This weekend the penultimate round of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 took place at the Twin Ring Motegi, Japan.
Scott Redding’s Moto2 title hopes were shattered on the opening lap of the race after Tito Rabat crashed in front of him. Redding had nowhere to go and collided with Rabat’s fallen bike.
The race was red flagged following the incident but Redding heavily bruised his right arm and leg and the bike was too damaged to restart following the crash. It was a bitter blow for Redding, who sustained a broken wrist just a week ago in Australia but rode through the pain barrier in Japan to try and keep his title hopes alive. Unfortunately it was not meant to be and Pol Espargaro was crowned the Moto2 World Champion.
Meanwhile in MotoGP, Michael Laverty and Damian Cudlin left the Japanese Grand Prix without scoring points. Both riders had limited experience at the track and didn’t have the optimum settings but battled on and stayed in the top-20 for most of the race. Cudlin was reprimanded for holding up the eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo and was eventually placed 21st. Laverty finished 19th after running low on fuel in the final stages of the race, having to push the bike home in determination to finish. Laverty has dropped one place to 25th overall in the championship.
When Tito went down in front of me I did everything I could to avoid him, but I couldn’t avoid hitting the bike and I went down too. It’s disappointing, obviously, not just because of everything we’ve been through just to race here this weekend but also because there was nobody left to take the fight to Pol with both Tito and me out of the race. The championship’s gone and, although it wasn’t through want of trying, that doesn’t make it an easier to accept. The important thing is to get over it, come back strong and finish the season on a high at Valencia. Congratulations to Pol on winning the title; it was a good battle and I’m just sorry we couldn’t take it down to the wire.
Starting a race with only 18 laps under my belt in the dry was always going to make things difficult. I got gradually faster throughout the race as I figured the circuit out and managed to catch back up to Petrucci. I began to run out of fuel on the penultimate lap and had to nurse it home so I wasn’t able to make a pass. I ran dry on the home straight and had to push it the final 100 metres. I enjoyed Japan and the Motegi circuit although it was a little bit frustrating with the lack of track time this weekend meaning we didn’t reach our true potential.
The weather really didn’t help us at all this weekend as the one thing we need on the bike is time and going straight into a dry race with very limited track time wasn’t ideal. I got into a good rhythm and was riding my own race and I apologise if I held Jorge up but the flags were not clear to me. I’d like to thank the team for their hard work as it has been a difficult couple of rounds but I am happy to record another finish.