Motegi Review 2018

2018-10-22 16:30
Michelin provided the best available race tyres and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) supplied some supreme race-craft as he took victory at Motegi in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan a result that signalled his crowning as the 2018 MotoGP™ World Champion.

Marquez started from sixth on the grid with a pairing of medium compound MICHELIN Power Slick tyres and it didn’t take the 25-year-old Spaniard long to join a battle at the front, which included his nearest championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda). Dovizioso had stared from pole and led for the first 20-laps despite coming under pressure from his two fellow combatants. With a soft front slick and a medium rear, Dovizioso controlled the race from the front, before Marquez took the lead on lap-21. The following laps were very intense as the two of the greatest riders on the planet put their trust in the Michelin rubber and raced in close proximity to what looked like an exciting climax to the race. Unfortunately, Dovizioso crashed on the penultimate lap as he pushed to stay with Marquez, leaving the Spaniard to ride to victory and take his seventh World title, which includes five MotoGP crowns and three successive championships on Michelin tyres.

Crutchlow was the next over the line, but not before he had battled with Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) in the closing stages. The three-time Grand Prix winner came under intense pressure, but took the chequered flag ahead of the Suzuki man by just one-tenth-of-a-second, a result which gave Crutchlow the position of First Independent Rider and strengthened his position at the top of that championship. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) continued with the good form he showed last time out in Thailand to take fourth, the same as at Buriram. Fifth was Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) as he equalled his best result of the season so far. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) led a pair of Yamahas over the line as he was followed home by Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Eighth was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) on his final visit to Motegi ahead of his retirement at the end of the season. Ninth home was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounding out the top-ten.

Michelin had seen both the MICHELIN Power Slicks and Michelin Power Rain tyres used this weekend as wet weather again took hold of the 4,801m circuit of Friday, when most riders used the session to hone their skills on a wet and then drying track. Those climactic issues were forgotten today as bright skies and sunshine led to the track temperature reaching 35°C, the highest it had been all weekend. The whole of the field opted to use a mix of either soft or medium front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks in different configurations, again showing that the range can be adapted to all riders, bikes and conditions. An excited and colourful crowd of 55,225 enjoyed an enthralling race which produced battles throughout the field.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock will now head south for the second leg of the Asia-Pacific tour, as the championship descends on to Phillip Island in Australia and the third-running of the Michelin® Australian Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday 28th October.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:

“I am really happy and there are no words to describe this feeling. It is another title and the third consecutive one on Michelin tyres, so it looks like they fit well with my riding style. I am enjoying life a lot and living a dream! For the Motegi race we worked in a perfect way and I was able to understand really well the grip of the tyres, where was the limit and how they performed. It is now time to enjoy the last three races and celebrate this world title. Thanks to all the Michelin staff, to all the technicians because they do a great job and especially to Clement – he is the guy that works inside my pit-box – because the relationship with him is really good.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“After the amount of rain we had last year it was good to have an almost dry weekend, although the rain on Friday did hamper some of the preparations of the teams. We need more time with the full dry track to get more information, so the sessions on Saturday were good and so was the race today. It had a good consistent pace and we saw the fastest laps being set as the race drew to close, so this was really important. Motegi is a very difficult track with its stop-and-go design, so we will look at the data and improve the allocation for next year, which is our aim with all circuits.

“I would like to congratulate Marc on his third consecutive Michelin title. He has shown consistency and speed with our tyres all season and is a worthy champion.”

Source: Michelin Motorsport

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