Round 18 Malaysia

  • Honda Wins MotoGP Constructors Crown Again

    Five-times MotoGP king Marc Marquez rode to a superb ninth race victory of the year in grueling, sweltering conditions at Sepang, at the same time securing the important Constructors World Championship for Honda.

Report

Honda Wins MotoGP Constructors Crown Again

SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, Malaysia, November 4, 2018

Five-times MotoGP king Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) rode to a superb ninth race victory of the year in grueling, sweltering conditions at Sepang this afternoon, at the same time securing the important Constructors World Championship for Honda.

Earlier in the day Spanish youngster Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) won the Moto3 World Championship, taking the Constructors World Championship for Honda in that class. Today’s racing brings the company’s constructors titles across all categories to 69: 24 MotoGP/500cc, six 350cc, 19 250cc, 18 Moto3/125cc and two 50cc. And earlier this year Honda became the first marque to achieve 750 Grand Prix victories across all classes.

Honda’s 24th premier-class Constructors World Champion extends the company’s own record. The next most successful company in the class of kings has won 16 constructors prizes.

Honda has won premier-class constructors success on a huge variety of machinery: four-stroke, two-stroke, 500cc, 990cc, 800cc and 1000cc; three-cylinder, four-cylinder and five-cylinder; inline engine configurations and vee configurations.

The marque, founded by Soichiro Honda in 1948, won its first premier-class constructors success, at its very first attempt, in 1966, with the all-new RC181 inline-four four-stroke. The 1966 season was particularly historic, because Honda established a record that will never be beaten, winning the constructors race across five different championships: 500cc, 350cc, 250cc, 125cc and 50cc. Motorcycling’s World Championships have been restricted to three classes since the mid-1980s.

After a more than a dozen years absence from Grand Prix racing, Honda returned to win the 1983 constructors title with the NS500 two-stroke V3. In 1984 it won the crown with both the NS500 and the brand-new NSR500 two-stroke V4. The NSR500 won the championship on its own an amazing ten times: 1985, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1989 and 2001. In 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 it was the turn of the remarkable 990cc RC211V four-stroke V5. The 800cc RC212V took the crown in 2011, followed by the astonishing 1000cc RC213V in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. At June’s Italian GP at Mugello the fastest RC213V reached 350.9km/h (218mph).

These record-breaking successes over more than half a century with an amazing variety of machinery prove beyond doubt the engineering ingenuity, creativity and passion of several generations of Honda engineers.

This latest constructors success was achieved via ten race victories – nine by Marquez and one by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V)

While Honda has achieved further historic success in the Constructors World Championship, Repsol Honda continues to hunt another Teams World Championship. The team goes into the last race at Valencia, later this month, leading the chase by 39 points. If the team does take the trophy it will be its ninth since the prize was introduced in 2002. Most importantly it would the second year running that Honda has secured the prestigious triple crown of riders, constructors and teams championships.

Marc Marquez

Marquez rode as hard as ever today. Yesterday he achieved his 52nd MotoGP pole position but started the race from seventh, following a penalty imposed for impeding a rival during qualifying. It didn’t take the 25-year-old Spaniard very long to overcome the handicap. He was third by the end of the first lap behind leader Valentino Rossi and Johann Zarco. At one-quarter distance he moved into second place and began to stalk Rossi.

This tense duel continued lap after lap, Rossi extending his lead beyond 1.2 seconds at one point, then Marquez successively reducing the advantage to six tenths. Both men were riding on the absolute edge, then Rossi slid off at turn one on lap 17 of 20. That left Marquez well clear of Alex Rins, who beat Zarco for second. Marquez was ecstatic after this latest win, which was his 44th in MotoGP and his 70th across all Grand Prix categories. Only four riders in 70 years of motorcycle Grand Prix racing have won more races; Giacomo Agostini (122), Rossi (115), Angel Nieto (90) and Mike Hailwood (76).

