Jack Miller - 10

(Qualified 7th, finished 1st)

In a league of his own, Miller bounced back from a disappointing qualifying to thoroughly dominate the Japanese MotoGP. After making light work of Marc Marquez, Brad Binder and Jorge Martin, the Australian produced the type of pace that nobody could hang with, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. While victory might not have gone to Ducati’s main title contender Francesco Bagnaia, Miller gave the Italian manufacturer its sixth consecutive win on what ultimately proved to be a tough day for many of the Bologna bullets. 

Brad Binder - 9

(Qualified 3rd, finished 2nd)

Another storming ride from the KTM rider as he took the lead early on. Although Binder quickly lost out to Jorge Martin and Miller - both riders began to open up a gap before Miguel Oliveira also came through for third - the South African quickly regrouped as he made his way forward once again. After managing to close up on Martin with a few laps remaining, Binder pounced at turn one of the penultimate lap as he cut underneath the Pramac rider. 

Jorge Martin - 9 

(Qualified 5th, finished 3rd)

His first podium since Catalunya, Martin had an impressive showing as he was the only rider able to keep Miller honest for the first few laps. The Spaniard started to struggle with his medium rear tyre compared to those on the harder option, however, Martin came across the line for a comfortable P3 finish.

Marc Marquez - 8

(Qualified 1st, finished 4th)

Although Marquez wasn’t able to convert his first MotoGP pole in three years into a podium, the Repsol Honda rider reminded everyone why he could be a force in 2023. The eight-time world champion overcame fitness issues to not only claim fourth, but stage an attack on Oliveira for that same position late on. 

Miguel Oliveira - 8

(Qualified 8th, finished 5th) 

Oliveira had one of the better race starts as he gained three positions on lap one, before making that five come the end of lap two. After overtaking Binder it looked as though a podium could be on the cards, however, Oliveira struggled to deliver the same mid-to-late race pace. Oliveira momentarily lost fifth to Luca Marini on the final lap before responding in the final couple of corners to regain the position.

Luca Marini - 8 

(Qualified 10th, finished 6th)

Another very strong showing in race conditions for Marini who has been one of Ducati’s better riders since the summer break. Marini was locked in a good battle with Fabio Quartararo early on, before eventually getting the better of the Yamaha rider and Maverick Vinales ahead of him.

Maverick Vinales - 7 

(Qualified 4th, finished 7th) 

After securing a second row start in qualifying, expectation was that Vinales and Aprilia could contend for the podium if not more. But the Spaniard was unable to do so as he instead held off several title contenders for P7.

Fabio Quartararo - 9

(Qualified 9th, finished 8th)

At first glance a rating of nine might seem high for Quartararo as he only moved up one place in the Grand Prix. However, Motegi could be looked back on as a pivotal race that helped him secure his second world title in succession. With Bagnaia making a crucial mistake on the final lap and Aleix Espargaro failing to score following a formation lap issue, Quartararo once again got everything out of his M1 Yamaha which is clearly not a package that should or is contending for victories of late. Outside of Assen which remains his only mistake of the year, Quartararo has continued to ride at an extremely high level, which was again on show at Motegi despite only finishing 8th. 

Enea Bastianini - 8 

(Qualified 15th, finished 9th)

Bastianini recovered from two crashes earlier in the weekend and a disastrous Q1 session to finish ninth and only lose one point to Quartararo. Team orders were once again not part of Ducati’s agenda as the Gresini rider fought with Bagnaia throughout the race. Although his title chances remain slim, Bastianini was quick for large parts of the race and remains in the fight heading to Buriram next weekend. 

Marco Bezzecchi - 7

(Qualified 13th, finished 10th)

As quick as Bagnaia and Bastianini for large parts of the Grand Prix, Bezzecchi once again showed a lot of promise before dropping off in the final few laps. 

Johann Zarco - 3

(Qualified 2nd, finished 11th)

Following a poor start which saw him lose six positions in the early laps, Zarco was then relegated outside of the top ten when he made back-to-back errors on lap six. The Pramac rider never recovered and instead lost time on those ahead of him before ultimately finishing a tenth off Bezzecchi. 

Pol Espargaro - 5 

(Qualified 11th finished 12th) 

After an impressive few laps which saw Espargaro hold off the likes of Bagnaia and Bastianini, the Honda rider started to suffer with tyre degradation and thus lost touch. Espargaro did manage to hold off Alex Marquez who was quicker as the race went on. 

Alex Marquez - 6 

(Qualified 17th, finished 13th)

The soon-to-be Ducati rider had a quiet first few laps before finding pace as the race went on. Marquez’s 13th place finish sees him extend his current points scoring run to four races. 

Franco Morbidelli - 5 

(Qualified 14th, finished 15th) 

Another difficult outing for Morbidelli who managed to get the better of Cal Crutchlow, unlike in Aragon. 

Cal Crutchlow - 6 

(Qualified 23rd, finished 15th)

Crutchlow continues to impress on his return to MotoGP racing after claiming his second points scoring finish in succession. Like in Aragon, Crutchlow showed very good race pace and even matched Miller’s times on a couple of occasions. 

What about the other MotoGP title contenders?

Francesco Bagnaia - 1 

(Qualified 12th, DNF)

After his worst qualifying performance since Argentina, Bagnaia began to find pace late on and looked set to take eighth away from Quartararo. A move that would have given him an extra point and reduced the Yamaha rider’s championship lead to nine, was instead thrown away when he crashed at turn three. Pushing too hard under braking, Bagnaia tucked the front in what can only be called an unforced error. As a result, Bagnaia has dropped to 18 points behind Quartararo in the championship standings.

Aleix Espargaro - 5 

(Qualified 6th, finished 16th) 

Without doubt the unluckiest rider at Motegi, Espargaro’s hopes of winning the race and/or claiming points back on Quartararo and Bagnaia with a good finish were destroyed before the race even got started. As he set off for the formation lap, Espargaro had no drive after seeing an ‘alarm’ warning come up on his dashboard. The Aprilia rider fought hard to try and score a point but narrowly missed out on doing so.