Dovi keeps title hopes alive in Motegi

Andrea Dovizioso blew the title race wide open as he snatched a thrilling win at a soaking wet Japanese Grand Prix. The Italian overturned a half-second gap from title rival Marc Marquez to take the win in dramatic fashion, closing the gap in the championship to just 11 points.

Dovi Motegi

Dovizioso now has five wins this season, after having just one victory in MotoGP before the start of this year. Image: dawn.com

Dovizioso had gone fairly under the radar, allowing teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci lead early on. As the laps progressed though, the Italian found himself as part of a break-away front three. As Marquez tangled with Petrucci, Dovizioso sat back, before eventually passing Petrucci, who looked to have just run out of steam.

For Dovizioso though, his race was just beginning. After passing his fellow Ducati rider, he was straight on to the back of Marquez.

With three laps to go, Dovizioso made his move, hitting the front and looking the more comfortable in the wet conditions. But in true Marquez fashion he fought his way back past the Ducati. Marquez extended his lead to just under half a second going into the last lap, but a mistake by the world champion allowed Dovizioso to catch him in the final sector.

As in Austria, Marquez went for broke, diving down the inside of Dovizioso on the final corner. It was almost as if Dovi knew that he was coming, however, allowing the Honda to dart through on the inside and run wide before the Ducati was able to power back past on the drag to the line.

Danilo Petrucci completed the podium, whilst Suzuki riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins finished fourth and fifth.

After initially leading the race, Jorge Lorenzo fell back into the middle of the pack, but rallied late on to rise to sixth. He overtook Aleix Espargaro in the final few laps, who had previously had a quiet race before falling to seventh.

Johann Zarco, who had also started brightly, dropped down to eighth, whilst Maverick Vinales and Loris Baz completed the top ten.

Valentino Rossi compounded his misery after a poor weekend all round, crashing out of the race early on.

It was a poor weekend for the British riders on the whole, except for Sam Lowes. Lowes just missed out on twelfth, running out of fuel on the last corner and just being overtaken by wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga. Scott Redding finished just outside the points in sixteenth, whilst Bradley Smith was unable to capitalise on his impressive qualifying performance, finishing eighteenth. Cal Crutchlow crashed out early on, and although he did re-enter the race, he crashed again later on.

In Moto2, it was a better afternoon for the Marquez family, as Alex Marquez took the victory by over a second. Championship leader Franco Morbedelli finished eighth, but still managed to extend his lead over Thomas Luthi to 24 points, after the Swiss rider finished 11th.

Romano Fenati managed to keep the Moto3 title race alive as he took the chequered flag. Championship leader Joan Mir, by contrast, failed to finish in the points after starting from 20th after a grid penalty. The result leaves Mir 56 points ahead of Fenati with three rounds remaining. John McPhee finished tenth, leaving him sixth in the championship.

Advertisements

Pedrosa wins in Japan

Dani Pedrosa claimed his 50th Grand Prix victory in the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi. The Spaniard beat title leader Valentino Rossi and fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo to the chequered flag, whilst team mate Marc Marquez could only finish fourth.

Source: crash.net

Source: crash.net

Pole man Lorenzo set the pace early on, but as the race went on he was plagued with tyre problems. Pedrosa worked his way past Rossi with eight laps to go before powering in to the lead on the next lap. Lorenzo’s tyre problems were evident when Rossi caught him, running extremely wide to allow his team mate to slip past. Marc Marquez caught Andrea Dovizioso late on to take fourth, whilst Cal Crutchlow overtook fellow Brit Bradley Smith in the final few corners to claim sixth. Scott Redding finished tenth, with Eugene Laverty seventeenth.

Rossi’s second place extends his championship lead to 18 points with three races remaining, whilst Marc Marquez is now unable to retain his crown, 86 points behind the Italian.

Source: crash.net

Source: crash.net

Johann Zarco was awarded the Moto2 title before the race, with closest challenger Tito Rabat’s weekend being cut short through injury. Zarco celebrated his title with another win in a rain affected race, whilst Danny Kent will have to wait to secure the Moto3 title, finishing sixth, with Niccolo Antonelli taking the win.