News 16 Oct 2016

Marquez crowned 2016 MotoGP world champion in Japan

Race of attrition sees Repsol Honda rider clinch title at Motegi.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez has taken the 2016 MotoGP World Championship at the home of Honda, with the hand dealt by the Japanese venue seeing the cards fall perfectly for the Spaniard.

Movistar Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of contention. First was Rossi into the gravel early, before Lorenzo’s ride through the pain after a highside on Saturday was cut short, sliding out of P2 in the last laps.

Marquez, clear at the front, kept it on the road to take his third premier class title in four years and his fifth victory of the season.

With a slow start for pole-sitter Rossi, it was championship leader Marquez who got the holeshot into turn one, before reigning champion Lorenzo quickly took the lead at turn two.

With Rossi getting past Marquez soon after, Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then took advantage to take the Italian legend. Rossi fought back, before a duel between Rossi and Marquez saw the two switching positions in an early battle.

A crash for Eugene Laverty (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) then saw the Irishman out the race early on – his first DNF of the year – as the top three of Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi held station at the front, and Motegi prepared the coming twists in the tale.

Rossi was first to fold, as the nine-time world champion made a mistake and lost the front end of his Movistar Yamaha, leaving teammate Lorenzo as the last man standing in between Marquez and the crown. The status quo between the two remained, with Marquez in a clear lead, as battle raged behind.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) broke away from an early fight with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow to get on the hunt back towards the podium, with teammate Espargaro falling back into his clutches as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) began to hunt down Lorenzo.

‘DesmoDovi’ made some in-roads, with Lorenzo getting closer and closer, before an uncharacteristic error from the world champion saw him follow teammate Rossi in crashing out – a painful trip through the gravel after a highside in FP3 had left the Mallorcan bruised and riding through the pain barrier.

Marquez’ pit board informed the number 93 of the unbelievable situation he now found himself in: a handful of laps, a third crown, and glory once again at the home of Honda. Dovizioso followed the new champion over the line for a P2 finish, with Viñales completing the podium in another impressive ride.

Crutchlow came home in fifth as top Independent Team rider once again, with rival for that title, Monster Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, just behind in sixth.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) impressed with seventh for another great result for the Noale factory, with teammate Stefan Bradl compounding the joy for Aprilia as he completed a double top 10 finish in 10th.

Octo Pramac Yakhnich pairing Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding were the remaining puzzle pieces in that top 10, in P8 and P9 and only three tenths apart over the line.

Marquez’ third MotoGP title is his third in four years in the premier class and his fifth world championship after becoming 125 World Champion in 2010 and Moto2 World Champion in 2012.

Australian Jack Miller (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda) had his day end early on lap seven of 24 when he lost the front-end and crashed at turn one. Countryman Mike Jones (Avintia Racing Ducati) gained experienced of full race distance with an 18th-place result.

Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) has taken an impressive lights-to-flag win in Moto2, topping reigning champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Franco Morbidelli. Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia) finished 15th.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) took an incredible photo-finish victory in Moto3, with a last lap move on newly-crowned champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), while Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) claimed think after Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) was disqualified for being underweight.