Jorge Martín Takes Victory in Rain-Interrupted Japanese Grand Prix
In a race marred by rain, Jorge Martín emerged as the winner at the Japanese Grand Prix in the MotoGP category. Despite the race being interrupted and not resumed due to the downpour, Martín’s victory puts his Madrid team within striking distance of the lead, trailing Bagnaia by just three points. The podium at Honda was completed by Marc Márquez.
Alex Rins was unable to participate in the race, and his place was taken by Bradl. Bastianini, Lex Márquez, and Marini were also forced to sit out the race without substitutes. As a special guest, Yamaha tester Crutchlow joined the competition.
Adding to the tension, a few drops of rain began to fall just as the riders were lining up on the grid. The rain, which had been forecasted only for the race time, materialized. The temperature was 25 degrees in the air and 29 degrees on the asphalt.
Despite the rain, the race was declared dry, meaning the riders were not allowed to switch bikes until the white flag was raised.
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At the start of the race, Martín held onto the first position, followed by Miller, Bagnaia, Aleix, Binder, and Márquez.
A collision between Zarco and Viñales resulted in the latter crashing out of the race. Bezzecchi was the instigator of the incident.
Surprisingly, in the middle of the first lap, the race commissioners allowed the riders to enter the garages and change bikes, and almost everyone took advantage of this opportunity. However, Pirro, Quartararo, Bradl, Morbidelli, and Crutchlow continued on the track.
When the riders re-entered the race with their second bikes, Martín led the pack, followed by Aleix and Márquez. Bagnaia was in fourth place, ahead of Bezzecchi.
Jorge engaged in a thrilling battle with his friend Aleix, exchanging positions multiple times. Bezzecchi managed to overtake Bagnaia.
Fabio realized that his strategy was not working and decided to switch motorcycles.
Martín made a mistake and had to take the ‘Long Lap’ penalty, dropping down to tenth place. However, he quickly started his comeback by overtaking Di Giannantonio. Márquez fought hard against Aleix but couldn’t pass him.
Martín successfully overtook Oliveira and Miller, while Morbidelli struggled as he was still using slick tires.
Pirro initially resisted changing bikes but eventually gave in. Bagnaia overtook Bezzecchi, and Aleix began to struggle, allowing Bagnaia to pass him. Martín was leading by seven tenths of a second.
Bagnaia and Martín both overtook Cervera, moving up to second and third place respectively, behind the race leader Aleix.
Brad Binder crashed out early in the race while fighting for a top-ten position.
Martín took a risk and overtook Bagnaia, followed by a pass on Aleix on the backstretch. His performance was truly impressive.
Vinales and Crutchlow were penalized with a ‘Long Lap’ penalty for making an incorrect bike change.
Aleix started to struggle, allowing Bagnaia to overtake him. Martín extended his lead to seven tenths of a second. Oliveira also overtook Márquez.
Bezzecchi and Oliveira quickly caught up to Aleix, who was losing pace. Márquez and Mir took advantage of the situation and overtook Aleix. Meanwhile, Joan engaged in a battle with Miller, and Aleix managed to regain some positions.
Miller made a mistake during braking and dropped to tenth place, providing relief for Mir.
Márquez seized the opportunity when Oliveira made a small mistake, allowing him to move up to fourth place. Aleix also overtook Oliveira.
Meanwhile, Martín continued to extend his lead from the rest of the pack. Bagnaia, Bezzecchi, and Márquez closed in on him.
Ral Fernández received a penalty for an incorrect bike change and had to take the ‘Long Lap’ penalty, dropping from eighth to eleventh place.
Unfortunately, Oliveira retired from the race while running in sixth place, a disappointing outcome for him.
When half of the race distance was completed, Marc Márquez had a scare and raised his hand, signaling to the race commissioners to stop the race. Bagnaia also followed suit. Zarco fell off his bike but managed to bring it back to the pits, albeit with missing parts. Johann had hit a puddle at turn 12.
Since three-quarters of the race had not been completed, the grid had to be re-formed based on the positions from the last crossing of the finish line.
Zarco was not allowed to rejoin the race as he arrived at the garage more than five minutes after the pit lane closed. Binder was also unable to continue after his accident.
Both Oliveira and Viñales were left out of the race, as they had been lapped, leading the judges to make the decision to exclude them.
The new race was supposed to be a 12-lap sprint in wet conditions, as it was still raining, albeit less heavily. However, during the formation lap, it became apparent that there were puddles on the track, resulting in the red flag being waved once again. Consequently, no further racing took place. The judges decided to award all the points, as more than 50 percent of the race had been completed. The diminishing light also played a role in this decision.
As a result, Jorge Martín was declared the winner, closing the gap to the championship leader to just three points. Marc Márquez secured a podium finish at the Honda circuit, much to the delight of the home crowd and team.