Moto2: Chantra Takes First Win of Season

Somkiat Chantra won the Japanese Grand Prix from local rider and teammate Ai Ogura. Pedro Acosta extended his championship lead by finishing in third place. His closest championship rival, Tony Arbolino, finished down the order in eleventh place.

Alonso Lopez had a double long lap penalty to serve during the race due to irresponsible riding in the Indian GP.

Chantra had a good start from pole position as did Jake Dixon, but it was the Thai rider who was leading into the first corner. Aron Canet sent Acosta out wide through turn one and further down the field Fermin Aldeguer ran wide. The Beta Tools SpeedUp rider had to sit up and went through part of the long lap loop.

Even with the knowledge of the long lap penalties, Lopez improved from sixth place to the final step of the podium through the first set of corners. Sam Lowes also had a successful first lap improving to fifth.

Lopez and Ogura got past Dixon and continued to catch up to Chantra who started to break away from the rest of the field. Acosta also started to make placed up following his poor start.

On lap three, Ogura passed Lopez for second place, but the Spanish rider still had both of his long lap penalties to take so would not be staying in the top three for much longer. Chantra continued to extend his lead out at the front to 1.6s.

Acosta got past Dixon on the following lap at turn two after looking for a way past the Brit for over half a lap.

Lopez took his long lap loops on laps five and six and those dropped him down the order and he would need to make multiple moves to finish the race on the podium.

Filip Salac ran wide on the seventh lap, and this allowed Lowes to get past him, but the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team crashed at turn 14 on the same lap. Joe Roberts also went wide on lap seven but kept himself on the bike.

Aldeguer ran wide on lap nine and one of the local riders, Kohta Nozane, crashed on the same lap at turn ten. On the following lap, Sergio Garcia crashed at turn three.

Ogura slowly started cutting into the lead that his teammate had made in the first laps but was unable to catch up to the Thai rider who crossed the line to take his first win of the season. Acosta rounded out the podium and extended his championship lead to 50 points with six rounds to go.

Dixon finished in fourth place ahead of Salac and Manuel Gonzalez. Marcos Ramirez crossed the line in seventh place, followed by Canet and Zonta van der Goorbergh. Darryn Binder rounded out the top ten.

Acosta’s closest championship rival Arbolino began dropping down the order towards the end of the race due to losing grip in his front tyre meaning he could only cross the line in eleventh place.

Feature Image Credit: Autosport

1 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 35m 19.273s
2 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 35m 20.626s
3 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 22.353s
4 Jake Dixon GBR Inde GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 35m 24.338s
5 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 29.765s
6 Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) 35m 32.234s
7 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 35m 33.625s
8 Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 35m 35.633s
9 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 36.965s
10 Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 35m 38.678s
11 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 39.934s
12 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 40.082s
13 Alonso Lopez SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 40.576s
14 Izan Guevara SPA Inde GASGAS Aspar Team (Kalex) 35m 40.750s
15 Barry Baltus BEL Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 43.305s
16 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 44.896s
17 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 35m 46.076s
18 Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 46.644s
19 Taiga Hada JPN Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 35m 48.685s
20 Alberto Surra ITA Forward Team (Forward) 35m 53.098s
21 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 35m 53.376s
22 Fermín Aldeguer SPA Beta Tools SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 53.564s
23 Sean Dylan Kelly USA Forward Team (Forward) 35m 55.746s
24 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 35m 58.908s
25 Rory Skinner GBR OnlyFans American Racing (Kalex) 36m 2.342s
26 Mattia Casadei ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 36m 4.781s
  Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) DNF
  Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) DNF
  Kohta Nozane JPN Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) DNF
  Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) DNF


Moto3: Merciless Masia in Motegi

Image Credit: MotoGP

Leopard Racing’s Jaume Masia conquered Motegi today in Japan. Masia in full command at the front, as his title rivals all squabbled behind gifting Masia the win.

All change in the Moto3 championship as Masia now sits at the top. Championship rival’s Ayumu Sasaki finished 2nd after snatching it on the line from Daniel Holgado finishing in 3rd. Deniz Öncü pushed it too far and into the gravel after battling at the front for so long. 

Image Credit: Leopard Racing


Stefano Nepa and Öncü had a great start off the line, Nepa from row 2 and up to 3rd after turn 1. Holgado up to 2nd with Öncü leading the way at the front of the race. Öncü was keen to pull away at the front and into turn 5 was followed by Holgado and Nepa with a slight gap to the rest of the pack lead by Masia.

