Rider Ratings – 2023 Japanese Grand Prix

Categories:   MotoGP 

On a weekend ruined by a heavy rain shower on Sunday, MotoGP provided plenty of chaotic action. Here are MGP1’s 2023 Japanese Grand Prix rider ratings.

Jorge Martin - 10

Started: 1st

Sprint: 1st (±0)

Race: 1st (±0)

Jorge Martin was a man on a mission in Japan and, boy, did he deliver! Neither in the dry nor the rain, anyone was able to stop the Spaniard from crossing the line first.

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Keeping his cool when it was raining cats and dogs in Motegi and, although falling back to ninth in the early parts of the race, being in front when it mattered, shows us the Martinator means it when he says he will fight for the title in 2023.

Francesco Bagnaia - 8

Started: 2nd

Sprint: 3rd (-1)

Race: 2nd (±0)

Given his poor rain performances in the past, a second-place finish in the rain of Motegi was much more than we expected from Francesco Bagnaia.

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Despite being unable to be anywhere near his title rival Jorge Martin, there’s hardly anything one could criticize concerning the Italian’s Japanese Grand Prix performance.

Marc Marquez - 9

Started: 7th

Sprint: 7th (±0)

Race: 3rd (+4)

It’s been a while since we witnessed Marquez execute his trademark move: pushing a Honda RC123V into unexpected situations. Yes, the race was wet, and it only covered half the distance. His sprint speed didn’t match up either.

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However, all these factors didn’t diminish the reminder of Marquez’s potential, especially when circumstances align perfectly. One can’t help but envision that if the race had continued for another 12 laps under similar conditions, Marquez might have chased down Bagnaia for the second spot.

Marco Bezzecchi - 7

Started: 4th

Sprint: 6th (-2)

Race: 4th (±0)

In terms of official standings, Bezzecchi’s performance over the weekend might not seem terrible. Yet, it’s not the fourth-place finish in the wet race on Sunday that will stand out in his memory.

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 Instead, what he’ll likely remember is how Bagnaia and Martin significantly widened their lead in the championship, possibly making it insurmountable for him.

And if that’s not the most memorable moment, his involvement in Vinales’ crash at Turn 1 probably ranks a close second.

Aleix Espargaro - 7

Started: 9th

Sprint: DNF

Race: 5th (+4)

The weekend didn’t offer many opportunities for the Aprilia team to shine, but Aleix Espargaro deserves recognition.

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His performance on wet tires at the beginning of Sunday’s race marked a notable improvement, especially considering the challenges he and the team faced in similar conditions earlier this season.

Despite his disappointment due to another mechanical issue during the sprint, Espargaro leaves Motegi with a sense of contentment, knowing that Aprilia has overcome one obstacle, even though there are clear areas for further improvement.

Jack Miller - 8

Started: 3rd

Sprint: 4th (-1)

Race: 6th (-3)

Miller’s resurgence at Motegi was evident, thanks to KTM’s new carbon fiber chassis. This upgrade significantly improved his performance, placing him back on the front row and securing two strong finishes.

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His renewed form bodes well for future races, rekindling hopes for more consistent podium finishes in the upcoming events.

Augusto Fernandez - 8

Started: 13th

Sprint: 12th (+1)

Race: 7th (+6)

Fernandez’s impressive performance in the wet race hinted at his potential as a rising star in MotoGP. Despite being a rookie, he showcased his skills by outperforming many experienced riders.

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His ability to adapt to changing conditions and maintain a strong pace positions him as a promising talent for the upcoming races.

Fabio Di Giannantonio - 7

Started: 6th

Sprint: 8th (-2)

Race: 8th (-2)

Di Giannantonio showcased significant improvement at Motegi, securing his first points-scoring finishes in MotoGP.

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His consistent performance indicated his growing confidence and ability to deliver under pressure.

While it might not guarantee his seat for the next season, these results make him a strong contender for potential teams seeking a skilled rider.

Raul Fernandez - 7

Started: 11th

Sprint: 10th (+1)

Race: 9th (+2)

Fernandez continued to display steady progress at Motegi, consistently finishing within the top 10. While individual race results matter, his overall performances over the past few races have been remarkable.

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If he maintains this momentum, achieving notable results will naturally follow, marking him as a rider to watch in the future.

Fabio Quartararo - 5

Started: 14th

Sprint: 15th (-1)

Race: 10th (+4)

Quartararo endured another mediocre weekend, struggling to push the limits of his Yamaha bike. His race strategy in the flag-to-flag event didn’t yield the desired results, leaving him to accept a mid-tier finish.

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Despite the potential for improvement, Quartararo found himself in a familiar situation, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the 2021 world champion.