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had a great ride to fifth, the tropically hot conditions allowing the former 125cc and twice 250cc World Champion to get enough heat into his tires. The 32-year-old lifted himself to 11th in the championship, with one race remaining before he retires from MotoGP racing.

Rookie Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) followed up his brilliant eighth-place finish in Australia last Sunday with a strong ride to 12th place in his first race on a MotoGP bike in this ultra-tough event.

The 23-year-old Italian retains his lead in the Rookie of the Year contests, ten points ahead of Hafizh Syahrin, who finished tenth today and made history as the first Malaysian to take part in the premier-class race at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The pair’s rookie battle therefore goes down to the final race at Valencia.

HRC’s MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) was brought in to replace Cal Crutchlow, who broke an ankle in Australia. The 28-year-old German and former Moto2 World Champion did a sterling job, coming home in 13th and gathering plenty of data for RC213V development. He beat rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) by several seconds, concluding another weekend in the championship points for the 26-year-old from Chiba.

Honda’s third MotoGP rookie Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) had another frustrating race. The 32-year-old Swiss rider finished 16th, one place away from scoring his first MotoGP points for the fifth time this year.

Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) won a tense Moto2 race, his first-ever Grand Prix victory, two places ahead of team-mate Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who secured the 2018 Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 World Championship with the Valencia season finale still to go. Bagnaia’s first crown is well deserved: he has won eight races to the two wins achieved by title runner-up Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM).

Twenty-year-old Marini – half-brother of Valentino Rossi – led the race from start to finish, resisting relentless pressure from Oliveira, who was the only rider with any chance of keeping Bagnaia from winning the championship.

Marini, who only scored his first Grand Prix podium at Assen in July, had to keep pushing all the way, especially after Oliveira had taken second place from Bagnaia just before half-distance. Twenty-three-year-old Oliveira dearly wanted to win today’s race, because he knew Bagnaia was likely to secure the title. However, although he closed the gap to Marini to just three tenths of a second, he was never able to get closer as his younger rival responded superbly to the pressure. 

At the checkered flag Marini was 1.194 seconds ahead of Oliveira, with Bagnaia three seconds behind his team-mate, for a double team celebration on the podium. During the closing stages Bagnaia was chased by Argentine GP winner Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).

Fifth-place went to the hard-fighting Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up), who came back from ninth place in the early stages. His last victim was Spanish GP winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex).

Pole-position man Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) had a horrible first lap, which left him down in ninth place, and with a lot of work to do. He crossed the line in seventh, comfortably clear of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who won last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and today made sure of third place in the World Championship. Binder just beat Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) past the checkered flag. Top rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) completed the top ten.

The Moto3 class has a new World Champion in Martin, who scored an awesome victory to secure the title by 26 points with one race remaining, at the top of an all-Honda podium. Honda also wins this year’s Moto3 World Championship, its 18th in the Junior class.

Twenty-year-old Martin and his NSF250RW have been the class act of the 2018 season, taking 11 pole positions and seven race victories so far. Only some bad luck and an injury prevented Martin from wrapping up the championship sooner.

Today’s race was a thrilling encounter. Martin started from pole position but went backward to tenth in the early laps, wary of a few damp patches around the track, while main title rival Marco Bezzecchi fought for the lead, aiming to keep the championship alive until the final race at Valencia, Spain.

At half-distance the lead group was tightly packed, as usual in Moto3, with the top ten covered by just 1.3 seconds, the lead changing between several different riders at every other corner. At one point Martin and Bezzecchi touched at the first corner as they contest first position. However, Martin was merely biding his time. He took the lead for the final time at the start of the 13th lap and then he showed his true speed, quickly escaping from the pack.

He rode his fastest lap 14 the next lap to lead by more than half a second. By the end of the next lap he was two seconds ahead and at the checkered flag he was 3.556 seconds ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who just beat team-mate Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) to complete a Honda podium monopoly. With one race remaining, Honda NSF250RW fill five of the top six places in the championship.

