Heading into round 15 of 18 at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi, Marc Marquez was 52 points ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, and 66 ahead of Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo.The factory Yamaha YZR-M1 pilots were Marquez’s biggest threats in regards to the Repsol Honda pilot securing a fifth world title. Though Rossi claimed the Motegi MotoGP pole, and Lorenzo qualified third, both Yamaha riders crashed out of the Japan Grand Prix. This provided Marquez with the perfect opportunity to clinch the 2016 MotoGP title–and that is just what he did.
[Visit the Ultimate Motorcycling MotoGP Page]When the 24-lap GP of Japan began, Marquez got the holeshot, but Lorenzo wasted no time. The five-time World Champion Lorenzo got out front, and led the opening three laps with Marquez and Rossi in tow. But by lap four, Marquez was in the lead, and the crashes began. First, on lap six, Rossi lost the front of his M1, sending him into the gravel trap for his fourth DNF of the season.As Marquez pulled away up front, Lorenzo remained in second, nearly four seconds off the pace. The reigning MotoGP Champion pushed and pushed, but on lap 19 he crashed out, leaving Marquez alone up front.With his largest rivals off track, the 23-year-old Spaniard Marquez went onto to win his fifth race this season. Marquez, who had never won a MotoGP race at Motegi before Sunday, finished 2.992 seconds ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and 4.104 seconds ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales.Following the win, Marquez has secured 273 points, 77 ahead of Rossi. With three rounds remaining and 75 points up for grabs, Marquez has clinched the 2016 MotoGP title.The win was Marquez’s 55th in his career (across all classes), and he became the youngest rider in the history of the sport to earn five World Championships (125cc in 2010, Moto2 in 2012 and MotoGP in 2013, 2014 and 2016). Marquez is also the only rider in any class to score points at every race so far this year, and equals Lorenzo for three premier-class championships, and five across all classes.“It’s incredible! Before the race I didn’t expect to be Champion, and I said that here it would be impossible. However, when I saw that Rossi was out of the race, I decided to push hard for the victory. I was riding my hardest, and when there were three laps to go, I read on my pit board that Lorenzo was also out; on that same lap, I made mistakes in four or five corners, as it was difficult to stay focused!” Marquez says.“I’m very happy because this title is very special considering some of the crashes I had last year, and also because it came at Motegi, Honda’s home. Honda has worked so hard this year, and you could see the fruits of that effort also at this track, where we’ve struggled in the past. I myself also improved during the season; for instance, I learned how to better use the front Michelin tire.“It has been a demanding year, but a fantastic one. It’s great for my team, and of course I don’t want to forget my grandmother, who passed away this year and would be very happy with this World Championship. Now we can just enjoy it and go into the last three races with maybe a more ‘Marc Marquez’ style.”Rounding out the top 10 at 2016 Motegi MotoGP were Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro in fourth, followed by LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, the Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati duo of Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding, and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl.The series now heads directly to Phillip Island for the second of three back-to-back races that began at Motegi and ends at Sepang.Stay clicked to Ultimate Motorcycling for additional stories about the 2016 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez!
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!