Tatsuki Suzuki mastered the wet weather as Moto3 returned to Motegi after a three year absence for round sixteen of the championship, the Moto3 Japanese Grand Prix.

The Leopard man gave himself the perfect birthday gift with the top spot on the grid after he confidently pushed on as the rain worsened to find a best lap of 2m 11.246s.

Tastuki Suzuki is the best of the riders left in the class since the paddock last visited the track, back in 2019, on that occasion the Japanese rider also earned a front row start (which he translated to fourth in the race). 



Best yet for Ogden

VisionTrack rider Scott Ogden enjoyed a resurgence of form at just the right time. Rain, acting as the great leveller, masked some of the performance issues the team had been experiencing, which saw the teenager move through Q1 with the best time.

The British rider then used that track experience to hone his lap over Q2 to finish just 0.322s behind Suzuki’s time - his best qualifying performance to date.

The front row is completed by Sergio Garcia, who also came through Q1 with a performance which could reignite his title charge. There was one blip for the Autosolar GasGas rider - he got in the way of his team-mate Izan Guevara who was on a live lap, but under yellow flagconditions, which may prevent a penalty.

Ayumu Sasaki put in a late run for the front row but fell just short. The Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max Team rider will start his home race fourth after setting his best time on his final live lap.

He is joined on row two by Dennis Foggia, who surprised by posting the best time in the wet practice session. Not normally known for his wet weather abilities he still looked strong come qualifying and challenged for the top spots on his way to fifth on the grid, completing a strong showing for Leopard and Honda at their home track, with Suzuki on pole.

Andrea Migno was much improved as the flyaways got underway. The Snipers rider secured sixth.

Riccardo Rossi made late gains to rise to seventh for SIC58 Squadra Corse, just ahead of Deniz Oncu who challenged early in the session before being pushed back to eighth for Red Bull KTM Tech3.

Aragon winner, pole man and championship leader Izan Guevara, struggled in the wet. He certainly wasn’t helped by meeting his team-mate on track on his best run, with everything combining to see him this time further down the grid, in ninth.

Jaume Masia put everything into his final run around the track to complete the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

John McPhee never really made an impact so starts twelfth on the second Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max entry.

Rookie Diogo Moreira came into qualifying with the best time from FP1 after the second practice session was a washout but couldn’t match his performance form earlier, so starts 15th for MT Helmets - MSI.

David Munoz (BOE Motorsports)  fell in the session, limiting his progress - he starts 16th. Lorenzo Fellon doubled up on the gravel trips but lines up ahead -  in 13th on the grid.

Ryusei Yamanaka endured a fall so big he knocked his fairing off his MT Helmets- MSI bike. He had done enough for 17th. The changeable weather also caught out Sergio Garcia late on but his front row place was already secured.


What happened in Q1?


Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) missed out on more track time at home.Fifth in the session will see him line up 19th.

Daniel Holgado had enjoyed three front row starts in the last three races. Japan’s testing conditions prevented him making it four as the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will instead line up down in 21st.

A new track saw VisionTracks’s Joshua Whatley adapt well to put in an improved qualifying performance for 24th on the grid.

Further back Mario Aji had shown his wet prowess earlier in FP2, second in that session to Dennis Foggia. A crash ended his chances, leaving the Honda Team Asia rider 28th overall.


Injuries, replacements and penalties


Lorenzo Fellon needed a check before getting into qualifying trim, following his fall on Friday, but passed all the tests on his foot to return to track with SIC 58 Squaddra Corse.

Alberto Surra is absent following his practice crash last weekend in Aragon,which left him with a fractured wrist. He is replaced at Rivacold Snipers by local rider Kanta Hamada (27th).