Takaaki Nakagami - 4

Started: 18th

Sprint: 17th (+1)

Race: 11th (+7)

Nakagami’s home race didn’t go as planned, with the local hero failing to find his rhythm. Despite other Honda riders showcasing competitive pace, Nakagami remained off the pace, finishing behind his expectations.

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Unusual circumstances led to his position, but it was far from a memorable performance for the LCR Honda rider.

Joan Mir - 6

Started: 15th

Sprint: 13th (+2)

Race: 12th (+3)

Mir faced a challenging weekend in Japan after his impressive performance in India. Although there was potential for success in the wet, visibility issues due to a fogged-up visor thwarted his efforts.

 

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 What could have been a promising result turned into frustration, adding to Mir’s disappointment after a weekend of unanticipated difficulties.

 

Cal Crutchlow - 6

Started: 19th

Sprint: 18th (+1)

Race: 13th (+6)

Crutchlow’s wildcard performance was a standout moment, considering the challenges faced by Yamaha’s factory team throughout the season.

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He not only outperformed other test riders but also showcased the potential of Yamaha’s behind-the-scenes development efforts.

His impressive display should be recognized, highlighting the progress being made within the Yamaha camp.

Stefan Bradl - 5

Started: 20th

Sprint: 20th (±0)

Race: 14th (+6)

Bradl’s commendable performance in the wet race was notable, considering the circumstances.

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Jumping onto Alex Rins’ LCR Honda at the last minute, he made a risky decision to stay out longer on slicks, which paid off, securing him points.

Despite the eventual aborted restart, Bradl’s ability to seize opportunities shone through, earning him a respectable finish.

Pol Espargaro - 6

Started: 12th

Sprint: 11th (+1)

Race: 15th (-3)

Espargaro faced a challenging weekend in Japan, struggling to match the pace of his rookie teammate, Augusto Fernandez. Despite being free from physical limitations, Espargaro found himself beaten by his teammate, raising concerns about his consistency.

In a critical time for KTM riders, Espargaro’s performance highlighted the intense competition within the team.

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With every race becoming increasingly vital, Espargaro’s inability to outpace his rookie teammate, Augusto Fernandez, amplified concerns about his consistency and ability to deliver under pressure. 

This situation came at a critical juncture for KTM riders, emphasizing the urgency for Espargaro to regain his form and prove his worth within the team.

As the season progresses, Espargaro faces mounting pressure to showcase his skills and secure his position, making the upcoming races crucial for his MotoGP future.

Michele Pirro - 6

Started: 21st

Sprint: 19th (+2)

Race: 16th (+5)

Pirro’s bold decision to stay out on slick tires during uncertain weather conditions demonstrated his willingness to take risks.

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Although the gamble didn’t pay off in the end, his determination and underdog spirit were evident. Moments like these add excitement to the races and showcase the spirit of competition in MotoGP.

Franco Morbidelli - 2

Started: 17th

Sprint: 16th (+1)

Race: 17th (±0)

Morbidelli faced a disappointing weekend at Motegi, struggling to find the pace on his Yamaha. What made the situation worse was being outperformed not only by his teammate Quartararo but also by wildcard test rider Cal Crutchlow, who made his first appearance of the season.

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Morbidelli’s challenges highlighted the difficulties he was experiencing with the Yamaha bike, emphasizing the urgency for his departure from the team.

The Japanese Grand Prix showcased the struggles of the Italian rider, leaving him eager for a fresh start in his MotoGP journey.

Miguel Oliveira - 5

Started: 16th 

Sprint: 14th (+2)

Race: 18th (-2)

Oliveira faced challenging circumstances at Motegi, with poor visibility hindering his performance. Unable to deliver his usual wet weather mastery, he had to watch from the sidelines.

Combined with a tough qualifying and lackluster sprint performance, the weekend proved to be disappointing for the RNF Aprilia rider.

Maverick Vinales - 6

Started: 8th

Sprint: 9th (-1)

Race: 19th (-11)

Vinales’ performance at Motegi was lackluster, with minimal impact on the race outcome. His struggles were compounded by a crash at Turn 1, courtesy of Bezzecchi, ending his hopes for a significant result.

The weekend proved to be forgettable for the Aprilia rider, leaving him with little to remember from the Japanese Grand Prix.

Johann Zarco - 7

Started: 10th

Sprint: 5th (+5)

Race: DNF

Zarco displayed glimpses of a strong performance during the wet race, positioning himself for a top result.

Unfortunately, changing weather conditions caught him off guard, leading to an unfair end to his weekend.

Despite the disappointment, his initial efforts and resilience should be acknowledged, showcasing his determination in challenging situations.

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