Motul Grand Prix of Japan
21 October 2018
Motegi Circuit in Japan
Magnificent Márquez Masters Motegi In A Magical Masterstroke
He secures his fifth title as Dovizioso crashes in the Motegi MotoGP race.
Marc Márquez has taken his fifth MotoGP World Championship title and his eighth victory of the 2018 season after winning the Japanese MotoGP in Motegi in Japan.
First Free Practice
Dovizioso Fastest Ahead Of Crutchlow In Motegi Free Practice 1
Andrea Dovizioso outpaced Cal Crutchlow by 0.105 of a second to top the opening practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix. The Ducati rider left it until the final five minutes of the 45 minute session to go top of the timesheets. Dovizioso posting a 1 minute 45.738 seconds lap to up-stage session leader Marc Márquez.
Injured Jorge Lorenzo went out on track at the start of the session after his FP2 crash on the Chang International Circuit at Buriram, Thailand, but only completed a couple of laps and decided to sit out for the rest of the weekend. Jorge Lorenzo completed just two laps on the second works Ducati before returning to the pits and withdrawing from the remainder of the weekend, still in pain from the injuries he suffered in Thailand.
Motegi's first dry session for two years began with Factory Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga setting an early time of 1 minute 49.289 seconds , before fellow Yamaha M1 rider Johann Zarco took over with a 1 minute 48.537 seconds.
The Tech3 Yamaha rider improved further to a 1 minute 46.984 seconds, but was soon overtaken by Márquez with a 1 minute 46.193 seconds. He has the chance to wrap up the title in Motegi this weekend. Márquez increased his margin to a 1 minute 46.187 seconds to go just over three tenths clear of Honda stable mate Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Castrol Honda RC213V.
Championship leader Marc Márquez led for most of the session, but with just over half the session gone, the 2017 Motegi winner Andrea Dovizioso cut Márquez's advantage down to just a mere 0.009 seconds, then the Repsol Honda man responded with laps of 1 minute 46.120 seconds and 1 minute 46.010 seconds .
In the last five minutes he was overhauled by Dovizioso. The Ducati man,
Dovizioso then went even faster setting a time of 1minute 45.358 seconds. This came under some threat from Márquez and Zarco on their final laps, but neither were able to better Dovizioso.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow on his LCR Castrol Honda jumped up into second with a 1 minute 45.463 seconds beating Márquez by just 0.035 seconds, while Johann Zarco dropped Márquez another place on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha as the chequered flag fell. Márquez couldn't match Dovizioso's, Crutchlow's or Zarco's time in the closing stages, Márquez ending up in fourth, 0.140 seconds slower than Dovizioso with his last flying lap.
Maverick Viñales was the best of the Factory Movistar Yamahas in fifth, albeit by only 0.282 seconds off Dovi's pace and four tenths clear of sixth man Andrea Iannone on his Ecstar Suzuki. He was the top Suzuki in sixth.
Satellite Ducati riders, Alvaro Bautista, Angel Nieto Ducati Team held onto seventh even after throwing his Angel Nieto Ducati into the gravel trap on Turn 1 in the closing stages and Jack Miller, Alma Pramac Ducati was eighth. Next up was the second Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi who was ninth quickest with his last minute effort of 1 minute 46.329 seconds, he was 0.971 seconds behind Dovi and 0.7 seconds slower than his team-mate, Viñales. Aleix Espargaró completed the top 10 on his Aprilia.
Local hero Takaaki Nakagami was 13th quickest aboard the second LCR Honda, two places ahead of fellow Japanese Yamaha wildcard rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga,
Katsuyuki Nakasuga, Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team rider, the other Japanese wildcard entry, ended the session15th after a promising start, he briefly topped the times in the early stages. The Ecstar Suzuki wildcard French rider, Sylvain Guintoli was 21st on a development Suzuki GSX-RR fitted with 2019 parts, two places behind team-mate Álex Rins, who was almost rear-ended by Márquez in the opening stages of the session.
