The VR46 star dominated last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix for his third Sunday victory of the season.

But it was runner-up Jorge Martin who walked away with the biggest points haul of the weekend after Bezzecchi was bumped back to last by a first corner impact from team-mate Luca Marini in the Saturday Sprint.

It was the third time in four rounds that Bezzecchi has been caught up in a Turn 1 incident and meant he couldn’t fully exploit title leader Francesco Bagnaia’s big mistake, which has left the reigning champion just 13 points clear of Martin heading into this weekend's Japanese MotoGP.

“I am relaxed. The real fight is between them, I’m just running close but never close enough!” Bezzecchi said. “If I can be close until the end I will try to fight for it, I’d be lying if I said no.

“I will try to stay close for at least three of four weekends more, then we’ll see…”

With seven rounds, 14 races and a potential 259 points up for grabs, Bezzecchi still has time on his side, especially if he can replicate his stunning 8.6s victory form in India.

“We had a positive weekend in India,” Bezzecchi said. “Coming here to Motegi is good. I always like this track, and to ride here is fantastic.”

The young Italian also feels he has clear potential to improve - both as a rider in terms of braking, and technically, if he can receive the latest holeshot device update from Ducati.

“I was studying Pecco, Jorge and all the Ducati riders since the first time I came to MotoGP,” Bezzecchi said. “I still need to do more steps to be constantly strong in braking because now I am strong in some tracks, but at some I struggle more.”

“I asked, for sure!” he said of the latest starting device, made available to the GP23s of Bagnaia and Martin. “The support I have from Ducati is fantastic. If they have the possibility to help me, they will do it. But I don’t have a factory package so it’s normal that I have something less.”