Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's race at Motegi:
Perfect Pedrosa wins at Motegi with Marquez 4th
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa has taken a fantastic win – his first since Brno GP 2014 and his 50th of his career (8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 27 x MotoGP) – at Honda’s home race in Japan. Reigning World Champion Marc Marquez, who is nursing an injured left hand, managed to come home 4th in the wet race.
With rain arriving this morning and delaying proceedings, the MotoGP warm up was delayed to 11h20am and the riders had a frantic twenty minutes to prepare the wet setup on their machines. As the race began, Dani made up some positions from 6th place to 4th and Marc dropped from 3rd to 6th by the end of the first lap. Marc passed Iannone on the second lap with Dani chasing down race leaders Lorenzo, Rossi and Dovizioso.
By lap eight Dani began to find a good rhythm and although four seconds behind Dovizioso, his lap times improved as the gap began to fall. Dani reached Dovizioso on lap eleven and after the Italian made a small error, Dani was able to pass him effortlessly and begin to hunt down Rossi who was four seconds ahead.
Dani reached Rossi by lap sixteen and passed him into second place. Then two laps later, Dani had made up the gap and passed Lorenzo into 1st and never looked back, controlling the final seven laps and winning by 8.5 seconds. Marc was able to pass Dovizioso on lap twenty one and took a comfortable 4th place.
Dani remains the most successful rider at Motegi with five wins (2011,12,15 in MotoGP; 2004 in 250cc; 2002 in 125cc). He now moves up two places in the rider standings to 5th on 154 points. Marc remains 3rd on 197 points with just three races remaining.
The MotoGP paddock now pack up in Japan and head immediately to Australia for round sixteen next weekend.
1st Championship Standing: 5th - 154 points
"I'm so happy with this win! It has been a long time since my last one and I'm really pleased. It was a fun race, because at first I took things calmly and lost too much time, but the strategy worked out because afterwards I recovered ground gradually. I had a special feeling at that point in the race and I'm happy to take this victory for Honda at their home track, for the team, the sponsors, my friends and family, because it has been a difficult season. It’s not been an easy weekend here in Japan, I’d also like to wish Alex De Angelis all the best and hope he recovers soon."
4th Championship Standing: 3rd - 197 points
"It was a difficult Sunday. In the wet, right from the warm up it was difficult to find the ideal setup and I didn’t feel entirely comfortable. We made some small changes for the race, so as not to take too many risks, but I never felt good and in the end we finished fourth. My hand didn’t give me too many problems in the wet, in the dry it would have been more difficult. Now we have to take away information from this Sunday and I look forward to going to Phillip Island, which is a circuit that should be better for us and is one of my favourites. I’d also like to send my best wishes to Alex De Angelis - we are all thinking of him."
Yamaha Secures 2015 Rider MotoGP Title with Double Podium at Damp Twin Ring Motegi
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo gave solid performances in tricky conditions at the Grand Prix of Japan, scoring second and third respectively, not only handing the Team its ninth double podium of the season but also securing the 2015 Rider MotoGP Championship Title.
Motegi (Japan), 11th October 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi remained calm and collected in a tense and difficult race, to secure second place. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a strong start to the race at Twin Ring Motegi, but suffered tyre problems mid-way through the race and took a strong third, making it a ninth double podium for Yamaha.
Rossi had one goal for today‘s 24-lap race: to extend his lead in the championship. You could cut the tension with a knife as the lights went out signaling the start, but he didn‘t let it get to him and had a dream launch from second place on the grid to take the holeshot in front of Lorenzo. As the Spaniard fought back, the teammates got involved in a shot duel in the first corners, but due to cold tyres and the treacherous conditions, the Doctor was unable to stay with Lorenzo. So began a lonely ride until Dani Pedrosa closed down the margin with nine laps to go and piled on the pressure.
Rossi, unwilling to give up second place and the additional four vital points difference for the championship, defended his position with all he had. He was unable to hold the Spaniard off for long, but was determined not to let him escape. He followed Pedrosa and together they reeled in Lorenzo, reducing the gap to less than 0,4s with five laps to go. Pedrosa quickly took over the lead and Rossi soon followed passed Lorenzo as the Spaniard went wide. The Doctor kept his head down and squeezed out the maximum to create an over three second gap to Lorenzo, but he was unable to stay with Pedrosa and took second over the line, 8.573s from the front.
Lorenzo had a good start to the wet race from pole. He entered the first corner in second place behind his teammate, but needed little time to take over at the front and made clear he meant business. With a clear track in front of him he was in his element and consistently increased the pace, creating a gap of over three seconds, but it wasn‘t to last. As the track dried up, his front tyre started to deteriorate, forcing him to lower his pace and allowing his rivals to come closer.
With seven laps remaining Pedrosa was within 0.5s and he brought Rossi with him. Lorenzo gave everything to keep his chasers at bay, but the front tyre was too degraded for him to give his all and he fell back to third with five laps to go. The Spaniard did well to bring his Yamaha home in third place, securing another 16 points, together with a second consecutive double podium for Yamaha at Motegi.
Today‘s 20-point gain sees Rossi increase his lead in the championship standings to 18 points, with a point total of 283. Lorenzo stays in second place with 265 championship points. Additionally, these scores mean that Yamaha, besides securing the 2015 Team Title at the previous round, is certain that one of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders will be crowned MotoGP World Champion.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team wildcard rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga made his vast experience count and rode a spectacular race, securing a strong eighth place aboard his ’60th Anniversary‘-styled YZR-M1.
2nd VALENTINO ROSSI
+8.573 / 24 LAPS
Physically it wasn‘t so bad, but mentally it was very hard to always keep the concentration, because it‘s very easy to make a mistake. At the beginning we had a good pace, but Jorge was stronger than me and was able to create a small advantage. After that my pace was good, I stayed with him and tried not to lose more time and used it as a motivation to keep my concentration, but when the track started to dry everything became more difficult. The tyre gave up and started spinning a lot on the straight and Dani arrived. It was a difficult situation, because if Dani beat me and not Jorge I would have lost another nine points after Aragón. I was able to do three or four very strong laps behind Dani and catch Jorge, who then made a mistake. I took an additional four-point advantage, which was our target, so we are very happy. The track was a lot better when it was fully wet, because the tyres worked well. When it starts to dry up it feels like you are in a boat at sea, the bike moves everywhere. Three or four times when I touched the throttle I felt the front go and said “no, no, no!”, so it was difficult, lots of stress.