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda was pushed out of the top by Aleix Espargaró on his Aprilia.
Rookie Franco Morbidelli the Italian dropped his Marc VDS Honda at Turn 10 early in the 45 minute session.
MotoGP Free Practice 1 Classification
Motegi, Friday 19 October 2018
Pedrosa fastest in Free Practice 2 at Motegi
After a downpour during the lunch break Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda's was fastest in free practice two for the MotoGP of Japan on a damp drying Motegi track.
It was a very unusual session with an upside down time sheet at the end of the 45 minutes.
On the wet Motegi circuit only a few riders went out at the beginning of the session and even with 15 minutes to go still less than half the riders had even gone out to set lap a time.
Johann Zarco on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha went quick straight out the paddock, in the early stage of the session setting a benchmark of 1 minute 54.477 seconds. Then the Frenchman went even quicker doing a time of 1 minute 53.728 seconds.
As the track dried out, it was a brave Jack Miller who was the first rider to take his Alma Pramac Ducati on track fitted with new Michelin slick tyres.
The Australian then shot to the top of the times setting a time of 1 minute 52.863 seconds, and began to shaving off seconds off his time over the next few laps.
Miller got down to a 1 minute 49.022 seconds when he was upstaged by his Alma Pramac team-mate, Danilo Petrucci right at the very end of the session with his 1 minute 48.939 seconds lap.
Although Petrucci's time on top was short-lived, as was overtaken by both Dani Pedrosa, who did a 1 minute 48.136 seconds and the out-going Aprilia man Scott Redding who surprised with a 1 minute 48.635 seconds. He was sporting purple hair extensions in memory of the Japanese Yamaha rider, Noric Abe.
Miller dropped down to fourth ahead of Johann Zarco but he still was the top Yamaha rider after switching to slicks.
Several riders had their best free practice positions including Zarco's Tech 3 team-mate Hafizh Syahrin impressed on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in sixth. Britain's Bradley Smith riding his Factory Red Bull KTM to seventh. Xavier Simeon coming in eighth on Tito Rabat's Reale Avintia Ducati GP17, him missing through injury from his Silverstone horror crash. Swiss man Thomas Lüthi riding his Marc VDS Honda coming in ninth and Ecstar Suzuki Team development and wildcard rider, Sylvain Guintoli completed the top 10 in a mixed-up finishing order session.
The rest of the riders who did go out on track were Karel Abraham Angel Nieto Ducati Team he came 11th. In 12th was the wild-card Factory Yamaha rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga followed by Álex Rins, Ecstar Suzuki. Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team in 14th and team-mate, Maverick Viñales 15th, Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS Honda was 16th, Alvaro Bautista, Angel Nieto Ducati finished in 17th and completing the 18 riders who went out on track was the local man Takaaki Nakagami on his LCR Honda Idemitsu.
Both the factory Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales stayed out on wet tyres even after in the latter stages of the session it was clear slicks were the best tyre to be out on track.
The top two in the championship Marc Márquez Repsol Honda and Andrea Dovizioso Factory Ducati and the third British rider, Cal Crutchlow, LCR Castrol Honda were among seven riders who didn't go out on track.
Andrea Dovizioso's time of 1 minute 45.358 seconds set in Free Practice one remained the fastest of both of the Friday's sessions.
MotoGP Free Practice 2 Classification
Motegi, Friday 19 October 2018
Dovizioso Tops Free Practice 3
Dovizioso is fastest again in Free Practice 3 in the Japanese MotoGP
At the end of the 45 minutes it was Andrea Dovizioso the Factory Ducati No. 1 rider who went to the top of the timesheets in free practice three only just faster than independents Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco.
The session took place in sunny weather after the wet FP2. With 10 minutes left on the clock, the top six overall remained unchanged from Friday, with only a handful of riders improving.
Crutchlow really riding his LCR Castrol Honda well, was first to beat Dovizioso's FP1 benchmark with a 1 minute 45.134s and Factory Honda stable-mate Marc Márquez going second moments later.