Alonso pushed Ortola but unable to get by as they come down the hill into sector 4 to complete the first lap. Diogo Moreira was up 5 places at the end of lap 1 but front row starter Matteo Bertelle was down 7 places. Bertelle later retiring out of the race after 7 laps. Not the race the Rivacold Snipers Team rider would of dreamt of last night.

Onto lap 2 and Masia quickly caught and went by Nepa. Home favourite Sasaki followed Masia going by Nepa into turn 7. Öncü and Holgado lead at the front with a 0.374 gap to Masia in 3rd. Masia swapped fastest lap times with Öncü, as Masia was keen to catch the leaders with Sasaki for company.

In the early stages of the race a lead group quartet developed. Masia and Sasaki caught up to Holgado and race leader Öncü. Into the 90 degree corner Sasaki missed a half hearted attempt to get by Holgado as they completed the first third of the race.

The lead group of 4 pulled away from the rest with a gap of 1.046 seconds to Nepa leading the rest of the field in 5th. Sasaki into sector 3 got by Holgado as they went through the tunnel and onto the last two corners to complete the lap. Öncü lead the group of 4 with Sasaki 2nd, Holgado 3rd and Masia in 4th.

Lap 6 and Masia went by Holgado and Sasaki midway through the lap. Out of turn 10 and onto the straight, Masia broke as late as he could to keep 2nd and hunt down Öncü to start lap 7.

Masia into turn 1 took the lead of the race for the first time. Sasaki into turn 3 went up the inside of Öncü. Öncü went backwards as Masia looked to escape at the front. Holgado almost come together with Öncü at turn 7. Into turn 11 and with the slipstream Sasaki was unable to get by Masia through turns 11, 12 and 13.

10 laps to go and the lead quarter lead by Masia are still over 1 second ahead of the group behind lead by Nepa. Holgado swarmed all over the back of Öncü but was unable to get by. Sasaki sat on the back wheel of Masia as they crossed the line as we approached the second half of the race.

Nepa and Ortola closed the gap slightly to the lead group at the front, as Masia seemed to be managing the pace. Öncü into turn 7 on the fastest place on the track blasted by Sasaki. Sasaki and Öncü swapped places as Sasaki went by Öncü only a few corners later. A fantastic battle for the win with the front 4 riders forever dicing for the lead.


8 laps to go and Masia lead with Sasaki 2nd, Öncü 3rd and Holgado 4th. A gap of 1.129 seconds to teammates Nepa and Ortola behind. Sector 1 lit up with yellow flags as the first retirement of the race Xavi Artigas went down at turn 1.

Sasaki, Öncü and Holgado diced and swapped places. Öncü down and out of the race into turn 10. Öncü pushed too hard and out in sector 3. Disaster for any championship hopes for Öncü and looked to of handed Masia a lead and win of this race with all of the fighting on lap 11.

Masia pulled a 1.117seconds gap to the fighting Holgado and Sasaki behind and now in full control of the race at this point.

Holgado and Sasaki almost come together in turn 1 with 6 laps to go. As the battle for 6th continued lead by Moreira, Masia was 1.209 seconds clear at the front of Sasaki 2nd and Holgado 3rd.

Tatsuki Suzuki down at turn 1 with 4 laps to go. Sasaki tried to catch Masia and pulled back over 3 tenths of a second to the leader up ahead. Sasaki and Holgado squashed any fighting now and both gunning to catch Masia at the front.

Masia lead with 3 laps to go. Sasaki and Holgado still 0.875 seconds behind. Still the ever changing places of 4th and 5th between teammates Ortola 4th Nepa 5th. The Angellus MTA  teammates although on their own for the race, have had a great battle with each other in Motegi.

2 laps to go and Masia responds to the charge from Sasaki and Holgado behind. Masia in full command here and headed to the top of the world championship standings. Nepa now lead Ortola as the two Angellus MTA teammates have over 3 seconds gap to the rest of the field, lead by Moreira down in 6th.


Alonso barged his way by Toba into 8th. Moreira still lead the group with Munoz all over the back of him at the start of the last lap.

In an attempt to salvage as many points as possible, Holgado went up the inside of Sasaki into sector 3 at turn 11.

Masia crossed the line to take a back-to-back victory. As Masia won the drama wasn’t finished there as Sasaki snatched 2nd from Holgado on the finish line. A mistake from victory corner from Holgado allowed Sasaki to take 2nd on the line away from Holgado. Through the final corner Holgado nearly lost it and Sasaki pounced to take 2nd place.