3rd JORGE LORENZO
+12.127 / 24 LAPS
It was a pity because I think that on the dry I was the fastest and the more consistent rider. Also in the rain I was very fast, but unfortunately the track dried up and my push at the beginning of the race probably made my tyre a bit worse than Valentino‘s and Dani‘s. When the track was almost dry, my front tyre was destroyed and I couldn't ride like before. For this race it was important to finish in front of Valentino, but the championship is not over, because I remember in 2013 I was even further from Marquez in the standings and I lost the championship by just four points. Eighteen points is a lot, but if I win all races and another rider finishes between me and Valentino, I can still win the championship.
It‘s been a tricky race but despite that, we still had a strong start to the race. Both Vale and Jorge struggled with tyre degradation and did well not to get caught out by the difficult situation, because making a small mistake is easily done in races with varying track conditions like today. Still, we can be very satisfied with the results and the work we have done this weekend, it's our ninth double podium of the season and it‘s certain one of our riders will win the championship. A big thank you to the Team, they have worked very hard, but we don‘t have time to relax just yet. We are now immediately heading to the next race at Phillip Island where we aim to be the key protagonist again.
Dovizioso finishes fifth in Grand Prix of Japan, Iannone forced to retire
Andrea Dovizioso scored a fifth-place finish in the Grand Prix of Japan, round 15 of the 2015 World Championship held today at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. His Ducati Team team-mate Andrea Iannone was forced to retire from the race because of a technical problem with his Desmosedici GP15.
This morning, poor visibility due to low clouds and heavy rainfall at the Japanese circuit meant that Race Direction took the decision to delay the warm-up sessions for all categories. The MotoGP race started on time and took place in wet conditions, but even though the rain had stopped the track surface never dried out completely.
Dovizioso, who started the race from row 2, immediately powered into third, a position he held until lap 10. On the following lap he was passed by Pedrosa, the eventual race winner, and in the next few laps he had to slow his pace because of progressive wear on his rain tyres. With four laps remaining, Andrea was no longer able to defend himself from the attacks of Marquez and he concluded the GP of Japan in fifth place.
Andrea Iannone was out of luck at Motegi, the Italian also lining up on row 2 after Saturday’s qualifying session. After a good start he crossed the line in fifth at the end of the opening lap, but then lost more positions in the next few laps and had to stop in the gravel on lap 11 because of a problem with the engine of his Desmosedici GP15. Today’s retirement is the first this season for the man from Abruzzo.
Iannone still lies fourth in the overall standings, while Dovizioso drops to seventh behind Pedrosa and Smith.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th
“Today we didn’t have such a bad race pace, but after a few laps the front tyre started to deteriorate, and I was no longer able to brake well. It was a bit of a strange situation, because although everyone else probably had the same tyre wear, in my case at the start, when the track was still wet, the front was closing in all the time and I couldn’t push hard. It was a real pity because we had good pace and I think that we could have fought for the podium. In any case we took home a fifth place in difficult conditions because it was not easy to get to the chequered flag. It was a real pity because we had a lot more potential today.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – DNF
“It wasn’t an easy race because already at the start my GP15’s engine didn’t seem to have much drive. I realized that there was a problem, but I hoped that it wasn’t the case. However when I saw that all of my rivals were passing me easily coming out of the corners and on the straight, I knew that my bike didn’t have its usual performance. I tried to do the best I could, and I was trying to hold on but unfortunately I couldn’t finish the race.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“We certainly expected a lot more from today’s race. Both Dovizioso and Iannone had shown that they had good pace throughout the weekend, but the weather conditions complicated the situation somewhat. Dovizioso had a good race, riding very well in the early laps before his tyres started to go off, and this forced him to slow. Iannone’s race unfortunately was ruined by an engine problem on his GP15, and we’ll be trying to shed some light on that now.”
RAIN COMPLICATES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR’S RACE IN MOTEGI
Oct 11th, 2015
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 11.
A cold and wet day welcomed the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, forcing teams and riders to adapt a different wet-weather set-up rendering useless the two previous days of dry practice. The 24-lap fight ended with Aleix Espargaro in 11th place, while Maverick Viñales couldn’t make it to the finish due to a crash he suffered in the middle of the race.
Rain welcomed the riders from early morning and the threatening low clouds required race direction to delay all sessions in order to match the safety requirements of the medical helicopters, which couldn’t take-off in the low cloud. When the program was cleared to go ahead both Espargaro and Viñales took to the track for the warm-up, which was the only chance to finalise a wet set-up for the race. They immediately found a good feeling and the pace was pretty fast, both being in the top-10.
At the start of the race, both Espargarò and Viñales made a good start, but then Viñales struggled to keep pace losing positions to his competitors while Espargarò consistently improved his position with many overtakes on his rivals.
Unfortunately both Suzuki riders visited the gravel trap today. The first was Espargaro, who pushed the front to the limit and went too far into a corner, meaning he had to leave the track, losing several positions but thankfully without a crash. After re-joining the race he made-up places, finally ending in 11th place.
Viñales’ turn to go into the gravel was with 11 laps to go but unfortunately he had worse luck: he suddenly lost the front in a very hard braking section and crashed and subsequently couldn’t re-join the race thanks to the damage suffered by his GSX-RR in the crash. This ruined his race as he was making progress through the field as he found better feeling with his GSX-RR. This was a shame as his pace was constantly improving and he was well into the top ten when he suffered his crash.
