One of the few predictabilities of MotoGP racing is its unpredictability.
After South Africa’s Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) was second in Saturday’s sprint race of the Japanese MotoGP on the Motegi track, Sunday’s main race was looked forward to with great anticipation, especially because he is racing with a bike with a new carbon fiber frame.
But when it started to rain shortly before the start, all plans were ruined.
The riders started with dry weather tyres, but all but Michele Pirro, Fabio Quartararo, Stefan Bradl, Franco Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow pitted after the first round to switch to bikes with wet weather tyres.
Quartararo and Crutchlow also swapped motorcycles in the second round, but Pirro, Bradl and Morbidelli tried to persevere for a few more rounds.
Pirro switched bikes in the fourth lap, but Morbidelli, who was overtaken by 16 riders in the same lap, still tried to hold on.
Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) overtook Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), who was temporarily leading, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo) second and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) third.
Binder fell on the wet track shortly after this and his race was ended.
Conditions deteriorated further and a red flag was waved for the first time in the 13th round.
After there was an interruption of 20 minutes, the MotoGP was to resume, but when it started to rain harder during the warm-up round, a red flag was waved again which meant the end.
Full points were awarded to Martin, with Bagnaia second and Marquez third.
Bagnaia (319 points) is still leading the leaderboard, with Martin (316) neck and neck. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR 46) is third with 265 points, Binder (201) fourth, Espargaro (171 points) fifth and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing, 162 points) sixth.