Mar­quez wins sea­son as Rossi, Lorenzo crash

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

MARC Mar­quez grabbed his third world cham­pi­onship by win­ning the Ja­pan Grand Prix yes­ter­day with rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crash­ing out in a stun­ning sur­prise.

The 23-year-old Honda rider be­came the youngest man to win three premier-class world cham­pi­onship ti­tles, and did so at Honda’s home cir­cuit, where he had never won be­fore, with three more races re­main­ing in the sea­son.

Mar­quez fin­ished the 24-lap race in 42 min­utes 34.610 sec in dry, sunny con­di­tions, 2.992 sec­onds ahead of Du­cati’s An­drea Dovizioso and 4.104 sec­onds ahead of Mav­er­ick Vi­nales of Suzuki.

“Ob­vi­ously, amaz­ing ... Amaz­ing feel­ing,” Mar­quez said im­me­di­ately after his vic­tory with a big smile, his face flushed with ex­cite­ment.

He knew he had a chance to claim the tro­phy but se­cur­ing it would re­quire Yamaha duo Rossi and Lorenzo to per­form un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally slowly, so Mar­quez fo­cused on ex­pand­ing his 52-point lead against Rossi.

He started sec­ond on the grid, after Rossi. Last sea­son’s cham­pion Lorenzo also started in the front row.

The Spa­niard took the first cor­ner, but was quickly over­taken by Lorenzo, who had a com­mand­ing lead in the race’s early phase.

On the sec­ond lap Mar­quez and Rossi swapped places sev­eral times, with the Honda rider keep­ing the up­per hand.

In the fourth lap, Mar­quez closed in on Lorenzo to take the lead and grad­u­ally ex­panded the gap.

With 19 laps to go, Rossi also passed Lorenzo to pur­sue Mar­quez. But in the fol­low­ing lap, the Ital­ian slipped on the tar­mac at a hair­pin bend on turn 10 for rea­sons that even the nine-time world cham­pion could not him­self im­me­di­ately iden­tify.

He got up on his own only to with­draw from the race, send­ing Lorenzo to chase Mar­quez who was al­ready fly­ing solo.

With five laps re­main­ing, Lorenzo also slipped on the track, this time at the V-shaped left-handed turn nine, send­ing Mar­quez to un­ex­pected vic­tory.

“It was dif­fi­cult to con­cen­trate” after Lorenzo crashed out, Mar­quez said.

Mar­quez said he had strug­gled find his form early in the sea­son and felt im­mense per­sonal pres­sure after a stress­ful 2015 sea­son, which was marked with crashes, lost op­por­tu­ni­ties and an open feud with Rossi, while Lorenzo re­claimed the world cham­pi­onship.

“Last year, I paid an ex­pen­sive price. I learned,” Mar­quez said, adding that he be­came a wiser rider.

The stun­ning re­sult came after a num­ber of rid­ers suf­fered a series of crashes through­out the week­end.

Honda rider Dani Pe­drosa re­turned to Spain for an oper­a­tion after frac­tur­ing his col­lar­bone in a crash dur­ing Fri­day prac­tice.

Lorenzo ex­pe­ri­enced a spec­tac­u­lar crash on Oc­to­ber 15 and was air­lifted to hos­pi­tal, where he was quickly de­clared fit for the race but was left with foot pain.

Mar­quez also suf­fered a small fall while test­ing a hard tyre.

Lorenzo said a wrong tyre choice and pains from the prac­tice crash led to his prob­lem in the race.

Rossi said he was try­ing to fo­cus on the re­main­ing three races.

“I was strong. The pace was good,” he said. “For­tu­nately, we have other races.”

Photo: AFP

Marc Mar­quez cel­e­brates on the podium at the Ja­panese Grand Prix.

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