Satoru Terada – Project Leader:
“First of all I feel happy that we came back here racing in Japan, it was the first time after our withdrawal in 2011 and it was nice to find all our supporters back. The weekend has been very hard for us, or at least it was on the Sunday. Aleix made a very good start and also the first part of the race; this is very good because he was able to fight with other factory riders and was in sixth position. This is positive for our project but I guess it was also nice for our many fans who crowded the main grandstands. In the race, Maverick crashed and Aleix ended in 11th, which is not such a good result, but despite the troubles they both had a very good pace in the race, which shows progress. Maverick made a good improvement throughout the weekend and Aleix was able to fight with the factory riders, which is an important step for us. Also we need more experience in the wet; it was hard for us because we had no reference points but we now have much more feedback, which will be useful for us. Now we go to Australia which is a smoother track, I think it will be suitable for our GSX-RR and hopefully we’ll get good results.”
“I’m disappointed for the final result because I have the feeling we could have got a position closer to our real potential today. This morning in the warm-up I had a very good pace and I was positive for the race, in fact my start was very good and I was immediately fighting with the factory riders. Unfortunately the front tyre’s performance dropped off a lot, I didn’t have a proper feeling from it and I did some hard braking, that pushed me in the gravel. Luckily I didn’t crash and could re-join the race, but I lost many positions. From there I could recover many places but then the rear tyre performance dropped, so-much-so that at the end of the race it was almost a slick, so we need to improve a lot our electronic management on wet tyres. We had the same issues in Misano and Silverstone, so that’s an area where we must improve. It is positive that in all the last races we made many improvements. In the dry we are pretty competitive and also in the wet we are getting better and better, even if the final result of this race is not what I was expecting or wishing for.”
“I’m sad with this result because I felt I could do much better. We have no experience in the wet and for this reason I was pretty happy on how the warm-up went. I felt pretty competitive and confident. In fact my start in the race was not bad, even though I needed the early laps to find confidence, so I lost some positions. Then I managed to find a confident race pace, that allowed me to improve and get very close to the top 10, but unfortunately I then crashed. I had some issues with the gearbox: I couldn’t make the proper gear-changes, so in turn 11, I was braking hard and suddenly lost the front. It was such a fast crash that I didn’t even realise what had happened, now we are investigating the possible causes so we can learn for the future. For sure we have much room for improvement in wet conditions, both for the machine set-up and electronics but also myself in the riding style and tyre and grip management.”
RAIN CANCELS OUT THE GOOD JOB DONE DURING THE WEEKEND WHICH HAD EARNED THE APRILIAS THE BEST QUALIFIERS OF THE SEASON
BAUTISTA, SIXTEENTH, FINISHES JUST SHORT OF THE POINTS ZONE
BRADL EIGHTEENTH AFTER AN OFF-TRACK EXCURSION
Motegi (Japan), 11 October 2015 - The weather conditions, with rain falling all night long, into the morning and lightly during the race, conditioned the race for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. After the best qualifiers of the season with Bradl in thirteenth place and Bautista in sixteenth, but above all with the excellent race pace demonstrated over the past two days on a dry track, it was reasonable to expect a battle for points for both riders. The wet track changed all the points of reference and forced Alvaro and Stefan into a very demanding race. In the end Alvaro found his pace but, having trouble with the tyres, he was unable to push hard enough to get into the points range. Stefan had an off-track excursion a few laps after the start that forced him to ride a difficult come back race, finishing in eighteenth place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“Motegi was a positive weekend up to the qualifiers on a dry track which led us to our best performance of the year in practice. In the race we had to take on wet and mixed conditions that limited our performance. This happened from the start which, in this season, has always been a strong point for our bike. But this is also part of the experience that we are gradually acquiring, for example, on the chassis setup and in terms of electronics.”
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“After the good results in practice, today we hoped to achieve more, that much is obvious. Instead we were unable to be as incisive in the wet. I should point out that Stefan felt at ease straight away and he could have taken a good placement, but his race was conditioned by a mistake that took him on an off-track excursion. Bautista, on the other hand, didn’t have much feeling with the bike in the initial phases, although later on the situation improved. It was a difficult race and, like everyone in these asphalt conditions, we struggled with the tyres.”
“The day before the race I was pleased with our preparation and even with the morning warm up session on a soft tyre didn’t go badly. But for the race the track was different, not entirely wet and in these conditions we chose to mount the harder tyre. In the first laps I couldn’t find the right feeling and then things improved a bit, but I never really felt comfortable like I had in the morning. So I had to find a pace and keep it, but in the last ten laps, when the tarmac seemed to be less wet, the situation worsened even more. I lost the front end a few times and there was a lot of spin at the rear when I would open up the gas. It wasn’t the race I had expected after a good weekend like this one.”
“At the beginning of the race I felt at ease on the bike and everything was going well. After a few laps I felt like I could manage more power, so I turned down the traction control. After a few more laps, however, the rear tyre began to wear and I had to turn it back up. As I was trying to press the button my thumb accidentally touched the pit lane speed limiter button. In a braking section with no engine brake I was forced to run on and in that off-track excursion I lost a lot of time. When I realised what had happened I pushed the button again and restarted, but at that point my race was compromised.”
Top ten for Redding in wet Motegi race
Motegi, Japan - 11 October 2015: Scott Redding achieved his goal of a top ten finish in today’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, which was run in difficult conditions due to the arrival of the forecast rain at the circuit this morning.
After struggling for grip in this morning’s wet warm up, Redding opted to switch to the harder option rear wet tyre on the grid, gambling on the fact that the break in the rain would last until the end of the race and the track would start to dry on the racing line.
It meant the 22-year-old Briton struggled to settle into a good rhythm in the early laps, but the tyre decision paid dividends as the rain held off and the track started to dry.
At the halfway point Redding was able to scythe his way through the field and back into the fight for points. With the rest of the field starting to struggle for grip as their tyres went off, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider was consistently one of the fastest riders on track and was able to pick off his rivals one by one, to eventually cross the line in tenth position.
Redding was satisfied with the result today and is now looking forward to next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, one of his all-time favourite tracks.
