This years Japanese Grand Prix is being hailed as one of the best MotoGP race finishes of all time as championship contenders Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez put everything on the line, fighting until the final corner of the final lap with Dovizioso crossing the line just 0.249 seconds ahead of his rival.
By edging ahead in the final straight, Dovizioso cut Marquez’s championship lead to just 11 points with three races remaining.
“When I overtook him [Marquez] I wanted to make a gap, but I didn’t have the rear tyre”, Dovizioso explained.
“So it was just about strategy and being in the right place at the right time.
“It was so exciting to be in this race, to fight with Marc always is, and it was important for the Championship.”
“I pushed and took the risk for a few laps, then I made a mistake at turn eight” – marc marquez
Despite coming up short, Marquez was still able to celebrate the 100th podium of his MotoGP career.
“It’s amazing to fight how we did today, and in the rain,” Marquez said, agreeing with Dovizioso’s comments.
“Today with a lot of water [racing] was more difficult.
“I pushed and took the risk for a few laps but Dovi was able to be fast, then I made a mistake at turn eight. My bike was shaking from the slipstream into turn 11!”
Ten seconds behind the leading pair was Danilo Pettrucci, who rounded off the podium places. Despite claiming his 4th podium of the year, the Italian is yet to win a race in the top class.
“they had an incredible race. It was fun to watch from behind” – Danilo pettrucci
“I was starting to think about my first win but there’s always the same problems: Dovi and Marc”, he commented.
“But they had an incredible race, pushing until the last lap, and it was fun to watch from behind.”
An impressive ride from Andrea Iannone saw him fight his way through the grid from 12th place to finish 4th. His team mate, Alex Rins, finished in 5th. This result not only made him the best rookie on the grid, but gave the Suzuki team their best result of the year.
“I started a bit far back when in the first corners someone forced me to go wide and I lost some more positions, falling back to 15th.” Rins explained.
“It took me some time to regain my position in the race, but I finally finished in 5th, so I’m very happy.”
“I tried to keep pace [with espargaro] but had no grip, it was like I was on ice” – valentinO rossi
Not everyone had such an enjoyable race, with the rain soaked track causing plenty of issues. Even the Italian champion Valentino Rossi crashed out of the race while chasing down Aleix Espargaro.
“It was a highside”, Rossi explained.
“I was behind Espargaro and tried not to give up and keep his pace but on the left I had no grip, it was like I was on ice.
“When I realised, I was already flying.”
His team mate, Maverick Viñales, who finished the race in 9th, echoed this sentiment.
“I was trying everything to push from the beginning but it was very difficult”, he claimed.
“It was very difficult to ride the bike and I was close to crashing a few times.”
There are just three races left of the MotoGP season, and the fight for the championship is truly hotting up. The riders will be back in action on the 22nd of October at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
–Charlotte Andrews, Correspondent (Sport)
(-Picture, Nic Redhead)