Japanese MotoGP Race Results | Miller dominant, title rivals wilt, Bagnaia falls

Jack Miller returns to top of the podium with a crushing Japanese MotoGP win at Motegi as title fighting quartet struggle, with Bagnaia crashing on last lap 

Jack Miller - Ducati Corse

  • Jack Miller clinches fourth career victory as he demolishes competition in Japanese MotoGP
  • Brad Binder passes Jorge Martin late for second, Marquez gives Honda first top five since Jerez
  • Fabio Quartararo ups lead after last lap Pecco Bagnaia crash, Aleix Espargaro 16th

Jack Miller has waltzed to victory in the Japanese MotoGP with spectacularly dominant performance at Motegi, while Fabio Quartararo has extended his championship lead despite a distant eighth place finish after Pecco Bagnaia tumbled out on the final lap.

On a day when the four leading riders in the overall standings - Quartararo, Baganaia, Aleix Espargaro and Enea Bastianini - endured arduous afternoons on MotoGP’s return to Japan, Miller was cut above the competition.

Taking the lead on lap three after an aggressive passage to the front from seventh on the grid, Miller was in a class of his own thereafter to take victory by 3.4secs over Brad Binder, with Jorge Martin completing the podium.

If things looked easy up front for Miller, in the context of the 2022 MotoGP title fight, however, it was a different story as Quartararo, Bagnaia and Bastianini appeared to suffer for their lack of experience around a Motegi circuit making its first appearance on the schedule since 2019. 

It meant Bagnaia and Quartararo could count just one start each on a MotoGP bike in Japan, while Bastianini was making his big bike Motegi debut this weekend.

As such, the smart money appeared to be on Aleix Espargaro to make gains, particularly after qualifying sixth in the wet to Quartararo’s ninth, Bagnaia’s 12th and Bastianini 15th.

However, the Aprilia rider’s day was ruined before the race had even gotten underway as his RS-GP bogged down on the warm-up lap with electrical problems. Touring round before pitting, Espargaro made a swift - if clumsy - change of bike ensued but the race was already well underway by the time the Spaniard made it out of the pits. Rejoining 20secs behind the pack, Espargaro gamely battled back but could only get as far as 16th at the flag.

Even so, the damage to his title hopes was limited by a modest afternoon for his main rivals, with Quartararo, Bagnaia and Bastianini spending the race fighting just inside or outside the top ten throughout.

In the end Quartararo was the ‘big winner’ as he held on for eighth place, the Frenchman’s hopes helped further on the very final lap when Bagnaia - having clawed his way up to the tail of the Yamaha - fell after getting crossed up avoiding the back of the M1 as he bungled an overtaking attempt at Turn 3.

It means Quartararo swells his advantage up top from 11 points to 18 points, while Espargaro is now 25 points adrift. Outside contender Bastianini, who collected ninth, is 49 points down.

It's "Miller One More Time" for Ducati

After two grands prix decided by two of the closest finishes in MotoGP history, it was quite the opposite story in Japan as Miller shrugged off a middling qualifying performance in wet conditions to revert to the pace that had him fastest of all in Friday practice.

Picking his way up to third place by the end of the opening lap, Miller promptly relieved front row starter Binder of his second place on lap two before needing just a lap more to slither up the inside of early leader Martin for first.

Though Martin tried to go with his Ducati stablemate initially, it was to no avail with Miller getting the hammer down mid-way through the race to put almost six seconds between them at one stage before easing off in sight of the flag.

Coming in one of his final appearances with Ducati before he switches to KTM in 2023, the result marks only Miller’s fourth career victory in MotoGP and his first since the 2021 French MotoGP. It also maintains Ducati’s stellar run of form this year having now won 11 of the season’s 16 races.

Behind him, Martin circulated in a lonely second for the majority of the race only to come under pressure from Binder in the final stages.

Despite slipping as low as fourth at one stage, Binder once more tapped into his signature late race form to break down a 1.8secs gap to catch and pass Martin on the penultimate lap. Coming after just missing out on the rostrum last time out at Aragon, it marks Binder’s second podium of the year and KTM’s third.

Martin held on for his third podium of the year, a result that should boost his confidence having seen his form wander in the wake of being overlooked in favour of Bastianini for the factory Ducati ride next year.

Marquez, Honda return to MotoGP top five

After taking a surprise pole position in the wet, Marc Marquez’s insistence he would struggle for fitness in the race came proved unfounded as he put in a mighty effort to secure fourth for Honda’s best result since Jerez.

In fact, far from wilting as the race wore on, Marquez - who was bundled down to fifth early on after getting caught out through the opening turns - was actually the quickest rider on track in the closing stages, even recovering fourth from Miguel Oliveira late on.

Oliveira had run as high as third ahead of KTM team-mate Binder after a strong start from eighth but faded during the second-half to be overtaken by both Marquez and Luca Marini, though he’d fight back against the latter to clinch fifth at the flag.

Despite missing out on fifth, in-form Marini was the only rider to make significant headway in terms of overtakes from tenth on the grid as another impressive hard charging performance was rewarded with a sixth top six results in nine races.

Many people’s prediction for victory pre-race, Maverick Vinales endured a fairly anonymous afternoon en route to seventh, finishing well up on Quartararo, who secured what could be the most important eighth place of his career.

Behind ninth place Bastianini, Marco Bezzecchi benefited from Bagnaia’s late exit to squeeze into the top ten, while Johann Zarco - who started second - had a bad start and then two errors on the same lap six to blame for his lowly 11th place finish.

Honda duo Pol Espargaro and Alex Marquez notched up single digit points for Honda on home soil in 12th and 13th, while Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow squeezed into the points in 14th and 15th, six seconds clear of the hapless Espargaro.

In its final home Japanese MotoGP before it exits the series, Suzuki’s hopeless run of form continued as Alex Rins retired with technical problems, while local wild card-turned-Joan Mir substitute Takuya Tsuda retired in a blaze of flames after an engine blow.

Darryn Binder and Honda wild-card Tetsuta Nagashima crashed out mid-race.

2022 Japanese MotoGP | Motegi | Race Results

2022 Japanese MotoGP | Motegi | Race Results | Round 16 / 21
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP2225 Laps
2Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC16+3.409
3Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP22+4.136
4Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+7.784
5Luca MariniPORRed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC16+8.185
6Luca MariniITAVR46 DucatiDucati GP21+8.348
7Maverick VinalesESPAprilia Racing Aprilia RS-GP+9.879
8Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1+10.193
9Enea BastianiniITAGresini RacingDucati GP21+10.318
10Marco BezzecchiITAVR46 RacingDucati GP21+16.419
11Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP22+16.586
12Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+17.456
13Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda Honda RC213V+18.219
14Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1+19.012
15Cal CrutchlowGBRWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M1+19.201
16Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Aprilia RS-GP+25.473
17Fabio di GiannantonioITAGresini RacingDucati GP21+27.006
18Raul FernandezESPTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC16+29.374
19Remy GardnerAUSTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC16+29.469
20Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda Honda RC213V+43.294
DNFFrancesco Bagnaia ITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP22 
DNFAlex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR 
DNFDarryn BinderRSAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M1 
DNFTakuya TsudaESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR 
DNFTetsuta NagashimaJPNHRC HondaHonda RC213V