Martin’s Sepang success follows victories in Qatar, the Americas, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Aragon.

Dalla Porta enjoyed battling for his second victory of the year, following his maiden success in the San Marino GP. The 21-year-old Italian started from 14th on the grid, so he was happy enough with second. Bastianini also had to claw his way through the pack, coming through from 16th place on the first lap to claim the final podium position on the final lap, 0.201 seconds behind Dalla Porta.

Bezzecchi crossed the line in sixth, just one place short of keeping alive a very slim chance of bettering Martin for the title at the last race. Right behind him at the finish was 20-year-old Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), who was the third rider in with an outside chance of the title, before his team-mate put the matter beyond doubt today. Di Giannantonio is now nine points behind Bezzecchi, so he does have a chance of taking the runner-up position in the championship later this month.

Honda’s last riders in the top ten today were front-row-starter Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW), 21-year-old Chiba rider Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), who finished 4.715 seconds off the win and less than a second off the podium.

Local hero Adam Norrodin (Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) rode an amazing race but ended the day without reward. The 20-year-old Malaysian started the race from pit lane, following a rules infringement in practice, and made a miraculous charge through the pack to join the lead group in seventh place, only to slide off. The 20-year-old from Johor Bahru bravely remounted to finish last.

The 70th season of motorcycle Grand Prix season concludes at Valencia on November 18.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
“It was a hard race, first of all because I was starting from seventh place. I didn’t get a perfect start, and then my first lap was good but not one of the best of my career. Step by step, I overtook some riders and got to second place. I saw that Valentino was pushing and I started to chase him, lapping at qualifying pace! But in the process, I overheated the rear tire; the front was also warming up quickly and the feeling wasn’t good. So for a few laps, I just tried to cool down and in so doing I began to feel better and better. I saw I was getting closer to Valentino and honestly that gave me extra motivation. At that moment, it was just a matter of instinct and pushing, something that you can do when you’ve already got the Championship. Unfortunately, he made a little mistake in turn one, which is a shame as it would have been nice to see how the duel would have ended. Anyway, when I saw him crash, I just cooled down and focused on finishing the race. We won, and that was the best way to seal the Constructors World Championship. I would also like to congratulate Jorge Martin and “Pecco” Bagnaia for taking their championships. We’ll celebrate together in Valencia.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 5th
“Today I focused a lot on the start because I was very far back on the grid. The start itself wasn’t perfect, but then I was able to recover a few places in the first corner. Unfortunately, I lost some ground with [Andrea] Dovizioso and Marc just a couple of turns later. Anyway, the feeling at the beginning of the race was good enough and I was able to stay there close to the front. On the other hand, toward the end I began struggling with grip again and I was passed by [Alex] Rins and [Maverick] Viñales. All in all it was a little bit better race than usual. I would like to congratulate [Jorge] Martin for his title. He was able to overcome some difficulties this year, an injury and other issues, and he had a strong race today. He totally deserves this result.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 12th
“I am happy with this result, it was a nice recovery to gain so many positions after starting from 19th on the grid. I am very satisfied with the work the team did this weekend and now I am really looking forward to the final race in Valencia.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda CASTROL: 13th
“I’m happy, we finished in the points and that was my target. Of course, it was a tough race as I’d not ridden the bike in almost two months and then I arrived here in Malaysia and the conditions were unbelievably hot. Also the weather was inconsistent, so overall I think we did a good job and I’m happy with the team because they helped me a lot. As soon as I started with them this weekend it felt like I was back home, so I have to thank Lucio (Cecchinello) and the guys in the garage who did an incredible job. A big thanks to HRC as well as they built up a test schedule this year which allowed me this opportunity. Also I want to wish Cal (Crutchlow) a speedy recovery, I hope he’s recovering well and can come back as strong as he was before.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 14th

