Brilliant Marquez wins 10th title of 2019 MotoGP season
Motegi (Japan): World champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda Team rode a brilliant race to claim his 10th title of the season at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit here on Sunday.
Starting from the pole position for the first time in MotoGP at Motegi, the 26-year-old Honda rider clinched the title with a timing of 42:42.492 seconds.
Yamaha SRT's Fabio Qartararo, who started third from the grid, finished second, 0.870 seconds behind Marquez while Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso (42:48.817 seconds) climbed up four places to take the third spot in the 24-lap race.
Marquez's win also clinched the Constructor's title for Repsol Honda with three races still remaining in the season.
Sunday's win also gave Marquez his third Japan Moto GP title after having clinched the crown in 2016 and last year, while finishing second in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Before coming here, Marquez had already secured his fourth consecutive world championship title at the last race in Thailand.
In total, the 26-year-old Spaniard has eight world championship titles, including six in the premier class MotoGP. Marquez's other crowns came in the 125cc World Championship in 2010 and Moto2 World Championship in 2012.
Already assured of the world championship title, Marquez meant business from the word go and held off an early challenge from 'Rookie of the Year' Quartararo.
It was immaculate riding from Marquez in dry conditions on a circuit, which has always been tricky for him. Marquez took an early lead and maintained that till the end. His strategy was simple — take the lead and increase the gap — and he executed that with perfection.
Marquez was leading the pack with nearly a lead of 2.2 seconds early on, but Quartararo pushed hard and gave him a tough fight towards the end to close the gap by 0.870 seconds.
"I was pushing from the beginning because the strategy was clear. I tried to open a gap from the beginning but honestly speaking I started to play a lot with the switches (gears)," Marquez said after registering his fourth consecutive win of the season.
"It wasn't easy because you need to think about a lot of things while riding but I was able to manage in a good way to finish the race. Congratulations to the team. They did a very good job. They tried to find the best package for me," he added.
Second place holder Quartararo of France was made to sweat in the final stages by Dovizioso, who claimed his 100th Grand Prix podium.
But it turned out to be a pretty disappointing outing for another Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli as he finished fifth after starting second from the grid.
Maverick Vinales of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP finished fourth after starting from the same spot, while Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda Castrol took the fifth place.
The final race witnessed two non-finishers in Aprilla Racing Team Gresini's Andrea Ianone and the legendary Valentino Rossi of Yamaha, who crashed out in the 20th lap.
Marquez's teammate Jorge Lorenzo finished 17th after starting from the 19th position.
Earlier in the day, starting from the pole position, Luca Marini of Sky Racing Team VR46 claimed the Moto2 title ahead of Thomas Luthi of Dynavolt Intact GP and Red Bull KTM Ajo's Jorge Martini.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta of Leopard Racing won the Moto3 race, while Gaviota Angel Nieto Team's Albert Arenas and Celestino Vietti of Sky Racing Team VR6 clinched the second and third sports respectively.