Marco Bezzecchi has moved to within one point of championship leader Jorge Martin after winning a nerve-jangling Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The Italian overtook Darryn Binder within metres of the finish line to snatch victory while Martin crashed out of the leading group six laps from home, blowing the title race wide open.
Gabriel Rodrigo had taken his first pole position of the season on Saturday but the Argentine rider suffered a terrible start to race day, tumbling twice in morning warm-up. Rodrigo wouldn’t feature in the battle for victory with Bezzecchi immediately powering through into the lead and a leading group of almost a dozen riders formed, led by the title favourites. The battle didn’t involve Fabio Di Giannantonio though whose championship hopes took a hammer blow with a high-side on lap six.
The lead largely swapped between the championship challengers but Martin’s race began to unravel on lap 14. Busy fending off the KTM of Binder into turn 11, Jorge drifted wide into Bezzecchi with contact almost sending the Spaniard down. Fortunately for Gresini, their sole remaining rider stayed upright but the next time he arrived at the downhill right-hander, Martin lost the front end of his Honda and was unable to prevent a crash this time.
Bezzecchi had been presented with a golden opportunity to revive his title hopes but the PruestelGP rider had to hold his nerve on a tense final lap. The aggressive Binder was throwing everything at the Italian as he chased a maiden victory and he looked to have succeeded after outbraking him into turn five. However, the superior top-end speed of Bezzecchi’s KTM made the difference as the no.12 won the drag race out of the final corner by four hundredths of a second.
Binder was also pipped to the line by Lorenzo Dalla Porta who was awarded second following a video review with Dennis Foggia taking fourth ahead of John McPhee and Tony Arbolino. Enea Bastianini relegated the pole-man Rodrigo to eighth while home favourite Ayumu Sasaki won the battle of the second group, beating Jakub Kornfeil to ninth.
Moto3 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Result)
|1||12. Marco Bezzecchi||KTM||Redox PruestelGP||39:35.653|
|2||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Honda||Leopard Racing||+0.041|
|3||40. Darryn Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+0.042|
|4||10. Dennis Foggia||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+0.212|
|5||17. John McPhee||KTM||CIP - Green Power||+0.251|
|6||14. Tony Arbolino||Honda||Marinelli Snipers Team||+0.350|
|7||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Leopard Racing||+0.404|
|8||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA BOE Skull Rider||+1.561|
|9||71. Ayumu Sasaki||Honda||Petronas Sprinta Racing||+3.137|
|10||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Redox PruestelGP||+7.965|
|11||5. Jaume Masia||KTM||Bester Capital Dubai||+8.364|
|13||42. Marcos Ramirez||KTM||Bester Capital Dubai||+8.435|
|14||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||+8.561|
|15||31. Celestino Vietti||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+9.041|
|16||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||+9.237|
|17||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing||+9.898|
|18||27. Kaito Toba||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+10.897|
|19||72. Alonso Lopez||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+15.691|
|20||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Petronas Sprinta Racing||+15.704|
|21||81. Stefano Nepa||KTM||CIP - Green Power||+24.185|
|22||41. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+24.581|
|23||22. Kazuki Masaki||KTM||RBA BOE Skull Rider||+41.928|
|24||13. Shizuka Okizaki||Honda||Kohara Racing Team||+1:48.336|
|25||36. Yuto Fukushima||Honda||Team Plus One||+1 Lap|
|NC||88. Jorge Martin||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||+6 Laps|
|NC||75. Albert Arenas||KTM||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||+10 Laps|
|NC||21. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Del Conca Gresini Moto3||+15 Laps|
|NC||77. Vicente Perez||KTM||Reale Avintia Academy 77||+19 Laps|
|NC||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||SIC58 Squadra Corse||+19 Laps|
|NC||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+20 Laps|