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Oct 21, 2018

MotoGP: More From The Japanese Grand Prix

The start of the Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi. Photo courtesy of Michelin.

Marc Marquez is the 2018 MotoGP World Champion. #Level7 completed

Marc Marquez scored a brilliant victory at Twin Ring Motegi today, earning his eighth win of the season, the seventh World Title of his career and his fifth MotoGP World Championship in six years.

The 25-year-old Spaniard is the youngest rider in the history of the sport to win seven World Championships: 125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Marc is also the youngest rider to have won five premier-class titles.

Marc Marquez 2018 World Championship facts so far

– At the age of 25 years and 246 days, Marquez is the youngest rider of all time to reach the milestone of seven World Championships, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 26 years and 140 days old when he won his seventh title, the 1966 350cc crown.

– Marquez is one of only eight riders to have taken seven or more World Championships across all classes, the others being John Surtees (7), Phil Read (7), Carlo Ubbiali (9), Mike Hailwood (9), Valentino Rossi (9), Angel Nieto (13) and Giacomo Agostini (15).

– Marquez is the youngest rider ever to win five premier-class titles, at the age of 25 years and 246 days, taking the record from Valentino Rossi, who was 26 years and 221 days old when he won his fifth premier-class title in 2005.

– Marquez has joined Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini as one of only four riders to have taken five or more premier–class titles.

– Marquez has won all his MotoGP titles while riding Honda motorcycles, joining Mick Doohan as the riders with the most premier-class crowns with the Japanese manufacturer (5).

– Only one Spanish rider has won more world titles than Marquez: Angel Nieto, who earned 13 World Championships (seven in the 125cc class and six in the 50cc class) between 1969 and 1984.

– Marquez has won at least five GPs per season over the past nine years, across three categories: 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP. He is the first rider to achieve this distinction in the 70-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing, beating his own record from last year. Previously, Mike Hailwood was the only man to have achieved at least five victories per season over seven years, across at least three classes, between 1961 and 1967.

– Marquez’s current 2018 tally of five pole positions extends his all-time pole record (in the modern era—since 1974, when full poles began to be officially recorded) to an incredible 78 poles across three classes.

– Marquez has won more MotoGP races this season than any other rider (8). He has also scored the most podiums (13) and the most pole positions (5).



More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Zarco fights for strong sixth in Japan – Impressive Syahrin seals top 10

Starting the Motul Grand Prix of Japan from the front row of the grid, Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco ended the first lap in seventh position. The fast Frenchman was fighting hard to keep up with the front group, showed a strong pace and finally saw the chequered flag in sixth position. With three rounds to go, Zarco is back to sixth in the overall standings and still in striking distance for the fight of the independent riders’ championship.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin showed a stunning race. Starting from the sixth row, he occupied P18 after the first lap, but step by step upped his pace and made up one position after another. The strong MotoGP newcomer eventually finished inside the top 10, gaining another point on Franco Morbidelli and is now missing out on the Rookie of the Year lead by just four points.

Johann Zarco

Position: 6th – Championship: 6th – Points: 133

“I want to say, it was a good race. I really gave all I could give regarding energy and potential of me and of the bike. It’s a shame, as the start was good, but the first four corners I lost a lot of positions. I could not go where I wanted to go, it was too difficult and then the first ten laps maybe have been the most difficult. Later, the second half of the race, I got a strong pace and I was feeling more comfortable on the bike – not enough to catch the first group, but good enough to be fast. I could see the crash of Iannone and Dovizioso and I saw that also Rossi was forcing to be fast, so I was pushing myself to prepare to overtake him, trying to fight with him on the last lap. Unfortunately, Bautista was also coming back after his start. When he overtook me towards the end, I totally lost the contact to Valentino and the possibility to finish in fourth position. Anyway, I need to be happy. The weekend has been decent, I was feeling quite good on the bike, although I feel that things are missing. About the championship; many things are moving. Cal (Crutchlow) did a great race and his 20 points are very important for our fight for the best independent rider.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 10th – Championship: 17th – Position: 34

“I’m really happy to be in the top 10. This is what I always want for myself and now we’re inside the top 10 for the second time, so I’m really delighted. Thank you very much to the whole team, because they made a good job. We are always working truly hard to be strong in the race. Thanks as well to everybody who supports me and especially my family, who came here. We need to continue working hard. The next race in Phillip Island, I will do my best. It will not be easy, but I’m already looking forward and try to be in a god shape before my home Grand Prix.”

