Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Michelin enjoyed a grand-slam weekend at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, Round 14 of the 2023 MotoGPTM World Championship. They left Motegi with a new track-lap record to their name, plus victory in the two races. The Spaniard won Sunday's grand prix ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) after the race was halted because of heavy rain after just 13 laps. Both the MICHELIN Power Slick and Power Rain ranges performed strongly at the Japanese circuit which is notoriously hard on tires.
Martin pulled out all the stops to post a new lap record for Motegi (1m43.198s) in addition to claiming the sprint and grand prix wins, aided by the outstanding grip provided by his Michelin tires in the weekend's dry and wet conditions alike.
The previous benchmark for the Japanese venue was bettered on several occasions during Friday's free practice, and again in qualifying when Martin ended up shaving six-tenths off the time clocked by Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
Martin followed up pocketing pole position by claiming Saturday's sprint, chased over the line by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Racing Factory) and Bagnaia.
The weather was hot and sunny on Days 1 and 2, but the riders were greeted by spots of rain as they lined up on the grid for the headlining, 24-lap grand prix. They all took the start on MICHELIN Power Slicks but the majority pitted to switch to MICHELIN Power Rains after completing the opening lap.
Clearly happy in the wet thanks to the grip delivered by Michelin's wet-weather option, Martin appeared in front on Lap 6 and defended his lead until the race was interrupted seven laps later due to the dangerous conditions. The attempt at a re-start was aborted and the Pramac rider was declared the day's winner. It was his first victory in the rain at MotoGPTM level, and Michelin's 499th to date in motorcycle racing's premier class.
The Spaniard was joined on the podium by Bagnaia and Marquez, while Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team) rounded out the top five.
Bagnaia continues to top the championship standings after Japan, but is now only three points clear of Martin. Third-placed Bezzecchi is a further 51 points adrift.
Next on the calendar is Thailand where Michelin is preparing to celebrate an important MotoGPTM landmark. Join us there in two weeks' time!
Next round: Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia, Mandalika (October 13-15).