Jack’s push towards a fourth podium of his best MotoGP season yet have faded with the grip of his rear tyre at Motegi, finishing 10th in the Japanese Grand Prix after a brilliant start to Sunday’s 24-lap race.
Saturday saw Jack qualify sixth, which he felt could have been better as his consistency in practice indicated he had podium pace. He quickly demonstrated that early promise as soon as the lights went out on Sunday, making a superb start and scything down the inside of the first corner to immediately jump to third.
Jack was demoted to fourth by Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) by the end of lap one, but reclaimed third behind Marc Marquez (Honda) and Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) after a dice with the Italian on lap three, setting his fastest lap of the race (1:46.018) on lap four as he stayed with the front-running duo comfortably.
Morbidelli found his way past Jack on lap 10, Jack’s first lap inside the 1min 47secs bracket all race, and it was from there that his race unravelled, fading rear grip ending his resistance.
As one of just two riders (teammate Pecco Bagnaia being the other) to start the race with a soft front-soft rear tyre combination, Jack began to go backwards, dropping to sixth on lap 11, eighth on lap 15 and then tenth on lap 21, where he stayed for the final four laps before taking the flag 18.909secs behind Marquez, who won his 10th Grand Prix of the season.
Six points were fewer than Jack had in mind in the early stages, but represented something of a breakthrough at Motegi, as he’d never even finished, let alone scored a single point, at the track in three previous premier-class starts.
“We had an issue with the rear grip,” a disappointed Jack said afterwards. “It came around lap five or seven… I was more or less in survival mode. It’s a shame because I got off to a good start and I thought I could follow Marc and Fabio to the end.
“I don’t know what happened … all of a sudden I couldn’t push any more. We have to go through the data and understand what went wrong and where.
“Really disappointed, but we brought it home.”
Jack retains eighth place in the standings with 125 points, and trials Quartararo, who finished second to Marquez, by 38 points with a maximum of 75 available across the final three races of the season for the mantle of leading independent team rider.