Scott Redding: 10th
“I’m happy with the second half of the race, but disappointed with the first half. I decided to go with the harder option rear on the grid, but struggled to get the tyre to work until a few laps into the race. I lost a lot of time in the opening laps, as my pace wasn’t there and people were passing me, which slowed me further. Then, once I’d got some heat into the rear and the front started to come in it was much better and I was able to settle into a good rhythm. We don’t get these conditions often, so it was a learning experience for me and I think today I learnt more than in a normal race. Overall I’m pretty happy we hit our target of a top ten finish here. Now we head to Australia for the next race. It will be different on the factory bike compared to the open bike I rode last year, so we’ll have to see how it goes, but I’m looking forward to getting back to Phillip Island.
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"To finish in the top ten is a good result and it's what we were expecting to achieve from the beginning of the year. At the start of the race it was very difficult for Scott to make the lap time on the harder rear wet but, after he’d managed to get some heat into the tyre, we could see it was the right decision. From he midpoint of the race onwards he was both fast and consistent, pushing his way through into a points scoring position and then picking off the last few riders to take tenth place at the line. I’m happy with the result, as it was the target we set ourselves at the beginning of the weekend. Now we head to one of Scott’s favourite tracks, and one where he’s gone well in the past, so it will be interesting to see what he can do at Phillip Island next weekend.”
12 place finish for Takahashi in Japan GP
Team HRC Nissin wildcard rider, Takumi Takahashi, took a well earned 12th place on his MotoGP debut in Motegi.
Starting 18th on the grid, Takumi gradually progressed and reached 11th by lap 14 whilst battling with Hernandez, Redding and Pol Espargaro, and managed to finish 12th – scoring 4 championship points.
Takumi Takahashi 72
Rider – MotoGP
"It has been a great experience riding my first MotoGP race! All weekend we have had dry weather and I’ve been able to steadily improve. However, today has been wet all day and I wasn’t able to deliver the result I had hoped. In the first part of the race I lost a lot of time as I was trying to find a good feeling. Anyway, I learned a lot about the tyres and racing alongside these riders and it was a great experience with HRC and Nissin, so I’d like to thank them for this opportunity."
Grand Prix of Japan - Yonny finishes 14°. Petrux crashes after a great start
In a Grand Prix characterized by many crashes and excessive tire consumtion as the track began to dry, OCTO Pramac Racing had to settle for two points taken home by Yonny Hernandez while Danilo Petrucci crashed on lap 8 following a great start.
The aim of Danilo and Hernandez was to change the face of a pretty hard weekend. And things seemed to be going in this direction at the Motegi circuit, on which rain fell until mid-morning, as the two OCTO Pramac Racing riders managed to lap very fast in warm up recording, respectively, the 10th and the 12th quickest crono.
Unfortunately Yonny had to deal with a problem in the sighting lap of the GP as he felt a vibration that forced the team to change the front tire on the starting grid. In the first 10 laps the rider from Medellin gritted his teeth defending his position then he had to face the problem, shared with many others, of tire consumption managing to finish the race.
Danilo's race started great as he recovered 7 positions in the first lap. The rider of Fiamme Oro continued to push, overcoming in the second lap Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro and giving the feeling of being able to attack Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone. Petrux began to have some problems of grip around the 6th lap when he suffered the attack of Cal Crutchlow. As the lack of grip has intensified lap by lap and after trying to stay close to Iannone, on lap 8 the rider from Terni crashed ending his race.
Danilo Petrucci loses a position in the World Championship. Now he is 9th with 93 points (-5 from 8th place).
Yonny Hernandez rises to 49 points (14th place).
OCTO Pramac Racing Team keeps the 6th place (142 points) in the team standing.
14° - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing #68
In the warm up I felt confident. Then in the sighting lap I felt a vibration in front. In the first six laps I could not brake properly and this made me lose contact with the leaders. Then the excessive consumption of tires didn't let me to push. It was frustrating not being able to battle on with Hayden in the final laps to defend the 13th position. Finishing this race is positive as many riders were forced to retire but I certainly can not be satisfied.
DNF - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing #9
It's shame because I had a very good start. Then I started to feel the bike struggling too much. I tried to overcome Iannone but I didn't succeed. Then the front tire started to miss grip. I didn't expected to fall in that point but as soon as I left the brakes I slipped. I'm sorry because we were doing an honorable race and because we threw away precious points. I was struggling a lot and perhaps I asked too much to front tire. During the whole weekend I never found the right feeling in breaking. Fortunately there is no time to think about it. Let's move to Australia. I can not wait to be there.
Hayden shows consistency in the wet to take solid points at Motegi
Sunday, 11 October 2015 09:02
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider deals with tricky conditions to take three points
The weather forecasts predicting rain for race day at Motegi proved to be bang on the money today and even though it stopped in time for the MotoGP race the track remained damp, making for precarious conditions. Jorge Lorenzo continued with his plan for the weekend of pushing hard in every session, opening up a two-second gap over his championship rival Valentino Rossi on the first three laps. It looked like the top two positions would stay that way until Dani Pedrosa reeled in the Yamaha pair in the second half of the race, taking victory for Honda at their home track. Lorenzo then lost another position to Rossi, with the podium finishers taking the flag a long way ahead of the rest of the field.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden made strong starts from 20th and 21st on the grid, showing their confidence in the wet conditions to make up several positions. Hayden once again showed his bravery and his consistency to maintain a solid pace to the end, picking up three points in a race that saw just twenty finishers. Laverty lost feeling as the race progressed and despite his positive start he eventually dropped back to finish the Motegi race in seventeenth.
13º Nicky Hayden: “Always in the wet I hope for a little bit more than thirteenth. I got a really good start and moved up a couple of positions on the first lap but it was difficult to stay there because I was losing so much time to a few guys on the straights. I wasn't too happy with that but I just settled into my rhythm. I wasn't able to do anything special and the last eight or ten laps when the tyres went off were really difficult. The rear was spinning but it was more the front tyre, it was moving around so much. The lap times actually held up pretty good, I was able to pass Hernandez late on and we picked up a couple of points. We'll keep going, try to do better next time but I want to say thanks to the fans here, the crowd was amazing.”
