Alex Marquez takes career-first victory at Motegi, Rins crashes out but stays in title fight
Alex Marquez took the first Grand Prix win of his career, and did so at the best possible moment for his teammate, Alex Rins. The latter, who came into the race 5 points off the lead of the series, crashed out with four laps remaining. A crash for Luis Salom early on had added further intrigue to the title chase.
At the start of the race, the three title contenders were joined by Marquez at the front. It seemed as if they were going to escape, up until the unthinkable happened: Isaac Viñales went in too hot at a braking point and took out Salom, leaving the series leader with a zero to his name. That put things in Rins’ favour, as he had the chance to take the advantage in the overall standings. He, his teammate and Maverick Viñales broke away and would battle for the win amongst themselves.
Four laps from the end, Rins himself suffered a crash when riding in third. That would leave Viñales and Marquez as the only two candidates for the win. On the final lap, Viñales made a mistake and Marquez capitalised to claim his first ever Grand Prix win.
After this latest race, Salom remains at the head of the standings with 300 points. Viñales is second with 298 and Rins lies third with 295. 25 points are up for grabs at the final round in Valencia.
Alex Rins 24th at 1:06.878. “Today didn’t go as we had expected. I saw Salom crash on the opening lap when I was third, riding on the edge. On entry to the home straight I lost rear grip without warning and crashed out. It was a pity not to have been able to take advantage of the situation, but I hope to do better in Valencia.”
Alex Marquez 1st – 39:45.953. “It has been a very strange weekend and the race was also odd. I was riding at the limit on each lap, on every corner, and in the end we were fighting for the win with Maverick [Viñales]. It was a nice battle between us. I was able to rectify things from other races in which I wasn’t with the frontrunners at the end, and today I was able to win, so I’m very happy. We will be 100% motivated for Valencia.”
Source: Repsol Media