Jorge Martin challenged the rain spirits in Motegi, who crowned him king of the storm. A significant victory, not only in terms of points in the standings, but also in terms of performance. The Spaniard now really seems to be in full control of his GP23, and the three points that separate him from classification leader Bagnaia demonstrate the state of grace of the Pramac team rider, who has not missed a podium in four races, including two victories. The rain that began to come down on the Japanese track did not worry Jorge, who after having taken the lead in the first laps then intelligently observed the moves of his direct opponent when the storm began to lash the asphalt. After the flag to flag the race continued under the elements, allowing the Spaniard to also complete a series of spectacular overtaking moves. Twelve laps in which he effortlessly regained the lead of the race, keeping Bagnaia at bay until the red flag which would then put an end to the weekend on the Japanese circuit.
Yours was a high-voltage race, with the rain starting to fall shortly before the start and in the midst of the fight for the title.
"Seeing the rain fall before the start was difficult - the Spaniard declared - but the most difficult moment was during the warm up in which I noticed many riders losing grip, I myself took a risk in some points. Starting a race in these conditions is never easy."
The Motegi GP will be remembered for the truly extreme conditions, with pouring rain and very limited visibility, and for a rider the flag to flag is always a difficult moment to face.
"At the start I was in the lead but I didn't know exactly how to manage the situation, so I let Pecco and Jack pass to see what they would do. There was a moment in turn 3 in which I made a mistake by going wide, but then I recovered immediately and I managed to make several overtakes to get back into the lead of the race. Then when everyone stopped to change tyres I did the same."
Despite the uncertainties, however, the Spanish rider immediately regained his confidence in the rain, also making a great comeback.
"I was lapping a second faster, I had to consume the tyre a lot, but it turned out to be a winning bet in the end. Overtaking several riders in the wet wasn't easy, but I noticed that in acceleration I had an extra advantage compared to my rivals in Turn 8 and 9, even though I also had some problems with braking. That second of advantage over Pecco, before the race was interrupted by the red flag, was decisive in winning the race today."
Another of your strong points seemed to be the approach to turn 10, considered by many of your rivals to be one of the most difficult points on the Japanese track.
"Yes, normally I have difficulty racing in these conditions - continues Martin - but today I had good grip, I think the electronics really made the difference today. Visibility also played an important role, it's clear that being first allowed a better visibility than those behind, especially from third onwards. It is certainly one of the keys to understanding this race, it allowed me to make some nice overtaking in turn 9 on Pecco and Bezzecchi, but with the front I was really at the limit, the feeling at that point wasn't the best."
Were you surprised by the decision to try to restart the race?
"I spoke to Carlos Ezpeleta in the garage a few minutes before leaving, but the conditions were still prohibitive and I was worried."
Finally, after returning to the track, the second red flag arrived, due to the extreme and dangerous conditions of the circuit. Did you breathe a sigh of relief?
"Initially I was very angry, furthermore the visibility was close to zero and I couldn't even find the garage in the pitlane. Then when the decision came that the race was over I realized I had won and I was so happy, even if I admit that the feeling is not the same as a full victory. However, the points are the same, so I am more than satisfied with the result."
In the last few races the Spaniard's consistency has brought him to the podium four times, Martin is in top form.
"The bike is what it is, I haven't changed the setup, but I know it well and it gives me a lot of confidence in riding. I hope things continue in this direction."
Now the Spaniard is just three points behind leader Bagnaia. There are six rounds left in this championship, the challenge for the title has never been so intense.
"I'm having a great moment, I got on the podium in the last four races, of which I won two. It is proof that we are working well and that the key to everything is to have fun doing it. I don't want to create too many illusions though, it's true that Pecco and I are close in the standings, but there are still several races to go," concluded the Spaniard.