MotoGP » MotoGP Japan: Marquez crowned world champion at Motegi

Marc Marquez wins Japanese MotoGP at Motegi to clinch third premier-class title after Yamaha rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crash out.

MotoGP » MotoGP Japan: Marquez crowned world champion at Motegi

MARC Marquez has been crowned MotoGP world champion for a third time after clinching his maiden victory in a sensational Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. 

Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both dramatically crashed out as their championship hopes evaporated, leaving Marquez clear to wrap up the premier class crown for Repsol Honda with three races remaining. 

The 23-year-old also clinched the title at Honda's own circuit in 2014 and his race win and championship victory was the perfect way to mark the Japanese manufacturer's 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing. 

With both pole man Rossi and Lorenzo falling by the wayside, Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso clinched the runner-up spot, 2.9 seconds behind Marquez, with Maverick Vinales completing the rostrum places on the Ecstar Suzuki. 

Marquez's dominant victory on the RCV saw him open up a lead of 77 points at the top of the standings over Rossi to put the outcome beyond doubt, with only a maximum of 75 points remaining in the final three rounds at Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia. 

Marquez made a flying start from second place on the front row to take the lead into Turn 1, although Lorenzo quickly forced his way to the front as Rossi lost another place to Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro. 

The Italian quickly hit back and became embroiled in a battle with Marquez as Lorenzo attempted to make a break for it at the front with clear track ahead of him. 

However, Marquez began to hunt down Lorenzo and quickly reduced the Mallorcan's half-a-second advantage to take the lead on lap four before beginning to edge ahead. 

Rossi was eager to find a way past his team-mate and eventually moved into second place on lap six with a clean move on the brakes to take up the pursuit of Marquez. 

The Yamaha rider began to put the hammer down as he attempted to reel in the title leader, but disaster struck for Rossi on the next lap when he slid out into the gravel at Turn 10 after losing the front of his M1. 

With the 37-year-old out of contention, Lorenzo moved up to second place, meaning the title was still mathematically undecided as long he finished on the podium on the Movistar machine. 

Behind Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaro were beginning to close the gap but there was another twist in the tale as the 2015 champion incredibly crashed with five laps to go on a disastrous day for the factory Yamaha team. It was an uncharacteristic mistake by Lorenzo, who was already feeling battered and bruised following a massive high-side in FP3. 

Marquez could hardly have believed the situation that unfolded and simply closed out the race to lift his third MotoGP title in four years - his fifth world championship success following his 125 and Moto2 triumphs in 2010 and 2012 respectively. 

Dovizioso had enough left in the tank to claim second place on the Desmosedici GP16 ahead of Suzuki rider Vinales, who got the better of team-mate Espargaro for third. 

Britain's Cal Crutchlow was a solid fifth on the LCR Honda ahead of Pol Espargaro on the Monster tech 3 Yamaha, with Spaniard Alvaro Bautista crossing the line in an excellent seventh on the Gresini Aprilia. 

Danilo Petrucci struck another blow in his points battle with Pramac Ducati team-mate Scott Redding as they engage in a duel to earn a GP17 ride next year, while Stefan Bradl added more gloss to an impressive day for Aprilia as he finished 10th behind Redding. 

Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga was a respectable 11th on the factory Yamaha ahead of Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Ducati) and the returning Bradley Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha). Tito Rabat on the Marc VDS Honda and Hiroshi Aoyama, who replaced injury victim Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda, claimed the final points in 14th and 15th places respectively. 

Ireland's Eugene Laverty was a faller early on while Jack Miller (Marc VDS Honda) also crashed out. 

Hector Barbera – who replaced Andrea Iannone on the factory Ducati – finished 17th behind Avintia Racing's Loris Baz after sliding off and then remounting to re-join the race. 

Former Australian Superbike champion Mike Jones finished his maiden MotoGP race in 18th. Jones took over Barbera's ride at Motegi in the Avintia team. 

Japanese MotoGP: 

1. Marc Marquez 
2. Andrea Dovizioso 
3. Maverick Viñales 
4. Aleix Espargaro 
5. Cal Crutchlow 
6. Pol Espargaro 
7. Alvaro Bautista 
8. Danilo Petrucci 
9. Scott Redding 
10. Stefan Bradl 
11. Katsuyuki Nakasuga 
12. Yonny Hernandez 
13. Bradley Smith 
14. Tito Rabat 
15. Hiroshi Aoyama 
16. Loris Baz 
17. Hector Barbera 
18. Mike Jones 
Jorge Lorenzo 
Valentino Rossi 
Jack Miller 
Eugene Laverty 

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