Motegi MotoGP: Marquez sees off Quartararo threat

Honda rider Marc Marquez saw off an early threat from Fabio Quartararo to score his 10th MotoGP victory of the 2019 season in commanding fashion at Motegi.

Motegi MotoGP: Marquez sees off Quartararo threat

Marquez, who wrapped up his sixth premier-class title last time out in Thailand, led every lap of the Japanese Grand Prix from pole, albeit briefly losing the lead on the first tour.

From third on the grid, Quartararo passed Petronas Yamaha teammate Franco Morbidelli off the line to grab second, and then made an audacious lunge on Marquez at the Turn 7 left-hander to take the lead.

But the Frenchman's time out front would be limited to just three corners, as Marquez responded at Turn 10 and was never seriously challenged again.

Quartararo was able to keep his deficit to Marquez hovering at around one second for the opening half of the 24-lap encounter, but by lap 13 the Spaniard had escaped to the tune of two seconds and finally crossed the line 0.870s clear.

It marked his 54th premier-class win, tying him with 500cc legend Mick Doohan, while also guaranteeing Honda this year's constructors' prize.

In the closing laps, Quartararo had to turn his attentions to the charging Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, who finished less than half a second adrift in third.

Dovizioso had moved up to third from seventh on the grid, moving up to fifth on the first lap and then picking off Jack Miller's Pramac Ducati and Morbidelli.

The Italian also saw off a stern challenge from Maverick Vinales on the best of the works Yamahas, with Vinales finally slipping to 1.2s behind in the end.

Morbidelli looked set for fifth for much of the race after dropping behind Vinales, but was pipped to the finish line by the LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow, dropping to sixth.

Alex Rins was just another tenth behind in seventh, ahead of Suzuki teammate Joan Mir, Ducati's Danilo Petrucci and Miller, who struggled badly running soft tyres front and rear.

Valentino Rossi had been running 11th on the second works Yamaha but crashed out with three laps to run, the Turn 1 fall marking his first DNF since June's Dutch TT.

Pol Espargaro was 11th on the best of the KTMs, while his factory teammate Mika Kallio scored his first points as Johann Zarco's replacement in 14th - one place ahead of the lead Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.

Takaaki Nakagami, who had predicted a tough race owing to his lingering shoulder injury, could muster only 16th place on his final outing of the season.

The Japanese rider still managed to beat Jorge Lorenzo, whose insipid form on the second Repsol Honda continued with a low-key run to 17th, 40s behind Marquez.

Aprilia rider Andrea Iannone was the only other non-finisher besides Rossi, crashing at Turn 11 on the ninth lap.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 93 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 24
2 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 24 00.870
3 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 24 01.325
4 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 24 02.608
5 35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 24 09.140
6 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 24 09.187
7 42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 24 09.306
8 36 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 24 10.695
9 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 24 14.216
10 43 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 24 18.909
11 44 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 24 25.554
12 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
KTM 24 27.870
13 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 24 29.983
14 82 Finland Mika Kallio
KTM 24 31.232
15 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 24 32.546
16 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 24 37.482
17 99 Spain Jorge Lorenzo
Honda 24 40.410
18 17 Czech Republic Karel Abraham
Ducati 24 43.458
19 55 Malaysia Hafizh Syahrin
KTM 24 46.206
20 50 France Sylvain Guintoli
Suzuki 24 50.235
46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 20 4 Laps
29 Italy Andrea Iannone
Aprilia 7 17 Laps
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