Round 16 Japan

  • Magic Marquez Wins at Motegi to Take Fifth MotoGP Crown

    Magical Marc Marquez made more history at Twin Ring Motegi, winning his fifth MotoGP World Championship to achieve several new records in his illustrious motorcycle racing career.

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Magic Marquez Wins at Motegi to Take Fifth MotoGP Crown

TWIN RING MOTEGI, Japan, October 21, 2018

Magical Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) made more history at Twin Ring Motegi today, winning his fifth MotoGP World Championship to achieve several new records in his illustrious motorcycle racing career.

First of all the 25-year-old Spaniard won his eighth Grand Prix victory of the 2018 season to win his fifth MotoGP crown in just six years. At the same time he also increased Honda’s lead in the Constructors World Championship – the company is chasing a record 24th constructors title and its seventh in the past eight years – and boosted the Repsol Honda Team’s advantage in the Teams World Championship.

On the Motegi podium today’s Japanese Grand Prix Constructors trophy was accepted by Honda Motor Co., Ltd President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

The latest success in the youngster’s stellar career also makes him the youngest rider to win five premier-class titles, taking the record from Valentino Rossi. He is now one of only eight riders to have won seven or more World Championships across all classes, putting him in the pantheon with John Surtees (seven), Phil Read (seven), Carlo Ubbiali (nine), Mike Hailwood (nine), Valentino Rossi (nine), Angel Nieto (13) and Giacomo Agostini (15). His various other records will be included in other Honda and Repsol Honda Team media information.

This weekend – Honda’s home Grand Prix – was always going to be a high-pressure event for maestro Marquez. He went into the race with a 77-point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso, with the Motegi, Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia rounds of the 19-event season still remaining.

Marquez therefore knew full well that if he could beat Dovizioso then he would make sure of the title, an extra joy for Honda management and staff at their own event. On the other hand, however Marquez wanted to win at Motegi, he also knew he could not afford a crash, because that would hurt Honda’s and Repsol Honda’s chances in the important constructors and teams prizes.

And yesterday didn’t go perfectly. Marquez crashed his number-one RC123V during FP4, which couldn’t be repaired in time for qualifying, so he had to ride his second RC213V in qualifying. The bike wasn’t perfectly set up for this unusual layout, so he did well to qualify on the second row of the grid, while Dovizioso took pole position.

Today’s race was a contest of pure strategy. Marquez started masterfully from the second row and was soon riding behind leader Dovizioso, while fellow HRC rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) was also riding superbly, quickly fighting his way into third place and chasing the leaders.

In the final stages Dovizioso upped the pace, but Marquez was able to go with him. Finally, with four laps remaining Marquez swept past his rival to take the lead for the first time. He was convinced he could win the race. And when Dovizioso slid off on the penultimate lap, victory and the world title were secured. Crutchlow finished second. Just ahead of third-placed Alex Rins to give the company a famous one-two result.

Marquez was overcome by joy after the race, climbing the six steps of a special podium and then playing a mock video game – the Marc Marquez Pro-Race Championship – which proclaimed he had made it to the seventh level. Today’s world title was his seventh across all classes; 125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This was another amazing day in an amazing career. Once Marquez and all his friends at Honda have finished celebrating this latest victory he will continue his Asian-Pacific adventure with next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix and the following weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Inevitably, Crutchlow’s superb ride to second place was somewhat overshadowed by the noisy celebrations greeting Marquez’s success, but there is no doubt that this was a truly brilliant ride by the 32-year-old Briton, who continues to get stronger and stronger.

The close support of HRC and his LCR Honda team has allowed Crutchlow to blossom in both speed and confidence. At one stage of the race he was able to get past Marquez and try to go after Dovizioso, but Marquez soon resumed position. The main satisfaction for Crutchlow – three times a MotoGP winner – was that he was able to run the pace of the two fastest riders in MotoGP. And next week he races at Phillip Island, where he won the race in 2016.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who was briefly in the fight for the podium at the last race, rode a strong race in the group behind the leaders. He finally crossed the finish line in eighth position, chasing home Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco.

Honda’s top two MotoGP rookies both finished in the World Championship points. Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) recovered from a heavy fall in practice to complete the race less than a second outside the top ten. He spent much of the 24 laps with fellow rookie Hafizh Syahrin, crossing the line right behind the Malaysian. The pair are involved in a titanic battle for the Rookie of the Year prize, which Morbidelli leads by just four points.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) scored the final point in 15th position after a battle with multiple All-Japan Superbike champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga. The 26-year-old from Chiba took the flag five seconds behind his compatriot for his eighth points score of the year.

Former Moto2 winner Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) had a challenging race, finishing in 20th place after qualifying 23rd quickest.

Up-and-coming Italian star Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) extended his lead in the Moto2 World Championship, powered by Honda, at the end of a thrilling duel with winner Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors - Speed Up Speed Up). Quartararo finished first, but was disqualified when post-race scrutineering revealed that the pressure of his rear tire was below the legal parameters, stipulated for safety reasons.

