Marc Marquez secured his third successive MotoGP™ championship after title rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out in a dramatic moment at the Japanese GP.
Dovizioso handed Honda superstar Marquez a fifth MotoGP™ crown when he sensationally lost control of his bike on the penultimate lap at Motegi in October.
Ducati pole-setter Dovizioso was second behind Marquez before his bike washed out from underneath him at Turn 10 as the Honda team celebrated – the Italian rider crossing the line in 18th.
"I'm really happy, the race has been exactly what was in my mind. Yesterday after the qualy, I tried to analyse, I tried to understand. I knew the pace of FP4 was really good," said Marquez.
"Before the race, we planned like always. We tried to understand what the realistic possibility was and we saw that we had the same pace as Dovi.
"But I was starting in sixth place, so I knew it had to go the perfect way in the first lap, riding a perfect shape, perfect rhythm and I was already second behind Dovi at the end of the first lap, which was the target.
"I saw that I was strong enough to fight with him until the end and I tried to attack, I made a small mistake, then Dovi overtook me again. I was able to follow him in a good way and then I attacked.
"It was the same strategy as Thailand and I saw that in the last laps he had more chance to win because he was faster. When I saw Dovi out, the first thought I was very happy, because I won the title.
"Then when I finished I was disappointed because he deserved to be here too. He had an incredible season and an incredible race."
The win at Motegi means Marquez joins Australian legend Mick Doohan on five premier-class titles.
In 2019 the Spaniard will continue his title hunt, seeking to equal legend Valentino Rossi, whose seven MotoGP™ modern titles are only eclipsed by the great Giacomo Agnostini.
With Jorge Lorenzo joining the Honda factory team in 2019, Marquez will have fierce competition from inside his own paddock, and we can't wait.