Hervé PONCHARAL

Team Manager

“As always in Motegi, Japan, a lot of things are happening during the MotoGP race. Clearly, we didn’t get the start we were hoping for with Johann. Jack (Miller) was a bit aggressive, hit him twice and we couldn’t get the benefit of our front row position. He just tried to stay on the outside almost every corner of the first lap, but you loose a lot of positions and from that moment, it was just a mission to recover and try to catch the guys in front of him. For sure, he didn’t have the pace and I think nobody inside the Yamaha camp could fight with the top group, but the disappointment started to go away when we saw him coming back. He was catching Valentino (Rossi) tenth by tenth, but he arrived at 0.4 behind him with around four laps to go, so we were really hot on seeing on what could have happen during these last laps. But unfortunately Bautista was catching him, passed him and that was the end of the story. It was too late to try a move on Valentino. It’s been a though race, but I think Johann did his best and I want to thank him for the whole weekend, because he showed great spirit and great determination on track, which is what we want and we are happy to see him like he was, when we started the year. On the other side, we are very, very happy with Hafizh, who ended up fastest rookie again. He didn’t have such a good start and lost a few positions. It’s difficult to pass and I told him before, be careful and take your time – and this is what he did. But we could see as soon as he was passing another rider, there was quickly a gap as he was so much faster and catching up. He eventually managed to reach a top 10 position. This is a great achievement. The lap times were great, he was lapping exactly the same and sometimes quicker than both, Johann and Valentino, which is something we are very proud of. He didn’t do any mistake, but was learning every single lap. We are very pleased. Franco Morbidelli finally managed to pass Bradley Smith in the very last sector of the very last lap, so we just got one point on him. Anyway, we are only four points behind him in the championship, three rounds to go, so it’s going to be very exciting. I think he’s learning a lot and I’m very proud of Hafizh. What he did today is a remarkable race and performance.”




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ STOPS IN THE FIRST PART OF THE RACE

SCOTT REDDING NINETEENTH

Sunday did not start well for Aleix Espargaró due to a crash on turn seven during the warm up session that left the rider with pain in his neck and in less-than-optimum conditions for riding in the race. From the start, Aleix had to deal with a grip problem at the front that had a decisive impact on the early laps, so much to convince him to pit on the seventh lap.

Scott Redding rode the only RS-GP over the finish line in the Japanese race. The English rider finished nineteenth, so outside of the points zone, despite a good start which, in the early stages of the race, had placed him in the battle for a good finishing position.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

"What happened today was strange. From the start the instrument cluster was showing an alarm for front tyre pressure and temperature which went to abnormal levels. It was impossible to ride. The wheel locked up in braking even when going straight and I was forced to retire. It was not an easy weekend for us. We need to analyse the situation well to figure out what happened."

SCOTT REDDING

“I think I had my best start of the season. I made up a lot of positions and in the early laps I felt good. The grip was good, I was in the group and I was able to keep the pace. At a certain point, the front tyre began to move around. I chose the soft because the medium was unusable. I tried it in the warm up session too, but without results. I was managing things rather well, but then I began losing grip at the rear and I had to settle for finishing the race.”



More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:

SECOND-BEST RESULT OF THE SEASON FOR SMITH IN JAPAN PLUS FIRST MOTO3 PODIUM FOR BINDER

RACE 16th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Twin Ring Motegi (JAP)

Bradley Smith rode his Red Bull KTM RC16 to 12th position around the sun-kissed corners of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit for his second best classification of the 2018 MotoGP campaign. Pol Espargaro was 13th to end seven rounds of injury problems with his first points on the board.

MotoGP

In contrast to Red Bull KTM’s wet debut experience with the hard braking and acceleration of demands of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in 2017, the sixteenth round of the 2018 season took place in sunny and warm conditions in central Japan. Marc Marquez clinched the win and the MotoGP crown but it was a positive weekend of work and achievement for the team as both riders brought home points for the first time since the Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello.

Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro launched from the fifth row of the grid with his KTM RC16 for the 24 lap race that begun in the early hours of Sunday morning CET. Both were fixed in the large group disputing lower top ten positions and down to 15th place.

The lap-times were very close and the gap from the leaders to the middle of the pack hovered around the 10-15 second mark for the opening phases of the Grand Prix chase. Smith followed Danilo Petrucci for most of the race and then had to scrap with Hafizh Syahrin. Another position was gained thanks to Andrea Dovizioso’s penultimate lap crash but Smith just lost out to Franco Morbidelli on the last circulation.

Espargaro had made the more lively start and was initially on the fringes of the top ten. The Spaniard’s lack of race time was evident once more and he just missed the last few hundredths of a second per lap to remain in contention. Espargaro crossed the line in 13th for his first points in eight races.