The disqualification gave 21-year-old Bagnaia his eighth victory of the year, which increases his World Championship lead to 37 points with just three races remaining. More importantly his victory put him two positions ahead of his sole title rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who was credited with third.

Bagnaia led the first two laps before Quartararo came past; then the pair set a scintillating pace to steadily pull away from eventual second-place finisher Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex), who was contesting his 100th Grand Prix event.

Marc Marquez

Baldassari rode a mostly lonely race, unable to go with the leaders, but working very hard to prevent the next group from getting close enough to attack him.

Oliveira knew he would have a difficult day after qualifying ninth, while Bagnaia started from pole position. The 23-year-old Portuguese rode a great race to battle with the group contesting fourth place on track, finally moving to the front of that group during the final laps. At the checkered flag just over three seconds separated Oliveira from Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40 Kalex), Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) and eighth-placed Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM). The top ten in the Honda CBR600-powered category was completed by Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter).

The battle for the Moto3 World Championship continued its rollercoaster progress at Motegi today. Two weeks ago title challenger Marco Bezzecchi crashed at the last corner, apparently damaging his title hopes, but today it was the turn of his great title rival and World Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) to crash out.

This takes the pair into next weekend’s Australian GP separated by just a single point, with Martin just ahead of Bezzecchi, with three races remaining at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia. Five Honda NS250RF riders fill the top six places in the individual points chase, while Honda continues to lead the important Constructors World Championship.

Today’s Moto3 race was a typically frantic battle up front, with up to a dozen riders challenging for the win. Twenty-year-old Spaniard Martin seemed in a perfect position to protect his title advantage, occasionally sneaking into the lead, but all the while waiting for the final-lap sort-out. However, at three-quarters distance he collided with Bezzecchi as they braked at the end of the main straight. Martin maintained control but lost several places, which put him in the difficult position of having to overtake several riders during the final few laps. Two laps later he ran into turn 11 slightly off-line, lost the front and crashed. He tried to restart his bike and re-join the race but was unable to do so.

Honda’s other title hopeful Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) – who scored a superb win in Thailand two weeks ago – also slid out of the race but still has an outside chance of the championship. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) slid off on the first lap, but still stands sixth overall.

Thus Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) was Honda’s top finisher today, crossing the finish line in second place, 0.041 seconds behind winner Bezzecchi and just one thousandth of a second of Darryn Binder, younger brother of Moto2 rider Brad.

Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) also featured in the front group, finishing sixth and seventh, less than half a second behind the winner.

Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) did a great job to take ninth place. This was the 18-year-old from Yokosuka’s second ride after returning from injury.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) took the final World Championship point in 15th, while Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) finished 17th, 18th and 19th.

This weekend’s Japanese Honda wild card Shizuka Okazaki (Kohara Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) finished the race in 23rd position. Fellow wild card Yuto Fukushima (Team Plus One Honda NSF250R) crashed in the early stages and showed great fighting spirit to remount and finish the race in 24th.

The MotoGP paddock now packs up and heads to Australia for next weekend’s Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The final two events of 2018 take place at Sepang, Malaysia, and Valencia, Spain.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st

“I feel really, really good. I would say it’s a dream came true, or better, that I’m living a dream. It’s something so special, here together with my team, all the Honda and HRC people, my family and my staff. It has been a great season, and ever since Aragon I’ve been tasting, imagining this title, because it was very close. Then I realized that this wasn’t my style, and I needed extra motivation, so I set the goal of trying to achieve it with my first match ball—in Motegi, by winning the race. This circuit was a challenging one to manage that, but it seems like when I’m under pressure, I feel better on the bike! Today the race was as I expected. I was prepared to make a good start and immediately make some passes. I got to second place at the end of the first lap, and then was able to follow Andrea and stay with him. I thought I could try and attack before the last lap because I felt I had something extra to give. He was pushing very hard and made a mistake, and that’s a shame because he deserved to be here on the podium. That’s also something that I think Dani would deserve at least once this season. Anyway, when I crossed the finish line it was an explosion of joy. My people prepared this Level7 celebration, but I didn't know anything ahead of time. I never want to know, but I think it’s because I used to play that kind of game a lot. Now it’s time to celebrate this seventh title and enjoy these final three races.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 2nd

“First of all it’s great to be on the podium here in Japan, because my team and Honda have done a great job here and they’ve done a great job all year. For me to finish second, for Marc to win the race and also the championship at Honda’s home race is great! My congratulations to Marc because he had ridden an incredible race. It was a bit of a strange race today. I felt good and I passed Marc, then when I was looking to pass Dovizioso, Marc passed me back. Then I wanted to keep a half-second gap between me and him because I knew he was fighting for the title! The funny thing is that Dovizioso yoyos the pace – he does one or two fast laps, then a few slow laps, which allowed the other guys to catch up. Most of all, I want to thank my team and Honda.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 8th

“The race today was very disappointing, as I wasn't able to reach my expected performance. I didn't have the perfect feeling on the bike, and I struggled a lot. It’s a shame, because this is a track and a place that I like very much. Anyway, that’s the situation, and we need to try and manage as well as possible. I would like to congratulate Marc, as what he has done is amazing. He has been strong everywhere this season, and he was able to make only few mistakes, always gaining points. He’s a rider that evolves continuously. I think the team did a great job as well.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 11th