17º Eugene Laverty: “It was a difficult race. At the start we were really strong in comparison to the wet race at Silverstone, where I didn't have a good feeling in the early laps. I could stay with the guys but then when the spinning began and the tyre started to move around we got slower and slower and by the end the tyre was almost like a slick. We are still improving and we know the direction but we need to improve much, much more in the wet if we want to finish in the points. Maybe that's the last wet race of the year, we don't know. The positive thing from the weekend is the lap we set in the dry yesterday. I am in one piece and we move on to Phillip island now.”
Smith 7th after tireless effort at Motegi
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith concluded the Motul Grand Prix of Motegi in 7th position after producing a determined display in what was a demanding race at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit today. The 15th round of the MotoGP World Championship kicked off in tricky conditions as rain and mist hit the track in the morning, which caused all of the warm up sessions to be delayed. Yet, the MotoGP race was unaffected and began at the scheduled time and when the lights flicked off, Smith launched forwards to commence his Motegi battle. He completed the opening lap holding his grid position and then targeted the pack in front as he looked to join the hunt for the top six. However, during the next lap, Smith slipped back to 12th but he dug deep and set into his race pace before shifting through the field to 8th by lap ten. Next in his sights was Cal Crutchlow who was holding the leading satellite position and Smith pushed on to consistently inch closer. The Briton homed right in and on the 15th lap, he bolted past Crutchlow to clinch 6th before opening up a gap to the chasing rider. The 24 year old carried on battling but on the last lap he was shuffled back to 7th despite giving his all as he fought all the way to the chequered flag. Nevertheless, today’s placement confirms Smith as one of only two riders who have finished every MotoGP race this season and he now optimistically looks onwards to the next round in Australia, where he gained his maiden podium in the premium class last year.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro experienced bad luck and unfortunately fell in the final laps of the Motegi battle. The Spaniard, who bolted forwards from 11th position on the grid, confidently aimed to move through the pack at the beginning of the 24 lap contest. Evidently, by the close of the first lap, the 24 year old found himself up to 8th having overtaken three riders and then set his sights on climbing higher. Yet, he was shuffled back to 10th shortly afterwards but remained fully focused and reclaimed two positions with 16 laps left to run. Following this, Espargaro persevered and continued his race pace as he fought the challenging conditions at the demanding stop and go 4.8 kilometre circuit whilst aiming to inch closer to Andrea Iannone in front of him. On the 11th lap, he unfortunately ran wide while trying to overtake the Italian rider and slipped down to 15th position, but pushed onwards before he recovering four places in the following laps. Yet, his luck turned for the worse as he fell two laps from the end whilst running in 11th. Espargaro, who fortunately walked away unhurt from the fast crash at turn eleven, intends to bounce back strongly at next week’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Position : 7th Championship :6th Points : 152
“I am pleased with today’s result after the difficult start that we had in warm up this morning as we finally managed to turn it around and perform well even in the wet conditions. When the morning session began, we ran with the base setting that we used at Silverstone, which I wasn’t overly happy with but it was the only wet setting that we had. To be honest, it didn’t work and we were down the order so I expected the race to be even more difficult. I crossed my fingers for dry weather as I knew that if that occurred, I could attack and do a good job, yet it wasn’t to be. However, the team adjusted the bike and shortened the wheelbase in order to find some more grip for me and it worked really well. At the beginning of the race, I needed to get used to the new setting and adjust myself, but the feeling came quickly and then I started working my way through the field. It was a shame that Crutchlow passed me on the final lap but my front tyre was really worn and I think that the Honda had a little bit more towards the end. Also, I was a little bit lucky because I was leading Cal until turn 11 and there I tucked the front but saved it with my elbow, so as a result he powered past me. Anyway, I am not too disappointed because I was in the leading satellite battle and we really improved a lot from the warm up. I may have lost 5th in the championship but it was to the rider who won the race, so I can’t be too upset. Next up is Phillip Island, which I am looking forward to. Last year I had a good feeling there and the Yamaha is known for running well at that track. Therefore, bearing in mind all of the improvements that we have made to the bike, the feeling and my riding style, it should be a good weekend. I can’t promise a repeat of last year’s podium but I’ll try my very best!”
Position : DNF Championship : 10th Points : 88
“It has been a tough event here in Japan this weekend and we were not at our best in the practice sessions. Therefore, the wet conditions this morning certainly didn't help to make things any easier. However, I began the race confidently and with quite a good start. In the first few laps, the bike was working really well and I found a solid rhythm, but shortly after that I began to struggle with the front tyre moving a lot which made it really complicated to turn the bike. I kept on pushing yet when I tried to pass Iannone, I ran wide and lost several positions, so I had to commence my recovery from 15th position with 13 laps remaining. While I was trying to make up some time to the guys ahead of me, I was continuously battling with my M1 as the front tyre was dropping more and more. Then, three laps before the end, I had closed in on my brother and would have loved to pass him but unfortunately, the front tyre locked and I fell whilst braking into turn 11 with only one and a half laps to go, which is a big pity as I definitely didn't want to end my weekend in this way. I hit my head on the barrier during this incident, but I’ve undertaken a medical check and luckily I walked away unhurt. Another positive is that we are now flying to Australia, which is my favourite track and we were strong there last year, so I'm looking forward to next week and getting back on my Yamaha YZR-M1.
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
“It was a typical Japanese Grand Prix and like always, a lot happened. The race was very eventful as well as exciting for everyone to watch including us on the pit wall! Initially, we had been a little bit worried about the race as Brad was not comfortable in the wet weather conditions this morning so we were not too optimistic. However, the team changed the entire setup of the bike and although his start was quite good, the first few laps were quite slow but he managed to recover very well and continued pushing every lap. He climbed all the way up to 6th but then the tyres started to have a big impact and it became the key difference as we saw at the front of the field. Nevertheless, I want to congratulate him as he fought right until the end and his result keeps Dovizioso behind him in the championship. In addition, it was a really valuable weekend for him as he increased his confidence in the wet. On the other side of the pit box, Pol was having a good race in the opening stages and his rhythm was similar to Brad’s. Yet, unfortunately he made a few mistakes which meant it was a bit up and down for him and the worst thing was that he crashed right at the end. This was a big shame as he needed a confidence boosting result in the wet, but anyway there is another race next week and hopefully the sun will be shining there for both of our Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders.”
