After two days of mixed conditions the Grand Prix of Japan – the first of three rounds of MotoGP in three weeks – took place in a dry and warmer climate at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit; a course distinctive for its hard-braking zones and emphasis on acceleration.

The sixteenth MotoGP sprint of the year took place over twenty-four laps of the facility and Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro was again the brand’s top runner. The Spaniard set-off from 15th position and battled with his brother, Aleix, in the opening phases before establishing himself in the second group where he finished a lonely 11th. Espargaro registered his fourteenth set of world championship points in 2019 and for the second time in a row after recovering from left wrist surgery.

Mika Kallio entered the top fifteen for the first time in just three races and for what was his first competitive outing at Motegi in four years. The Fin pushed his way to a creditable 14th for two satisfying championship points. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira rode brilliantly with his troublesome right shoulder to defeat his rivals around him mid-pack and cross the line in sight of Espargaro’s rear wheel. 12th place was the Portuguese’ best classification in five rounds and since taking 8th position at the Grand Prix of Austria. Teammate Hafizh Syahrin brought his #55 RC16 home in 19th.

Pol Espargaro“Not a great weekend but starting from 15th position and to finish 11th – almost in the top ten and four seconds from Jack [Miller] – is not too bad. We started well but then dropped back and it was hard to keep the pace. Not what we wanted but we’ll look to Phillip Island which is one of my favourite tracks and one of the best in the world. We were in the top ten all weekend there last year so let’s see if we can do the same and enjoy the race because the last few have been tough.”

Miguel Oliveira“A fun race! It was a tough start for me, I couldn’t position myself very well in the first two corners so I lost a lot of time in the first laps. It took me a while to gain my pace but once I got a bit of speed I could manage to do a very good race and finish inside the points, which was again our target. At the end of the race, I felt much better than in Thailand, so physically it’s a good sign. I just hope to keep this good line and continue to work together with the team for the next race in Phillip Island.”

Mika Kallio“If we take the whole weekend into account then I think it finished quite positively today. To fight for points was the minimum target and we managed that. We were not far from Pol and Miguel was part of the group. It was just a bit of a shame I could not find the way to fight against them. Maybe just by riding I can keep improving and step-by-step get closer; it was only my first race this season and I am getting closer to my teammate. Phillip Island will be a completely different track compared to here and hopefully with more grip.”

Hafizh Syahrin“It was a good race from lap one until lap 18 but after that I knew I would struggle to control. I’m really sorry for my team, as I wanted to stay with Nakagami. I passed him and he passed me back, so I believe we could have made a decent race. Overall, it’s not bad, but I’m very sorry for everybody that I didn’t manage to do better.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager“The result of the race is not too bad with three riders in the points but we wanted one in the top ten. However, since the beginning of the weekend it was tricky to get to this stage. FP3 was wet and so was qualification and this did not help us to get set-up for the best performance. We will take the result and the points today. Everybody was pushing hard. Let’s go to Phillip Island and try again.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin rode to his very first podium finish in Moto2. The current Moto3 World Champion and rookie in the intermediate class narrowly defeated Lorenzo Baldassarri for his first piece of silverware. Teammate Brad Binder classified 12th.

The Grand Prix of Japan got underway with the Moto3 race and for the second event in a row Albert Arenas walked the podium. This time the Spaniard finished 2nd behind Lorenzo Dalla Porta with his Gaviota Angel Nieto KTM. Another RC4 made the top three in the hands of SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti; the Italian celebrating his third rostrum of the season. All three riders were split by less than two tenths of a second.

Round seventeen takes place at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia next weekend.

Next race: October 27th, Phillip Island, Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycling Grand Prix

Results Race MotoGP Twin Ring Motegi Circuit 2019

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 42:41.492
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.870
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +1.325
4. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +2.608
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda +9.140
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +25.554
12. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +27.870
14. Mika Kallio (FIN), Red Bull KTM +31.232
19. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +46.206

Results Race Moto2 Twin Ring Motegi 2019

1. Luca Marini (ITA) Kalex 40:57.279
2. Thomas Luthi (SUI), Kalex +0.560
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +3.593
12. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +14.864

Results Race Moto3 Twin Ring Motegi 2019

1. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ESP), Honda 39:34.866
2. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM +0.094
3. Celestino Vietti (ITA), KTM +0.198
18. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +13.940


Source : KTM

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