Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) wrapped up a sensational seventh World Championship title at the home of Honda after claiming a stunning victory at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, a race-long battle with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended with the latter crashing out of contention at Turn 10 with two laps to go, handing the title to the number 93.
Dovizioso got the perfect launch from P1 on the line as Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) came into off the front row. Meanwhile, Marquez kept the inside line from P6 to get himself into P3 before dispatching Miller at Turn 9 for P2 – Dovi’s qualifying advantage disappearing after half a lap.
Crutchlow then got past Miller to latch onto Marquez and Dovi, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) making a great start from P9 to get himself up to fourth as he passed Miller into Turn 11.
The three at the front then put the hammer down as Dovizioso slammed in a 1:45.7 on lap 6, Crutchlow and Marquez kept tabs on the Italian but fourth place Rossi suddenly found himself over eight tenths back. The pace was fluctuating but the leading trio started to edge away from the nine-time World Champion bit by bit, who in turn had two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders right on his tailpipes.
With 11 to go, the two Hamamatsu factory machines passed Rossi and were closing in on the front three, with fifth place Alex Rins setting a lap nearly a second quicker than race leader Dovizioso. Then, Marquez made his first move on lap 14 at Turn 9, but on the exit of Turn 10 he ran wide and onto the dirt, kicking up plenty of dust to hamper his exit, allowing Dovizioso to re-take the lead into Turn 11. The Suzukis were firmly in the fray at this point but then disaster struck for Andrea Iannone, the Italian crashing out at Turn 10.
With eight to go, Dovizioso and Marquez exchanged 1:45s with Crutchlow a whisper behind – a 1:46 flat, but a 0.5 second gap appeared between the LCR rider and Marquez. A lap later the number 35 was two tenths slower as the front two started to make the decisive break, with Rins ready to pounce on Crutchlow. Dovi’s intent was clear: a fastest lap of the race, hammer firmly down and the pin pulled.
And so it was, Dovizioso vs Marquez on the final five laps. Marquez sat behind the Desmosedici before making a move into P1 at Turn 9 – no immediate reply for Dovi. With three to go the Ducati was swarming, but there was no way past with two to go.
Then, a huge moment and one that decided the 2018 title. Pushing hard to keep with Marquez, Dovi tucked the front of his GP18 at Turn 10 with just over two laps to go, crashing out of the race to leave Marquez with a healthy margin to Crutchlow and Rins. The number 93 taking title number seven at the home of Honda, his eighth win of the season.
Crutchlow held off Rins for P2 at the line, with Rins less than two tenths behind the British rider to secure a phenomenal home podium for Suzuki. Rossi brought his YZR-M1 home in a second consecutive P4, with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) claiming P5 in Japan after a strong latter half to the race – an equal best result of the season for the Spaniard. Zarco couldn’t recover from a difficult start, he ended P6, with fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) seventh.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line eighth on his last Grand Prix visit to Japan, the ‘Little Samurai’ having a healthy five-second gap back to ninth place Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – the Italian losing ground to Crutchlow and Zarco in the Independent Team Championship. Battle of the rookies was won by tenth place Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Malaysian beating Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by less than a second.
Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and teammate Pol Espargaro were line astern in P12 and P13, with Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claiming home turf points in P14 and P15 respectively.
Miller crashed midway through the race, with Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) also crashing – riders ok. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) retired in the early stages.
Sunday, 21 October 2018 19:16 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso powered to a splendid pole position this afternoon in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held tomorrow at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Italian, who had also been quickest in the morning’s FP3 run, then went out in Q2, in which he set a time of 1’44.590 in his second exit. Today’s pole is the second of the season for Dovizioso, his seventh in MotoGP and also the seventh pole of the 2018 season for Ducati.
The Japanese GP will get underway tomorrow afternoon at 14.00 local time (07.00 CET) and will be held over a distance of 24 laps.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’44.590)
“My qualifying session went very well and I’m happy with the feeling I had during my pole run. We’ve got a good pace, but so has Marquez and not only him. I think we still have to improve something if we want to fight for the win tomorrow, so we’ll analyse the data to see what the tyre wear is like, because probably we’ll be able to adopt a different strategy than in the last two races, where we had to save the tyre for the final few laps. We went strongly both with the soft and the medium, and we haven’t decided yet which one to use. I want to thank my team for their great job, because with a few small modifications we were able to make a big improvement and in qualifying I did a really great lap. This morning my aim was to set a time of 1’44.6 and I ended up lapping in 1’44.5!”
