MotoGP World Championship – Grand Prix of Japan

Márquez keeps control and getting closer to the title


Despite a difficult race, Álex Márquez did the job by finishing sixth, and the Moto2 World Championship leader has kept his opponents at bay.

Álex Márquez, who had scored pole position, had to settle for sixth place under the chequered flag at the finish of the Japanese Grand Prix. Less at ease than he seemed to be during the practice test sessions, the leader of the championship had to deal with a machine that became nervous when it accelerated. “We finished sixth, that’s not too bad,” commented Márquez. “But it’s true we expected much better after the free practice sessions. We changed things on the bike between the warm-up and the race, and maybe that was not the best idea we had. We’ll have to analyze all of this before Australia and get back among the leaders and set the pace right away.” Xavi Vierge had a very complicated weekend. In the background during the practice test sessions because of braking problems, and only twentieth on the grid, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider had a good start. He climbed back to twelfth position just before being snagged by the Italian rider Manzi he had just overtaken. A new Did Not Finish for Marquez’s team-mate. The Moto2 riders for the Tech 3 KTM team also had a bad weekend. Sick, Marco Bezzecchi gave up halfway while fighting for a place in the top ten. And Phillip Oettl crossed the finish line in twentieth position. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira equalled his second best result of the season by finishing twelfth. A good performance for the Portuguese rider, who had a bad crash during the practice test sessions. “The first laps were difficult because of the traffic,” he said. “But I managed to pick up my pace as the laps went by and finished well. Physically I felt much better than in Thailand, which is a good sign before the Australian Grand Prix.” Hafizh Syahrin fought it out with the Japanese rider Nakagami before losing it in the last five laps. He finished twentieth, 46 seconds behind the winner, Marc Márquez.

The Championship

By finishing sixth in Motegi, Álex Márquez has pocketed ten more points. With only three races remaining, the Moto2 world championship leader is now 36 points ahead of Thomas Lüthi, his new runner-up. Xavi Vierge has lost another place in the general classification. He is now sixteenth. Same punishment for Marco Bezzecchi who has slipped back to twenty-second position. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira has moved up to to sixteenth place while Hafizh Syahrin stays twenty-fourth.