But Dovizioso went faster to go 0.027 of a second quicker than Crutchlow on his final run to retake the top spot with a 1 minute 45.107 seconds.
Zarco made improved his time on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha pushing Márquez down to fourth place, the Frenchman ending up just three thousandths of a second slower than Crutchlow, creating an identical top four to FP1.
Valentino Rossi had dropped as low as 11th in the closing stages, outside the automatic Q2 cut-off, but the factory Movistar Yamaha rider made sure of his place in Q2 by going fifth fastest on his final lap, 0.315 seconds slower that Dovizioso.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, was next followed by Maverick Viñales on the other Factory Movistar Yamaha and Álex Rins the best of the three Ecstar Suzuki's.
Taking the remaining Q2 places were Andrea Iannone Ecstar Suzuki and Jack Miller, his Alma Pramac Ducati team-mate, Danilo Petrucci, had to go into Q1 after a late crash at Turn 12.
Alvaro Bautista, Angel Nieto Ducati, also was out of the top 10, 0.054 seconds behind Miller.
Factory Yamaha's wildcard man, Katsuyuki Nakasuga led Japanese home riders in 14th two places ahead of LCR Honda Idemitsu's Takaaki Nakagami.
Karel Abraham and Jordi Torres fight it out in the race. Torres did better than Abraham, he finished 17th and Abraham crashed!
Sylvain Guintoli, Ecstar Suzuki's development rider on the 2019 spec Suzuki was 25th ahead of stand-in Reale Avintia Ducati's Jordi Torres he had an early fall at Turn 7.
MotoGP Free Practice 3 Classification
Motegi, Saturday 20 October 2018
Márquez Fastest In Free Practice 4
Márquez puts his Honda on top for the first time this weekend in Free Practice 4 and then slides off in the closing stages.
Márquez was fastest in this session, which makes no different to the qualifying places, he went quickest for the first time in the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi. Crutchlow is again consistently fast, coming second.
Jorge Lorenzo had decided to pull-out of the Japanese GP altogether, after his left wrist fracture sustained in Thailand proved too painful to control his Ducati.
Tito Rabat is still recovering from leg fractures at Silverstone and again replaced by World SuperBike rider Jordi Torres. Torres is riding the Ducati GP16 machines of Simeon and Simeon is riding Rabat's Ducati GP17s.
MotoGP Free Practice 4 Classification
Motegi, Saturday 20 October 2018
In Qualifying 1 at the 2018 Japanese MotoGP at Motegi Japan, Bautista and home star Nakagami fastest in Qualifying 1 and were promoted into Q2.
Alvaro Bautista, riding his Aspar Angel Nieto Ducati topped the timesheets by two tenths from Nakagami, who had led after the opening runs and was denied the top spot as the chequered flag waved.
The two KTM riders and home rider Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda fought it out for the second Qualifying 2 place.
Bradley Smith edged out KTM team-mate Pol Espargaró to narrowly miss out on Q2.
A last minute improvement by Nakagami pushed Bradley Smith out of the top two, meaning the Brit will start from 13th on the grid ahead of teammate Pol Espargaró.
Danilo Petrucci's bad weekend continued as the Pramac man could only muster fifth fastest, dropping him down to 15th on the grid after a crash in FP3 meant he had to go into Q1.
Franco Morbidelli had an even more torrid session as he had a spectacular crash at Turn 12 in the closing stages of the session, not long after he had jumped up to second.
The Marc VDS Honda rider, who walked away seemingly unscathed, but was pushed down to 17th on the grid behind his rival rookie on the second Monster Tech 3 Yamaha of Hafizh Syahrin.
Aleix Espargaró was the best of the Aprilias in 19th, followed by the Factory Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga in 20th.
Ecstar Suzuki test rider, Sylvain Guintoli qualified in 24th, ahead of stand-in Reale Avintia Ducati and WSB rider Jordi Torres.
