Dovizioso edges title rival Marquez in Motegi thriller
Andrea Dovizioso claimed a thrilling win at the Japan Grand Prix to close the gap to MotoGP title rival Marc Marquez.
Dovizioso secured his first MotoGP win at Motegi in enthralling fashion, getting the better of Marquez in an incredible finish in wet conditions on Sunday.
The Ducati rider's victory â€“ his first since the British Grand Prix â€“ saw him close the gap to championship leader Marquez to 11 points with three races remaining.
Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) finished third on his Ducati, but he was never in the battle for victory.
WE TOLD YOU! pic.twitter.com/bW1oGs4JwOâ€” MotoGPâ„¢ (@MotoGP) October 15, 2017
Johann Zarco may have started from pole, but Marquez led into the first turn before battling with Jorge Lorenzo â€“ who finished sixth â€“ and Petrucci.
Petrucci went down the inside of Lorenzo on the second lap and the Italian quickly pulled away from his rivals.
Zarco pushed his way past Lorenzo, who slipped back, before Valentino Rossi crashed out with 19 laps remaining as he went off at turn eight, but the Italian â€“ who recently suffered a double leg break â€“ appeared to be unscathed.
Marquez edged towards Petrucci and hit the lead with 12 laps to go before Dovizioso moved into second, setting up an enthralling battle, while Dani Pedrosa â€“ like Rossi â€“ failed to finish.
The title rivals quickly left Petrucci behind and Marquez managed to hold Dovizioso at bay until the Ducati rider made his move with six laps remaining.
The duo traded spots at the front in the closing stages and Dovizioso landed the last and decisive move on the final sector to claim victory after Marquez almost went off at turn eight.
IN THE POINTS
1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 47:14.236
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.249s
3. Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) +10.557s
4. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) +18.845s
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +22.982s
6. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) +24.464s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +28.010s
8. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +29.475s
9. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) +36.575s
10. Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) +48.506s
11. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +56.357s
12. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing) +60.181
13. Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +60.980s
14. Hector Barbera (Reale Avinitia Racing) +63.118s
15. Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +63.514s
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 244 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 233 points
3. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) 203 points
4. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 170 points
5. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) 168 points
The title battle will continue in Australia as the riders head to Phillip Island for the third last race of the season on October 22.