The 9th career win for Leopard Racing’s Masia and arguably his most important. Masia now leading the championship in Moto3 and heads to Mandalika in a couple of weeks time the main man to beat. What a win for Masia!

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Championship Standings

Image Credit: MotoGP


Moto2: Chantra Storms to Pole in Japan!

Image Credit: MotoGP

Delight for IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia with a stunning 1-2 here at their home Grand Prix in Japan. Somkiat Chantra was on fire today in Motegi and so far this weekend has been fastest in every session in Moto2. Chantra took pole with teammate Ai Ogura 2nd, and Jake Dixon rounding off the front row in 3rd.

Disaster for Tony Arbolino today qualifying in 13th place. With championship rival Pedro Acosta heading up the second row tomorrow in 4th. Arbolino has it all to do in tomorrow’s race, to try and stop Acosta running away with the championship this year. 

Image Credit: MotoGP


Qualifying 1

Jake Dixon lead the pack out of the pits onto the track for the Q1 session. Dixon a shock name in the session and had never failed so far this season to get into Q2.

As Dixon approached the end of his out lap, several riders were queuing ready to follow Dixon round the track. Dixon stating before the weekend that Motegi was one of his favourite tracks.

As the first bunch of riders posted their first flying lap times, Alonso Lopez set the benchmark for the rest of the field. Lopez having to serve a double long lap penalty this weekend after the carnage last weekend in India.

With 10mins left of the session, the top 4 currently heading into Q2 were Lopez, Bo Bensneyder, Zonta Van De Goorbergh and reigning Moto3 champion Izan Guevara.

Mattia Casadei lit up the yellow flags in sector 2, going down at turn 6. Casadei with his 3rd crash of the weekend. A tough weekend so far for the Kalex rider.

7mins of the session remained. Dixon and Binder lit up the sectors red and as they all crossed the line, Binder went quickest with a time of 1:50.294. Van De Goorbergh just +0.060 back to Binder and Dixon moved up into the top 4 in 3rd.

The riders back on the track now after a brief stop in the pits.  Lopez set a blistering lap time of 1:50.089 and moved to the top of the standings pushing Dixon down to 4th. Had Lopez set that time this morning, he’d of been 2nd quickest overall from the practice sessions.

Chequered flag out and the riders on current flying laps weren’t able to break into the top 4. The top 4 heading through to the Q2 session were Alonso, Binder, Van De Goorbergh and Dixon.

Qualifying 2

Both Beta Tools SpeedUp teammates Lopez and Fermin Aldeguer were the first to post times in the session, only to be blitzed moments later by Chantra posting a time just shy of the lap record of 1:49.977 seconds.

VD Goorbergh lit up the yellow flags in sector 1 just as Chantra broke the lap record with a time of 1:49.898. For 7 years Johann Zarco held the record, but finally broken today by Chantra and the provisional pole lap so far sat with the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider.

Championship leader Pedro Acosta moved up into the 3rd after his first run, but only briefly as Dixon moved up to 2nd and Aron Canet into 4th. The front row with 6mins left in the session was Chantra, Dixon and Ogura.

Acosta and Dixon not giving up on pole went quicker with Dixon just +0.214seconds shy of Chantra’s provisional pole lap in 2nd, and Acosta in 3rd.

Tony Arbolino had a nightmare start to the session and with only a few minutes remaining was in 14th place. Arbolino’s teammate Sam Lowes was going better and up to 7th with a couple of minutes left in the session. Arbolino managed to finish 13th in the qualifying session. A disaster for Arbolino and will be looking to do all he can in the race tomorrow, to keep any championship hopes alive.

As the chequered flags waved, Ogura split Chantra and Dixon moving up to 2nd place to the delight of the team in the garage. A dream qualifying session for the IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia at their home race in Japan. Chantra quickest in every session so far this weekend! It will take a mighty effort from anyone to stop Chantra from taking the win tomorrow.

Qualifying Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP





Moto3: Motegi Pole for Masia

Image Credit: MotoGP

Jaume Masia continued his blistering form and took his 3rd pole position in a row here today in Motegi, Japan. Masia made it look easy, with championship rival Deniz Öncü qualifying in 2nd and a back-to-back front row start for Matteo Bertelle completing the front row in 3rd.

A 5th pole position of the season for Leopard Racing team’s Masia and it’s hard to imagine anyone in Moto3 being able to stop Masia charging to championship glory. Championship rival’s Daniel Holgado starts the race on row 2 from 6th position and Ayumu Sasaki starts 7th on row 3 tomorrow.

