Round 16Japan

  • Magic Marquez Wins and Honda Wins MotoGP Constructors Crown

    Reigning MotoGP Riders World Champion Marc Marquez wrote his name in the record books at Twin Ring Motegi with a masterful start-to-finish victory that gave Honda its 25th MotoGP Constructors World Championship.


Report

Magic Marquez Wins and Honda Wins MotoGP Constructors Crown

TWIN RING MOTEGI, Japan, October 20, 2019

Reigning MotoGP Riders World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) wrote his name in the record books at Twin Ring Motegi today with a masterful start-to-finish victory that gave Honda its 25th MotoGP Constructors World Championship.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Honda has become the first motorcycle manufacturer to reach this important milestone 60 years after commencing its world-class racing adventure at the 1959 Isle of Man TT. The second most successful manufacturer in this category has scored 16 constructors crown.

Today's Japanese Grand Prix victory was the 26-year-old Spaniard's tenth victory of 2019 and his 54th MotoGP victory, which puts him equal with Honda's most successful premier-class winner Mick Doohan, who won 54 500cc races between 1990 and 1998. After the race Marquez was congratulated by Honda legend Jim Redman, who won six world titles and 45 GP victories during the 1960s.

Although the six-times MotoGP World Champion made the race look easy it certainly wasn't. Yesterday was mostly washed out by rain, so riders and teams had only one full day of data with which to find the perfect set-up for today's race. Nonetheless, yesterday Marquez scored his 90th pole position across all categories and his first MotoGP pole at Motegi.

Today he was perfection personified: grabbing the holeshot and never letting his rivals get near enough to attack, apart from a brief three-corner spell on lap one, when Fabio Quartararo was in front. But on Turn Ten the Frenchman nearly fell as Marquez regained the lead. From then on Marquez steadily built his advantage to take his fourth successive victory. During the last laps he eased his pace by a fraction because Motegi is probably MotoGP's toughest on fuel consumption. At the checkered flag he was 0.870 seconds ahead of Quartararo, who held second place throughout, under pressure from final podium finisher Andrea Dovizioso.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) had an excellent Japanese Grand Prix. The 33-year-old Briton qualified fifth fastest yesterday, his best grid performance since April's Grand Prix of the Americas. Today he fought his hardest throughout the 24 laps. Eventually he broke clear of the third group to chase down the riders in the second group, fighting with Alex Rins and others.

In the final laps Crutchlow and Rins closed on fifth-placed Franco Morbidelli, who had started from the front row. The trio were right together throughout the final lap, jostling for position. As they attacked Victory Corner – the final turn – Crutchlow got an excellent exit drive to use the awesome horsepower of his RC213V to power past Morbidelli on the race to the finish line. He beat the Italian for fifth place by 0.047 seconds! This was his best race result since July's German GP, when he finished third, behind winner Marquez.

Local hero Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) did not have an easy home Grand Prix. The 27-year-old from Chiba has been suffering from a deteriorating right shoulder since he was knocked down by a rival during June's Dutch TT. Visits to several experienced surgeons advised him to undergo surgery as soon as possible in order to be fully fit for the 2020 season. The Japanese therefore took the difficult decision to have the operation in Tokyo next week, so he will miss 2019's final three races in Australia, Malaysia and Valencia, Spain.

This weekend the former Moto2 race winner battled through the pain barrier. In yesterday's tricky conditions he qualified 13th and in today's race he was focused on continuing his impressive run of points-scoring finishes during his second season in the premier class. However, his physical condition – especially at a track with several heavy-braking zones that demand a lot of upper-body strength – was always going to cause him problems over the grueling 24-lap race. Finally he finished in 16th position, just one place outside out of the points.

Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) completed the race in 17th place, less than three seconds behind Nakagami. Like the Japanese, the Spaniard is not in the best physical shape, having also crashed heavily during June's Dutch TT. The three-times MotoGP king has scored points twice since he returned to action at August's British GP but didn't quite make the cut today.

Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) battled hard to score his second consecutive Moto2 victory, overtaking main rival Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) with one and a half laps to go. Reigning Moto3 World Champion and Moto2 rookie Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) rode a remarkable race, working his way through from 15th place on the first lap to take third place for his first Moto2 podium.

Marini set the early pace, chased all the way by his great friend and training partner Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40 Kalex), who dominated the early stages of the 2019 championship.

But perhaps the best surprise was astonishing rookie Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex). The 20-year-old Thai spent the early stages of the race in third place, until Luthi came past and then he slipped down the order, finally finishing 13th. This was nonetheless a stunning result from the youngster, riding his first race at Motegi.

Luthi took the lead from Marini at half-distance, then the 33-year-old Swiss rider and 22-year-old Italian raised their pace and pulled away from the rest of the pack. All the while the pair were playing the tricky balancing act of riding as fast as possible while saving their tires for the inevitable final-lap showdown. In the end, Marini was the strongest, winning by half a second.

