Quartararo Extends Series Lead with Eighth in Motegi
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo extended his advantage at the top of the MotoGP World Championship this weekend, racing to an important eighth place at the Mobility Resort Motegi circuit.
MotoGP World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo fought valiantly throughout the 24-lap Japanese Grand Prix, crossing the finish line in eighth place to extend his lead in the MotoGP championship standings to 18 points.
After a washout Saturday, skies cleared for round 16 of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship as the series made its long-awaited return to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Having splashed his way to ninth on the grid, Quartararo hoped for the best after limited dry track time and held position in the opening stages before briefly passing Luca Marini for eighth. Slipping back behind the Ducati, the Frenchman was promoted back up into eighth by the mid-way stage before he launched his attack on Maverick Viñales ahead.
Unable to get within striking distance of the Aprilia, Quartararo continued to brave the challenges from the chasing pack, which featured two of his championship challengers. On the back of Viñales, but unable to make the pass for seventh, the rider from Nice’s last lap of the Motegi venue was made fractionally easier when Francesco Bagnaia crashed out, leaving the Yamaha rider to cross the line in eighth and extend his advantage at the top to 18 points.
Cal Crutchlow’s return to the Japanese venue rewarded him with a World Championship point. The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP rider has plenty of data from the 2.98-mile venue thanks to his role as Yamaha test rider and was out to prove a point in Japan. After a tricky start from 23rd on the grid, the British rider fought through the field and eventually found himself chasing down Franco Morbidelli in 15th. Matching the race leader’s pace, the 36-year-old couldn’t find a way past Morbidelli in the closing stages but was promoted one position after the last lap crash for Bagnaia, crossing the line in 15th.
A strong starting Franco Morbidelli had an uphill battle on Sunday following a tricky qualifying in Saturday’s sodden conditions. Starting from 14th, the Italian crossed the line to end the opening lap in 16th. Picking off Johann Zarco, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider completed a mostly uneventful race in 15th eventually crossing the line to claim two points in 14th place.
WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP’s Darryn Binder had a tricky Japanese Grand Prix as he fell victim to a turn nine crash on lap 14. Uninjured, the South African remounted but later retired from the Grand Prix.
Picking up eight championship points, Quartararo extends his series lead over Francesco Bagnaia to 18 points while Franco Morbidelli remains in 19th. Darryn Binder lies in 22nd, five points behind the now retired Andrea Dovizioso with his replacement Crutchlow in 25th with three points.
The MotoGP paddock continues their Asian leg of the 2022 calendar this weekend as the series heads straight to Buriram, Thailand for the Thai Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit from the 30 Sep – 02 Oct.
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 8th
“With all these circumstances, and after all that happened, I would say it’s definitely better to gain eight points than to lose them. It’s good in one way but frustrating in another because I feel like our potential was to fight more towards the front. But I couldn’t get in an overtake on Maverick. We ride in such a different way compared to the others. I gain so much time in Sector 2 and 3, but I lose it in Sector 4 and 1. I don’t think we made the correct tyre choice, but we managed the tyre pressure really well this race. I didn’t see Pecco, but I did hear him crash, so I think he didn’t crash that far from me. I knew he was coming. Maverick had a good pace, but I was stuck behind him, that was the difficult part.”
Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, 14th
“Honestly, the mistake made is I forgot to press the launch control devices so I started really badly. As you know with the Yamaha, the straight line speed is not amazing with the acceleration, so I was just being patient with the whole race. I came from a long way back to the position that I am in. I’m happy with the race that I did, I couldn’t have done anymore. My pace in the middle of the race was really good and I’m pleased with that. I think I would have been in the top 10 today easily with the pace that I had if I started in a good way and also if I qualified in a good way. So, I’m disappointed with that, but I can be proud with the way I rode today.”
Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 15th
“It was a particular race. I lost a lot of time in the beginning because I got tangled up with Alex Rins. He had a problem with his bike but kept overtaking me and then going wide, overtake me and going wide again. I spent the remainder of the race trying to catch up with the group that was in tenth to fifteenth, which was me at the time. I caught up in the end, but I couldn’t do anything.”
Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, DNF
“Today was a disappointing end to the race, crashing out in lap 14. I had a good start and had quite a good rhythm during the race. Cal had just got past me and he had a good pace and I was trying to follow him. But unfortunately, at lap 14 I had a small crash and a disappointing end to the race. Anyway, we take the positives, we had such a short track time this weekend especially during the practise with just one session, I felt I could do quite a ride in the race until I went down. But we’ll try again in Buriram.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“It‘s been two eventful races. The tables seem to have turned in terms of fortune today, and we won some points back after losing a big chunk in Aragon. Coming here, we initially hoped for a higher finish, especially considering our race pace potential, but starting from the busy mid pack, we knew we had to temper our expectations a bit. Fabio had to work hard for eighth place. He did a great job to withstand the pressure from Bagnaia in the final laps. Fabio‘s ability to deal with these kind of situations shows what a mature rider he is, and these eight points are important for the championship. Franky was in a similar situation as Fabio. His grid position compromised his race result, because finding a way through in the busy mid pack was not easy for us. We can’t be satisfied in terms of our positions after the race, but in the end we still increased our championship lead. We are now going to Thailand for the last race of this triple-header with the aim to do better.”
Razlan Razali – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, Founder & Team Principal
“It was a solid effort by Cal Crutchlow to get one point in the first Asian round in Japan. He had a strong pace, unfortunately due to the difficult qualifying yesterday because of the yellow flags, if only he started in front he could be amongst the top 10 because his pace was very strong, he felt good and we can be happy with that one point.”
“With Darryn, he made a tremendous great start, gained seven positions in the first lap, unfortunately his pace dropped a bit but he was maintaining behind Cal, but a little mistake caused him to fall in lap 14. Next race will be in Buriram, Thailand, we have a couple of days to rest and then we start again.”
Grand Prix of Japan Results:
1. Jack Miller – Lenovo Ducati Team
2. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +3.409
3. Jorge Martin – Prima Pramac Racing +4.136
4. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team +7.784
5. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.185
6. Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +8.348
7. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing +9.879
8. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +10.193
9. Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP +10.318
10. Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +16.419
11. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing +16.586
12. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team +17.456
13. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL +18.219
14. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +19.012
15. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +19.201
16. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing +25.473
17. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP +27.006
18. Raul Fernandez – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +29.374
19. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +29.469
20. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +43.294
NC. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team + 1 lap
NC. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +10 laps
NC. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +10 laps
NC. Takuya Tsuda – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +13 laps
NC. Tetsuta Nagashima – Honda HRC +15 laps
2022 MotoGP World Championship Standings:
1. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 219 points
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 201 points
3. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing 194 points
4. Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP 170 points
5. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 159 points
6. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 148 points
7. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing 138 points
8. Jorge Martin – Prima Pramac Racing 120 points
9. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing 113 points
10. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 108 points
11. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 106 points
12. Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 101 points
13. Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 80 points
14. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 77 points
15. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 73 points
16. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 47 points
17. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 46 points
18. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL 42 points
19. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 28 points
20. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP 23 points
21. Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 15 points
22. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 10 points
23. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 9 points
24. Raul Fernandez – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 8 points
25. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 3 points
26. Stefan Bradl – Repsol Honda Team 2 points
27. Michele Pirro – Aruba.it Racing 0 points
28. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing 0 points
29. Kazuki Watanabe – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
30. Takuya Tsuda – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
31. Tetsuta Nagashima – Honda HRC 0 points