Hector Barbera marked his 100th Grand Prix start in style with an excellent ride to ninth place in the Japanese MotoGP, which put the Avintia Racing rider back in charge of the Open class title race.

Barbera picked up seven championship points to finish as the leading Open rider on the Ducati GP14, knocking Loris Baz off the top spot, who retired on the Forward Yamaha seven laps after pulling in to pit lane to switch to his second bike.

"This was my 100th race in MotoGP on a track where I had mixed emotions. I won here in the past, but also I left the track twice in the helicopter," said Barbera.

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"Therefore, Motegi was always a question mark for me, but today's result will change that for the future. All weekend long, I was fast and consistent in the dry and we had a good set up for those conditions, but when I woke up today it was raining and it was as if the weekend start all over again.

"It was a tough race mentally, because from lap 15 I had nobody in front of me and some guys were closing in from behind. They were pushing me and in these conditions it's easy to make a mistake, so I decided to enjoy the rest of the race," added Barbera.

"The ninth place gives us the Open class lead back and now I'm happier, because after Misano I was really disappointed. Now we go to Phillip Island, a track I love and where we want to increase our advantage in the standings."