After missing the previous weekend’s competitions due to illness, the Spanish driver won the race for the fastest time on Saturday morning’s challenging course.
Marc Marquez is having a strong showing in Japan one week after having a mixed return to Aragon. On Sunday, the six-time MotoGP world champion will begin the race from the pole position. Meanwhile, the current leader of the championship, the French rider Fabio Quartararo, will begin the race in ninth place, three places ahead of his Italian competitor Francesco Bagnaia (12th). The Honda driver, who just returned to competition last weekend after a three-month absence due to an operation on his right arm (the fourth in two years), signs on the wet Motegi circuit his first pole position since 2019, won here even in Japan. This victory comes after the driver returned to competition last weekend after a three-month absence due to the operation.
“Already this morning, while participating in free practice, I felt quite effective in the rain, and I told myself that if it poured again this afternoon, I was going to do anything”
The Spaniard commented on the outcome of qualifying at the end. Marquez is the most successful grid rider at the Motegi circuit in all categories, having won five times overall, including three times in MotoGP. This makes him the most successful rider in the land of the rising sun.
Last winner in Japan
He still holds the record for the most recent victory in Japan, which came in 2019, when he was still the dominant force in the field before his fall in 2020. After that, he had many arm surgeries, which led him to miss several races in the years that followed. The Spaniard will get the pole position for the race and start in the front row, ahead of the other Frenchman on the grid, Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac), and Brad Binder of South Africa (KTM).
In the rear, Quartararo will have a spot in the third row to begin. Even though he is starting from position nine on the grid, Nicois has been able to keep his title rival, Bagnaia, at a distance. Bagnaia is now in position twelve, and damp conditions are not to his liking. Before this race, which is the 16th of the season (out of 20), Quartararo had a ten-point advantage over Bagnaia (Ducati) in the championship standings. However, the two pilots will need to watch out for Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), who is now in third place overall with 17 units behind the Frenchman. The Spaniard will begin the final day of competition in sixth place.