Image Credit: Leopard Racing 


Qualifying 1

Jose Antonio Rueda had a rare appearance in Q1. Taiyo Furusato and Riccardo Rossi also unlikely names in Q1 ready to battle it out for a spot in Q2.

Furusato was the first of the riders to come through and set a time, quickly followed by a group of 5 unable to go faster, with 10mins left of the session. Furusato was quicker through the first 2 sectors on the next run, only for the lap to be cancelled after running wide in sector 3.

Red Bull KTMs Filippo Farioli come through and up to 2nd in the standings. Still +0.633 seconds behind the quickest time set so far in the session. A 1:57.564 from Furusato. Farioli come off at the end of turn 2, but quickly back up and thankfully Farioli ok to continue.

5mins left in the session and CFMOTO teammates Joel Kelso and Xavi Artigas come through with Kelso setting the quickest time and Artigas up into 3rd. The top 4 currently heading through to Q2 at this point was Kelso, Furusato, Artigas and Farioli.

3mins remained in the session and Rossi was red through sectors 1 and 2 on his first flying lap in the session. Rossi topped the standings with a 1:57.161 a time +0.261seconds clear of Kelso in 2nd.

The riders had very little time to get through to Q2, only one more shot at getting through to Q2. Kelso, Artigas, Rueda and Rossi all on flying laps as the chequered flag came down on the session. The top 4 heading through to Q2 were Rossi, Kelso, Furusato and Rueda.

Qualifying 2

Some breaking news at the start of the Q2 session, with 3 place grid penalties handed out to Diogo Moreira and Collin Veijer. Both for moving their hands off the grips on the straights. No rain and a dry session in a really important qualifying in Moto3. Just 1 point separating the top 3 in the championship.

As the battle for pole position started it was bike #6 Ryusei Yamanaka coming through to set the first time of the session. GASGAS Aspar Team rider Yamanaka keen to impress this weekend and still needed a ride for next season. Bertelle quickly followed over the line and up to the top of the timings, with Ortola 2nd and Rueda currently in 3rd.

Less than 10mins of the session remained and the first group of riders were all setting flying laps. David Munoz setting a benchmark time now of 1:56.892, the first to get into the 1min56’s. Munoz tucking in behind the Husqvarna teammates Veijer and Sasaki picking up some slipstream along the finish straight.

Masia now seen coming out of the pits with Deniz Öncü, Kaito Toba, Rossi and Kelso all yet to set a time in the session.

With 5mins left of the session both Masia and Öncü were lighting up the sectors red just as Rossi had a big crash into turn 9. Yellow flags in sector 3, but both Masia and Öncü clear of the incident at the time and their laps stood. Masia up to the top with a 1:56.744 and Öncü 2nd with a gap of just +0.120seconds to Masia on provisional pole.

Masia and Öncü marched on with Öncü behind Masia on track, both continued to set the sectors red on their second runs. Both Masia and Öncü improved with Masia up to a 1:56.331 with a gap of +0.208 to Öncü in 2nd. Only Öncü able to be within a half a second to Masia at the top.

Sasaki with only a minute left in the session got a slipstream from teammate Veijer. Sasaki through the victory corner turn 14 onto the straight only to go 5th. Sasaki was up in the first two sectors on Masia on that lap, but unable to piece it all together for pole position.

With the chequered flag waving the riders all completed the session, none of the riders able to knock Masia off the top. A third pole position in a row for Masia. The Leopard Racing team rider sent a clear message to his championship rivals today in Motegi. A 5th pole position of the season for Masia and seemingly unstoppable at the moment in Moto3.

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP


Both heartbreak and elation at Motegi.


Heavy rain poured down in Japan for the start of the qualifying but by Q2 it had stopped, the track however was still drenched. The riders went out cautiously.

A surprise, but not a complete surprise, came from one rider – Marc Marquez. He showed he was still very much a champion and put his Honda back on pole position (his first pole since Motegi in 2019). Behind him Johann Zarco (Ducati) took second place and Brad Binder (KTM) took the last slot on front row.

Rainy conditions wouldn’t stop Marc Marquez. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) qualified 9th. 12th was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) and in 6th was Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) – the top championship contenders.


Clear skies graced the track on Sunday but that didn’t mean drama wasn’t just round the corner.

