Joy and sorrow often lie close together. Sometimes even side by side in the same box. After three years, it was finally back to Japan. Pecco Bagnaia arrived with a very good starting position for taking over the world championship lead. In June after the Sachsenring Pecco was still 91 points behind, before the race in Japan it was only 10 points to the world championship leader Fabio Quartararo. After the last races, one trusted the Ducati pilot a victory and perhaps the associated world championship lead. For this to happen, everything simply had to fit.
On Saturday, the onset of a typhoon completely shook up the starting grid. Under these adverse conditions, pole position went to Marc Marquez. The Honda rider was able to seize the opportunity. Marquez took to the track with risk and courage in wet conditions and made the most of his opportunity. The wet track benefited his physical condition. This meant that for the ninth time this season another rider was on pole position. World Championship leader Quartararo started from ninth on the grid. His closest rival Pecco Bagnaia was even behind him. The Ducati rider had to settle for 12th on the grid. World Championship bronze medalist Aleix Espargaro managed a better starting position in 6th place.
But before the race had even started, Aleix Espargaro turned into the pits. His bike had electronics problems and had to be changed. The Aprilia rider had to join the end of the field, meaning his race was over before it had even started.
Jack Miller was able to make the most of this mixed grid. The Ducati rider took the lead early in the race and dominated at will. It was impressive how Miller rode. Everything seemed to go his way. Every overtaking maneuver, every braking point was perfectly hit. Whether his performance has anything to do with the new front ride-height device on his Ducati is currently a matter of speculation. What is not speculation, Jack Miller rode unhindered to his fourth MotoGP victory.
So things were going well for Jack Miller. That means it didn’t have to go well for Pecco Bagnaia? Yes, that’s exactly what it means. On the last lap, Bagnaia attempted an overtake on Fabio Quartararo, who was ahead of him.The Ducati rider crashed. So Quartararo could even extend the world championship lead with his 8th place. Now it is again 18 points behind the Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia must make up.
Joy and sorrow were close together, in Motegi even in the same pit.
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