Smith: “We were fighting for tenth position for quite a long time but in the last eight laps I just seemed to struggle a little bit with the Medium rear with edge-grip and Hafizh could catch me quite easily. I tried a little bit too hard into Turn 11 with Franco and ran wide. A bit frustrating to finish 12th in the end but it is some good points and KTM were strong here, and all weekend. We got some good data because I ran the Medium and Pol the Soft so we can look at the positive and negatives. Now to Phillip Island and last year there was good for us. We were competitive all weekend and it is one of the stronger tracks for us.”

Espargaro: “Physically: no excuses, I could finish the race in the points, and for the first time since June. Honestly I am not so happy with the result – the team put in a lot of effort and we wanted to show the progression of the KTM – and we were quite far from the top guys. We chose the Soft tyre for the rear and I think it was a good choice apart from the end. I was recovering my race speed again and it was nice to be back fighting in the points. We’ll look for better at Phillip Island, which is one of my favourite tracks. We need to improve.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “We have to be happy to have both riders in the points again. Bradley did a solid job and we are happy with his 12th position but his mistake in the hairpin allowed Franco to catch him. He gave his maximum. Pol finished his first race in the points since Assen and after his long rehabilitation. I’m really happy to see him back in the pit after the race with some points and no issues. I think he will be stronger in Phillip Island. We didn't have any technical issues in the race and this shows that we, and everyone at KTM, are working hard and we are getting better and better. Everybody knows that this class is very competitive. We would like to get inside the top ten; that is still a big target this season. Let’s go to Phillip Island and try to get it.”

Moto2

Miguel Oliveira scored some important points with 3rd position with the KTM Moto2 bike (retrospectively after Fabio Quartararo’s disqualification) and just ahead of Alex Marquez to keep his hand in the Moto2 title fight with Francesco Bagnaia, who was awarded victory at Motegi. On track Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Oliveira could not close the gap to Lorenzo Baldassarri and collected 16 points to remain 28 adrift of his Italian rival with three rounds and a maximum of 75 points remaining. Teammate Brad Binder was 5th.

Oliveira: "I did not expect this result, especially since after the warmup 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

In Moto3 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Darryn Binder was part of a typical tight and chaotic race and the South African fought with Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Marco Bezzecchi for victory: the top three being decided by only four hundredths of a second at the flag. Binder classified third for his first ever Grand Prix podium appearance. Bezzecchi meanwhile used his KTM RC250 GP to clinch a third win and ninth rostrum of 2018 and narrow the championship tussle with Jorge Martin (DNF in Japan) to just one point.

D. Binder: "I'm very happy to have taken my first podium in the World Championship. Of course, I can’t complain about third position, but exiting the last corner I thought I had the victory in the bag -in the end it wasn’t to be. It was a very tough, fiercely contested race. After a season that has been hard for various reasons, in recent races we have made very important progress that has allowed us to be higher up the order -and I am very proud of this. This podium is a reward for our good work. I thank the team and all those who support me for everything."

The Grand Prix of Australia at the fabulous Phillip Island circuit will stage round seventeen of 2018 MotoGP next weekend as the series then moves to Malaysia and back to Europe and Valencia, Spain for the last dates on the calendar.

Next Race: October 28, 2018 – Philip Island (AUS)

Results MotoGP Twin Ring Motegi 2018

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 42:36.438 min

2. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +1.573 sec

3. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki, +1.720

4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), +6.413

5. Alvaro Bautista (ESP), +6.919

KTM

12. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +26.875

13. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +27.069

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 16 of 19 rounds

1. Marquez, 296 points (2018 MotoGP World Champion)

2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 194

3. Rossi, 185

4. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, 155

5. Crutchlow, 148

KTM

16. Espargaro, 35

19. Smith, 23

22. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, 6

Results Moto2 Twin Ring Motegi 2018 (revised)

1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 41:04.294 min

2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, +6.227

3. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +11.553

4. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +12.053

5. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +12.348

Standings Moto2 2018 after 16 of 19 rounds

1. Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 284 points

2. Oliveira, 247

3. Binder, 168

4. Baldassarri, 152

5. Marquez, 139

Results Moto3 Twin Ring Motegi 2018

1. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, 39:35.653 min

2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda, +0.041 sec

3. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +0.042

4. Dennis Foggia (ITA), KTM, +0.212

5. John McPhee (GBR), KTM, +0.251

KTM

8. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG), KTM, +1.561

10. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, +7.965

Standings Moto3 2018 after 16 of 19 rounds

1. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 204 points

2. Bezzecchi, 203

3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, 175

4. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, 142

5. Dalla Porta,131

KTM

7. Rodrigo, 116

8. Kornfeil, 108

9. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, 90

10. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, 79

19. Binder, 44



More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

#JapaneseGP Race. Petrux ends up in 9th place. Following a good start, Jack crashes on lap 11

The #JapaneseGP ends with the TOP 10 of Danilo Petrucci and the good weekend of Jack Miller who - after the front row conquered in qualifying - fights with the leading group before crashing on lap 11.

