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:
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