MotoGP: Perfect ten as Marquez breaks curse in Japan

Image via Twitter: @marcmarquez93

For the first time in three attempts, Marc Marquez not only stayed on his bike at the first race after winning the World title but rode it to victory, taking the chequered flag at the Japanese MotoGP.

The Honda rider began Sunday’s MotoGP from pole position, his first at Twin Rings Motegi, and had the measure of his rivals following a minor hiccup on the opening lap.

It was his tenth win of the season.

Brief glimmer of hope quashed by Marquez

Starting from pole position, the odds were stacked in Marquez’s favour but that didn’t mean his rivals weren’t going to give it a go.

Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo, Marquez’s toughest competitor in recent races, shot from third on the grid to second at the first corner before taking the lead off Marquez at Turn 7.

It was an audacious lunge, the sort of move fans expect from the reigning World Champion himself.

However, Quartararo’s P1 was short-lived as, three corners later, Marquez was back up into the lead and there was no looking back.

The Honda rider didn’t put a wheel wrong despite Quartararo dogging him throughout the race.

Marquez took the chequered flag 0.870s ahead of the Frenchman while Andrea Dovizioso was third, a further half a second down.

“It was not easy,” Marquez told Reuters. “I was pushing from the beginning. With the fuel and everything I was on the limit.”

Marquez’s victory, his 10th of the campaign, handed Honda the Constructors’ Championship with 356 points to Ducati’s 270.

Race to forget for Rossi and Lorenzo

It was yet another Sunday afternoon to forget for former World Champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi crashed on lap 20 while running 11th. It was his first DNF since June’s Dutch TT.

As for Lorenzo, Marquez’s Honda team-mate took the chequered flag down in 17th place with only three riders behind him.

It marked another wretched day for the Spaniard, who has yet to achieve a top-ten showing this season.

As for the South African prospects…

South Africa’s Brad Binder, who will step up to MotoGP next season with the Red Bull KTM Tech 3, was a disappointing P12 as he struggled to find his rhythm and recover from his 18th place start position.

It was, however, worse for his younger brother Darryn, who failed to finish his Moto3 race as he slid off into the Turn 11 gravel.

Japanese MotoGP Result

1 – Marc Marquez – Honda – 42m41.492s

2 – Fabio Quartararo – Petronas Yamaha  – 0.870s

3 – Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati – 1.325s

4 – Maverick Vinales – Yamaha – 2.608s

5 – Cal Crutchlow – LCR Honda – 9.140s

6 – Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha – 9.187s

7 – Alex Rins – Suzuki – 9.306s

8 – Joan Mir – Suzuki – 10.695s

9 – Danilo Petrucci – Ducati – 14.216s

10 – Jack Miller – Pramac Ducati – 18.909s

11 – Pol Espargaro – KTM – 25.554s

12 – Miguel Oliveira – Tech3 KTM – 27.870s

13 – Francesco Bagnaia – Pramac Ducati – 29.983s

14 – Mika Kallio – KTM – 31.232s

15 – Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia – 32.546s

16 – Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda – 37.482s

17 – Jorge Lorenzo – Honda – 40.410s

18 – Karel Abraham – Avintia Ducati – 43.458s

19 – Hafizh Syahrin – Tech3 KTM – 46.206s

20 – Sylvain Guintoli – Suzuki – 50.235s

Did not finish

Valentino Rossi – Yamaha – lap 20 – crash

Andrea Iannone – Aprilia – lap 7 – crash

Tito Rabat – Avintia Ducati – lap 0 – withdrawn

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