MotoGP of Japan 2018 – Rider & Team Manager Quotes

Marc Marquez 2018 MotoGP World Champion

Marc Marquez – 2018 World Champion

“I feel really, really good. I would say it’s a dream came true, or better, that I’m living a dream. It’s something so special, here together with my team, all the Honda and HRC people, my family and my staff. It has been a great season, and ever since Aragon I’ve been tasting, imagining this title, because it was very close. Then I realized that this wasn’t my style, and I needed extra motivation, so I set the goal of trying to achieve it with my first match ball—in Motegi, by winning the race. This circuit was a challenging one to manage that, but it seems like when I’m under pressure, I feel better on the bike! Today the race was as I expected. I was prepared to make a good start and immediately make some passes. I got to second place at the end of the first lap, and then was able to follow Andrea and stay with him. I thought I could try and attack before the last lap because I felt I had something extra to give. He was pushing very hard and made a mistake, and that’s a shame because he deserved to be here on the podium. That’s also something that I think Dani would deserve at least once this season. Anyway, when I crossed the finish line it was an explosion of joy. My people prepared this Level7 celebration, but I didn’t know anything ahead of time. I never want to know, but I think it’s because I used to play that kind of game a lot. Now it’s time to celebrate this seventh title and enjoy these final three races.”

MotoGP Japan Sun Marquez G
Marc Marquez – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Yoshishige Nomura – HRC President

“Despite the expectations and pressure to win his third consecutive title, Marc has mesmerized his fans with an outstanding performance throughout the season. I congratulate Marc for another job well done. I would also like to thank the team who supported him, our many sponsors who have supported our racing activities, and MotoGP fans all over the world for supporting the sport.”

MotoGP Japan Sun Podium
Marc Marquez and Honda CEO Mr Takahiro Hachigo on the podium alongside Crutchlow and Rins
Cal Crutchlow – P2

“Everyone saw it was a good battle today. We’re pleased with the result at Honda’s home race and the Team’s done a fantastic job. The problem we had was that Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) kept slowing down the pace so it allowed the people behind to catch up, but I think we did a great job managing the situation. I was struggling a little bit on the left hand side with the rear grip so I was trying to save the tyre for the end of the race and keep (Alex) Rins at bay, that’s all I needed to do. Then Dovi crashed and I took second place so in the end I was very pleased. At the moment we’re riding very, very well, we’ve had some good results lately and now we head to Phillip Island in good spirits. Of course congratulations to Marc for winning the world title: he made an incredible season”.

MotoGP Japan Sun Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow – MotoGP of Japan 2018
Alex Rins – P3

“I’m feeling really happy and so are the team, especially as Japan is the home race for them. We did a great race; I was able to overtake riders at the start, and have good race pace. After Andrea crashed I assessed the situation and thought Crutchlow might be too far in front, but I decided to try and catch him. But it was difficult to pass him because he was braking really hard. But finally we got 3rd and we’re so pleased. I’m still learning, and for sure it’s fun to fight with the other riders, even if it’s very hard. We’ll try to end this season with more podiums!”

MotoGP Japan Sun Alex Rins
Alex Rins – MotoGP of Japan 2018
Valentino Rossi – P4

“Fourth place is not a bad result. I think that we’ve worked well today, because this morning we made another step and I felt better with the bike. So, I started the race quite optimistically, trying to fight for the podium. Unfortunately some other riders were faster than me. I tried to not give up, not to make any mistakes and to arrive at the end of the race with a good pace.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Rossi
Valentino Rossi – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Álvaro Bautista – P5

“I’m happy with this result; it’s been a very good weekend. We made a good start, to get into the front group, but when I was behind Pedrosa it was hard for me to stop the bike and enter the corners well because I had overheated the front tyre. When I was able to overtake and the tyre was working correctly, I went for Zarco and Rossi. Zarco was faster than me when cornering and it was hard for me to get close, but I took a risk to overtake him and it worked out well, although it was a bit late because Valentino had already escaped. A Top 5 is the highest place we could get today. I want to thank Ángel Nieto Team, Jorge Martínez “Aspar” and everyone else for letting me ride for the factory team in Australia. I also want to thank Ducati for the opportunity to work with them. It will be a weekend in which I will try to learn as much as possible and work as best I can, with no objective in mind. It is exciting to be able to compete with a factory team, and to do it with Ducati is a dream come true.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Álvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Johann Zarco – P6

“I want to say, it was a good race. I really gave all I could give regarding energy and potential of me and of the bike. It’s a shame, as the start was good, but the first four corners I lost a lot of positions. I could not go where I wanted to go, it was too difficult and then the first ten laps maybe have been the most difficult. Later, the second half of the race, I got a strong pace and I was feeling more comfortable on the bike – not enough to catch the first group, but good enough to be fast. I could see the crash of Iannone and Dovizioso and I saw that also Rossi was forcing to be fast, so I was pushing myself to prepare to overtake him, trying to fight with him on the last lap. Unfortunately, Bautista was also coming back after his start. When he overtook me towards the end, I totally lost the contact to Valentino and the possibility to finish in fourth position. Anyway, I need to be happy. The weekend has been decent, I was feeling quite good on the bike, although I feel that things are missing. About the championship; many things are moving. Cal (Crutchlow) did a great race and his 20 points are very important for our fight for the best independent rider.”