Petrux started from P15 and in the first two laps, he managed to recover 3 positions. On lap 4, however, he made a mistake that made him lose contact with the Top 10. The rider from Terni remains concentrated and a good race pace (46 high) allows him to get the ninth position after the crashes of Iannone, Miller and Dovizioso.

Jack's start was very good. The Australian rider turns second at the first turn and tries to stay in the podium group. The race pace of his opponents, however, is better and on lap 11 he crashes when he was in 8th position.

P9 – Danilo Petrucci

"I wanted to get the Top 10 after a difficult weekend and I was able to do it even though I was helped by some crashes. I'm glad I got some points even if Crutchlow is doing great results for the Independent classification., In Australia I have to do better and I can't wait to be at Philip Island".

DNF - Jack Miller

"It's a shame because the weekend was really positive. The race pace wasn't bad and I felt like I could close the gap to Rins and Iannone but after Zarco overtook me, I made a mistake in braking and crashed. Now we go to Australia and I want to do well in my Home-GP".



More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

Simeon and Torres close to score points at the Japanese Grand Prix

MotoGP GP of Japan – Twin Ring Motegi

Reale Avintia Racing riders Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres finished today’s Japanese Grand Prix in 16th and 17th place.

Xavier Simeon had a poor start from the penultimate row of the grid and he did his best to recover during the race. But even though, these first few laps cost him a lot of time and he lost contact with the group of riders that eventually scored points.

On his third race with Reale Avintia Racing, Jordi Torres made a big step forward. Motegi is a circuit where the Spaniard always struggled in the past, but on this occasion, he improved in every session. Today in the race, he was challenging his teammate until the chequered flag. He also discovered more things on his bike and the Michelin tyres.

The next MotoGP World Championship round takes place in Phillip Island in five days.

Xavier Simeon | P16

“To be honest, I think my race today was very good. I clocked decent lap times and I was close to score points. The biggest problem today was the start. I’m not able to start well with this bike and in the first lap I found myself in last position. At the beginning of the race my pace was not the best and I lost contact with the group that was fighting for points. I leave Japan with mixed feelings, because today I had the pace to score points and we didn’t succeed. On the other hand I’m happy, because this weekend was really positive. I was very comfortable with the bike and we were closer. The team did an excellent job and they keep helping me a lot to improve.”

Jordi Torres | P17

“The weekend was positive, although I made some mistakes and I crashed. But all in all, the weekend was very good. And even more so considering what a difficult circuit Motegi is, with a lot of hard braking, where it is easy to make mistakes. I tried to ride the bike in a smoother way. I had a good start and overtook some riders, but a little later on the grip level dropped and I decided to try and change my riding style to stay competitive. I managed to adapt to the change in tyre performance, which had been my target, and to achieve it was for sure the most positive thing of the weekend.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

SUPERB SECOND FOR CRUTCHLOW AT MOTEGI

LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow produced the goods at HRC’s home race on Sunday as he claimed second place at the Twin Ring Motegi. Having been consistently fast throughout the weekend, the Briton got the result his efforts deserved as he followed home HRC colleague Marc Marquez who secured a fifth MotoGP World Championship title with victory in Japan.

Starting from the front of the second row, Crutchlow quickly latched on to Marquez and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso as the three riders pulled clear at the head of the race. The LCR man looked comfortable as he stayed with the title rivals and it was only in the closing stages that they moved away. But Dovizioso then crashed on the penultimate lap allowing Crutchlow to come through for second after holding off the late challenge of Suzuki’s Alex Rins.

Cal Crutchlow – 2nd

“Everyone saw it was a good battle today. We’re pleased with the result at Honda’s home race and the Team’s done a fantastic job. The problem we had was that Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) kept slowing down the pace so it allowed the people behind to catch up, but I think we did a great job managing the situation”.

