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 on Sunday.
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.
The race for the championship looked set to continue at Phillip Island next week after Dovizioso – 77 points adrift of Marquez heading into the fourth last GP of the season – led for most of the race and refused to let the Spaniard pull clear.
Fans in Japan were about to be treated to a thrilling final lap after Marquez and last year's race winner Dovizioso continued to overtake each other.
Marquez had leapfrogged Dovizioso, who momentarily dropped to third behind Cal Crutchlow, but the Italian moved back to the top immediately with 11 laps remaining.
Dovizioso, however, fell behind Marquez again with three laps to go and it was a lead that he never relinquished after the former crashed.
Marquez's Honda compatriot Crutchlow took second, ahead of Suzuki's Alex Rins, with Valentino Rossi fourth.
Australia's Jack Miller, who started from the front row of the grid, crashed out midway through the race.
IN THE POINTS
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
- Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +1.572 seconds
- Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +1.720
- Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) +6.413
- Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto) +6.919
- Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +8.024
- Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) +13.330
- Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) +15.582
- Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) +20.584
- Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +24.985
- Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +25.931
- Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +26.875
- Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +27.069
- Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing) +32.550
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +37.718
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 296
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 194
- Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) 185
- Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) 155
- Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) 148
- Repsol Honda 391
- Movistar Yamaha 340
- Ducati 325
- Suzuki Ecstar 231
- Alma Pramac Racing 207