Johann Zarco and Alvaro Bautista fight it out in the race. Bautista managed to win this battle - just! Taking 5th with Zarco hot on his heels in 6th.
MotoGP Qualifying 1 Classification
Motegi, Saturday 20 October 2018
Dashing Dovizioso Snatches Pole From Zarco In Qualifying Two
Dovizioso grabs pole position ahead of Johann Zarco in Second, Jack Miller gets third. With Márquez sixth, Viñales seventh and Rossi down in ninth.
Andrea Dovizioso took pole position for MotoGP's Japanese Grand Prix in a typically frenetic qualifying shootout.
Marc Márquez could only get sixth place After the Factory Repsol Honda Man Crashed out of FP4
The opening runs were led by LCR Castrol Honda's Cal Crutchlow, who became the first man of the weekend to break the 1 minute 45 seconds barrier with his lap of 1 minute 44.909 seconds.
Then the Ducati rider Dovizioso produced some scorching laps, the best being 1 minute 44.590 seconds in the dying moments of the 15 minute Q2 session to secure his second pole of 2018 and give himself the best possible chance of delaying Márquez securing the title.
At first his time was shadowed by Márquez to the tune of a tenth when the second runs commenced, the Spaniard reduced to just one bike for qualifying after damaging his first machine in an FP4 crash.
But Márquez's time was immediately beaten, not only by Crutchlow on the Brit's next attempt but also by Pramac Ducati's Jack Miller, who briefly held the top spot before Dovizioso demoted the Australian to second with a time 0.069 of a second faster.
Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team said his team made a mistake with rear tyre pressure and could only manage to go 9th fastest while team-mate Maverick Viñales took 7th.
The local hero Takaaki Nakagami on his LCR Honda Idemitsu took 12th.
Johann Zarco set three red sectors on his final flyer aboard the Tech 3 Yamaha, but lost out in the final sector and had to settle for second, edging out Miller for the middle spot on the front row by a single thousandth of a second.
Crutchlow was shuffled down to fourth amid that action, while Márquez lost a further grid spot when Suzuki's Andrea Iannone went fifth fastest after the chequered flag.
Maverick Viñales was the best of the factory Yamahas in seventh, over half a second off pole, followed by the second Suzuki of Álex Rins and Valentino Rossi, who was a little over a tenth down on team-mate Viñales.
Andrea Dovizioso fastest in Q2 had this to say
"Our bike works very well at this track and it's a good track for my riding style. We knew that before we came here and did what we expected. We improved our pace this afternoon and then did a good lap in qualifying. So happy in the way we've worked, but Marc has good pace for the race so I think it will be a hard battle - also because other riders have good pace."
Johann Zarco happy with second told us
"I did a great lap for sure! I think I missed pole at the last chicane when I had a problem shifting down the gears. But second place is so good and I'm so happy. I've been fast since FP1 here and I can push. Tomorrow, if it's dry, I need to try and lead the race..."
A happy Jack Miller in third said
"We changed some things on the bike this weekend. A lot of it has been good, but we went back to the old-style shock right before qualifying. The second tyre went in and I went all-out! I could have gone faster on the second lap, but braked too late into turn 5, there was no way I was going to make it, but I gave it a try anyway!
"I'm pleased to be on the front row for the race and I'll give it my best and try to get on the podium."
MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification
Motegi, Saturday 20 October 2018
Ducati Top Man Again Fastest In Motegi MotoGP Warm Up
Dovizioso leads Márquez in the warm-up session.
Andrea Dovizioso the Motegi pole man led the way in morning warm-up for the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of his rival Marc Márquez.
Dovizioso the Factory Ducati rider, posted a 1 minute 45.724 seconds lap to depose his former teammate Andrea Iannone from the top of the timesheets and extended his advantage with a 1 minute 45.409 seconds just before the end of the 20 minute session.
Márquez did his best lap as the chequered flag was signalling the end of the session, but he was 0.271s slower than his chief adversary. The champion elect who could wrap up the title on Sunday if he outscores Dovizioso in the race.
Cal Crutchlow was third fastest on his HRC Factory LCR Castrol Honda, only a tenth behind, followed by the Ecstar Suzuki pair Andrea Iannone and Álex Rins, who were split by only 0.019s in fourth and fifth.
There was also almost nothing between the factory Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi just nudging out Maverick Viñales for sixth place by a mere 0.005s.
Johann Zarco, who will start second on the grid, could only manage 10th fastest, just over a second off the pace on his two year old Tech 3 Yamaha machine.
The other front row man, Jack Miller, ended up down in 19th on his Alma Pramac Ducati GP16 after trying something different, which didn't work!
Karel Abraham, the Czech Angel Nieto Ducati Team man, was the only rider to crash in a fairly incident free session.
MotoGP Warm Up Classification
Motegi, Sunday 21 October 2018
Magnificent Márquez Masters Motegi In A Magical Masterstroke
He secures his fifth title as Dovizioso crashes in the Motegi MotoGP race
Marc Márquez has achieved his fifth MotoGP World Championship title and his eighth victory of the 2018 season after winning the Japanese MotoGP in Motegi in Japan.
Márquez the star Honda rider started the race down in sixth on the second row of the grid.
As the lights went out, it was Dovizioso who took the hole shot off the line and the maestro Márquez was soon carving his way past three of the riders in front of him to go up to third on the opening lap of 24. With HRC Honda stable-mate Cal Crutchlow right behind in fourth place.
It was as close as this. Here Dovizioso narrowly leads Márquez and Crutchlow in the latter half of the race.
Miller hung on to second as Márquez gained those three places, before inevitably he swooped by the Alma Pramac Ducati rider to go second at Turn 9 late in the opening lap.
Once in second, Márquez ran at a like-for-like pace behind Dovizioso as a pack of riders tried to stay with the leading duo. Dovizioso pushed and Márquez matched him.
Then it was a battle of the wits and riding skill with Andrea Dovizioso leading for most of the race. Only Crutchlow had the pace to run with the two title protagonists, with the three riders beginning to edge away from Rossi and the rest of the pack at one-third race distance.
The factory Ecstar Suzuki pair, Andrea Iannone and Álex Rins started closing the front four down to try and make it a six-way battle at the front.
The Suzuki duo battled it out and swapped places plus a bit of paint (it didn't matter as it's the same colour!) but before Iannone had a chance to join the leading quartet, the Italian slid off as he lost the front end of his Ecstar Suzuki GSX-RR. Rins continued to push getting by Rossi. He closed down Crutchlow as the Brit's pace started to fade, Rins, the Spaniard, was pushing hard to try to take third away from the Brit and get his third podium of the year.
Márquez was happy just to match the Ducati man until lap 14 to make his first move, passing Dovizioso at Turn 9, but one corner later he ran wide on the dirt and lost drive causing Dovi to almost rear-end him and re-take the lead.
Dovizioso pushed again on lap 18 setting a new fastest lap, but Márquez went even quicker the following lap and it became clear the Spaniard was going to try for the win and in no mood to settle for a safe second, which would not have been enough for the title on the day.
Crutchlow had already lost touch with the lead pair by this point, and was forced to turn his attention to fend off Rins, whose teammate Andrea Iannone had slipped off and out of contention at Turn 10 on lap 19.
At the front Márquez made a brave pass on Dovizioso in Turn 9 on lap 21. Slicing under the Italian's Ducati GP18 at turn seven to take the lead with just four laps to go. Once Márquez had got passed Dovi he pushed very hard. You could see his bike twisting and shaking in protest. The pair were running nose-to-tail. Dovizioso stayed right behind Márquez and it looked as if the MM93 had gone too early with another last lap skirmish between the pair shaping up.
However, unperturbed Dovizioso stuck to his rear tyre like chewing-gum and the lead swapped several times once again, with Márquez getting the better of the Italian Ducati man.
"Desmo" Dovizioso was setting himself up to fight back and re-take the lead on the penultimate lap and possibly the win, but then disaster struck! Dovizioso diving into turn ten, his soft front tyre cried enough and he couldn't hold it any longer, causing him to slide into the gravel and out of second place. Dovizioso remounted after his crash and finished 18th.
With Dovizioso crashing out Cal Crutchlow was promoted up to second but coming under increasing pressure from Álex Rins the Spanish Ecstar Suzuki rider.
As Márquez came to the line, out came his pit board, Márquez read his board and his dash board message, both telling him that Dovizioso had crashed out so he could take it easy and enjoy his final lap.
That left Márquez clear to coast home to victory in front of all the Honda top men on Honda's home turf before taking the chequered flag for a eighth time this year and being crowned World Champion for a seventh time.
The battle was now for second between Crutchlow and Rins, with the Brit trying to hold onto the second spot of the podium from the Suzuki man. Ultimately the Brit managed to stay ahead of the raging Spaniard and he hung on to second place by just a tenth of a second, finishing 1.5 seconds down on his Factory Honda stable-mate Márquez.
Dovizioso had controlled almost the entire race up until his crash, converting pole into an early lead as fellow front-row starters Johann Zarco and Jack Miller had a near miss, just avoiding coming together on the run down to the first turn.
Unfortunately for Dovizioso, he didn't have a chance to take revenge of narrowly being robbed of his win last week in Thailand.
Factory Movistar Yamaha top man, Valentino Rossi was challenging Dovizioso and Márquez in the early part of the race but despite his early fast pace, Valentino Rossi obviously was not able to keep the pace of the leading pair. Soon to be devoured by Crutchlow and both of battling Ecstar Suzuki riders half way through the race. He took the flag in fourth the best of all the Yamahas, but a further five seconds behind Márquez.
Still finishing two second ahead of top Ducati rider, Alvaro Bautista. He made steady progress from 11th on the grid to finish in fifth place on his Angel Nieto satellite Ducati. Equalling his best result of 2018, helped by Jack Miller crashing his Alma Pramac Ducati out of seventh at half race distance.
Zarco never recovered from his poor front row start and tussle with Miller, to bring his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in sixth while the other Factory Movistar Yamaha man, Maverick Viñales managed to re-coup to seventh after dropping outside of the top 10 in the race.
Dani Pedrosa managed to bring his Repsol Honda home in eighth in his Last Japanese MotoGP with Danilo Petrucci struggling to keep with Pedrosa on his Alma Pramac Ducati.
Taking the top rookie spot was Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha to complete the top ten. Syahrin managed to get by Bradley Smith for the tenth place.
Syahrin's rival and fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli had been riding his Marc VDS Honda well all weekend, he managed to get the better of factory Red Bull KTM duo, Bradley Smith ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaró for eleventh with the home Factory Yamaha wildcard rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga coming fourteenth.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga is a Japanese Factory Yamaha test rider. He made his MotoGP debut in the 2011 Valencian GP. He surprised himself and Yamaha by finishing sixth!
He was the replacement rider for the 2010 World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, after he came off at speed onto the Gardener straight at Phillip Island taking off all the skin from a finger and damaging his hand. Nakasuga was drafted for the final two races of the MotoGP season, though only competed in the last race as the Sepang GP was cancelled when Marco Simoncelli had his fatal accident.
He also competes in the 'All Japan Road Racing Championship' in the JSB1000 class, and is currently third in the standings.
The other MotoGP Japanese home-town hero, Taka Nakagami bringing home his LCR Honda Idemitsu in fifteenth to take the last point scoring place.
This is Márquez's fifth MotoGP premier class championship and he is now level with another legendary Repsol Honda rider, Mick Doohan both having five championship titles. Only Valentino Rossi, who has seven and Giacomo Agostini with eight having more titles to their names.
At 25 years old he also becomes the youngest rider to ever reach the milestone, eclipsing Rossi, who was 26 when he scored his fifth straight 500cc/MotoGP title in 2005.
Márquez, who made his grand prix debut in the 125cc class in 2008, won the two-stroke class in 2010, the Moto2 crown in 2012 and made history by winning the MotoGP title as a rookie and youngest rider to do so, in 2013. Extremely extraordinarily, since joining the premier class, in each year he's competed, Márquez has only failed to win the title once, dropping to third in the 2015 standings behind Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
For 2019 Lorenzo will join Márquez in the Repsol Honda Team replacing the KTM bound Dani Pedrosa, both riders have signed until the end of 2020.
MotoGP Race Classification
Motegi, Sunday 21 October 2018
What the Riders had to say
Winner Márquez Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93
Race Points 25, Championship Position First, 296 Championship points
"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.
Márquez battles with Rins, Iannone, and Crutchlow to win the race. It was as close as that!
"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."
Yoshishige Nomura The 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."
Marc Márquez and Honda CEO Mr Takahiro Hachigo on the podium alongside Crutchlow and Rins
Second Cal Crutchlow British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35
Race Points 20 Championship Position 5th 148 Championship points
"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 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 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. Of course congratulations to Marc for winning the world title: he made an incredible season".
Third Álex Rins Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar #42
Race Points 16 Championship Position 9th, 118 Championship points
"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!"
Fourth Valentino Rossi Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46
Race Points 13 Championship Position Third, 185 Championship points
"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."
Fifth Alvaro Bautista Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19
Race Points 11 Championship Position 12th, 83 Championship points
"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 Angel Nieto Team, Jorge Martinez "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."
Sixth Johann Zarco French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5
Race Points 10 Championship Position 6th, 133 Championship points
"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 did a great race and his 20 points are very important for our fight for the best independent rider."
Seventh Maverick Viñales Spanish Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #25
Race Points 9 Championship Position Fourth, 155 Championship points
"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."
Eighth Dani Pedrosa Spanish Repsol Honda Team #26
Race Points 8 Championship Position 11th, 95 Championship points
"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."
Ninth Danilo Petrucci Italian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #9
Race Points 7 Championship Position 7th, 133 Championship points
"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".
Hafizh Syahrin 10th Malaysian Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #55
Points 6 Championship Position 17th, 34 Championship points
"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."
The British Riders
Bradley Smith 12th Smith British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38
Race Points 4 Championship Position 19th, 23 Championship points
"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. And we always have a lot of fun there!"
Bradley Smith with a fan in Australia last year
Scott Redding 21st British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45
No Race Points Championship Position 21st, 12 Championship points
"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.
"I want to congratulate Marc on another brilliant year, he's shown us all how it's done, I wish our Aprilia was as good as his Honda. Also I apologise to him for dislocating his shoulder when I heartily congratulated him on the slow down lap."
Andrea Dovizioso Italian Ducati Team #04
No Race Points Championship Position Second, 194 Championship points
"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 Márquez, 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."
Jack Miller Australian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #43
No Race Points Championship Position 13th, 74 Championship points
"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 in front of all my fans and sponsors."
Marc Márquez Is The 2018 MotoGP Champion
Márquez has been formidable this year. There has been a different Marc Márquez, he finds the limit and sometimes goes over it, in the practice sessions. Only twice has he crashed in a race this season. The amazing thing is when he does crash he never gets hurt and carries on, goes even faster, as if nothing has happened.
He's been very consistent and always finished in the top three when he's not crashed. So from the half way point in this season, he's led the championship and each race extended his lead. Now he IS the 2018 MotoGP Champion and congratulations to him.
2018 MotoGP World Championship Standing
At 21 October 2018
Statistics obtained from motogp.com website and used to create the above tables.
Next MotoGP Race Is In Australia
With the 'fly-away' races, there are four races in five weeks, and three consecutive races in three weeks.
The next race being the Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix of Australia at Phillip Island. Race 17 of this year's Championship.
Action starts Friday 26th October with the race on Sunday the 28th.
All the sessions will be reported on in my full report soon after the winner has sprayed the champagne.
- Roland Potter