Moto3 World Championship challenger Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) battled in the lead group throughout today’s 20-lap first race of the day at a sun-blessed Motegi, finishing second, just 0.593 seconds off the win.
Today’s race was super-challenging because, apart from this morning’s ten-minute warm-up, the race was the first time riders had had any dry track time since Friday, following yesterday’s arrival of typhoon Nanmadol. Also, half the grid in MotoGP’s junior class had never visited Motegi before because the last Japanese GP was staged was in 2019.
Foggia fought with three other riders, until Jaume Masia crashed out with four laps to go. That left the 21-year-old Italian, who had been second in morning warm-up, to contend with leader Izan Guevara and third-placed Ayumu Sasaki, the trio overed by a few tenths of a second.
During the final laps Foggia did everything he could to get close enough to Guevara to unleash an attack but he couldn’t quite do it and had to be happy with his first podium since he won the San Marino GP earlier this month. He now stands third in the championship placings, with a slim chance of taking the crown in the final rounds.
Team-mate Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) had started from pole position, and had been right with Foggia and the lead group, going for a home-race win the day after his 25th birthday. But the experienced rider from Chiba slid off on lap five.
Two other NSF250RW machines finished inside the top ten, with Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) finishing in ninth, a fraction of a second ahead of Riccardo Rossi (Sic 58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).
There was home-race joy for Grand Prix rookie Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) who scored his first World Championship points after a thrilling battle for 13th place. He finally crossed the finish line in 14th, for two points, a huge boost for the 17-year-old from Kanoya who will go into the final few races of 2022 confident that he can now run with the best and keep learning.
Yesterday’s soaking conditions made life most complicated for the younger, lesser experienced riders like World Championship rookie Mario Suryo Aji (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW). Yesterday the 18-year-old Indonesian qualified 28th, so he did well to finish 17th, after several rivals slid off.
Rookie Scott Ogden (Visiontrack Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) qualified a superb second in the rain for his first front-row start but had issues in the race and had to be content with 20th.
Moto3 riders and teams complete three consecutive Sundays of racing when they move to Thailand this week, after racing at Aragon, Spain, last weekend. The season then moves into its final stages with the Australian, Malaysian and Valencia GPs.