Barbera finishes ninth and recover the Open Class leadership at Motegi
11/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Japan - RACE
Hector Barbera arrived in Japan determined to recover the gap to Loris Baz in the point standings, and from the first session he was the strongest Open Class rider in dry conditions. But when the rain appeared today, the Avintia Racing rider had to start all over again. In the wet warm-up session, he felt comfortable on his bike straight away, which boosted his confidence for the race. He made a perfect start gaining some positions and then he continued battling his way though the field into the top ten. He crossed the line ninth and scored seven valuable championship points that put him back in the lead of the Open Class with three races to go.
Mike Di Meglio added to the happiness of the Avintia Racing team, scoring one more point in the standings. The French rider struggled at the beginning of the race, but then he started to recover positions to finish 15th and third in the Open Class.
With no rest, the MotoGP World Championship heads now to Phillip Island, home of the Australian Grand Prix.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 9th (P1 Open) @HectorBarbera
This was my 100th race in MotoGP on a track where I had mixed emotions. I won here in the past, but also I left the track twice in the helicopter. Therefore, Motegi was always a question mark for me, but today’s result will change that for the future. All weekend long, I was fast and consistent in the dry and we had a good set up for those conditions, but when I woke up today it was raining and it was as if the weekend start all over again. In the warm up I was fast and I was able to do many laps to get a good feeling for the conditions. I want to thank Jarno, my crew chief, because the set up today was really good, and also Penny, our Ducati Electronics engineer, because I was able to manage the race very well. It was a tough race mentally, because from lap 15 I had nobody in front of me and some guys were closing in from behind. They were pushing me and in these conditions it’s easy to make a mistake, so I decided to enjoy the rest of the race. The ninth place gives us the Open Class lead back and now I’m happier, because after Misano I was really disappointed. Now we go to Phillip Island, a track I love and where we want to increase our advantage in the standings.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 15º (P3 Open) @Mikejpp63
The first laps were quite difficult because we changed the electronic settings and the feeling was different. I also think that the track had less water than in the warm up, but to be honest it was complicated. Then I made a mistake and I ran off the track in the first turn, loosing a lot of time. After that, I calmed myself and I was able to ride with a good pace. During the race I was trying to keep my tyres cold in the wet areas, and I was surprised when I caught some riders because they were using the dry line. At this point my tyres were fresh and I was able to overtake them in the straights as if they were riding a Moto2 bike. I’m happy with the final result, but it was a shame losing time in the first half of the race. I hope to make another step forward at Phillip Island, it’s one of my favourite tracks and I’m sure we can get a good result there.
CRUTCHLOW FINISHES IN THE TOP SIX AT MOTEGI
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow claimed sixth place at the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi on Sunday. As predicted, the MotoGP showpiece was affected by wet conditions with heavy rain having hit the circuit ahead of the race.
Leaving from eighth on the grid, Crutchlow endured a difficult start, but soon found his rhythm and began to move through the field. In the end he was involved in an entertaining tussle with Bradley Smith, and he got the better of his fellow Briton to seal sixth place at the chequered flag.
Cal Crutchlow #35 (6th - 47m 28.030s)
“We are pleased with he result to finish in the top six today. I am a little disappointed as I thought again I was one of the strongest guys in the rain today, but I had a bad first couple of laps because the rear tyre failed to heat. After that I came on strong and felt really good and made up some places.
“By the time I had pushed, the front tyre was completely destroyed and I finished the race with a tyre that looked like a slick! I tried my best and we did a good job as a team today, we made sure we finished and got some good points heading into the next race in Australia.”
Hard race for Baz and Elias at Motegi
It was a tough and bitter race for the Forward Racing riders today at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi circuit. Under the rain Loris Baz was forced to retire while Toni Elias crossed the line in 20th place.
Baz, who has struggled all weekend to find the right pace on the Japanese track, suffered the weather conditions and in the race he has lost the feeling with the front of his Yamaha Forward. 20 laps to the checkered flag he entered the pits for changing the bike and he rejoined the race before retiring 7 laps later.
Complicated race also for Toni Elias, for the first time riding the Yamaha Forward in wet conditions. The Spaniard, despite progress in the warm up, struggled to find the pace and he closed in 20th position.
"I’m not happy with this race weekend. I suffered in the free practices and today I was not able to find the right feeling. With both bikes I lost the grip with the front tyre and I preferred to come back to the garage. It is a pity, I lost the leadership of the Open class, but in a week we will be in Phillip Island for the next race".
"It's been a difficult race. In qualifying I managed the gap with the other Open, but today the weather conditions were completely different. It was the first time that I was on the wet with the Yamaha Forward and I struggled a lot. Despite the steps made during the warm up, unfortunately, I could not keep the same pace as the others Open bikes. I’m looking forward to Phillip Island race”.
MILLER FAILS TO FINISH THE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN
The Grand Prix of Japan ended in disappointing style for LCR Honda rider Jack Miller as he crashed out at the Twin Ring circuit in Motegi. As had been forecast, the MotoGP showpiece was affected by wet weather with heavy rain having fallen at the track prior to Sunday’s race.
Starting from 22nd on the grid, Miller – who had been 11th quickest in Sunday’s warm-up session - made encouraging early progress through the field. The Australian was looking to challenge for a top-10 spot when he suffered a problem with the front end that dropped him back. He battled on but his race was then over after a braking error to ensure a promising weekend ended in frustration.
Jack Miller #43 (DNF)
“It was a disappointing end to the weekend. I tried hard to be a little bit calmer this time with the wet conditions, I didn’t look to overtake so many people and got in a nice groove and got settled. But then I had small loss of the front and I’m not really sure why.
“After that I tried to work my way back into a points position but it was not quite possible. I caught up to Laverty, but when I was right behind him I locked the brake up on the white line and that was the end of my race. It was a real shame, I’m not very happy but we also gained a lot of experience out of this.”
Peerless Pedrosa performance in variable conditions produces Motegi victory
Round 15: Japanese MotoGP™ - Race
Motegi, Sunday 11 October 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 19-19°C; Track 21-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa won his first race of the MotoGP season – and his fiftieth across all classes – in a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix where variable conditions provided a stern test for riders, machines and tyres.