Saturday, 20 October 2018 16:43 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Andrea Dovizioso headed the field on the opening day of free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held this weekend at the Motegi circuit. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider was the quickest in the morning’s dry FP1 session with a time of 1’45.353, and he then opted not to go out on track again in FP2 because of the rain that fell in the early afternoon.
This morning Jorge Lorenzo only completed two laps of the Japanese circuit before returning to the pits to stop because of the pain in his left wrist, which was injured in a crash two weeks ago at Buriram. The Spanish rider yesterday underwent a CT scan in Utsunomiya Hospital which unfortunately was not positive for his ongoing recovery from the hairline fracture. In the evening Lorenzo will have a further MR scan which should give medical staff all the information necessary to decide on the best possible treatment for the rider to speed up his recovery and determine how much time will be required before he returns to the races.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’45.353)
“This morning we immediately started off very well in the FP1 session and my feeling was very good. For the race we will still have to improve but starting off with such a good base on Friday morning really makes a difference. We already know what to work on and the braking is surely the most important aspect in this circuit. We didn’t go out in the afternoon, even though we wanted to try a few things, but the track conditions made it too much of a risk to try and push hard. In any case our Desmosedici GP works particularly well here at Motegi and tomorrow we hope to find the track dry so as to be able to work for the race.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99)
“After doing as much as possible to quickly recover from the injury to my wrist caused by the crash in Thailand, today I tried to go out on track to see how I felt on the bike. Yesterday my feelings weren’t very positive and unfortunately today I had confirmation not only of the pain that the riding was giving me, but also that there was a serious risk of making the fracture worse. It’s a real pity not to be able to race here because Motegi is a circuit that I like a lot, it adapts well to the characteristics of the bike and I wanted to score a good result. I feel really bad for my team and for the fans, but now I only have to be patient and try and recover as best as possible to be ready in Australia or in Malaysia.”
Friday, 19 October 2018 16:53 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Championship leader and Dovi went head-to-head once more as Viñales and Yamaha make a welcome return to the podium.
Sunday, 07 October 2018 16:13 Published in Reports, Results & Points
It will be a front row start for Andrea Dovizioso in the inaugural Thailand Grand Prix, which is being held this weekend at the Buriram circuit. The Ducati Team rider, fastest in both the morning’s FP3 session and FP4 in the afternoon, then went third quickest in the all-important Q2 run with a best time of 1’30.227, just a fraction behind poleman Marquez and Rossi.
Following yesterday’s crash in FP2 his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on the other hand did not go out on track today. The results of the scan he underwent in Buriram hospital revealed that the Spanish rider, as well as the bruising to his right ankle and his left wrist, also suffered a hairline fracture of the distal radius of his left arm. In agreement with medical staff and his team, Jorge decided not to take part in today’s sessions and tomorrow’s race so as not to incur any further risks and to try and recover with the aim of being 100% fit for the GP of Japan in two weeks’ time.
The Thailand GP, which will be run over a distance of 26 laps, will get underway tomorrow at 09.00 CET (14.00 local time).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd (1’30.227)
“Qualifying went really well: my goal was to start from the front row and on this type of track that’s never easy. I knew that we were quick enough, but putting in a clean lap when there are many riders out there is always complicated and so I’m satisfied with that. We have worked very well over these last two days: yesterday morning in FP1 I didn’t have a good feeling and instead now we’re amongst the riders with the best pace, even though tomorrow in the race we won’t be able to push that hard because we have to try and manage the tyre wear in the best way.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99)
“After my crash and the results of yesterday’s final tests, I decided in agreement with the team and the doctors to not take part anymore in this weekend’s race at Buriram. The CT scan revealed a hairline fracture in my left wrist and, in view of the condition I was when I arrived and the way I’m feeling now, I think it’s better I don’t race here in Thailand and try and recover as much as possible for the next GP in Japan. I feel really bad for the team but, also in consideration of my situation in the championship, it wouldn’t make sense to take any further risks so I think I’ve made the right decision.”
Saturday, 06 October 2018 19:52 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Ducati in Thailand
Lorenzo has had a run of three consecutive poles positions, something he hasn’t done for six years and something that hasn’t happened for Ducati since 2008 with Stoner.
Dovizioso's second place in Aragón was his fourth consecutive podium and his best-ever run of results of his entire sporting career: he has two victories, a second and a third, for a total of 86 points out of a possible 100.
Ducati is familiar with victory at the Chang International Circuit, as they won the second Superbike race this year with Chaz Davies.
Dovizioso’s Ducati reached 334.30 Km/h during the pre-season test, which was the highest speed recorded at the Buriram track.
