Motegi MotoGP: Marquez seals 2016 title after Rossi, Lorenzo crash

Honda's Marc Marquez won the Japanese Grand Prix to secure his third MotoGP title in four years, after Yamaha's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out

Motegi MotoGP: Marquez seals 2016 title after Rossi, Lorenzo crash

Marquez started the day 52 points clear of Rossi and 66 ahead of Lorenzo, and with 75 still on offer in the three grands prix after the Motegi race had downplayed his prospects of sealing the title.

However, with his fifth victory of the season, and with the Yamaha pair both falling out of contention, the 23-year-old has a third premier class title to go with his 2013 and '14 triumphs.

Marquez took the lead off the line, but exited the first corner in second place, behind Lorenzo, who muscled his way past both polesitter Rossi and Marquez on the inside line.

Lorenzo led the way until the fourth lap, when Marquez moved past down the inside at Turn 9.

Rossi had to wait another two laps to do the same, and by that time Marquez was 0.866 seconds clear and setting a string of fastest laps.

Any hopes Rossi had of chasing Marquez down came to an end on lap seven, when the Italian crashed at Turn 10.

He remounted but headed straight back to the Yamaha garage, retiring from the race and bringing his title challenge to an end.

In order to keep his own hopes alive, Lorenzo had to finish on the podium.

Battered after his Saturday practice accident, Lorenzo stayed in second place, but his advantage over Andrea Dovizioso was gradually cut.

With seven laps to go the Ducati rider was just four tenths behind, while having lapped relentlessly in the 1m45s barrier for the first 14 laps, Marquez led by nearly four seconds.

Marquez's day then got better when Lorenzo lost the front end of his Yamaha at Turn 9 with five laps remaining.

He got the message on his pitboard that Lorenzo was down, and made no mistake from there, taking victory to seal the title with three races to go, at Honda's home circuit.

Along with 125cc and Moto2 titles in 2010 and '12, Marquez is the youngest rider to reach five world championships across the three classes.

Dovizioso picked up second place, while Maverick Vinales caught and passed Suzuki team-mate Aleix Espargaro in the final third of the race to complete the podium.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow was the only frontrunner to opt for the hardest of the three front tyres, and his switch on the grid did not pay off as he finished a distant fifth, delayed by a mid-race off.

Pol Espargaro was sixth for Tech3 Yamaha, while Aprilia and Pramac Ducati riders completed the top 10, with Alvaro Bautista seventh and 10th, and Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding eighth and ninth.

On his return from injury after missing the last three grands prix, Bradley Smith battled his way to 13th place.

RESULTS - 24 LAPS:

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 42m34.610s
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 2.992s
3 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki 4.104s
4 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 4.726s
5 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 15.049s
6 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 19.654s
7 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Aprilia 23.032s
8 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 28.555s
9 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati Ducati 28.802s
10 Stefan Bradl Aprilia Aprilia 32.330s
11 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Yamaha 42.845s
12 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati Ducati 52.219s
13 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 53.783s
14 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda Honda 54.760s
15 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda Honda 1m00.155s
16 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m04.440s
17 Hector Barbera Ducati Ducati 1m42.966s
18 Mike Jones Avintia Ducati Ducati 1 Lap
- Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha Retirement
- Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha Retirement
- Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda Honda Retirement
- Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati Ducati Retirement
- Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda Withdrawn

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Rider Points
1 Marc Marquez 273
2 Valentino Rossi 196
3 Jorge Lorenzo 182
4 Maverick Vinales 165
5 Dani Pedrosa 155
6 Andrea Dovizioso 124
7 Cal Crutchlow 116
8 Pol Espargaro 106
9 Andrea Iannone 96
10 Hector Barbera 84
11 Aleix Espargaro 82
12 Eugene Laverty 71
13 Alvaro Bautista 63
14 Scott Redding 62
15 Danilo Petrucci 58
16 Stefan Bradl 55
17 Bradley Smith 45
18 Jack Miller 42
19 Michele Pirro 36
20 Tito Rabat 29
21 Loris Baz 24
22 Yonny Hernandez 17
23 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 5
24 Alex Lowes 3
25 Hiroshi Aoyama 1
25 Nicky Hayden 1


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