MotoGP™: Miller wins Japan GP on hard-compound MICHELIN Powers
Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) dominated the Motul Grand Prix of Japan to beat Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) by 3.4 seconds....
Aided by the astonishing grip provided by his MICHELIN Power Rain tires, Miguel Oliveira reveled in the rain at Buriram to win the OR Thailand Grand Prix, Round 17 of this year’s MotoGPTM World Championship. The Portuguese rider was joined on the podium by Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia.
The race was shortened by a lap after the start was delayed by an hour due to a downpour that prompted all the riders to line up for the 25-lap contest on MICHELIN Power Rains.
Having qualified on pole for the first time at MotoGPTM level with a lap that shaved 0.048 seconds off the previous track record, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR 46 Racing Team) lost ground early on after going wide in the precarious weather.
Miller – who had started seventh on the grid – picked up the lead fourth time around and defended it to the halfway mark when he was passed Oliveira who had qualified 11th. Known to be strong in the wet, and after a sequence of quick laps that earned him a comfortable margin, the KTM rider converted his trust in his Michelins into his second win of the season, his first having come in similar conditions in Indonesia.
Miller had to settle for second spot, seven-tenths adrift, while Bagnaia scored valuable points in his bid for the Riders’ crown by finishing on the podium’s third step. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) fought back from a poor start to bag the afternoon’s fastest lap (1m38.941s) and fourth place at the flag. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was fifth.
Tire choice for the grand prix was simplified by the rain, but Friday and Saturday’s all-dry sessions meant that the entire range of MICHELIN Power Slick specs was employed at one point or another, with Bezzecchi and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) both bettering the track’s former benchmark lap in qualifying.
The situation is now even closer in the scrap for the 2022 title which Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 17th in Thailand – continues to lead, but by two points only over Bagnaia. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) is third, a further 18 points behind.
Next race: Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island (October 14-16)