MotoGP Japan Sat Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Maverick Viñales – P7

“We shuffled a lot with the settings of the bike, but we couldn’t be fast in today’s race. We tried something different before the race, but it didn’t really work. We followed a direction we used in Buriram to see if that would work, but in the end it wasn’t like that. I couldn’t ride like I wanted to, so we need to keep working and trying to stay focused on the way we manage the race weekend, and stay strong. We are going to try to do our best again on Phillip Island, and we’ll try to see where we stand.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Dani Pedrosa – P8

“Today the race was very disappointed I could not reach my expected performance. I had not the perfect feeling on the bike and I struggled a lot. That’s a shame, because this is a track and a place that I like very much. Anyway, that the situation and we need to try and manage as best as possible. I wish to congratulate Marc, what he has done is amazing. He has been strong everywhere this season and he was able to make only few mistakes, gaining points all the time. He is a rider that evolve continuously. I think the team as well did a great job.”

MotoGP Japan Sat pedrosa motegi
Dani Pedrosa – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Danilo Petrucci – P9

“I wanted to get the Top 10 after a difficult weekend and I was able to do it even though I was helped by some crashes. I’m glad I got some points even if Crutchlow is doing great results for the Independent classification., In Australia I have to do better and I can’t wait to be at Philip Island”.

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Danilo Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Hafizh Syahrin – P10

“I’m really happy to be in the top 10. This is what I always want for myself and now we’re inside the top 10 for the second time, so I’m really delighted. Thank you very much to the whole team, because they made a good job. We are always working truly hard to be strong in the race. Thanks as well to everybody who supports me and especially my family, who came here. We need to continue working hard. The next race in Phillip Island, I will do my best. It will not be easy, but I’m already looking forward and try to be in a god shape before my home Grand Prix.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Franco Morbidelli – P11

“Finally in the race I was fast and arrived close to the top ten. We struggled for all the weekend at this track and unfortunately yesterday I smashed the bike in qualifying but finally in the race I was fast and could maintain good pace and arrive close to the top ten. I am very happy because this was a difficult track for us with lots of acceleration.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Bradley Smith – P12

“We were fighting for tenth position for quite a long time but in the last eight laps I just seemed to struggle a little bit with the Medium rear with edge-grip and Hafizh could catch me quite easily. I tried a little bit too hard into Turn 11 with Franco and ran wide. A bit frustrating to finish 12th in the end but it is some good points and KTM were strong here, and all weekend. We got some good data because I ran the Medium and Pol the Soft so we can look at the positive and negatives. Now to Phillip Island and last year there was good for us. We were competitive all weekend and it is one of the stronger tracks for us.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Pol Espargaro – P13

“Physically: no excuses, I could finish the race in the points, and for the first time since June. Honestly I am not so happy with the result – the team put in a lot of effort and we wanted to show the progression of the KTM – and we were quite far from the top guys. We chose the Soft tyre for the rear and I think it was a good choice apart from the end. I was recovering my race speed again and it was nice to be back fighting in the points. We’ll look for better at Phillip Island, which is one of my favourite tracks. We need to improve.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Pol Espargaro Staff
Pol Espargaro – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Takaaki Nakagami – P15

“The start wasn’t too bad, but into turn one, turn two and turn three there were so many riders around us that I didn’t have any space inside and there was an impact on my handlebars that made me go out of the track at turn four. I was lucky I didn’t crash, but I lost a lot of positions, from 12th to 23rd I think. That was tough because it’s always difficult to move back up. The race pace was what we expected, 46 high to 47 low, but everybody had the same sort of lap time and it was difficult to overtake the guy in front. I didn’t expect this race today, I’m really disappointed with it. It was a big chance to finish in the top 10, but after the first lap it was over. I tried my best, but I’m sorry to all my fans in Japan.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Xavier Simeon – P16

“To be honest, I think my race today was very good. I clocked decent lap times and I was close to score points. The biggest problem today was the start. I’m not able to start well with this bike and in the first lap I found myself in last position. At the beginning of the race my pace was not the best and I lost contact with the group that was fighting for points. I leave Japan with mixed feelings, because today I had the pace to score points and we didn’t succeed. On the other hand I’m happy, because this weekend was really positive. I was very comfortable with the bike and we were closer. The team did an excellent job and they keep helping me a lot to improve.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Xavier Simeon
Xavier Simeon – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Jordi Torres – P17