Thailand is hosting a GP for the first time in history. It is being held at the Chang International Circuit which has the moniker ‘The destination of speed.’ The name of the circuit comes from its main sponsor, Chang Beer.
The layout has a total of 12 corners and 7 braking points, with two very different areas. The first half consists of long straights and ‘stop & go’ style braking, and the second half is a series of connecting corners.
The strongest braking occurs coming into turn 3, which goes from 330 km/h to 75 km/h over a distance of 240 meters in 5.5 seconds.
The straight that leads to turn 3 is 1,000 meters long, making it the 5th longest of the entire calendar, behind COTA, Mugello, Argentina and Montmeló.
The asphalt temperature, which can reach 60ºC, is one of the most worrisome factors, since the tyres can reach over 150ºC which causes them to lose grip, skid, and rise in temperature even more.
1’29.781 is the fastest lap by a MotoGP machine at the Buriram track.
0.948 seconds separated the first and the 16th finisher in the pre-season tests.
The Thai circuit is located in the small town of Buriram, 410 km northeast of Bangkok. The name of the city means "City of Happiness".
Thursday, 04 October 2018 10:34 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Honda leads Ducati and Suzuki as the Championship leader takes home win ahead of Dovizioso and Iannone in a classic Aragon contest.
Sunday, 23 September 2018 10:18 Published in Reports, Results & Points
The factory Ducati Team riders powered to the top two positions on the grid in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Aragon Grand Prix. At the end of an exciting 15-minute run, Jorge Lorenzo grabbed the pole in the final seconds with a time of 1’46.881, just a fraction ahead of his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
Saturday, 22 September 2018 17:42 Published in Rider and Team Releases
- Andrea Dovizioso is now in second position in the championship, thanks to his victory at the San Marino GP.
- Lorenzo has two victories in Aragón (2014 and 2015) and he has been on the podium seven times in this race. With the exception of 2010 when he lost third place to Hayden, he has always finished in the top three. He is the rider with the most podiums at this track.
- Lorenzo has now set two consecutive pole positions, something he has not done since the 2013 season.
- Lorenzo finished third last year after leading the race for 13 laps. It was the second time he was on the podium with the Ducati. He currently has a total of 7 podiums with the Italian bike, 3 of them wins.
- The only Aragon GP that was held in the rain at MotorLand was in 2014, and the winner was Lorenzo after changing the bike with just 4 laps to go.
- Dovizioso’s best result at Aragon was the third place he scored in 2012 after a tough battle with Cal Crutchlow.
- The first ever victory in Motorland was by Casey Stoner on a Ducati. It was in 2010 and the Australian led the race from the first corner, while his teammate, Nicky Hayden, finished third.
- Crutchlow’s first podium with the Ducati also came at this GP.
- Hayden’s podium on the Ducati in the 2010 Aragon GP was the last podium achieved by the American rider in dry conditions.
- Andrea Iannone (Ducati) holds the top speed record at Aragon with 345.8 km/h, which he set in 2015.
- The circuit record is held by Lorenzo with a time of 1'48.120.
- There have been eight GPs held in Aragon, and four different riders have managed to win. Márquez has won it three times, Lorenzo and Stoner twice and Pedrosa once.
- At the end of the front straight, the riders go from 300 km/h to 91 km/h coming into the first corner. They use a braking distance of 236 meters over 5.4 seconds, making it the corner that has the most deceleration, although the strongest braking occurs in turn 16 where riders exert a force of 6 kg on the brake lever over 277 meters of braking.
- The riders are under braking 28% of the time in a total of 11 braking zones.
- There are seven corners where speeds drop to 85 km/h or less with turn 9 being the slowest of all. Speeds here go down to 72 km/h. In spite of this, first gear is not used at any point on the track other than the start of the race.
- Motorland has a chicane in the style of Laguna Seca and thus it is also known as the Corkscrew due to the race line it presents and the difference between the highest point and the corner exit.
- The longest straight is the back straight with a length of 968 meters, where speeds exceed 340 km/h.
- The circuit of Aragon is located in the municipality of Alcañiz, in the province of Teruel. Alcañiz is the capital of Bajo Aragón and has a population of 16,500 inhabitants.
Friday, 21 September 2018 11:42 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Andrea Dovizioso dominated the San Marino GP, round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship, which was held today at the Misano circuit in Italy. At his home race, the rider from Forlì started from row 2, then overtook his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to move into the lead on the sixth lap. He held the position right until the end of the race, taking the chequered flag 2.8 seconds ahead of Marquez.
Sunday, 09 September 2018 18:05 Published in Rider and Team Releases