MOTEGI (AP) – Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain defended his MotoGP championship on Sunday when he finished second in the Grand Prix of Japan behind compatriot Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez crossed the line 1.638 seconds behind Lorenzo to collect the crucial points for the world championship win. Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi of Italy completed the podium in third place.
Yamaha rider Lorenzo took his second successive victory with a time of 42 minutes, 21.259 seconds over 24 laps at the 4.801-kilometer (2.983 mile) Honda-owned Motegi circuit.
With three races left in the season, Marquez has 312 points, 82 points ahead of Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. Riders are awarded 25 points for a win.
Having started fourth on the grid, Marquez passed Rossi midway through the race then made an attempt to catch Lorenzo, but the Yamaha rider held his lead and Marquez settled for second.
At 21, Marquez is the youngest rider to take consecutive premier world titles.
“The race doesn’t really matter today,” Marquez said. “Maybe I wasn’t riding like always, as I felt a little different. It was hard to overtake and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.”
“We got the title and it’s incredible to take it at home. Thanks to my family and Honda.”
The next race is at Phillip Island, Australia on October 19.