“The weekend was positive, although I made some mistakes and I crashed. But all in all, the weekend was very good. And even more so considering what a difficult circuit Motegi is, with a lot of hard braking, where it is easy to make mistakes. I tried to ride the bike in a smoother way. I had a good start and overtook some riders, but a little later on the grip level dropped and I decided to try and change my riding style to stay competitive. I managed to adapt to the change in tyre performance, which had been my target, and to achieve it was for sure the most positive thing of the weekend.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Jordi Torres
Jordi Torres – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Andrea Dovizioso – P18

“I’m obviously pretty disappointed because we wanted to win this race at all costs, but all in all it has been a positive weekend because we were very quick and we confirmed our competitiveness. Even though we did a good race we were unable to make the difference against Marquez, and so I want to congratulate him because also this year he deserved to win the championship. Pity about the crash: I didn’t overdo it but simply tried to prepare for the exit of the turn in the best possible way in order to attack him and I made a small mistake that cost me dearly.”

MotoGP Japan Sun Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Scott Redding – P19

“I think I had my best start of the season. I made up a lot of positions and in the early laps I felt good. The grip was good, I was in the group and I was able to keep the pace. At a certain point, the front tyre began to move around. I chose the soft because the medium was unusable. I tried it in the warm up session too, but without results. I was managing things rather well, but then I began losing grip at the rear and I had to settle for finishing the race.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Scott Redding
Scott Redding – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Tom Luthi – P20

“I struggled with rear grip and getting temperature into the tyre. The problem was from the beginning of the race I could not build any feeling with the bike. My start was good, I had a good reaction time and got away fast and this was positive but then I struggled with rear grip and could not get temperature into the rear tyre and this cost me a lot of time to the guys in front. In the middle of the race the rhythm was good but by then it was too late.”

MotoGP Rnd Thailand Luthi GP AN
Tom Luthi – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Sylvain Guintoli – P21

“We were expecting a busy weekend with a lot to do in terms of development, so the main aim was just to find the most positive points of the new things. The base bike we have now is very good, as Andrea and Alex showed today with their pace. So we just need to find small margins or gains with next year’s bike and in that respect we did well. It’s been very satisfying to see the team doing so well. We have another couple of tests coming up, and they’ll be really important to see how we can further improve.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun sylvain guintoli
Sylvain Quintoli – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Andrea Iannone – DNF

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the best start, but I recovered quickly and pushed hard. Then I began to feel vibration on the rear and I struggled on the braking points, but I was able to overcome these things and continue to push. But under braking at Turn 10 it was difficult and I lost the front. I gave everything in this race and I think the podium was possible also for me, but unfortunately these things can happen. I’m really optimistic for Phillip Island, it’s a place I really like!”

MotoGP Japan Sat andrea iannone
Andrea Iannone – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Jack Miller – DNF

“It’s a shame because the weekend was really positive. The race pace wasn’t bad and I felt like I could close the gap to Rins and Iannone but after Zarco overtook me, I made a mistake in braking and crashed. Now we go to Australia and I want to do well in my Home-GP.”

MotoGP Japan Sat Jack Miller AX
Jack Miller – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Karel Abraham – DNF

“I’m angry because we could have scored points in this race. I was riding ahead of Nakasuga and was comfortable, and was close to Pol Espargaró. They were fourteenth and thirteenth, respectively. The first half was good, but I reached a point where I lost the front and I don’t know the reason why, but I went down. I wasn’t braking hard, it was in the middle of a corner. Even though I’m angry about not being able to score points, I think we have improved. We are faster than at the beginning of the season and we are closer to the points, but also closer to the limit.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Aleix Espargaro’ – DNF

“What happened today was strange. From the start the instrument cluster was showing an alarm for front tyre pressure and temperature which went to abnormal levels. It was impossible to ride. The wheel locked up in braking even when going straight and I was forced to retire. It was not an easy weekend for us. We need to analyse the situation well to figure out what happened.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun EspargaroA
Aleix Espargaro – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi

Team Managers

Davide Brivio – Suzuki ECSTAR Team Manager

“Of course we are very happy about this race because both riders were very fast and close to the top group. Unfortunately, Andrea crashed when they were both in the battle for 4th and 5th positions. After that Alex managed to recover and get closer to Crutchlow. We got a little bit lucky with the fall of Dovizioso, but I would say that our pace was there – it was very strong. So we’re feeling good because our gap, even to the winner, was very small. We’ll continue to work very hard as we know we still have things to improve. I would like to say thank you to our President and all our engineers who are here today and have worked very hard all year, I’m glad we could achieve a podium in Motegi for them.”

