Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team /Michelin) made history by winning the first MotoGPTM grand prix to be held in Thailand. The Spaniard won the PTT Thailand Gr...
Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team / Michelin) won the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, Round 16 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship, to make sure of his fifth crown in motorcycle racing’s premier series, and his seventh in total. The Spaniard was joined on the Motegi podium by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda / Michelin) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar / Michelin).
Despite qualifying sixth on the grid, Marquez got away to a strong start on medium-compound MICHELIN Power Slicks front and rear to complete the first of the afternoon’s 24 laps in second place, behind pole-winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team / Michelin). The championship pace-setter defended his position for the first four laps but briefly fell to third spot behind Crutchlow during Laps 5 and 6.
He then managed to close the gap to Dovizioso again and, after an initial attempt to pass on Lap 14, he finally eased into the lead on Lap 21 in the knowledge that victory would put the seal on the 2018 Riders’ title. Two laps later his mission was facilitated when Dovizioso fell.
Second place for Crutchlow produced a one-two finish for Honda on home soil, while Rins ended up third for Suzuki, ahead of Valentino Rossi (4
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3 / Michelin) had to settle for sixth after failing to catch the leading pack due to a poor getaway from second on the grid.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP / Michelin), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team / Michelin), Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing/ Michelin) and Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / Michelin) rounded out the day’s top 10.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team / Michelin) did not start the race.
Four of the six available Michelin tyre specs were chosen for the grand prix, with only the ‘hard’ front and rear options failing to earn the favours of any of the riders.
At the age of 25 years and 246 days, Márquez is the youngest rider to have won seven motorcycle racing titles, including five at MotoGP
With three races still to come, Dovizioso (194 points) is second in the provisional standings, nine points clear of Rossi.
Next race: Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island (October 26-28).