MÁRQUEZ WINS DRAMA-FILED MOTO3 GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN IN MOTEGI!
Álex Márquez of Spain emerged the winner in the final meters of the Moto3 Grand Prix of Japan at the Motegi circuit to give KTM its 20th consecutive victory. But the penultimate round of the 2013 season saw more drama than any other race this season and shook up the championship standings not once but several times. At the end of one of the most action packed races of the season, Spain’s Maverick Viñales was second and Jonas Folger of Germany was third on the KALEX-KTM.
While the younger Márquez brother celebrated his first Moto3 victory it had also been a heart stopping race for the three title contenders and KTM riders Luis Salom, Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales. Most of all, however for the Red Bull KTM Ajo factory team. First they saw Zulfahmi Khairuddin of Malaysia crash in the opening corner then the race had barely got underway when Isaac Viñales took out championship leader Salom. Having started with a lead of just five points in the championship Salom then went into damage control. He scrambled back into the race at dead last and was setting fastest lap times from the back of the pack in a valiant attempt to get back in the points. Then in lap seven of the 20-lap race he pushed too hard, high-sided and ended in gravel. Certain that this was gong to ruin his chance at the title, he returned to the pits to an equally dejected team while his arch rivals Rins, Viñales and Márquez battled it out at the front.
Then, three laps before the end of the race, Rins also high-sided and was out of the points, temporarily setting up Viñales as a potential points leader going into the final round in Valencia. Viñales and a very ambitious Álex Márquez then fought they way to the finish, exchanging the lead back and forth in a battle that saw Márquez squeeze out the victory in the final meters.
The championship now goes to the final round in Valencia on a knife’s edge with Salom still in the lead by two points from Viñales with Rins five points behind the leader. Everything points to a great race for the sport, the Spanish fans and for KTM, who are in line to take their second World Championship title after Sandro Cortese of Red Bull KTM Ajo won the first ever Moto3 title in 2012.
Motegi 2013 will go down as one of the most dramatic Moto3 races to date. As a typhoon passed across southern Japan on Friday and Saturday, the circuit was either shrouded in fog or deluged in rain forcing all free practices on both days to be cancelled. Teams had only a slightly extended and still partly wet qualifying session and Sunday’s warm-up to set up the bikes only to be greeted with clear blue sky on Sunday for the race.
Results Moto3 Motegi
1. Álex Márquez (E), KTM, 39:45.953 min (20th consecutive victory for KTM)
2. Maverick Viñales (E), KTM, +0.027 sec
3. Jonas Folger (D), KALEX-KTM, +7.750
4. Miguel Oliveira (P), Mahindra, +15.889
5. Romano Fenati (I), FTR Honda, +18.323
6. Jack Miller (AUS), FTR Honda, +18.432
7. John McPhee (UK), FTR Honda, +18.439
8. Niklas Ajo (FIN), KTM, +25.608
9. Niccolo Antonelli (I), FTR Honda, +25.950
10. Brad Binder (RSA), Mahindra, +32.933
11. Jakub Kornfeil (CZ), KALEX-KTM, +33.067
12. Livio Loi (B), KALEX-KTM, +33.231
13. Philipp Öttl (D), KALEX-KTM, +33.668
16. Arthur Sissis (AUS), KTM, +42.159
18. Ana Carrasco (E), KTM, +46.487
19. Eric Granado (BR), KALEX-KTM, +47.005
21. Toni Finsterbusch (D), KALEX-KTM, +48.496
24. Alex Rins (E), KTM, +1:06.878 min
25. Jasper Iwema (NL), KALEX-KTM, +1:10.254
DNF Luis Salom (E), KTM
DNF Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MAL), KTM
DNF Luca Grünwald (D), KALEX-KTM
Standings Moto3 after 16 of 17 rounds
1. Salom, 300 points
2. Viñales, 298
3. Rins, 295
4. Márquez, 200
5. Folger, 163
6. Oliveira, 144
7. Miller, 110
8. Alexis Masbou (F), FTR Honda, 84
9. Efren Vazquez (E), Mahindra, 71
10. Kornfeil, 68
12. Khairuddin, 65
14. Ajo, 62
15. Sissis, 59
18. Öttl, 27
21. Loi, 8
23. Iwema, 8
24. Granado, 7
28. Carrasco, 1