MotoGP Rnd Thailand Iannone GP AN
Andrea Iannone
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Marc Márquez and the Repsol Honda Team. For us it was a challenging race weekend. Valentino made a step in the morning and started the race perfectly. He was feeling good with the bike and was positioned at the front in the early stages, but he came just short of being able to battle with the front runners. For Maverick we decided to take a risk on the set-up that ultimately didn’t pay off. We had hoped to end today differently. However, Vale and Maverick are still serious contenders for second and third place in the rider standings, so we still have a lot to fight for next weekend in Australia.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Rossi
Valentino Rossi – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager

“As always in Motegi, Japan, a lot of things are happening during the MotoGP race. Clearly, we didn’t get the start we were hoping for with Johann. Jack (Miller) was a bit aggressive, hit him twice and we couldn’t get the benefit of our front row position. He just tried to stay on the outside almost every corner of the first lap, but you loose a lot of positions and from that moment, it was just a mission to recover and try to catch the guys in front of him. For sure, he didn’t have the pace and I think nobody inside the Yamaha camp could fight with the top group, but the disappointment started to go away when we saw him coming back. He was catching Valentino (Rossi) tenth by tenth, but he arrived at 0.4 behind him with around four laps to go, so we were really hot on seeing on what could have happen during these last laps. But unfortunately Bautista was catching him, passed him and that was the end of the story. It was too late to try a move on Valentino. It’s been a though race, but I think Johann did his best and I want to thank him for the whole weekend, because he showed great spirit and great determination on track, which is what we want and we are happy to see him like he was, when we started the year. On the other side, we are very, very happy with Hafizh, who ended up fastest rookie again. He didn’t have such a good start and lost a few positions. It’s difficult to pass and I told him before, be careful and take your time – and this is what he did. But we could see as soon as he was passing another rider, there was quickly a gap as he was so much faster and catching up. He eventually managed to reach a top 10 position. This is a great achievement. The lap times were great, he was lapping exactly the same and sometimes quicker than both, Johann and Valentino, which is something we are very proud of. He didn’t do any mistake, but was learning every single lap. We are very pleased. Franco Morbidelli finally managed to pass Bradley Smith in the very last sector of the very last lap, so we just got one point on him. Anyway, we are only four points behind him in the championship, three rounds to go, so it’s going to be very exciting. I think he’s learning a lot and I’m very proud of Hafizh. What he did today is a remarkable race and performance.”

MotoGP Rnd Misano Hafizh Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin
Mike Leitner – KTM Team Manager MotoGP

“We have to be happy to have both riders in the points again. Bradley did a solid job and we are happy with his 12th position but his mistake in the hairpin allowed Franco to catch him. He gave his maximum. Pol finished his first race in the points since Assen and after his long rehabilitation. I’m really happy to see him back in the pit after the race with some points and no issues. I think he will be stronger in Phillip Island. We didn’t have any technical issues in the race and this shows that we, and everyone at KTM, are working hard and we are getting better and better. Everybody knows that this class is very competitive. We would like to get inside the top ten; that is still a big target this season. Let’s go to Phillip Island and try to get it.”

MotoGP Japan Motegi Sun Mike Leitner Pit Lane Twin Ring Motegi
Mike Leitner – MotoGP 2019 Twin Ring Motegi

MotoGP Race Classification – Grand Prix of Japan 2018

  1. Marc MARQUEZ SPA Honda 42’36.438
  2. Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Honda +1.573
  3. Alex RINS SPA Suzuki +1.720
  4. Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha +6.413
  5. Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Ducati +6.919
  6. Johann ZARCO FRA Yamaha +8.024
  7. Maverick VIÑALES SPA Yamaha +13.330
  8. Dani PEDROSA SPA Honda +15.582
  9. Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Ducati +20.584
  10. Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Yamaha +24.985
  11. Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Honda +25.931
  12. Bradley SMITH GBR KTM +26.875
  13. Pol ESPARGARO SPA KTM +27.069
  14. Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha +32.550
  15. Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN Honda +37.718
  16. Xavier SIMEON BEL Ducati +39.583
  17. Jordi TORRES SPA Ducati +39.839
  18. Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati +42.698
  19. Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia +49.943
  20. Thomas LUTHI SWI Honda +52.707
  21. Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Suzuki +1’01.848
MotoGP Race Result
MotoGP Race Classification – Grand Prix of Japan 2018

MotoGP Standings following Grand Prix of Japan

  1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 296
  2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 194
  3. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 185
  4. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 155
  5. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 148
  6. Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 133
  7. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 133
  8. Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 130
  9. Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 118
  10. Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 113
  11. Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 95
  12. Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 83
  13. Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 74
  14. Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 38
  15. Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 35
  17. Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 34
  18. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 32
  19. Bradley SMITH KTM GBR 23
  20. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 19
  21. Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 12
  22. Mika KALLIO KTM FIN 6
  23. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 5
  24. Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamaha JPN 2
  25. Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 1


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