The 125cc World Championship remains a closely-fought one as the final five rounds of the campaign are served up in quick succession, and the Grand Prix of Japan marks the start of that sequence in which frontrunners Nico Terol (Bancaja Aspar), Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) and Marc Márquez (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) will all be striving to edge even closer to securing the title.
An eventful previous round at Aragón saw the order in the standings change once more as victory for Espargaró, second place for Terol and a DNF for Márquez reordered the top three with 11 points now separating new leader Terol and third-placed Márquez.
Terol’s consistency – two wins followed by two second places – in the previous four rounds have maintained his steady flow of high points hauls, whilst Espargaró’s first victory in eight rounds saw him pull back a deficit to top spot that had stood at 20 points before Aragón.
Combined with his podium result at Japan last year Espargaró will have an elevated confidence heading into this round. Márquez’s misfortune in crashing out through no fault of his own at Aragón merely added to the drama that continues to pour forth from the 125cc class.
Bradley Smith remains fourth but is 53 points adrift of the leading trio. The Bancaja Aspar rider does however come into this round off the back of a podium finish in Aragón and remains determined to finish the season with a flourish.
Further back Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo), Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) are grouped closely
Five wild card entries will also bring added excitement to the class with Syunya Mori (Racing Sayama), Takehiro Yamamoto (Team Nobby), Hikari Ookubo (18 Garage Racing), Yuma Yahagi (Okegawajuku & Endurance) and Sasuke Shinozaki (Team Tec2) all taking part.