MotoGP 2018: Bold, Márquez wins in Japan and gets his seventh world title | sports

MotoGP 2018: Bold, Márquez wins in Japan and gets his seventh world title | sports

He is the best driver of the moment. One of the best riders in the history of motorcycling. And not only because this Sunday in Japan he has achieved his fifth MotoGP crown, the same as Mick Doohan – two less than Rossi, three less than Agostini, the most successful -, but for how he wins and what (he warns) can win still. Marc Márquez has become, at 25 years old, the youngest champion to reach seven world titles, as the ones in the top category have one in 125cc and another in Moto2.

It is the reference.

For the daring. Because of the risk. For the forms. By the technique. Because it has taken motorcycling to another level. He has turned the great prizes into something else. In a war in which to win you have to go over the limits, think little, always play on the edge. He sets the rules. Because with his piloting he provokes races full of touches, of which one lives in a woe; careers from which one can expect anything: glory or regret; races in which the margins of the track participate, because he is the first to hurry every inch. Whoever wants to beat him has to play the same.

Dovizioso dared this Sunday in Japan and finished where Marquez had often done before, on the ground. There was little more than one lap. And the Italian, who had controlled the race from the first turn until the Honda overtook him four laps from the end, was looking for the best position to prepare his final attack. But it remained in the loophole of the tenth corner, that which gives entry to the counter, that in which Ducati knew he should put all his effort to overtake the Spanish in the next corner. But it did not come. It was the only way to stop the new world champion. I knew Italian. As Márquez knew that winning was his only option to take the title to the first exchange. And I did not mean to give it up. Despite the risks, despite the ghost of a fall. He ran with a single objective. And piloted, unusual in him, as they should do the champions: with head, by the drawn. And risking the right, which is an art that only a privileged few know.

The wheel of Dovizioso, the man who had the pace and the machine to impose himself on Motegi, was placed very soon. He had made the sixth on the grid, but he made a good start and got to Miller's wheel, second, already in the first lap. I do not expect much to overtake you. He should not lose the trail of Dovi, the only man who has made him doubt in recent months. Because the one from Forli, ready, cerebral, today, moreover, more mature and confident, he carries that Ducati as he went out to walk the dog. So comfortable even in the longest corners, which was allowed, despite feeling the breath of Márquez from the first minute, slow down the pace of the race, encourage the test, help to be added to the game the more players, the better.

The peloton would roll slow as long as he wanted. As it turned out after a few turns in which two groups of three were formed – the first one also joined Crutchlow, the second was formed by the two Suzuki and Rossi – which ended up being one. Until Dovi wanted it. Because when he changed his pace, six laps from the end, he was left alone with Marquez, the only one who could keep his wheel. The only one who could beat him. And he tried. After six years in MotoGP, no one expected me not to do it. For Márquez, the races are spectacle and fun. Even on Sundays you are playing a world championship.

The Spaniard had said that the curve seven of Motegi, that in which he fell on Saturday, at high speed, which was why the classification was complicated, was the area where he could best cut tenths of the rivals. It is one of the few fast corners of the Japanese circuit and is taken on the left, as he likes to 93. But that was not the curve in which he caught his rivals. It was another curve, the nine, also to the left: a quite steep angle in which he overtook Miller at the start of the race and also Dovi, after 10 laps and in his final attack. It hurried so much in that zone that until twice it raised the earth that closes the track to the exit of the curve ten. Almost falls. Of course he is already used to those scares. And he went on as if nothing.

In the last turns, in which he took the tongue out with his rival, squeezed his Honda in every braking. So much that the rear wheel reached the curves a foot from the ground. Was necessary. He had to drive like this to win a circuit in which he had to compensate for the lack of acceleration of the bike with better stability at the entrance of the corners. The deal allowed him to win a World Cup as he had dreamed. With a victory The seventh of the season. Now he has three great prizes to improve the curriculum. And to have fun a little more.

Lorenzo returns home to recover and try to run in Malaysia

Lorenzo, along with members of his team, in Motegi.
Lorenzo, along with members of his team, in Motegi. Getty Images

When he was better with his Ducati, after winning in Spielberg, after chain three pole position consecutive, in Silverstone, where the race was finally canceled, in Misano and Alcañiz, where he ended up on the floor, Lorenzo sees how the injuries take him away from the circuits. The fall in Aragon, where he injured two fingers on his right foot, could have been just a nuisance to compete in Thailand. But ended up giving up running after a new fall in free practice in which the wrist was damaged. He believed, the doctors told him, that he had only one fissure, but the injury was more complex as the days went by. "He has not recovered well," conceded the Spaniard when he arrived in Japan. The fissure now seems to be a small complete radio fracture. And the pilot's environment doubts if it should have been operated.

After resigning also to run in Motegi, due to the pain and the fear that the fracture would worsen, Ducati informed the morning of this Sunday that the Spaniard will travel back home. More tests will be done – a resonance, for example, to study if there are damaged ligaments, besides bone – and he will work with the doctors to recover as soon as possible and try to run the Malaysian GP. Thus, Lorenzo assumes to lose another race, the one of Australia next week, to arrive in good form to the last appointments of the year. Ducati will look for a driver who can replace the Spaniard at Phillip Island.

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