“I was struggling a little bit on the left hand side with the rear grip so I was trying to save the tyre for the end of the race and keep (Alex) Rins at bay, that’s all I needed to do. Then Dovi crashed and I took second place so in the end I was very pleased. At the moment we’re riding very, very well, we’ve had some good results lately and now we head to Phillip Island in good spirits.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

POINTS FINISH FOR NAKAGAMI AT MOTEGI

LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaaki Nakagami endured a challenging day at his home Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi. Having progressed to Q2 and secured 12th place on the grid for Sunday’s race, the Japanese talent had set his sights on a first top-10 finish of his rookie season, but saw those hopes disappear after a collision on the first lap.

Nakagami got a clean start and was settled in 12th position, but then got shunted as the riders bunched together in the early exchanges and lost ground as he momentarily left the track. He battled hard to move back up through the field and claimed a points finish with 15th position, but admitted afterwards it had not been the result he was looking for on his home patch.

Takaaki Nakagami – 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.”



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Unlucky race for Andrea Dovizioso at Motegi, the Italian rider crashing out two laps from the end while fighting for the win with Marquez in the Japanese Grand Prix

It was an unlucky Japanese Grand Prix for Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian rider led the race for the first 20 laps, but was then passed by Marc Marquez. He followed his Spanish rival until two laps from the end but then lost the front of his Desmosedici GP while entering Turn 10 and crashed out. After getting back on his bike, Andrea finished the race in eighteenth place.

Jorge Lorenzo came into the circuit this morning to say hello to the team and then left immediately after for Europe. In the next few days Jorge will undergo some more tests on his left wrist, which is still giving him pain after the crash at Buriram. The aim for the Mallorcan rider is to be back on track at Sepang in two weeks’ time. In the meantime his place in the factory team at Phillip Island will be taken by Alvaro Bautista, who finished fifth at Motegi today. The Ducati Team wishes to thank Jorge Martinez “Aspar” and the Angel Nieto Team for its collaboration and Alvaro Bautista for his availability.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 18th

“I’m obviously pretty disappointed because we wanted to win this race at all costs, but all in all it has been a positive weekend because we were very quick and we confirmed our competitiveness. Even though we did a good race we were unable to make the difference against Marquez, and so I want to congratulate him because also this year he deserved to win the championship. Pity about the crash: I didn’t overdo it but simply tried to prepare for the exit of the turn in the best possible way in order to attack him and I made a small mistake that cost me dearly.”



More, from a press release issued by Angel Nieto Team:

BAUTISTA AND ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM FIFTH IN JAPAN TO MATCH BEST RESULT OF 2018

Spaniard finishes as top Ducati rider at Motegi and will race for the factory team in Australia

The Japanese Grand Prix saw the resolution of the MotoGP title chase this Sunday, as Marc Márquez claimed his fifth crown in six seasons. Rival Andrea Dovizioso, who had to finish ahead of Márquez to keep his hopes alive and take the fight to the next race in Australia, crashed on the penultimate lap when contesting the win, handing the victory and the title to the Spaniard. Cal Crutchlow and Álex Rins joined him on the podium, with Valentino Rossi fourth and Ángel Nieto Team rider Álvaro Bautista fifth.

Álvaro Bautista and Angel Nieto Team equalled their best result of the season, with a fifth position that meant the Spaniard was the best Ducati rider at the Japanese GP. At next week's Australian GP he will form part of the Italian manufacturer's factory team, as a substitute for the injured Jorge Lorenzo.

Karel Abraham was unable to finish as Motegi after losing the front end of his bike. The Czech was riding comfortably with rivals who finished in the top fifteen, and thus he sees Sunday as missed opportunity to add more points to his tally.

5th Álvaro Bautista: "I'm happy with this result; it's been a very good weekend. We made a good start, to get into the front group, but when I was behind Pedrosa it was hard for me to stop the bike and enter the corners well because I had overheated the front tyre. When I was able to overtake and the tyre was working correctly, I went for Zarco and Rossi. Zarco was faster than me when cornering and it was hard for me to get close, but I took a risk to overtake him and it worked out well, although it was a bit late because Valentino had already escaped. A Top 5 is the highest place we could get today.

I want to thank Ángel Nieto Team, Jorge Martínez "Aspar" and everyone else for letting me ride for the factory team in Australia. I also want to thank Ducati for the opportunity to work with them. It will be a weekend in which I will try to learn as much as possible and work as best I can, with no objective in mind. It is exciting to be able to compete with a factory team, and to do it with Ducati is a dream come true."

Karel Abraham (DNF): "I'm angry because we could have scored points in this race. I was riding ahead of Nakasuga and was comfortable, and was close to Pol Espargaró. They were fourteenth and thirteenth, respectively. The first half was good, but I reached a point where I lost the front and I don't know the reason why, but I went down. I wasn't braking hard, it was in the middle of a corner. Even though I'm angry about not being able to score points, I think we have improved. We are faster than at the beginning of the season and we are closer to the points, but also closer to the limit."



