Japanese GP: the challenge is open, Quartaro chases Ducati – Moto

From the second to the fourth position, the three contenders for the 2022 MotoGP title are all there. In the only free practice session at Motegi in view of the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, the balance of power seems unchanged with a Fabio Quartararo author of a promising third time in the wake of the Ducati, that of Jack Miller with the best time followed by Francesco Bagnaia , the Diablo’s number one rival. The other contender for the World Championship race is also very good, Aleix Espargaro with the fourth time and a great desire to amaze in his role of third wheel with only 17 points away from the world champion and leader of the standings and 7 from ‘Pecco’ of Ducati.

Three riders, three different ambitions and different ways of interpreting the Motegi track where they closed in less than half a tenth and in the wake of the fastest of the day, Miller, who opened the Ducati Team double with a 1: 44.509. Fifth time for Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and sixth for Marc Marquez, with the factory Honda, who on his team’s track is keen to forget his physical troubles. Bad Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing), winner last Sunday at Aragon, who finished behind Alex Rins’ Suzuki with the 14th time without being able to attempt the last assault due to a fall. For the moment, they are both out of Q2.

Among the riders who ended up in the gravel in the final stages also Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), eleventh on the day, and Darryl Binder (WithU Yamaha), 18th. All for a world challenge more open than ever with Quartararo who proved to be fast as always on a Yamaha not quite up to the performance of the Ducati, while Bagnaia struggled to find the pace at the beginning and then free all his horses.

“In reality, we didn’t use all the power – admitted Bagnaia at the end of the only free practice session held today – we focused on fuel consumption which is an important variable on this track. Fearing only one dry session, we preferred bring us forward in view of the race “. ‘Pecco’ actually already knows what was wrong in the first laps (he had an electronics problem): “We haven’t raced on this track since 2019, the braking here is very demanding and you need to find the best balance, due to the load transfers. – explained the Ducati rider – For some races we have struggled more at the beginning of the weekend, but then we always manage to straighten out the situation “. Finally, Bagnaia said he was a bit perplexed about the choice to concentrate the Friday tests in a single hour-long shift. “I miss the reflections that are made with a cold mind between one test and the next. When I get off the bike, I am always agitated”. News linked to a double problem for avoiding what happened in Argentina: the logistical difficulties posed by the single week away from the Aragon GP and the repercussions on aircraft delays due to the war in Ukraine.