Japanese Grand Prix winner Jorge Martin admitted that his third MotoGP victory of the year at Motegi “doesn’t feel like a victory” due to the race being ended at half-distance.
The Pramac Ducati rider recovered from a mistake, which involved him running wide and off track at Turn 3 and dropping from the lead to sixth, following his pit stop to swap to wet rubber along with the bulk of the field on the opening tour.
Retaking the lead on the sixth lap, Martin then continued to hold an advantage of just under a second-and-a-half over title rival Francesco Bagnaia as the Italian tried his best to save his rubber for a late race attack.
This scenario ultimately never played out as a red flag ended the race after 12 of the scheduled 24 laps had been completed due to ever-worsening track conditions due to the heavy rain seen on Sunday at Motegi.
With full points awarded, Martin has now closed to just three points adrift of Bagnaia with six events remaining this season, who conceded that he felt his fourth career win in Japan “doesn’t feel like a victory” due to the circumstances under which the race ended.
“Normally I struggle a bit in these conditions in acceleration, but I had great drive which I think was because of the electronics. It was the key because I was able to overtake in Turn 9, but I was on the limit with the front and didn’t have the best feeling,” said Martin following his Japanese GP success.
“Making the one-second gap on Pecco quickly was the crucial factor that allowed me to win today.
“I went from being really angry because of there being no visibility (fogged up visor) to being really happy when I saw the team celebrating. It doesn’t feel like a victory because it wasn’t the full race so the feeling isn’t the same, but there is full points so it’s important for the championship.
“I need to enjoy this moment, I’ve been on the podium for the last four races and won two of them so this is the way to keep performing in this way.”
Martin added that it was “difficult” before the start of the race as he saw other riders having moments alongside himself due to the progressively heavier rain while on slicks on the warm-up lap.
He also commented that he let the likes of Bagnaia and KTM’s Jack Miller through at the end of the opening tour so that he could work out the best time to pull into the pits to change tyres.
“For sure it was a difficult moment at that point (rain starting on grid), I think the tougher thing was on the warm-up lap where I could see other riders were having moments,” continued Martin.
“I also had some (moments), so to start the race in these conditions is never easy. I was in first but I didn’t know exactly what to do so I let Pecco (Bagnaia) and Jack (Miller) through so I could understand what they were going to do (strategy.)
“So when they stopped I went with them, and when we were on wets I felt super strong. I had a big moment at Turn 3 and went wide so then had to come back from sixth, but I had amazing drive from the corners and was able to pass all of them.”
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