More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

ALEX RINS BRINGS SUZUKI A HOME PODIUM IN JAPAN

Alex Rins: 3rd (+ 1.720)

Sylvain Guintoli: 21st (+ 1:01.848)

Andrea Iannone: DNF

• Rins works well to secure an excellent 3rd place finish.

• Iannone quick and in lead group before a crash.

• Guintoli collects useful data as the team look to 2019.

The 2018 Japanese GP took place under sunny skies in front of 55,000 passionate motorbike fans at Twin Ring Motegi.

Ahead of the 24 lap race the riders opted for the medium-medium tyre combination. From their second and third row grid spots, Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were able to get good starts, with the latter slotting into 5th place on the first lap. Both riders set ‘fastest laps’ as they quickly joined the leading group. With ten laps to go, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders were holding 4th and 5th respectively. However, Andrea Iannone crashed out of the race at Turn 10. Fortunately the Italian was uninjured. Meanwhile, Alex Rins took on the chance to fight for the podium, challenging Crutchlow for 3rd. With two laps to go, following a crash from Dovizioso, Alex was elevated to 3rd place and he crossed the line very close to 2nd. Sylvain Guintoli completed the race on the GSX-RR carrying some evolution solutions and collected useful data.

Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager

“It was a good race and a good fight! It was a pity that Andrea crashed, his bike had some issues and I’m sorry for this. But his performance was very good up until the crash. Alex also performed well and he was able to fight for the podium and try for 2nd position. We’re very happy and pleased to show this result to everyone from Suzuki Motor Corporation and our President, and of course, to all of the Japanese fans too. We hope to continue in this good way.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Of course we are very happy about this race because both riders were very fast and close to the top group. Unfortunately, Andrea crashed when they were both in the battle for 4th and 5th positions. After that Alex managed to recover and get closer to Crutchlow. We got a little bit lucky with the fall of Dovizioso, but I would say that our pace was there - it was very strong. So we’re feeling good because our gap, even to the winner, was very small. We’ll continue to work very hard as we know we still have things to improve. I would like to say thank you to our President and all our engineers who are here today and have worked very hard all year, I’m glad we could achieve a podium in Motegi for them.”

Alex Rins

“I’m feeling really happy and so are the team, especially as Japan is the home race for them. We did a great race; I was able to overtake riders at the start, and have good race pace. After Andrea crashed I assessed the situation and thought Crutchlow might be too far in front, but I decided to try and catch him. But it was difficult to pass him because he was braking really hard. But finally we got 3rd and we’re so pleased. I’m still learning, and for sure it’s fun to fight with the other riders, even if it’s very hard. We’ll try to end this season with more podiums!”

Andrea Iannone

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the best start, but I recovered quickly and pushed hard. Then I began to feel vibration on the rear and I struggled on the braking points, but I was able to overcome these things and continue to push. But under braking at Turn 10 it was difficult and I lost the front. I gave everything in this race and I think the podium was possible also for me, but unfortunately these things can happen. I’m really optimistic for Phillip Island, it’s a place I really like!”

Sylvain Guintoli

“We were expecting a busy weekend with a lot to do in terms of development, so the main aim was just to find the most positive points of the new things. The base bike we have now is very good, as Andrea and Alex showed today with their pace. So we just need to find small margins or gains with next year’s bike and in that respect we did well. It’s been very satisfying to see the team doing so well. We have another couple of tests coming up, and they’ll be really important to see how we can further improve.”



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Marc Marquez crowned 2018 World Champion at Motegi

Marc Marquez took an incredible victory at Twin Ring Motegi today, becoming the 2018 MotoGP World Champion with three races to go, in front of Honda President and CEO Mr Takahiro Hachigo, who joined him on the podium.

After starting from the sixth spot on the grid, Marc was immediately able to recover four positions, taking over second place and engaging in race-long battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso and fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow. With two laps remaining, the Italian rider crashed out of the race, just after Marc had passed him in preparation for a last-lap duel.

With his eighth win of 2018 and the 69th in his career (across all classes), Marquez becomes the youngest rider of all time to reach the milestone of seven World Championships (125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018); he does this at the age of 25 years and 246 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 26 years and 140 days old when he won his seventh title, the 1966 350cc crown.

Dani Pedrosa started from 11th on the grid and recovered up to eighth place at the end of the first lap, but he struggled to maintain a good pace and was not able to improve further than that.

