Marquez crowned MotoGP champion in Motegi

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez has won the Japanese MotoGP to confirm himself as the winner of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

The Spaniard ran second for much of the race before moving into the lead and raising the pace in the closing stages.

Andrea Dovizioso was able to go with the Honda rider before the Italian lost the front tyre at the hairpin with two laps remaining, ending his hopes of victory in both the race and world championship.

Dovizioso got the jump at the start and held the lead into the opening corner while a fast starting Marquez climbed from sixth to third by Turn 2.

Miller found himself second but was unable to act as a rear gunner for Dovizioso, with Marquez quickly finding a way through to latch onto the back of the race leader.

Once passed, Miller slipped gradually off the back of the front two as the championship contenders began their own private duel.

Crutchlow recovered from a sluggish start to close up on Miller in third, making a move midway around the third lap.

Miller remained in contact with the trio ahead before being joined by Valentino Rossi and Alex Rins to make a group of seven at the front of the race as Andrea Iannone also joined the front pack.

The leading three then lifted the pace, eking clear of Rossi in fourth who’d claimed the spot from Miller.

After a busy start, the race settled into a rhythm in the middle part, with Dovizioso from Marquez and Crutchlow.

Heading into the final 10 laps Rins began close in on the leaders, the Suzuki rider circulating with Iannone, the pair having shaken the remainder of the initial leading group.

The lead battle came to life when Marquez made a move for the lead with 11 laps to go, only to run long over an exit kerb throwing dirt and dust in Dovizioso’s face.

The Ducati rider quickly retook the lead but the squabble allowed the fourth and fifth placed pair to close in, briefly promising a five-way lead scrap before Iannone disappeared after falling at Turn 10 with 10 laps remaining.

Dovizioso and Marquez then lifted the pace, dropping Crutchlow who soon found himself battling with Rins for the final podium spot.

Even still, neither of the leaders were pushing to the limit, keeping some in reserve to save their rear tyre for a sprint in the closing laps.

The fuse was finally lit as Marquez seized the lead at Turn 9 with four laps remaining, moving up the inside before trying to sprint clear at the front of the race to open a gap over his Italian rival.

Dovizioso refused to concede, but the pace proved too great as he overstepped on the penultimate lap.

The Ducati rider lost the front end and slid out of the leading battle, leaving Marquez to win the race with ease from Crutchlow and Rins, almost forgotten in the drama of the world championship defining moment out front.

Miller too went down around the halfway mark when he lost the front end of his Pramac Ducati on and was a non-finisher.

The MotoGP season will now progress to Phillip Island for the Australian MotoGP next weekend.

Race results: Japanese MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 42:36.438
2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +1.573
3 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1.720
4 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +6.413
5 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA ESP Angel Nieto Team Ducati +6.919
6 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +8.024
7 25 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +13.330
8 26 Dani PEDROSA ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +15.582
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +20.584
10 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +24.985
11 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +25.931
12 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +26.875
13 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +27.069
14 89 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +32.550
15 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +37.718
16 10 Xavier SIMEON BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +39.583
17 81 Jordi TORRES ESP Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +39.839
18 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati +42.698
19 45 Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +49.943
20 12 Thomas LUTHI SUI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +52.707
21 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +1:01.848
DNF 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 10 Laps
DNF 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati 12 Laps
DNF 43 Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 14 Laps
DNF 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 18 Laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 296
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA 194
3 Valentino ROSSI ITA 185
4 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 155
6 Johann ZARCO FRA 133
7 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 133
8 Jorge LORENZO ESP 130
9 Alex RINS ESP 118
10 Andrea IANNONE ITA 113
11 Dani PEDROSA ESP 95
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA ESP 83
13 Jack MILLER AUS 74
15 Tito RABAT ESP 35
17 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL 34
19 Bradley SMITH GBR 23
20 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 19
21 Scott REDDING GBR 12
22 Mika KALLIO FIN 6
23 Karel ABRAHAM CZE 5
24 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN 2
25 Michele PIRRO ITA 1
26 Thomas LUTHI SWI
27 Xavier SIMEON BEL
28 Stefan BRADL GER
31 Christophe PONSSON FRA

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