A wet and wild race in Motegi was cut short due to the extreme conditions and fading light, Marc Marquez taking his 140th career podium and returning the Repsol Honda Team to the rostrum. Mir picked up more points in 13th.
Overnight rain saw the MotoGP field discover a damp track for Warm Up as they arrived at Mobility Resort Motegi for race day. As the grid formed up for the 24-lap Japanese Grand Prix, the predicted rain began to fall and the MotoGP field shot forward on tender hooks with everyone starting on slicks. It would not last long as the majority of the field pulled into the pits at the end of the first lap. Marc Marquez showed his undeniable skill in the changing conditions as he immediately put himself into contention with the leading group.
Opting for a cautious approach as the rain began to intensify, Marquez let those ahead judge the conditions as he settled into a comfortable rhythm. With the conditions settled on completely wet, the eight-time World Champion began his attack and quickly made his way into the top five. Passing Bezzecchi on lap 11 to move into third, the #93 kept up an intense pace as he worked to eat into the lead of Bagnaia and Martin.
Conditions would worsen at this point and the red flag was displayed, ending the race. A restart was attempted but the combination of standing water and the waning light meant the result was declared and full points awarded.
Marc Marquez once again climbed onto the podium with third place, his first podium since taking second place at the Australian Grand Prix in 2021. This podium, the 140th of his career and his 101st in the premier class, moves Marc Marquez to fifth overall in terms of podium finishes across all classes. It is the 455th podium for the Repsol Honda Team in the premier class.
Joan Mir was likewise able to show his raw speed in the wet, running nose to tail with his Repsol Honda Team teammate during the middle stages of the eventually truncated race. His progress would be halted as visibility dropped and the #36 lost contact with the leaders. Down in 13th when the red flag came out, Mir was hopeful of a restart in order to recover the ground lost earlier. Although in agreement with the decision to not restart on safety grounds, Mir was left to lament a lost opportunity for another top-ten finish.
After two intense back-to-back races, the Repsol Honda Team will now enjoy a week off before heading to Mandalika for the Indonesian GP.
“It feels great to return to the podium after so long away, and to do it here in Motegi, at Honda’s home, with so many fans and people from Honda here, honestly it is quite romantic. In the race it was all about understanding the wet tyres once we switched over, at the start it was quite dry so it was important to be careful to not destroy the tyre. I stayed calm and when I saw there was more water on track, I began to attack. I was feeling really good with my pace and I think we could have had an interesting end to the race, but ultimately Race Direction did a really good job and they made the right call at the right time. I want to say thank you to them and of course all of the Repsol Honda Team as well, days like today have many factors at play and my team worked really well to handle everything. This podium is what we have been looking for all year and it’s a nice boost for the last push in 2023.”
“I had some visibility problems with my helmet unfortunately, it’s something I have never had in the past and today was the day. It’s a big shame, I couldn’t see so I was missing my reference points on track. When I was fighting with Miller I could see a bit, but then the rain came heavier, and it was enough to stop me. I’m really disappointed because I think we showed that there was some good speed there and we could have done something more. Now we have a week off to train and recover a bit before we go racing again.”
- From Repsol Honda / HRC