Andrea Dovizioso powered to his fifth win of the year today at Motegi at the end of an exciting race and a terrific scrap right down to the final corner with Marc Marquez. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider has now reduced the gap in the overall standings to 11 points to the Spanish champion, with three rounds left in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.Dovizioso, who started from row 3, moved up to third in the early laps behind Petrucci, who led until lap 12, and Marquez. Once he had passed the Pramac Racing Team rider, who eventually finished an excellent third at the flag, Andrea began to chase down Marquez up at the front. Dovizioso then caught and passed him on lap 21, but three laps later Marquez was back in the lead. The Ducati man didn’t lose touch with his title rival however, attacking four corners before the finish to hold onto his first place until the chequered flag.
Jorge Lorenzo eventually finished in sixth place after starting from the second row. The Spanish rider got off to a good start and led during the opening lap, but then dropped a few positions following a contact with Zarco and suffering from a poor feeling with rear tyre grip. Six laps from the end Jorge began his recovery from ninth and after passing Viñales, A. Espargarò and Zarco, he finished the GP of Japan in sixth place.
Thanks to today’s result, Ducati moves into second place in the Constructors championship with 273 points.
MotoGP returns to the track next weekend at the Phillip Island circuit, the venue for the Australian Grand Prix.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“It was a difficult race because at the start there wasn’t much grip and I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike but I never gave up, not even when I was losing ground, and this made all the difference. Marc was really quick and he tried right until the end, but there were some places where I could attack and he also made a small mistake on the last lap which gave me a chance to catch him again and try and pass him at Turn 11. I knew that he was going to attack me in the final two corners but I was prepared for this, I closed the door on him and he had to go a bit wide to pass me. It was absolutely vital to win here and I’m really so pleased for the whole team and for the championship.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 6th
“I can’t be happy with my race, because we had the potential to try and win if there hadn’t been so much water on the track. We weren’t able to find the right setting to be quick in these conditions and without rear grip it was impossible for me to do anything more. I gradually succeeded in getting a better feeling with the bike, and I improved my pace and was able to pass Viñales, Zarco and Aleix Espargaro. In the end we were missing almost a second per lap today, and that’s a pity because this weekend we were always fast. I want to congratulate Andrea, because he’s proving to be a really strong rider, mentally as well, and he is able to take advantage of every chance of fighting for the world title. Hats off, and congratulations to him and all the team!”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“There was so much tension today but in the end also so much satisfaction! Andrea was awesome, he did a truly perfect race, and in so doing reduced the gap from Marquez to eleven points. His fifth win of the season, here in Japan, has a special significance and I’m really happy. Pity about Jorge, who wasn’t able to get the result in a weekend in which he had always been competitive. Now we are thinking about Phillip Island, and we know that it will be a tough battle until the very end but we have all the right cards to fight for the title right down to the wire.”