Young Spaniard Martin got the better of young Italian Baldassari in the final laps to take the flag 0.4 seconds in front of his rival.

The excitement in the all-important World Championship battle unfolded a few seconds further back, with series leader Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) having a demanding race, saving several spectacular slides. The 23-year-old Spaniard eventually took the flag in sixth place, behind Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up Speed Up) and in front of Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and title rival Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40 Kalex).

Marquez's closest rival going into this race was Fernandez, but Luthi's victory moves him to second overall, 36 points behind Marquez with three races remaining. South African Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) was also in the title fight, but had a difficult weekend here, completing the race in 12th place, which puts him fifth overall, behind Marquez, Luthi, Fernandez and Navarro.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) took a thrilling and vital Moto3 victory, resisting immense pressure from a frantic lead group to extend his World Championship lead to 47 points with three races remaining.

The 22-year-old was faultless, taking the lead from Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) at half distance but never gaining more than a meter advantage over the pursuing pack. Therefore he could not afford even the slightest mistake. He did lose the lead for one corner with three laps to go when Suzuki sneaked ahead, but Dalla Porta was soon back in charge.

The final lap was particularly frantic, with positions changing frequently behind him, but Dalla Porta braked as late as he dared and never gave anyone the chance to get past. He now leads the championship by a big margin, after his biggest title rival Aron Canet crashed out of the lead group at three-quarters distance.

This was Dalla Porta's third victory of the year, after his first place in Germany, and the second win of his career, the first achieved at last year's San Marino GP.

Today's success also extended Honda's lead in the Constructors World Championship to 69 points. Honda is currently chasing its third successive constructors prize in Moto3, which would bring its total in the Moto3/125cc class to 19, an all-time record for the category.

Dalla Porta's advantage at the checkered flag over runner-up Albert Arenas was just 0.094 seconds, with Celestino Vietti taking third. The podium was covered by 0.198 seconds.

Suzuki was the unluckiest rider of the day. The 2019 San Marino GP winner led the first half his home race and challenged Dalla Porta for the lead until the very last lap, when he lost out to Arenas and Vietti to miss the podium by 0.091 seconds. Right behind the 22-year-old from Chiba came 16-year-old Spanish rookie Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW).

French GP winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) was Honda's next finisher in sixth place, after losing contact with the lead pack in the final stages. The Briton finished comfortably ahead of eighth- and ninth-placed Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW).

Talented Grand Prix rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) fought his way into the World Championship points, taking 14th place, just over one second outside the top ten. This was another great display from the 18-year-old from Tokyo who was contesting his first Japanese Grand Prix.

Team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) crossed the finish line in 17th place, less than two tenths of a second outside the points! The 19-year-old from Fukuoka, who won the season-opening Qatar GP, but struggled during braking today.

The MotoGP paddock rushes to Australia next, for next weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, which is followed immediately by the following weekend's Malaysian GP. The season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on November 17.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st

“It wasn't an easy race. I was pushing from the beginning; the strategy was clear – I had to try to open a gap. I felt strong and with the team we had calculated a pace of 1'46 low but then I was able to ride in 1'45 high – good news for me but I had to slow down a little bit. I worked on riding as smooth as possible and I was able to open the gap to two seconds but in the final two laps we were getting a little low on fuel because Motegi is always very demanding. There was a little bit of pressure to win the Constructors Championship in Japan, but I love the pressure and it is great to win it here for Honda because everyone works so hard. All the Repsol Honda Team did a great job to find the best setting and strategy for this race."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 5th

“Today was a good result for me and the team, so we are happy. We qualified fifth and we finished fifth in a strong race. I wish my pace had been a bit faster in the early part, but I had to manage the situation with the bike and the tires to finish in the best possible position. I was pleased to be able to catch some riders, have a good battle and get fifth place at the finish line. It's been a good Japanese Grand Prix, with Marc winning and me making the top five after a tough weekend in Thailand. We bounced back from that to get a good result here, so my thanks to the team for their hard work and now we look forward to racing at Phillip Island next weekend, which has good and not-so-good memories for me." 

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 16th

“First of all my thanks to the Japanese fans who came to Twin Ring Motegi, which I really appreciate. I felt a lot of energy from the fans and did all my best all the weekend. Thanks also to my LCR Honda IDEMITSU staff who gave me great support, helping me with my shoulder injury. Today was not the real performance I expected, but my performance was limited by my right shoulder. Now the season is over for me and now it's time for surgery and then for recovering well for the future, for next season. Thanks again to my team and the Japanese fans – I hope we can come back really strong for next season. This season is over and already I am looking to next year's Sepang tests." 

Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 17th

“We made an improvement to the bike this weekend and my feeling was better. Today in the second part of the race I was able to enjoy riding the bike again and go much faster than at the start of the race. At the end we were closer to the front than any of the other races since my injury, a second from the fastest in the last laps. The problem was at the beginning, I couldn't play with the bike as much as at the end and this is where we lost all our time. But towards the end I was able to little by little, brake later and go faster. With the pace at the end I could have been within 30 seconds of the leader. Now we try to keep the momentum for Phillip Island."

