||GER||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||2||(-209)|
|26||NA||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||2||(-209)|