Viñales figths to second in crash-strewn Japanese GP, Rins 4th, Oliveira 7th

 In Alex Marquez, Alex Rins, Marc Marquez, Moto3, News

The Japanese Grand Prix had an unexpected ending for the Moto3 class, with a final lap that allowed a patient Maverick Viñales to move back up to second in the overall standings. The Repsol rider took a deserved podium, with Álex Rins just behind in fourth. Miguel Oliveira was seventh after leading a group of six riders, whilst Álex Márquez picked up two more championship points.

From the start it could be seen that Maverick Viñales was taking things patiently. The Spaniard started from second but was quickly passed by five rivals, remaining in a group of seven riders who fought for the victory until the end. At the beginning of the final lap, a pass from Salom in fourth place went sour and took out Jonas Folger as well as himself. Two corners later, the fight between Kent, Tonucci and Cortese for first ended with the series leader crashing after contact with the Italian, bumping Viñales up to second.

Also benefitting from the crashes was a consistent Álex Rins, who attempted to reach the lead group for the duration of the race and battled with Khairuddin, overtaking him on the last lap to place fourth. Cortese got back up to place behind the two, with Miguel Oliveira the next to cross the line —in seventh. Álex Márquez was again in the points, in fourteenth.
The next round takes place in seven days time, in Malaysia.

Maverick Viñales
“It was a very difficult race, but Lady Luck smiled upon us a little today. We were able to claw back 10 points and I am happy. On the other hand, I am also displeased because we don’t have the bike with which to fight against the rest of the riders. I couldn’t do any more today; I went at my own pace and tried not to lose sight of the group. I was at the limit on every lap, which is why I am a little disappointed. We had a very good pace in practices and a strong engine which put me right behind the KTMs, but in the race the engine didn’t work like it should have —which was a pity.”

Miguel Oliveira
“The race didn’t go as I had expected. In the beginning I fought to be part of the front group, but on the opening laps I realised that I was getting passed on the straights and I lost contact with the others. In the end I was the first rider in my group and, after crashes for other riders, I gained positions. That gives us a little motivation, but we still need to improve on our engine power. We have to keep positive for the remaining races.”

Álex Rins
“We are very happy with fourth. On the start I found it a little hard to latch onto the lead group. Then I had a little scare which ran me off-track and took me away from Maverick [Viñales]. I continued at the same pace as them, until Maverick passed Khairuddin. Then my own battle began: I wanted to finish ahead of him. It was a shame that the three riders crashed, but it also cuts the gap to Fenati in the battle for Rookie Of The Year.”

Álex Márquez
“It was a hard race, in which we had problems finding pace. When I felt more comfortable I was able to gain places, but I was part of a group who slowed my progress. I hope to be in the lead group at Malaysia, because I feel more at ease with the bike with every race.”

Source: Repsol Media

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