Moto2

Luca Marini, SKY Racing Team VR46: 1st

“I was really fast all weekend. Maybe I used the tire a little too much in the early laps. When Tom overtook me he pushed to the maximum and I had to see how my tire would last over the last laps. I managed things well and at the end I think I had more tire than Tom, so I could attack. My thanks to all my team for the work and also to my family and my girlfriend at home in Italy who wake up every day at 2am to watch me!"

Thomas Luthi, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd

“It was not easy and especially Alex [Marquez] was defending his position very hard. But at the end I found that rhythm again and I pushed for it. Physically I was super fit, but mentally it was a bit difficult. When I arrived at the top it put me really under pressure. I tried to think through several tactics. Should I try to push and pull away, or should I take some speed out and just hold the position. I decided to push, as I had some excess regarding to the others. I was able to surprise Marini and overtake him, but at the end he had some cushion left. I had burnt the rear tire already and he overtook me back. I had a really good pace and just tried to keep it."

Jorge Martin, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd

“I can't believe it – my first podium in Moto2! We have worked very well all weekend and when we came to the race I put everything I had on the track. We had a good pace all through the race but I had to work my way through from a long way back. I was on the limit all the time, which allowed me to catch Baldassarri. I hope we can keep working in this direction!"

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 13th

“Today I've discovered new sensations, like be riding in podium positions during several laps. I'm happy about this because during these laps I've learned a lot. In the middle of the race, I started to have problems with the front, making some mistakes and losing many positions, but in general, I'm happy about my race. I have high confidence in myself, and now we go to Australia, a new track for me, where I will try to continue in the same shape."

Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 21st

“This weekend I'm happy about the progress, not for the position. In the warm-up, I had a bad feeling with the bike, but for the race, I tried to change my mentality. Aoyama gave me some good advice that permitted me to improve my lap time. This change is good thinking in the next round in Australia. It will be a new track for me again. I will keep working like this, improving step by step."

Moto3

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 1st

“I am over the moon with my performance, because I rode a fantastic race, especially after the problems we had in morning warm-up. My team did a great job and my bike was so good in the race. The first laps were very aggressive, but once I was able to overtake Canet and Suzuki I was able to run my own rhythm and push as hard as I could. Now we go to Australia, which is another track I really like, I would like to dedicate this victory to my late grandmother, who passed away recently – I promised to her I would win!"

Tatsuki Suzuki, SIC58 Squadra Corse: 4th

“The race was a great battle and it was really good to lead for so many laps in front of the Japanese fans, who gave me amazing support and motivation. But in the final laps we could not quite do it and then I didn't have the grip to keep my podium position. This was a shame at my home race but we will try again!"

Sergio Garcia, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 5th

“In Thailand, we worked intensively on our setup, and we continued that work here. In FP1 I did very well and in FP2 I worked on my pace. When we rode in the wet on Saturday I felt very comfortable. I got a fifth place on the grid and in the race, I went out there to see what I could do. I pushed hard and managed to escape with the first group. I was always among the top riders and it was very positive because I had not achieved that all season. I think we are improving and, little by little, we will be higher up the order."

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 14th

“This is my first Japanese Grand Prix, and I had the aim of a good result here. But all weekend I've had many problems. Yesterday in FP3 under the rain I rode quite good, but today the race has been difficult from the beginning. I struggled a lot in turning, from the middle of the corner to the exit. Sometimes that can happen. The only way now is to continue working and improving. “

Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: 17th

“A tough race today. I was unable to fight with the rest of the riders. I don't know why; I think something happened on the braking. Today it was impossible to get a good result. But I don't give up, in Australia I will try to change this dynamic."

More

Results

MotoGP World Championship 2019
Round 16: Japan Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MÁRQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
4 Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
6 Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
7 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
8 Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
9 Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)
10 Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
11 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
13 Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)
14 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
15 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
16 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
17 Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)
18 Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)
19 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
20 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
RT Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
RT Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)
3 Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
5 Jorge NAVARRO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
6 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
7 Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
8 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Flexbox HP 40)
9 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
10 Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Temporary Forward)
11 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)
12 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
13 Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
14 Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Temporary Forward)
15 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
16 Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
17 Jake DIXON (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
18 Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)
19 Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)
20 Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
21 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
22 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
23 Xavi CARDELUS (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
RT Mattia PASINI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
RT Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
RT Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)
RT Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)
RT Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
RT Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RT Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
RT Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)
RT Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
2 Albert ARENAS (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
3 Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
4 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
5 Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6 John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
7 Jaume MASIA (Mugen Race)
8 Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)
9 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
10 Andrea MIGNO (Mugen Race)
11 Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
12 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
13 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
14 Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
15 Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
16 Stefano NEPA (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)
17 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
18 Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
19 Raul FERNANDEZ (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team)
20 Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)
21 Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)
22 Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)
23 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
24 Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)
RT Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)
RT Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
RT Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)
RT Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
RT Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
RT Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)

Photos