The Yamaha machines were expected to dominate the MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan, but Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took a sensational victory here on Sunday. This is his fourth win in a row and he had won in Motegi in 2016 and 2018.
Luckily, the rain stayed away and it was a great day of racing at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit. Spaniard Marquez pushed very hard to keep Yamaha SRT’s Frenchman Fabio Quartararo at bay. So much so that Marquez’s bike ran out of fuel just after the race. Quartararo was second and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso third.
“It was not easy because I was pushing from the beginning. I felt good in the warm-up. I was thinking and managing many things and was able to win,” said Marquez.
Running on medium tyres, Marquez obviously got to push harder than Quartararo as the latter had to try and preserve his rear soft tyre.
Honda, in their 60th anniversary year in racing, took the 2019 constructors’ title in front of 88,597 spectators. Marquez had wrapped up the riders’ title in the previous round in Thailand.
Marquez started well from pole but got a scare when Quartararo, third on the starting grid, overtook him on the first lap. However, Marquez was back in front before the end of the lap.
Newly crowned Rookie of the Year Quartararo overtook teammate Franco Morbidelli at the start and was gunning for the race lead. But Marquez began to pull away and was never threatened again.
Marquez was ahead of Quartararo by just over a second but it was about 2.2 seconds for a while. Quartararo never got a chance to have a shot at the win like in San Marino and Thailand earlier in the season.
Down the order, there was a stiff battle between Dovizioso and Yamaha MotoGP’s Spaniard Maverick Vinales. With eight laps remaining, it looked like Vinales would get past Dovizioso to snatch the last podium spot. However, Dovizioso soaked up the pressure well and took a comfortable third place.
Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha MotoGP) crashed out of the race.
Italians Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) won the Moto2 and Moto3 races respectively.