The dry conditions which blessed the Motegi Twin Ring circuit for the previous two days were replaced with cold and wet conditions on race day, requiring the use of wet tyres for the twenty-four lap contest. After a cautious start from the second row of the grid, Pedrosa held onto fourth place for the opening ten laps before making his move through the field as a dry line started to appear on track. Pedrosa’s ability to manage the variable conditions saw him take the race lead on lap eighteen and he maintained his quick pace right until the chequered flag, taking the win by 8.573 seconds from Valentino Rossi who finished in second place. Rossi finished as runner-up after an enticing battle with his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the pair trading places a few times throughout the race before a late push in the race saw him finish ahead of Lorenzo who rounded out the rostrum in third place.
Conditions for the race were not only wet, but cold, with the track temperature reaching a peak of just 22°C during the race. The main wet tyre specification for the Japanese Grand Prix is the soft compound, but given the demands the Motegi circuit places on braking, the whole grid except two riders – AB Motoracing’s Kousuke Akiyoshi and Forward Racing’s Toni Elias – opted for the alternative specification, hard compound front wet tyre due to its better braking stability and durability. For the rear tyre, all except two riders – EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Scott Redding and Aspar Racing’s Nicky Hayden who opted for the hard rear wet tyre - selected the soft compound rear wet tyre for the race.
With three rounds remaining, Rossi’s lead over Lorenzo in the standings swells to eighteen points, while Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez is a further 68 points adrift in third place after finishing fourth today at Motegi.
- Bridgestone Corporation CEO and Representative Board Member, Concurrently Chairman of the Board
“Congratulations to Dani on his victory today and also to Honda for taking a well-deserved win in front of a passionate crowd here at Motegi. This season as a whole has been one of the most exciting in recent years and it is a source of pride for all Bridgestone employees that we’ve been able to support this championship. On behalf of Bridgestone I pledge that we will continue to offer our highest levels of service to the teams and riders for the three remaining rounds this year. Our fourteen years participating in the MotoGP World Championship has been a very valuable chapter in Bridgestone’s motorsport story, providing us with many challenges and successes along the way. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest thanks to the manufacturers, teams, Dorna, IRTA and the millions of MotoGP fans across the globe for their support during the fourteen years Bridgestone has participated in the premier class of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing.”
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Today was an exciting end to what was a very successful weekend for Bridgestone, with our slick and wet tyres performing very well at our home Grand Prix. After a new qualifying lap record was set yesterday, today the riders experienced highly variable conditions during the race, but our wet tyres were able to handle the conditions well and provide consistent performance, even though the track dried significantly over the twenty-four laps of the race. Our tyre allocation for this year’s Japanese Grand Prix proved adaptable enough to deal with all the conditions we experienced this weekend, so overall I am very happy with our results here at Motegi.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
“This race didn’t go as I expected as I couldn’t go fast at the beginning, so I lost out a lot at the start. I tried to stay in fourth place and keep a good rhythm and maybe I conserved my tyres better than the other riders. At the end my pace was faster and I was able to win my first race of the year, so I’d like to say thanks to Honda, my team, sponsors, friends and family for their support.”
KENT HAS TO WAIT TO END 38 YEARS OF HEARTBREAK
Twenty one year old Danny Kent has to wait at least another seven days before he can become the first British world champion for 38 long years after finishing sixth in the rain-hit Moto3™ race at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi this afternoon. The Leopard Racing Honda rider finished one place in front of his championship rival Enea Bastianini to open up a 56 points advantage in the world championship with three rounds remaining. Twenty one year old Scotsman John McPhee was ninth in the race which was reduced to 13 laps.
Isle of Man–based midlander Cal Crutchlow won the all British MotoGP™ fight for sixth place on the drying track in the 24 lap race. After a tremendous battle he finally grabbed sixth from Bradley Smith on the last lap of a dramatic race. Scott Redding was tenth with Eugene Laverty just out of the points in 17th place.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes was eighth in the Moto2™race to regain fourth place in the world championship. World champion Johann Zarco was a comfortable winner to secure his seventh win of the season.
Peerless Pedrosa takes his 50th GP victory at Motegi
Dani Pedrosa rides a superb race to take victory at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan while Rossi extends lead over Lorenzo to 18 points.
The Repsol Honda rider came from sixth on the grid to take his 27th MotoGP™ win and first since Brno in 2014 on a drying track at the Twin Ring Motegi. Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (+8.573s) crossed the line in second to record his 14th podium of the season as he extended his lead over his teammate Jorge Lorenzo to 18 points in the World Championship standings. Lorenzo (+12.127s) completed the podium after struggling with front-tyre wear late on in the race to record his 94th premier class rostrum.
There were only really three riders in with a chance to win the race in tricky conditions at Motegi that saw 50,000 fans packed into the grandstands despite the rain. The race started on time despite a two-hour delay to the morning’s Warm Up Session, but the track remained damp meaning all riders went for wets. At the start of the race the outcome looked very different, as Rossi got the holeshot into turn 1 only for Lorenzo to take him through turns 3 & 4 for the lead. At this point things looked ominous for Rossi as Lorenzo broke away at the front in his usual fashion and opened up a 2 second lead by the end of lap 3.
Rossi appeared to have no answer to his teammates pace and had to fight off the advances of the Ducati Team GP15 of Andrea Dovizioso during the early stages of the race. In a sign of things to come though, Dovizioso started to experience front tyre issues as a dry line appeared on track and began to drop back rapidly by lap ten. At this point Pedrosa had made his way up into fourth and was by far the fastest man on the track. On lap 11 the Spaniard passed Dovizioso as the Italian ran wide and started to chase down Rossi in second, who had a 2.7s advantage.
Lapping 1.5s faster that the two Yamaha’s in front of him, Pedrosa caught Rossi with 9 laps to go and suddenly Lorenzo was struggling as his front tyre started to rip itself to pieces. Rossi went with Pedrosa and they both began to hunt down Lorenzo, who had a 2.7s advantage with the two-time MotoGP™ world champion appearing to be going backwards at this point. Pedrosa blasted past him on the straight as they completed lap 17 to take the lead, and never looked back as he went on to take a commanding victory and continue his record of winning at least one race in every season he has competed in MotoGP™.
