Marquez wins in Malaysia - Constructors Title for Honda
From seventh on the grid to the 70th win in his career: In Malaysia, Marc Marquez took his ninth win this season and his 44th in MotoGP, earning Honda its 24th Premier Class Constructors Title before a record crowd for Sepang of 103,984 people. The 2018 Champion looked set to lock horns with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, but the race would end in disaster for ‘The Doctor’ when he choked and crashed out, as Alex Rins and Johann Zarco completed the podium - could you have anticipated that and won big at Casino online at resorts like a champ?
It was another master class race for the 2018 MotoGP World Champion, who recovered from the third row of the grid to second place within five laps of the start before beginning a long chase of leader Valentino Rossi. Marquez was preparing for what seemed certain would be a battle for the victory when the Italian slipped off four laps from the end.
The MotoGP field faced the highest track temperatures of the weekend before today’s 20-lap race, as the sun heated up the asphalt to 53°C. This led to a tire choice by the grid, which although featuring four of the six available compounds, favored a selection of a medium front and soft rear Michelin Power Slick.
Weather forecasts for heavy rain at the 5,543m track forced the organizers to bring the race forward by two hours to miss the expected downpour. As it was the rain never materialized at the earlier time and the whole event was run in dry and warm conditions, which led to the race duration record being broken by more than five-seconds.
The premier class riders then settled, but this came after Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) exchanged paint on the opening lap. the 2018 Champion would soon start to make his way forward though, despite a hairy last corner moment at the end of the opening lap that led to Iannone crashing out directly behind the seven-time Champion.
At the front, Rossi and Zarco were off as Yamaha had a 1-2 in the opening exchanges, but Marquez hunted them down after making his way past Miller. The Honda rider was on the tailpipes of Zarco’s M1 machine and soon enough he managed to slice his way through. Turn 14 the chosen destination after a slight error from the number 5 machine, with arch-rival Rossi now in his sights. But the number 46 was in an excellent rhythm at the forefront as the gap between the duo hovered at 3/4s of a second, with Zarco beginning to lose touch at the halfway stage of the race as Rossi continued to press on – 1.1 now the gap to Marquez as 10 laps ticked over at Sepang.
With eight to go, Rossi was still pumping in the lap times to keep the gap above a second to Marquez, with Zarco now over three seconds behind his fellow Yamaha rider. However, the gap then dipped below the one-second barrier with seven to go – the seven-time Champion was hunting down the nine-time Champion with menace. As ever, Marquez was pushing the limit and there was a slight scare for the number 93 at Turn 5. A ‘mini Marquez moment’, let’s say.
Five to go at Sepang, the gap? 0.7, as we set ourselves for a grandstand finish between two of the sports all-time greats. But then, disaster for ‘The Doctor’. A return to victory after 26 races went begging as he lost the front of his YZR-M1 at Turn 1 with four laps to go. You could hear the hearts of thousands break as he picked up his stricken Yamaha in front of the official Rossi grandstand. This left Marquez with a lonely ride home in P1, but the battle for P2 and P3 between Zarco and Rins was far from finished.
Last lap time: Zarco led onto it but Rins was soon past, with the Frenchman having no answer to the Suzuki. Rins would cross the line to take his fourth podium of the season, Zarco took his first since Jerez. After a less than impressive start, Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) recovered to string together a strong latter half of the Grand Prix to finish P4, with Pedrosa crossing the line P5 on his final racing visit to the Sepang International Circuit. It was a subdued race for one of the pre-race favorites Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). The winner here for the last two seasons couldn’t replicate those results as he took P6, but after Rossi’s crash, the Italian has sealed P2 in the Championship.
A scorching encounter in Sepang ends with Marquez on top once more, with Rossi left to ponder on what could have been. Valencia in a couple of weeks’ time brings to 2018 Championship to a close.
“It was a hard race, first of all because I was starting from seventh place. I didn’t get a perfect start, and then my first lap was good but not one of the best of my career.
"Step by step, I overtook some riders and got to second place. I saw that Valentino was pushing and I started to chase him, lapping at qualifying pace! But in the process, I overheated the rear tire; the front was also warming up quickly and the feeling wasn’t good.
"So for a few laps, I just tried to cool down and in so doing I began to feel better and better. I saw I was getting closer to Valentino and honestly that gave me extra motivation. At that moment, it was just a matter of instinct and pushing, something that you can do when you’ve already got the Championship. Unfortunately, he made a little mistake in turn one, which is a shame as it would have been nice to see how the duel would have ended.
"Anyway, when I saw him crash, I just cooled down and focused on finishing the race. We won, and that was the best way to seal the Constructors Championship. I would also like to congratulate Jorge Martin and “Pecco” Bagnaia for taking Championships. We’ll celebrate together in Valencia.”
Yoshishige Nomura, HRC President Quote
“We are very happy for this new Constructors World Championship. Two weeks ago, we earned the Riders title in Japan with an amazing performance from Marc Marquez. He has been so consistent and fast all the season.
"Today he won again and we took our seventh MotoGP Constructors Title out of the last eight seasons, and our third in a row. It’s the 24th Premier Class Constructors crown for our Factory, which also tops the rankings as the most successful Manufacturer ever, with 69 Constructors Titles across all classes.
"Moreover, the numbers Honda has achieved are unprecedented in motorcycling racing: since 23 April 1961, when Thomas Edward Phillis took Honda’s first ever win in Montjuich, our history has been filled with victories, having reached 750 across all classes with Cal Crutchlow’s MotoGP win in Argentina this year.”
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