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In the 2023 MotoGP World Championship, Jorge Martin of Prima Pramac Racing has closed the gap on Pecco Bagnaia of Ducati Lenovo to just three points with six rounds remaining. Martin’s performance at the Japanese Grand Prix was a masterclass, as he secured pole position, won the Sprint race, and claimed his first wet race victory in the feature-length race on Sunday.
The race at Motegi was declared a flag-to-flag event as rain began to fall. The front runners pitted to switch to their wet setup machines as the rain intensified. Martin was the first to exit the pit lane but dropped to ninth on lap three when he ran wide under braking at Turn 11. However, he quickly regained his rhythm and worked his way through the traffic to regain the lead by lap six.
Martin controlled the race at the front, extending his lead to over a second by the halfway point over Bagnaia on the factory Ducati. However, as conditions worsened, red flags were displayed on lap 13, leading to a race restart. Unfortunately, the red flags came out again before the riders could complete a lap, and Martin was declared the winner, with Bagnaia in second and Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda taking third place.
After the race, Martin commented on the challenging conditions: “It was risky on the first lap because we were on slicks and it started to rain quite a lot. At Turn 11, I let Miller and Pecco overtake me, and I was able to see what they were doing. When they stopped, I said, ‘OK, it’s flag to flag, and I change my bike.’ I was the first one of the wet guys, and I almost crashed in corner three, but I was able to recover and make that gap to Pecco. It was not easy, but I was able to secure my first victory in the wet. I’m super happy.”
In the Moto2 world championship, Pedro Acosta of Red Bull KTM Ajo finished third, extending his lead to 50 points. Jake Dixon of GASGAS Aspar was the top British finisher in fourth place.
In Moto3, Jaume Masia now leads the championship after his victory in Japan.