Marc’s victory today also extended Honda’s lead in the Constructors World Championship to 47 points, and the Repsol Honda Team’s lead in the Team Classification to 51.

Marc Marquez 93

WINNER 2018 MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION

“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.”

Dani Pedrosa 26

8TH

“Today the race was very disappointed I could not reach my expected performance. I had not the perfect feeling on the bike and I struggled a lot. That’s a shame, because this is a track and a place that I like very much. Anyway, that the situation and we need to try and manage as best as possible. I wish to congratulate Marc, what he has done is amazing. He has been strong everywhere this season and he was able to make only few mistakes, gaining points all the time. He is a rider that evolve continuously. I think the team as well did a great job.”

Yoshishige Nomura

HRC President

“Despite the expectations and pressure to win his third consecutive title, Marc has mesmerized his fans with an outstanding performance throughout the season. I congratulate Marc for another job well done. I would also like to thank the team who supported him, our many sponsors who have supported our racing activities, and MotoGP fans all over the world for supporting the sport.”



More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

MOVISTAR YAMAHA'S PERSEVERANCE IN MOTEGI PAYS OFF WITH CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi was chasing the front-runners at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but came just short of being able to join the battle. He finished the race in fourth position. Teammate Maverick Viñales needed time to get up to speed. His charge came late, but he still managed to climb up from eleventh to seventh place over the course of the race.

GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

Motegi, Japan - 21st October 2018

RACE

14:00 LOCAL TIME GMT+9AIR 23°C / TRACK 35°CSUNNY / HUMIDITY 34%

4th

VALENTINO ROSSI

+6.413 / 24 LAPS

7th

MAVERICK VIÑALES

+13.330 / 24 LAPS

Motegi (Japan), 21st October 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi showed his fighting spirit today at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. It earned him fourth place and valuable championship points, putting him in close contention for the battle for second in the championship standings. Teammate Maverick Viñales had a challenging start to the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but with his typical determination took seventh position, so he can continue to fight for second and third place in the final three rounds of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

Rossi had a great start from ninth on the grid and soon wrestled himself to fifth place on the first lap. He continued to fight with Álex Rins for the position and made his pass stick at the end of lap 2, eager not to let the four front-runners get away. The Italian set a provisional fastest lap, a 1'46.052s, to cut the over 1s margin in half. Just one lap later he arrived at the back of the leading group. Wasting no time, he made a block pass on Jack Miller in turn 11, with 20 laps to go, to take over fourth place. He now had to close a 0.6s gap to stay within podium contention but couldn't make strides.

Unable to drop under the 1'46 mark, he had to let the chasing Suzuki's pass him on lap 10 and 11. When Andrea Iannone crashed on lap 15, the number 46 moved up to fifth place again, but the gap to Rins was now over two seconds, so the Doctor focused on the men behind him instead. Johann Zarco and Álvaro Bautista were on the move in the final five laps. However, the battle amongst the two bought the Yamaha rider time, which he used to perfection. As Andrea Dovizioso crashed on the penultimate lap, the nine-time World Champion crossed the line in fourth place, 6.413s from first.

Viñales didn't have the start he had hoped for and needed a little time to get into the groove. He began the race as seventh on the grid but was pushed back to tenth in the busy first corners. Lapping in the mid-1'46s, the Spaniard was unable to keep a charging Bautista at bay but gained a position as Jack Miller crashed on lap 11. He moved up another place when Iannone fell four laps later and used this as his cue to up the pace.

The youngster dropped into the low 1'46s just when the riders in front of him started to struggle a little. He launched his first attack on Dani Pedrosa on lap 19, but it didn't last. A lap later he made it stick and put his head down. He knew that closing the over 2s margin to Bautista and Zarco would be a tall order and instead made it his priority to win some championship points. After Dovizioso went down, the number 25 rider took seventh place at the chequered flag, 13.330s from the race winner.

Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team wild card rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga made his experience count in Motegi today. He rode a confident race, securing a strong 14th place aboard his YZR-M1, finishing 32.550s from first. This achievement earns him two championship points and puts him in 24th place, ahead of seven other riders.

Today's results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with just a 9-point gap to second. Viñales remains in fourth place with a 30-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Japan, with a 100-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team have reclaimed second position in the team standings with a 51-point gap to first.

