Rain master Márquez wins in Japan as Morbidelli extends Championship lead
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Álex Márquez won his third Moto2 race of the season with a superb performance in today’s rain soaked Japanese Grand Prix.
It was wet track masterclass by the 21-year-old Spaniard who rode a near faultless race in atrocious conditions at the Twin Ring Motegi.
It was a heroic comeback by Márquez who had failed to score points in the previous two races after suffering a left hip injury when he crashed out of the Misano race.
From a front row start Márquez remained patient before overtaking early race leader Takaaki Nakagami at turn 11 with five laps remaining.
Márquez immediately opened a race winning advantage to take the chequered flag 1.4s ahead of eventual second place finisher Xavi Vierge.
While Márquez was splashing his way to a controlled victory his teammate Franco Morbidelli took another crucial step towards clinching the Moto2 World Championship.
Morbidelli was all smiles after riding a superbly judged race in limited visibility from 15th on the grid to finish eighth and holding off Dominique Aegerter on the final lap.
The race was shortened to 15 laps because of an earlier delay due an oil spillage in the Moto3 warm-up.
This result extended Morbidelli’s lead in the championship standings to 24 points over nearest rival Tom Lüthi who finished 11th.
With three races remaining Morbidelli has 256 points with Lüthi on 232 and Márquez in third place on 180 points.
Álex Márquez: Race Winner
“I’m really happy for this victory and I knew I had this potential despite my crash on Saturday morning in practice. I managed the race very well, it is never easy to stay calm in these conditions and I waited for my moment to go to the front. At the end I could open a gap and control the victory. I want thank my team, the doctors and everyone who has helped me to come back after my injury.”
Franco Morbidelli: 8th
“This was a very difficult race so I am happy to finish in eighth place after starting fifteenth. In these very wet conditions I have neither been very fast nor clever in the past so this is a good result for the championship. It was important to finish ahead of Tom Lüthi here and I did that. Nothing is certain in racing so we have to keep pushing for the remaining races of the season.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This was perfect race by Álex in these difficult conditions because you always have to finish the race to have a chance of winning. It was a very strong performance by Álex who made sure of his victory with a fast final lap. And Franco did an excellent job to finish ahead of Lüthi to strengthen his position in the championship and now we look forward to the Phillip island race.”