Marc Marquez has taken a fourth win in a row in Motegi, and 10th of the season, with the world champion defeating Fabio Quartararo to the Japanese Grand Prix win.
Starting from pole, Marquez had it over the French young gun, but not by much, with the gap between the pair eking out at just over a second all race.
It marks Marquez’s 54th career premier class victory, drawing him level with Australian great Mick Doohan.
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124 starts, 62 poles: Marquez juggernaut rolls on in Japan
It was a frantic first lap of the race, with Marquez winning the race to the first corner before Quartararo pushed his way ahead — but only for a few corners as the #93 cut ahead at Turn 10.
All the while, it was on for third — starting sixth, Jack Miller pushed into third before a small mistake at Turn 10 handed the spot back to Franco Morbidelli.
By Lap 2, Marquez had pushed out to a 1.2s lead, and was quickly into the 1m45s bracket.
A lap later, Miller pressed his case for a fourth season podium as he motored past Morbidelli, who himself was searching for a maiden MotoGP podium.
Marquez and Quartararo had gone separate ways on tyres — Marquez on a medium rear, Quartararo on a soft — and the gap had plateaued to around a second.
However, Miller — who had elected to go with the soft rear — began to fall back from the leading duo, and on Lap 10, Morbidelli snuck past at Turn 1. At Turn 6, Maverick Vinales also powered past the Australian.
By Lap 12, Marquez’s lead was out to 1.8s, and was a massive 2.8s with seven laps to go. In that time, Miller had tumbled down to eighth as Andrea Dovizisoso, Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow all got past.
Quartararo cut the gap down to two seconds by Lap 20, but by then, it was too late, Marquez holding firm at the front.
The battle for third proved the race’s talking point as the laps wound down, with Dovizioso and Vinales jumping Morbidelli. As the factory Ducati rider pushed for a 100th podium, Dovizioso began to close on Quartararo, who had closed on Marquez.
Anxiety over the result aside, few could match Marquez on the day, with the world champ sealing a fourth win in a row, and 10th of 2019 as he again tamed the Twin Ring Motegi.
It was the first time since 2014 — when he won 10 in a row — that Marquez has won four or more consecutive races.
The result also sealed the constructors’ podium for Honda.