International Racing News

MotoGP Motegi: Dovizioso wins last-lap thriller

Picture: Repsol Media

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso got the better of reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez on the final lap of today’s Motegi race to take victory and 25 points and cuts the Spaniard’s advantage to 11 points with three races left to run.

The pair had fenced for 11 laps after passing and dropping Danilo Petrucci but the race caught fire despite the rain on the last lap when an error from Marquez at turn eight allowed Dovizioso to close on to the RC213V’s rear wheel.

Dovizioso rode through some serious aquaplaning along the back straight to mug Marquez into the 90° corner and, as in Austria, Marquez tried to ram it up the inside of the GP17 into the final turn but ran wide which allowed the Italian to bag his fifth win of the season while Marquez becomes the youngest rider to take 100 GP podiums.

Parc ferme hugs

Petrucci opted to the extra-soft Michelin wet and carved his way into the lead early doors but as the race went on, he began to lose grip in the centre of the tyre, so the Pramac Ducati man decided discretion was the better part of valour and opted for a podium spot, ten seconds off the lead.

While Dovizioso and Marquez hugged in parc ferme, the works Yamaha team had to acknowledge their championship challenge is now over. Valentino Rossi crashed unhurt at turn eight – where he went down yesterday – while Maverick Vinales struggled to ninth place as the M1 again failed to work effectively in the rain.

Rossi crashes out

It was also championship game over for Marquez’ team-mate Dani Pedrosa. The little Spaniard again struggled with getting heat into the tyres and was running around outside the top ten but retired with three laps left to run meaning the title chase is now a two-horse race.

In an event of surprises, the Ecstar Suzuki team came good with Andrea Iannone just getting the better of rookie team-mate Alex Rins for fourth place. Rins made a whole lot of running mid-race, passing Iannone and Monster Yamaha’s Johann Zarco to get closer to the podium than he has ever been.

As Zarco began to struggle, Iannone followed Rins through and then passed him and pulled a gap for his best finish of the season which will feel like two podiums for Davide Brivio’s mob who have collectively struggled this year.

Jorge Lorenzo again made an initial charge to the front on his works Ducati but didn’t have the pace and was quickly scythed backwards, dropping into the 2’00-lap bracket before sorting himself out and recovering to finish in sixth place but some 24s behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro had a fairly lonely race but caught and passed Zarco for seventh in the closing laps. Vinales’ wet weather nightmare continued as ninth place means his gap to Marquez at the top of the table is now 41 points.

Loris Baz completed the top ten with Pol Espargaro in 11th. Sam Lowes had a ding-doing with Yamaha test rider and brother Alex’s Suzuka Eight-Hours team-mate Kats Nakasuga, eventually losing out to the Japanese for 12th after running low on fuel but picking up his second points score of the season. Hector Barbera and Tito Rabat rounded out the top 15 with Scott Redding 16th and Bradley Smith 17th.

Cal Crutchlow managed to crash twice in the race. He initially went down at turn seven on lap five and then again at turn 11 with nine left to run.

Click here for times

Championship points

1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 244
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 233
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 203
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 170
5 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 168

Triple-champ Rea turns attentions to 2018 WorldSBK title bid

Picture: GeeBee Images

Jonathan Rea received a hero’s welcome when he flew into Belfast last night as crowds packed the airport to help the history-making Ballyclare native celebrate his third WorldSBK crown on the bounce.

Rea wrapped up the title with his 50th win on Saturday but fell victim to a crashing Eugene Laverty on lap two of yesterday’s second race. Now, the Isle of Man resident is turning his attention to developing the 2018 Kawasaki ZX-10RR as new regulations are on the verge of being unveiled.

“I will take things race by race and turn out focus towards 2018. As soon as the regulations are released, we can better understand what is going on with that,” Rea told bikesportnews.com.

“Nobody really knows what they are going to do. Whatever it is, we will have to react to it pretty quickly. The rumour is they want to do something with the rpm limit, which will affect the top speed of the bikes a little bit, but I think I have a clever enough bunch to deal with it. Our hands are a bit tied until we know.

“Hopefully we can get a jump on it and work towards 2018 as soon as possible. We have been testing some new Showa forks to get some more corner entry traction and stability to help us run higher corner speeds. We have changed the bike quite a lot to understand what that does because if we don’t have top speed, we have to find some speed somewhere.”

Kawasaki bagged the manufacturer’s crown in Magny-Cours, but it doesn’t mean that Rea won’t be trying any less hard in the last four races of the season. He says that winning is the best feeling in the world but denies that Colin Edwards’ 2002 points record is the next target.

“That is something at in race two at Qatar I will think about but it’s not necessarily in my targets right now. Winning races is a bigger deal for me than the championship because the championship is a consequence of all those little moments. There is no better feeling than crossing the line, it is so addictive and the difference it makes coming back to parc ferme. Saturday’s was the best I have ever felt. It was 50 race wins and a world championship. That’s an incredible moment I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Fortunately, Rea suffered no lasting damage in the incident with countryman Laverty, whose prone Milwaukee Aprilia ripped the rearset and brake lever off Rea’s bike, as well as removing some skin from his right foot.

“The good news is that I have had some checks on my right foot and nothing is broken. I hit something really solid on the other bike, as it has broken skin on my foot and it was enough to take my footpeg completely off – the whole set-up. So I am very lucky and it could have been a lot worse. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Picture: GeeBee Images

Your-Ad-Here-Banner01


by Bliss Drive Review