Eugene Laverty in new crash escape as Marc Marquez seals World title win
Spanish superstar rider Marc Marquez couldn't believe he had grabbed his third MotoGP world title after winning yesterday's Grand Prix of Japan as top rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi failed to finish.
Ulster's Eugene Laverty crashed for the second time in three days at the Motegi track, once again, fortunately, emerging unscathed.
Lorenzo crashed out five laps before the end of the race, all but handing a rampant Marquez the title. Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso finished in second, ahead of Maverick Vinales of Suzuki. For Marquez, it's his fifth overall title and his third in MotoGP, after his triumphs in 2013 and 2014.
The Honda ace was as shocked as anyone when he realised he had won the title which he dedicated to his grandmother who passed away earlier this year.
He said: "It's an amazing feeling I didn't expect here. When I saw Rossi was out I pushed for the victory. Then I saw Lorenzo was out and I made mistakes at four or five corners. It was so difficult to concentrate. I don't want to forget my grandmother who died at this time last year. I think she would be happy."
At the age of 23 years and 242 days, Marquez is the youngest ever five-time World Champion, almost a year younger than Valentino Rossi was.
Eugene Laverty slid off this time on the third lap of the race when he was overtaking wildcard rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
He said: "The crash was my mistake. I was overtaking Nakasuga in turn nine, the first gear left corner. I tried to turn too tight when I overtook him and lost the front at the apex.
"The third lap is too early to make a mistake like that so I am upset because after everything that has happened this weekend the main thing today was to try and get a result. It has been a strange weekend for sure, maybe it wasn't to be. We started the weekend so strong until the first crash. Now we will try to regroup and start again in Australia."