Aleix Espargaro had issues with his Aprilia from the start of the sighting lap, before the race had even begun, forcing him to return to pit lane, where he then literally dropped his bike to take his number 2 bike out. He managed to get out of the pit lane in time to join onto the back of the race.

Back on the grid – Marquez got a great start from pole, but Binder had an even better one and was soon leading, from Marquez and Martin. Martin, however, was quick to take 2nd and by turn 3 had also managed to pass Binder to take the lead.

There was another man on a mission though in the form of Jack Miller (Ducati). He had managed to pass both Miguel Oliveria (KTM) and Marquez, in one swift move, to take 3rd place.

Every championship point rang in their ears: – Quartararo was down in 8th place, behind him in 11th was Bagnaia and Espargaro had made it to 22nd. What could any of them do?

Meanwhile Miller had passed next year’s teammate (Binder) to take another spot (2nd) on lap 3 of 24. While fastest lap went to Oliveira.

Up to second. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

With 22 laps to go Miller fought Martin for the lead – he won and with it took fastest lap. Miller seemed to be untouchable.

In 8th place, Quartararo was under pressure by Luca Marini (Ducati) with 21 laps to go but so was Bagnaia from Bastianini. Enea managed to pass Pecco but Pecco took the position straight back. Meanwhile Marini had also passed Quartararo and managed to make it stick. There was only Pol Espargaro (Honda) between the top two of the championship.

Under pressure by Marini. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Zarco who had had a great qualifying session had fallen backwards throughout the race and perhaps had an issue with his bike. It was a gift for Quartararo who took 8th spot and Bagnaia promoted himself to 10th. Bastianini was still all over the Ducati rider though, waiting to attack.

With 17 laps to go gapping was being created – Miller’s gap between himself and Martin had grown to 1.046 seconds and Martin’s gap to Oliveira also had grown to 1.115 seconds. Bastianini managed to pass Bagnaia to take 10th place from him. There certainly were no team orders from Ducati. Bagnaia then had to worry about Marco Bezzecchi (another Ducati) who was already very close behind.

Passing Bagnaia. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Bastianini soon had pulled away and had already closed the gap between himself and P. Espargaro, managing to pass him on lap 11 of 24. It turned out Bagnaia had nothing to worry about with Bezzecchi as Bagnaia also passed Pol, after Pol made a slight mistake. Now up to 10th place, directly behind Bastianini once more.

Halfway through the race and Takuya Tsuda (who had stepped in for Mir at Suzuki) suddenly had his bike on fire beneath him, causing yellow flags to be waved at sector 2 (turn 5) and ultimately ending his home race.

In 7th place Marini was looking menacing behind Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) and soon had passed him to claim 6th spot and on the same lap (lap 14) Darryn Binder ended his race early sliding off into the gravel. He managed to re-join the race but retired a few laps later.

Back in front, Miller couldn’t put a foot wrong, with his metronomic lap times and a gap of 4.369 seconds ahead of Martin, the chequered flag was in reaching distance. Could he win his first race this year?

5 laps to go and Miller remained in command of the Japanese race, while his teammate also managed to dig deep and find some form, beginning to shrink the gap between himself and his future teammate. Into turn 12 he managed to pass Bastianini to take 9th, now he had Quartararo in his sights.

Martin, who had remained in 2nd place for quite some time, was under pressure from Binder. With only 3 laps until the end, who would take 2nd?

Behind them Honda rider Marquez had managed to pass Oliveira to take 4th with 2 laps left. Could he fight for the podium?

Last lap:

Miller continued to lead.

Behind him though, binder passed Martin to take 2nd –

Second-in-the-championship-man Bagnaia suddenly crashed out of 9th, applauding himself for his mistake, while he walked away.

Marini passed Oliveira but couldn’t quite make it stick, crossing the line.

But nothing could stop Jack today – the Thriller was back!

Top Ten Finishers:


J. Miller


B. Binder


J. Martin


M. Marquez


M. Oliveira


L. Marini


M. Vinales


F. Quartararo


E. Bastianini


M. Bezzecchi

This is Bagnaia’s 5th DNF this season and his teammate’s first Moto GP victory this year, it was both heartbreak and elation for Ducati.

Top 4 Championship Standings:


F. Quartararo

219 points


F. Bagnaia

201 points


A. Espargaro

194 points


E. Bastianini

170 points

None of the top championship riders could quite capitalize on today’s race, so the championship is still up for grabs with only 4 more races, who will be crowned World Champion?



(Featured image: Courtesy of Moto GP website). 

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