Ridefast Moto GP

Moto GP Japan.

motul. motorcycle oil. oil. bikewise.

By The Karr Report

The sun rose on another brilliant Sunday of racing in Japan. Over here, it rose a tiny bit later, but the effect remains.


For quite some laps, it looked more like a Gentleman’s Ride than a Moto3 brawl. We were all getting worried.

Öncü had taken the lead early on, but by Lap Seven Masiá took it from him and tried to do another Buddh-escape act. 

This didn’t quite happen, however.

Masiá, taking the lead had some strange effect on the three riders behind him – a slightly more Moto3-esque brawl commenced, to the delight of fans, and the chagrin of Sasaki, who was getting rather frustrated with Öncü’s terrier-like unwillingness to let him have second.

During Lap Ten, Artigas gave us a splendid spark show; perfectly spaced bursts of sparks emanated from beneath his skidding motorcycle before it smashed the gravel of the first turn.

Artigas didn’t seem impressed with this, kicking the gravel like some people should’ve kicked an oblong ball a few days ago…

Back to the second-third-fourth battle, Öncü’s luck finally ran out between Turns Nine and Ten. One moment he was working on Sasaki’s nerves, the next he was stomping off with a thundercloud hanging low over his helmet.

To be fair to the Turk, it was his first DNF in about two years; even though he often rides like a man bitten by a radioactive Tazmanian Devil.

Somewhere in the background of Öncü’s mishap, Bertelle was also lost.

Suzuki’s home race went even further South than it was when he slipped off at Turn One.

Taking another victory, and along with it the World Championship lead, Masiá was overcome with emotion after passing the chequered flag.


Sasaki and Holgado had a last-lap skirmish, which Sasaki ultimately won on the finish line, after Holgado very nearly went star-hunting through the final turn. That meant Sasaki at least had second in his home race, and Holgado took third.

Concerned that he might not get his Champion crown this year, Holgado donned his bandana, unofficially auditioning for the Karate Kid remake. 

He could pull it off.


Chantra dominated this entire weekend. So, it was no real surprise that, by Lap Four, he was in the lead with a two-second-buffer behind him. He managed to keep that distance for nearly the entire race, only going into cruise mode on the final few laps.

The graveltrack-race got quite a few entrants, the first being Roberts on Lap Seven with a most unusual choice of lines through Turn Ten. A lap later, Aldeguer also tried out the graveltrack-thing at that same corner.

It was a rather busy day for the Moto3 racing gods; Lowes gave them an earful when he crashed out at the fourteenth turn during Lap Seven; then, a lap later, Nozane gave them a silent upward plea after sliding off at the eighth turn.

García shot his gaze upwards while walking away from a Lap Ten, Turn Three slip-and-demolish job. There were bits of bike flying all over the place.

While navigating Motegi for the ninth time, Foggia went for a synchronised gravel-ballet with his bike out of Turn Nine. Sync was perfect, ten out of ten.

A jubilant – like he ever isn’t – Chantra came over the line in a near-vertical wheelie, which we shall hand him the Wheelie Award for the weekend for, just to add to his Motegi collection. Eleven out of ten for those dance moves straight out of the wheelie, too.

His teammate took second, making it a home-race one-two for their team. Considering that Ogura hadn’t been feeling all that fresh this weekend, that was a brilliant performance. I dare you to go out and do what he’d done while you’re hosting a stomach-bug rave in your intestines.

Acosta ended up being the final guy on the podium; he didn’t even open his Prosecco. Pffft.

Having ridden yet another solid, smart race, Darryn took tenth. Whatever they did to him while he was out with his back injury, they should do more of it.

Post-race, Ai made Big Cloud for his home-race fans, much to their delight.

And I am pretty sure I’ve said this before: Somkiat Chantra needs to win (or, at least, finish in the top three) more often; we demand more of his likeable, smiling self in Parc Fermé!


Who did an overzealous rain dance prior to the MotoGP race? C’mon, fess up!

Cal nicked my joke. But in all fairness, he managed to sing ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ a lot better than I would’ve. 

Marc found it hilarious.

The race started on slicks, with tiny little drops of rain showing up on visors and lenses all across the circuit.

Right into the first turn, Viñales got to know how a slice of cheese felt within a sandwich. Also much like a slice of cheese, he toppled over as soon as the two sides of the sandwich opened up again.

He managed to remount, while Zarco – the unfortunate Outer Slice – went graveltracking around him. The Inner Slice, and ultimately the instigator of this entire, cheesy simile, was Bezzecchi, who lost his footing while going on the inside of Viñales, leaving the latter with no choice but to be swept into Zarco.

Everyone, bar five riders, peeled into the pits after the first lap in order to hop over onto more rain-friendly machines.

Marques. On the podium.

By the end of the second lap there were three brave souls still on slicks. But, one by one, they too admitted defeat and popped into the pits for the swap. Except for Morbidelli; he remained adamant in his belief that it wasn’t going to get THAT wet, and only came for his rain bike on the seventh lap.

On Lap Six, Brad decided to shoulder-tackle the tarmac at Turn Three, which unfortunately ended in the tarmac’s favour.

The trio of Crutchlow, Viñales, and Fernández (er, Raúl, that is) all got called out for mucking up their bike changes, and received a Long Lap Penalty each for this.

Oliveira slipped into the pits on the twelfth lap due to having some gremlins hitch a ride on his Aprilia.

On the same lap Zarco threw his Ducati into the mincer, mere moments before the Red Flag was raised – along with a few very experienced hands – signaling that the wetness had become a tad too much even for the likes of Bagnaia and Márquez Sr.

Everyone slowly made their way back to Pit Lane, where the reactions were mixed. 

Most were quietly grateful for the stoppage; Martín indicated to his team that he was essentially a sailless catamaran going down the straight, aquaplaning enough to cause him to pucker up just a tad.

Mir appeared peeved as hell for some reason, and Quartararo took the opportunity to strip down to his waist. 

Young ladies watching the screens experienced a sudden heatwave, worldwide.

After manhandling a pair of wheels and an engine that vaguely resembled a Ducati back to his garage, Zarco was informed that he’d entered Pit Lane via the wrong entrance, and thus wasn’t allowed to continue. Seems kind of petty, but rules are rules.

Viñales and Oliveira were allowed to join in on the restart, as long as they started in Pit Lane.

Shortly after, the Quick Restart was announced and Pit Lane opened. The sighting lap went fine, and everyone lined up for a Warm-Up. Did they even manage to complete that Warm-Up 2.0 before the Red Flags got resurrected?

As it turned out the weather was playing Sucker with us all, sneaking back from the far side of the track in order to leave the Start-Finish straight shower for when the podium was due to take place.

Results were called, the race was ended at half-distance.

Martín got his victory. Bagnaia got second, and Márquez Senior scored his first podium in a year. Everyone received full points.

So, instead of one Sprint and one full-length race, fans got two helpings of Sprint in Japan.

Now for a well-positioned off weekend before Indonesia ~ Karr

(My Patreon link. Just, you know, in case one might want to show some appreciation for the hours of toiling over a grubby keyboard): https://www.patreon.com/KarrbonCopy

Ridefast Moto GP Japan

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