“We struggled for all the weekend at this track and unfortunately yesterday I smashed the bike in qualifying but finally in the race I was fast and could maintain good pace and arrive close to the top ten. I am very happy because this was a difficult track for us with lots of acceleration.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 15th

“The start wasn’t too bad, but into turn one, turn two and turn three there were so many riders around us that I didn’t have any space inside and there was an impact on my handlebars that made me go out of the track at turn four. I was lucky I didn’t crash, but I lost a lot of positions, from 12th to 23rd I think. That was tough because it’s always difficult to move back up. The race pace was what we expected, 46 high to 47 low, but everybody had the same sort of lap time and it was difficult to overtake the guy in front. I didn’t expect this race today, I’m really disappointed with it. It was a big chance to finish in the top 10, but after the first lap it was over. I tried my best, but I’m sorry to all my fans in Japan.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 20th

“The problem was from the beginning of the race I could not build any feeling with the bike. My start was good, I had a good reaction time and got away fast and this was positive but then I struggled with rear grip and could not get temperature into the rear tire and this cost me a lot of time to the guys in front. In the middle of the race the rhythm was good but by then it was too late.”

Moto2

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st

“I am very happy for this victory, even if it was communicated after the end of the race. At this point of the season and with the third place of Miguel, every point earned is important. Considering the weather on Friday, we did a great job yesterday and today we managed an incredible rhythm. Fabio started really strong and I tried to keep his pace to open the gap. Compared to qualifying, it was difficult to keep the same pace because something was different in the asphalt and there was not the same grip. We are ready for Philip Island race, one of my favorite circuits.”

Lorenzo Baldassarri, Pons HP40: 2nd

“After practice I had some hopes of fighting for the win today, and we were quite close to really fighting all the way. But I didn’t quite have what I needed to go with the leading two as the race progressed. Anyway, the important thing is I reacted well and continued a good pace, to make sure I finished on the podium, even though now I am second. Now, like everyone I am looking forward to Phillip Island!”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd

“I did not expect this result, especially since after the warm-up I felt pretty good on the bike. I thought the race pace would be similar and that I could be very competitive in the race. We lost too much rear grip and it was not possible to opt for a better place. Things didn’t work out as I had imagined and I think that over the weekend we paid the price for this being the first time we had ridden here in the dry with this bike. The reality is that over the next few races we have to be up at the front and win races if we want to continue to have the opportunity to fight for the championship. Now we go to Australia, where last year we took the victory, so we will try our best to repeat that result.”

Moto3

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 2nd

“I wanted to win at Honda’s home track, but the second consecutive podium is a good result. My bike was very fast and I had a great feeling with the front. I took a step forward, I'm constantly fast, since Friday free practice; since Misano I gained my self-confidence and calm after confirming in Leopard Racing unit. In these last races I'm always fighting ahead, I'm getting ready for next season. The team is helping me a lot and they give me trust that I'm repaying to them at all. We’re going to Australia with our spirits high and the desire to try to win.”

Tony Arbolino, Marinelli Snipers Team: 6th

“That was a great fun race, with many riders so close and fighting all the time, so I enjoyed it a lot. My bike had great performance in some parts of the track and not so perfect in other parts, so I had to work very hard to make the most of the positives, but I had some struggled in other places where I wanted to attack. It’s good to finish so close to the winner.”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 7th

“It was a difficult race, I tried to stay with the leading group but I was on the limit in the corners; I tried to attack, but I could not overtake my rivals. I hope to do better at Phillip Island next week.”

Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 16: Japan Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
3 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
6 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
10 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
11 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
12 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
14 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA(Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing)
15 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
16 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
17 Jordi TORRES(Reale Avintia Racing)
18 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
19 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
20 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
21 Sylvain GUINTOLI(Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
RT Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
RT Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
RT Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
RT Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
3 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
5 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
6 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Pons HP40)
7 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
8 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
9 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
10 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
11 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
12 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
13 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
14 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
15 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
16 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
17 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
18 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
19 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
20 Jesko RAFFIN (SAG Team)
21 Niki TUULI (Petronas Sprinta Racing )
22 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
23 Edgar PONS (AGR Team)
24 Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
25 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
26 Isaac VIÑALES (Forward Racing Team)
27 Xavi CARDELUS (Marinelli Snipers Team)
RT Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
RT Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RT Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
RT Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
RT Fabio QUARTARARO (MB Conveyors - Speed Up)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
2 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
3 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5 John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
6 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
7 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
8 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
9 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
10 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
11 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
12 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
13 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
14 Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
15 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
16 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
17 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
18 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
19 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
20 Stefano NEPA (CIP - Green Power)
21 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)
22 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
23 Shizuka OKAZAKI (Kohara Racing Team)
24 Yuto FUKUSHIMA (Team Plus One)
RT Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
RT Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
RT Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
RT Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Academy 77)
RT Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)

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