The Spaniard sealed his seventh motorcycling crown, his fifth in MotoGP, after main rival Andrea Dovizioso, from Ducati, fell off his bike at just two laps from the finish line.
Marc Marquez displayed an impeccable strategy staying at the Italian’s tail for the most part of the race to finally make his move with just three laps to go, which subsequently led to Dovizioso coming off his bike as he tried to take back the lead.
The Spanish driver, at just 25 years of age, is right on track to become the next motorcycle legend and getting closer to Valentino Rossi’s 7 MotoGP titles.
The temple of speed bows before him. Long live the Emperor after conquering another MotoGP title in the Land of the Rising Sun!
Dovi and Marquez: A great start
Dovizioso started from pole whereas Marquez did so in fifth position, but the Honda driver decided to give it all right from the start. The Spaniard wanted to avoid an escape of the Ducati #4 at all costs, a very dangerous scenario in Motegi.
Things were already looking up for another vibrant duel between Marc Marquez and Dovizioso, the two fastest pilots of the grid, just as they have done in the last few races.
Ducati’s strategy became clear right from the start: To set a slow pace for the group behind to get as large as possible in the belief that it would be easier to fish in troubled waters.
During the seventh lap, Andrea attempted to get away for the first time, leaving Marc Marquez trapped behind Crutchlow. The Spaniard however, realizing the move, quickly overtook the Briton and stuck to Andrea’s tail.
It was then that both rivals, and the two strong men of the competition, opened ground with the rest to engage in their leadership fight. Crutchlow and Rossi stayed behind, closely followed by the resilient Suzukis of Iannone and Rins.
At this point, the leading pilots, always with Dovizioso at the front, were slowing down and the Suzukis were picking up the pace.
Marc accelerates and Dovi falls down
At 11 laps from the finish line, Marc Marquez, aware of the other rivals closing in on them, decided to get ahead and set a faster rhythm and, after a very risky manoeuvre in which he touched the track with his wheels, stole the lead from the Italian. But Dovizioso was not giving up and moved back past Marquez again right after turn 9.
Confident now that Crutchlow and Rins will not catch up with them, Dovizioso tried to escape once more. Very quickly he had a three-millisecond advantage over Marc Marquez but the Spaniard wasn’t going to let the red bullet escape any further. With just four laps left to go, the Honda #93 performed the final pass on Andrea and set on his way to victory.
The driver from Ducati knew very well then that this would be his last chance to stop Marquez getting the title. He tried to follow him with all his might but in his effort, he lost control and slid onto the floor at just two laps from the chequered flag. In that precise instant, Marc Marquez became MotoGP World Champion 2018, drawing level with the five titles of Mick Doohan. What a feat!
Main Image: Repsol Honda.