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MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan 2018: Race Schedule, Live Stream and Top Riders

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2018

BURI RAM, THAILAND - OCTOBER 07:  Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team prepares to start on the grid during the MotoGP race during the MotoGP Of Thailand - Race on October 7, 2018 in Buri Ram, Thailand.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Only a disaster can stop Marc Marquez becoming a five-time world champion, as the Spaniard leads the way in the overall standings heading into the 2018 MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi on Sunday.

Marquez was triumphant in Thailand during the last round of racing and holds a 77-point advantage over nearest world championship rival Andrea Dovizioso.

The 25-year-old has won seven of 15 races this term, and his Honda continues to be the bike to beat with just four stops on the racing calendar remaining.

A victory would see Marquez crowned as MotoGP world champion once again.

                              

Race Schedule                                            

Saturday, Oct. 20

MotoGP Q1: 6:10 a.m. BST/1:10 a.m. ET

MotoGP Q2: 6:35 a.m. BST/1:35 a.m. ET

Sunday, Oct. 21

MotoGP WUP: 1:40 a.m. BST/8:40 p.m. ET (Saturday)

MotoGP Race: 6 a.m. BST/1 a.m. ET

BT Sport (UK) and BeIN Sports (U.S.) will carry coverage of the event. For live stream options, access the BT Sport App or beIN Sports CONNECT.

                  

Top Riders

Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press

Every year it's questioned if Marquez can get any better, and every year he proves that he can.

Despite the form of Dovizioso this season, the Spanish superstar has kept his nose in front.

Dovizioso was victorious in the Czech Republic and San Marino, but Marquez held on in Thailand to place himself in the optimum position heading into Japan.

Honda would be delighted to see their rider handed another world crown in their home race, but Dovizioso and Ducati will be hoping to spoil the party.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press

According to Jack Tarrant of Reuters, Marquez said he understands the importance of winning for his team in Japan but highlighted his rival is currently in fantastic shape:

"I know and I understand that it will be really important for Honda to try and celebrate something big on Sunday.

"But it will not be easy because Dovizioso is really, really good, really, really fast and he is very competitive."

Per Tarrant, Marquez will be tied third with motorcycling legend Mick Doohan for the most premier class world titles in history if he wins in Japan, as he chases Italian icons Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.

Jens Meyer/Associated Press

Rossi finished third in Thailand, consolidating third in the championship race, and the seven-time world champion will be watching in awe of how Marquez has dominated since arriving in MotoGP in 2013.

Per Matteo Nugnes and Jamie Klein of AutoSport, Rossi said he knows the Spaniard can equal and surpass the brilliance he has achieved on a motorcycle: 

"Marquez can beat my records, but it does not bother me.

"You have to think about your own career, and I think that mine is good. I won many races, and I could have won more championships.

"My biggest regret is losing the championship in Valencia in 2006, when I made a mistake."

BURI RAM, THAILAND - OCTOBER 07:  Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team celebrates the second place on the podium at the end of the MotoGP race during the MotoGP Of Thailand - Race on October 7, 2018 in Buri Ram, Thailand.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Ducati have once again been left chasing Honda's tail in the championship, but Dovizioso's qualities suggests he can compete with Marquez on an improved machine.

The 32-year-old is a veteran of the discipline with bags of experience, and he will be very satisfied if he finishes the season ahead of the Yamaha pairing of Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Vinales could become a future great in the sport, but Yamaha have not had the pace to consistently hurt Honda and Ducati.

History is expected to be made in Motegi, with Marquez proving beyond doubt he has no current equal in MotoGP.

The Spaniard failed to win the world title in 2015, as compatriot Jorge Lorenzo claimed the championship, but that seems to have been a minor blip on Marquez's incredible record.

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