Andrea Dovizioso has closed the gap on points leader Marc Marquez after beating the reigning champion in a classic duel at the wet Motegi race. It devolved into a similar fight as in the Red Bull Ring scrap earlier this year.
Marquez seemed to have the big edge until suffering a major niggle at Turn 8 on the final lap, allowing Dovizioso to close and ultimately make the pass at Turn 11. Like in Austria, Marquez tried fighting back at the final corner, but he ran wide and allowed Dovizioso to score his fifth victory of the season by just over two tenths of a second.
Danilo Petrucci had to make do with long stint in the lead at the beginning and held 1.9 seconds lead by the end of the fourth lap with extra-soft rear tyre. But he couldn’t keep up the pace, and was passed by Marquez and Dovizioso on laps 13 and 14 respectively.
The gap between Marquez and Dovizioso moved around the 0.5 second mark until the Italian took his chance on lap 19. He led by eight tenths at the end of that lap but Marquez closed in and took the lead with three laps to go to set up another nail-biting finish and it went Dovi’s way.
He now closes the lead in the championship to just 11 points as Marquez still heads the table. Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins delivered their best result of the season in fourth and fifth respectively.