Marc Marquez and Joan Mir took solid seventh and 13th place finishes in a tense Sprint Race in Motegi as they prepare for Sunday’s main event.
Predicted rain stayed well away as only sporadic dark clouds floated overhead as Japan continued to experience an extend period of warm weather. Free Practice 2 saw both Repsol Honda Team machines work on their final adjustments before the action-packed part of the day.
Marc Marquez achieved his first target of the day as a 1’43.997 saw him move through Q1 as the fastest rider. From here he and the team elected a two-run strategy in Q2, earning seventh on the grid as Marquez improved his time by another tenth. From the head of the third row, Marquez made a strong start to gain positions and move in front of Bezzecchi in the opening corners of the 12-lap Sprint. The majority of the race would see the #93 defending from both Bezzecchi and Zarco, Marquez having a especially fierce battle with the young Italian during the middle of the race. Crossing the line in seventh, Marquez did well to hold off his pursuers behind while avoiding any unnecessary risks after an intense start to the race.
After a Friday full of potential, Joan Mir spent the morning assessing several final items and settings before settling on the direction to follow for the rest of the weekend. Times were tight in Q1 and 0.101s was all that split the #36 from a transfer spot, finishing in fifth and stating both races in 15th. Fast as the lights went out, Mir immediately made up a handful of places as the Sprint began. Eventually taking 13th at the line, Mir was left searching for more after being unable to recreate his speed and overall feeling from earlier in the day.
Sunday will feature the main event of the weekend in Motegi: The Japanese Grand Prix. Set to run over 24 laps and starting at 15:00 Local Time.