“The race was a bit of a struggle. The track temperature was quite good, although the condition wasn’t perfect. We chose a medium tire for the front and a soft for the rear and I think that was the correct choice for us. But we couldn’t find the same kind of performance as in FP3 when we had a strong pace, around 2m 01s laps. I wasn’t able to do that in the race and for me it was difficult to find the rear grip. The team did a great job all weekend and hopefully we can get our best result of the season in the last race in Valencia.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 16th
“It was a hot race and I was struggling a little for the first two laps with rear edge grip and I nearly went down at the final corner. But then I found a good pace and felt good on the bike but later I struggled again with rear grip and I lost time which cost me a chance of some points. I was very close and so a pity that again I am in sixteenth place.”

 

Moto2

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st
“What a race for the whole team and what a victory! It was hard: I started immediately strong to try to stay ahead and breathe with these temperatures. I pushed because, after the warm up, I knew I was one of the strongest. I had a great feeling with the bike, I knew how to handle the tire and the physical effort. I was happy with the feeling with the bike, I tried to give 100 percent to put some space, but Miguel did not give up until the end. It is my first victory in the World Championship, a special day to share with the team, the Academy, all those who have always supported me and Pecco who has done something incredible.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 2nd
“This was a Grand Prix in which we went very well. From the beginning I felt good, but Pecco [Bagnaia] was also strong; I was able to pass him and I went after Marini. Finally I couldn’t get close enough to overtake him. It was a very hard fought race. I’m very proud of the efforts I have made this year, of my riding, my season and our perseverance, although unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to beat Bagnaia. Pecco has been very strong and we have both been very consistent. We have battled with everything we had, my team has done a great job and I have also given 110%. Overall, it has been a season full of emotions that we want to finish with a victory in Valencia.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 3rd
“It is difficult to find the right words: we are World Champions. A unique, incredible emotion. I arrived here with a lot of pressure, I knew I could win the Championship and tried not to think of it. Then yesterday, after qualifying, something has changed. Everything started to become real. After the pre-season, I understood that we had the potential to fight for the title, but now it's different, we are World Champions after a record year with eight wins, poles and a great job from everyone. The list of people to thank is endless: Vale, Uccio and the whole Academy, Elena and Sky, my family, my sister and my girlfriend. Pablo and Idalio who were fundamental on and off the track. Then my team: David, Sergio, Peru, Carletto and Leo. It is everyone's victory. The last ten laps was very hard, then the penultimate lap I started to cry and shout inside the helmet. A difficult race and Luca was great. He deserves it because he was close to the fastest all the weekend and one of the most competitive during the season.”

Moto3

Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st
"My whole life passed through my very own eyes. I come from a humble family and it wasn't easy to get here where we are now. I would like to thank everyone who supported me and helped me grow: from the ‘Cuna de Campeones’ to the rookies cup to obviously Gresini Racing. I saw this title almost slipping off my hands in Thailand when I thought I wouldn't have raced, but we did it and I want to thank everyone, including my rivals. To be winning the title and taking the race win at the same time is probably the best thing in the world, so thank you once again!"

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 2nd
“It was a great race on a very difficult track. I had a good start and I immediately I knew that I could push: if I reduced my rhythm for a moment, three rivals overtook me. So I tried to ride more aggressively and stay in the leading group. The team worked really well and I am very happy for my bike. When Jorge overtook me, there were some contacts with other riders and then I couldn’t close the gap. Another podium today, also important for the upcoming 2019 season: next year we will try to win the world championship!”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 3rd
“It was an amazing race! After a not brilliant start, I managed to close the gap and bring me back to the leading group. The last lap was very difficult, because I had to protect myself from the rivals behind me and, at the same time, to try to overcome the guys in front. It's my 24th career podium. I'll go to Valencia to do the best I can.”

Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 18: MalaysiaRace

MotoGP Class

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

Moto2 Class

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

Moto3 Class

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

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