It then became a game of risk versus reward between the two Yamaha teammates as Rossi closed in on his title rival, but both were tiptoeing around on their shredded front tyres. Rossi appeared to have looked after his slightly better though and Lorenzo ran wide at turn 3 with 5 laps to go to gift the ‘Doctor’ second. Pedrosa rode superbly in the final laps to take the race win by over 8.5s from Rossi, with Lorenzo completing the podium a further 3 seconds back.
Pedrosa’s teammate Marc Marquez (+27.841s) crossed the line in a lonely 4th nursing the broken bone in his left hand ahead of the Dovizioso, who despite his tyre issues, held on for fifth.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow came out on top by just 0.404s in an excellent battle for sixth against his compatriot Bradley Smith on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 to finish as the leading Satellite rider. Crutchlow passed Smith on the last lap to secure sixth, his best result since he also finished sixth at Assen. Smith crossed the line in seventh to make it 21 point scoring finishes in a row, but dropped down to sixth in the standings, 2 points behind Dovizioso.
Wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha Factory Team) rode brilliantly to finish in eighth ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Racing Ducati. Barbera took the Open class win and also recorded his first top ten finish of the season to re-take the lead in the Open standings by two points from Loris Baz (Forward Racing), who was forced to retire from the race.
Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top ten ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in 11th, with the second wildcard Takumi Takahashi (Team HRC with Nissin) 12th.
Nicky Hayden was the leading Open Class Honda in 13th, with his Irish teammate Eugene Laverty crossing the line in 17th.
Jack Miller (LCR Honda) crashed twice during the race, after at one point leading the Open class battle, and was forced to retire. There were also DNF’s for Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team).
Rossi (283pts) now has an 18-point lead over Lorenzo (265pts) with just three races remaining, while Marc Marquez remains in third with 197 points.
Moto2™ champion Zarco takes 7th win of the season
Ajo Motorsport’s Zarco was crowned the Moto2™ champion on Friday after the only man who could stop him lifting the title at Motegi, Tito Rabat, had to withdraw from the Motul Grand Prix of Japan due to injury. The Frenchman responded by riding brilliantly on a wet, but drying track, to take the race win from AGR Team’s Jonas Folger by 4.505s. Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese completed the podium a further 10.928s back, as a number of riders were caught out by front tyres issues in the tricky conditions.
The Moto2™ race was reduced to 15 laps after a two-hour delay to the morning’s Warm Up sessions due to track conditions. Zarco, starting from pole, found himself chasing down Folger in the early stages of the race after the German got the holeshot into turn 1. The newly crowned champion made his move on Folger for the lead on lap 7 and set off into to the distance to take his eighth career GP victory.
Folger finished in a lonely second as he returned to the podium for the first time since his win at the Catalan GP, his third rostrum of the season. Cortese, starting from 9th on the grid bided his time perfectly to move through the field and claim third from Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Azlan Shah by 1.915s. Cortese passed Shah on the penultimate lap to record his first podium of the season and first since Brno in 2014.
Shah crossed the line in fourth to record his career best Moto2™ result and first ever top ten finish. Petronas Raceline Malaysia’s Hafizh Syahrin claimed his best result of the season in fifth ahead of Ricky Cardus on the JP Moto Malaysia Suter in Sixth. It was also Cardus’ career best finish.
Simone Corsi (Forward Racing), Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) and Randy Krummenacher (JIR Racing Team) completed the top ten. Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) had been competing for the podium, but was one of the riders to suffer from excessive front tyre wear as the track dried and had to settle for 11th after running wide a number of times in the latter stages of the race.
There were crashes for Luis Salom, Thitipong Warokorn, Thomas Luthi, Xavier Simeon, Xavi Vierge, Axel Pons and Joshua Hook who was substituting for the injured Dominique Aegerter.
Antonelli puts on a master class in the wet to win
Ongetta-Rivacold’s Antonelli put on a brilliant display of riding in the wet at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan to take just his second career Moto3™ victory by over a second from Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira (+1.053s) with Jorge Navarro (+8.529s) completing the podium on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda.
Championship leader Danny Kent saw his chances of lifting the title at Motegi fade after a bad start, but recovered to finish in sixth ahead of his main title rival Enea Bastianini on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda. This sees the title battle continue to the Australian GP with Kent extending his lead to 56 points over the Italian.
Track conditions in the morning saw Warm Up for all three classes delayed by two hours and therefore the Moto3™ race was reduced to a 13-lap sprint in the wet.
Antonelli shot off at the start and established a 4 second lead at the front of the field, while Kent found himself down in 16th at the end of the first lap, while his main title rival Bastianini was running in sixth.
Kent managed to re-group and after 4 laps started to charge his way through the field and with 3 laps to go, he had made his way up to 7th and was chasing down Bastianini. Oliveira in second was now gradually reducing all the while Antonelli’s gap at the front and with two laps to go the Italian's lead was down to 2.1s.
On the last lap this gap was down to 1 second, and Kent had closed up on Bastianini. The Brit timed it perfectly to take Bastianini at turn 7 and move into sixth at the expense of the 'Beast'.
Antonelli kept his cool to keep Oliveira at bay and take the race win with Oliveira claiming his sixth podium of the season in second. Jorge Navarro made it back-to-back podiums as he crossed the line in third.
RBA Racing’s Isaac Viñales (+11.074s) crashed on the penultimate lap at turn 10 but incredibly remounted to finish in fourth ahead of Drive M7 SIC’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin (+13.043s) who claimed his best result of the season in fifth.
Kent’s (+15.224s) last lap move saw him finish half a second ahead of Bastianini, while Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo), John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing) completed the top ten.
There were crashes in the tricky conditions for Remy Gardner, Livio Loi, Hiroki Ono, Alexis Masbou, Alessandro Tonucci and wildcard Ryo Mizuno.
Dani Pedrosa celebrates as he takes his first victory of the year in Japan