Zarco Celebrates Title with Motegi Win

Johann Zarco capped a dream weekend with a typically dominant victory in a rain-affected Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The newly crowned champion proved too strong for Jonas Folger as he claimed his seventh win of the season before the title celebrations were finally able to begin in earnest.

With drizzle continuing to fall, Folger showed his intentions to rain on Zarco’s parade by taking the lead off the start line.  The Frenchman was the only rider able to match Folger’s initial pace with front row starter Thomas Luthi crashing out in his attempts to keep up on lap three while home favourite Takaaki Nakagami also found the leading group too hot to handle, crashing out at the final corner on lap five.

Nakagami’s tumble came just at the moment Zarco had hit the front for the first time, the world champion diving past Folger at turn eleven, but the IDEMITSU squad weren’t out of the podium hunt just yet. Takaaki’s teammate, Azlan Shah, was enjoying the best ride of his Grand Prix career and rose to third as a result of the Japanese rider’s misfortune but plenty of riders were queueing up to challenge him.

Amazingly, the biggest threat looked to be coming from the other Malaysian in the field with Hafizh Syahrin piling on the pressure but as he faded, Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese took up the challenge. The former Moto3 champion disposed of Syahrin on lap eleven before jumping straight across the gap to Shah and with a lap of a half to go, Cortese deprived the 31 year old of a maiden rostrum by scything past at turn seven.

Zarco was supreme up ahead and cruised to victory by four and a half seconds with Folger and Cortese securing the first German double-podium in Grand Prix racing for three years. Shah and Syahrin were fourth and fifth for Malaysia while Ricard Cardus was the top Spaniard, and top Suter rider, in sixth.

Simone Corsi was seventh for Forward Racing ahead of Britain’s Sam Lowes while Marcel Schrotter and Randy Krummenacher completed the top ten, demoting Alex Rins to eleventh with the Pons rider paying the price for a succession of slip-ups.



15. Johann ZarcoKalexAjo Motorsport31:17.900
294. Jonas FolgerKalexAGR Team+4.505
311. Sandro CorteseKalexDynavolt Intact GP+15.433
425. Azlan ShahKalexIDEMITSU Honda Team Asia+17.348
555. Hafizh SyahrinKalexPetronas Raceline Malaysia+22.858
688. Ricard CardusSuterJPmoto Malaysia+24.970
73. Simone CorsiKalexForward Racing+25.759
822. Sam LowesSpeed UpSpeed Up Racing+27.024
923. Marcel SchrotterTech 3Tech 3+27.485
104. Randy KrummenacherKalexJIR Moto2+28.062
1140. Alex RinsKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+30.768
127. Lorenzo BaldassarriKalexForward Racing+32.685
1371. Tomoyoshi KoyamaNTSNTS T.Pro Project+33.995
1472. Yuki TakahashiMoriwakiMoriwaki Racing+36.582
1536. Mika KallioSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+43.672
1660. Julian SimonSpeed UpQMMF Racing Team+48.256
172. Jesko RaffinKalexsports-millions-EMWE-SAG+49.421
1873. Alex MarquezKalexEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS+51.712
1957. Edgar PonsKalexItaltrans Racing Team+1:20.982
2096. Louis RossiTech 3Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2+1:31.219
2166. Florian AltSuterIodaRacing Team+1:36.116
2230. Takaaki NakagamiKalexIDEMITSU Honda Team Asia+1:41.127
2370. Robin MulhauserKalexTechnomag Racing Interwetten+2 Laps
NC39. Luis SalomKalexPaginas Amarillas HP 40+6 Laps
NC10. Thitipong WarokornKalexAPH PTT The Pizza SAG+7 Laps
NC12. Thomas LuthiKalexDerendinger Racing Interwetten+8 Laps
NC19. Xavier SimeonKalexFederal Oil Gresini Moto2+10 Laps
NC97. Xavi ViergeTech 3Tech 3+11 Laps
NC49. Axel PonsKalexAGR Team+11 Laps
NC16. Joshua HookKalexTechnomag Racing Interwetten+12 Laps
NS1. Tito RabatKalexEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDSInjured