Fabio Quartararo won the Moto2 race at Twin Ring Motegi, fending off championship leader Francesco Bagnaia for most of the race. Championship contender Miguel Oliveira finished 4th, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri completed the podium.
Quartararo got the best start off the line but was wide at turn 1, so it was Bagnaia that was leading from the start of the race. Immediately, the two riders were able to pull a gap on the rest of the field and Quartararo passed Bagnaia for the lead 2 laps into the race.
Baldassarri remained unchallenged in 3rd for the entire race, riding a lonely GP to the final podium spot. In the chasing pack, Oliveira made good progress in the first few laps from his 9th place start. He fought his way through to 5th where he remained for a good portion of the race but passed Xavi Vierge for 4th with 8 laps to go. In terms of the championship, Oliveira really needs to win races if he has any hope of stealing the title away from Bagnaia.
Alex Marquez has failed to score points in 4 of the last 5 races and having won at this track last year, he needed a good result to remain a challenger for 3rd in the championship. His huge crash in Friday practice likely meant he wasn’t at 100% fitness, but he finished in 5th. At the start of the race he dropped to 9th and looked like he was struggling, but by the end was challenging Oliveira and picked up some much-needed points.
Bagnaia came into this round 28 points ahead of Oliveira and now has a 35-point lead; with only 3 races to go, the championship could be wrapped up for him at the next round.
2018 Moto2 Motul Grand Prix of Japan – RACE:
|1||20. Fabio Quartararo||Speed Up||+Ego - Speed Up Racing||41:03.849|
|2||42. Francesco Bagnaia||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+0.445|
|3||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Pons HP40||+6.672|
|4||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+11.998|
|5||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0.0 Marc VDS||+12.528|
|6||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+12.793|
|7||40. Augusto Fernandez||Kalex||Pons HP40||+13.146|
|8||97. Xavi Vierge||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+14.097|
|9||27. Iker Lecuona||KTM||Swiss Innovative Investors||+14.256|
|10||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Sky Racing Team VR46||+16.049|
|11||23. Marcel Schrotter||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+18.001|
|12||36. Joan Mir||Kalex||EG 0.0 Marc VDS||+19.666|
|13||45. Tetsuta Nagashima||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+20.256|
|14||77. Dominique Aegerter||KTM||Kiefer Racing||+20.723|
|15||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+23.536|
|16||87. Remy Gardner||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+24.913|
|17||5. Andrea Locatelli||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+25.067|
|18||22. Sam Lowes||KTM||Swiss Innovative Investors||+26.733|
|19||16. Joe Roberts||NTS||NTS RW Racing GP||+34.332|
|20||4. Steven Odendaal||NTS||NTS RW Racing GP||+34.519|
|21||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||SAG Team||+34.748|
|22||66. Niki Tuuli||Kalex||SIC Racing Team||+37.903|
|23||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia||+38.366|
|24||57. Edgar Pons||Speed Up||MB Conveyors – Speed Up||+43.015|
|25||62. Stefano Manzi||Suter||Forward Racing Team||+47.112|
|26||95. Jules Danilo||Kalex||Nashi Argan SAG Team||+56.945|
|27||32. Isaac Vinales||Suter||Forward Racing Team||+1:00.104|
|28||18. Xavi Cardelus||Kalex||Marinelli Snipers Team||+1:07.510|
|NC||64. Bo Bendsneyder||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+ 1 Lap|
|NC||9. Jorge Navarro||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+ 9 Laps|
|NC||21. Federico Fuligni||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+ 13 Laps|
|NC||24. Simone Corsi||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+ 19 Laps|