Jorge Lorenzo produced a typically metronomic performance to take his second victory in a row at Motegi while Marc Marquez gave Honda their wish, finishing second to wrap up his second world championship. Lorenzo wrestled control from his teammate Valentino Rossi early on and by virtue of his victory, second spot was enough for Marquez to retain his title.
Along with Dani Pedrosa, Rossi stood between Marquez and the championship and ‘The Doctor’ roared straight into the lead when the lights changed, demoting polesitter Andrea Dovizioso. Lorenzo also edged ahead of the Ducati in the opening corners but Marquez had to wait until lap three to overhaul him, pushing past at turn nine.
A four-man group was starting to form at the sharp end but Jorge Lorenzo had no intentions of biding his time on the tail of his teammate and dived up the inside at turn eleven after shadowing the no.46 Yamaha down the back straight. Initially, Valentino kept Jorge in sight but as the Grand Prix passed half distance, the Spaniard’s consistency began to tell and the lead gradually increased.
Rossi’s attention now turned to maintaining second and with Marquez now hot on his heels, the championship was now very much up for grabs. Marc’s first attempt came on lap fifteen with a late charge up the inside of turn nine but a slight error at turn nine allowed Rossi to fight straight back. Having rehearsed the move, Marquez didn’t wait long to try again and after a second move at the tight left hander, second in the race and a second world title was in his grasp.
Lorenzo had opened up an unassailable lead thanks to the squabbling behind while Marc held off a dogged Rossi for second, thus becoming the youngest back-to-back champion in premier class history. Dani Pedrosa came on strong in the second half of the race to take fourth while Andrea Dovizioso faded to fifth, just ahead of the Pramac Ducati of Andrea Iannone.
Stefan Bradl held off the Tech 3 Yamahas of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith for seventh but the man inheriting Stefan’s LCR seat next season had a difficult afternoon, Cal Crutchlow crashing out of tenth on lap two.