Yamaha extend their congratulations to Marc Márquez of the Repsol Honda Team on taking the 2018 MotoGP World Championship Title.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Phillip Island circuit next weekend for the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, held from October 26th - 28th.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

First of all, I would like to congratulate Marc Márquez and the Repsol Honda Team. For us it was a challenging race weekend. Valentino made a step in the morning and started the race perfectly. He was feeling good with the bike and was positioned at the front in the early stages, but he came just short of being able to battle with the front runners. For Maverick we decided to take a risk on the set-up that ultimately didn't pay off. We had hoped to end today differently. However, Vale and Maverick are still serious contenders for second and third place in the rider standings, so we still have a lot to fight for next weekend in Australia.

VALENTINO ROSSI

Fourth place is not a bad result. I think that we've worked well today, because this morning we made another step and I felt better with the bike. So, I started the race quite optimistically, trying to fight for the podium. Unfortunately some other riders were faster than me. I tried to not give up, not to make any mistakes and to arrive at the end of the race with a good pace.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

We shuffled a lot with the settings of the bike, but we couldn't be fast in today's race. We tried something different before the race, but it didn't really work. We followed a direction we used in Buriram to see if that would work, but in the end it wasn't like that. I couldn't ride like I wanted to, so we need to keep working and trying to stay focused on the way we manage the race weekend, and stay strong. We are going to try to do our best again on Phillip Island, and we'll try to see where we stand.



More, from a press release issued by Michelin:

MICHELIN AND MARQUEZ MASTER MOTEGI

Michelin provided the best available race tyres and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) supplied some supreme race-craft as he took victory at Motegi in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan a result that signalled his crowning as the 2018 MotoGP™ World Champion.

Marquez started from sixth on the grid with a pairing of medium compound MICHELIN Power Slick tyres and it didn’t take the 25-year-old Spaniard long to join a battle at the front, which included his nearest championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda). Dovizioso had stared from pole and led for the first 20-laps despite coming under pressure from his two fellow combatants. With a soft front slick and a medium rear, Dovizioso controlled the race from the front, before Marquez took the lead on lap-21. The following laps were very intense as the two of the greatest riders on the planet put their trust in the Michelin rubber and raced in close proximity to what looked like an exciting climax to the race. Unfortunately, Dovizioso crashed on the penultimate lap as he pushed to stay with Marquez, leaving the Spaniard to ride to victory and take his seventh World title, which includes five MotoGP crowns and three successive championships on Michelin tyres.

Crutchlow was the next over the line, but not before he had battled with Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) in the closing stages. The three-time Grand Prix winner came under intense pressure, but took the chequered flag ahead of the Suzuki man by just one-tenth-of-a-second, a result which gave Crutchlow the position of First Independent Rider and strengthened his position at the top of that championship. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) continued with the good form he showed last time out in Thailand to take fourth, the same as at Buriram. Fifth was Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) as he equalled his best result of the season so far. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) led a pair of Yamahas over the line as he was followed home by Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Eighth was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) on his final visit to Motegi ahead of his retirement at the end of the season. Ninth home was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounding out the top-ten.

Michelin had seen both the MICHELIN Power Slicks and Michelin Power Rain tyres used this weekend as wet weather again took hold of the 4,801m circuit of Friday, when most riders used the session to hone their skills on a wet and then drying track. Those climactic issues were forgotten today as bright skies and sunshine led to the track temperature reaching 35°C, the highest it had been all weekend. The whole of the field opted to use a mix of either soft or medium front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks in different configurations, again showing that the range can be adapted to all riders, bikes and conditions. An excited and colourful crowd of 55,225 enjoyed an enthralling race which produced battles throughout the field.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock will now head south for the second leg of the Asia-Pacific tour, as the championship descends on to Phillip Island in Australia and the third-running of the Michelin® Australian Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday 28th October.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:

“I am really happy and there are no words to describe this feeling. It is another title and the third consecutive one on Michelin tyres, so it looks like they fit well with my riding style. I am enjoying life a lot and living a dream! For the Motegi race we worked in a perfect way and I was able to understand really well the grip of the tyres, where was the limit and how they performed. It is now time to enjoy the last three races and celebrate this world title. Thanks to all the Michelin staff, to all the technicians because they do a great job and especially to Clement – he is the guy that works inside my pit-box – because the relationship with him is really good.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“After the amount of rain we had last year it was good to have an almost dry weekend, although the rain on Friday did hamper some of the preparations of the teams. We need more time with the full dry track to get more information, so the sessions on Saturday were good and so was the race today. It had a good consistent pace and we saw the fastest laps being set as the race drew to close, so this was really important. Motegi is a very difficult track with its stop-and-go design, so we will look at the data and improve the allocation for next year, which is our aim with all circuits.

“I would like to congratulate Marc on his third consecutive Michelin title. He has shown consistency and speed with our tyres all season and is a worthy champion.”



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