Andrea Dovizioso remains in second-place in the World Standings, with the Italian now enjoying a 22-point lead over fellow countryman Valentino Rossi, who sits in third.
How the Bookies See it
As Japan is home to some of MotoGP’s most famous and powerful teams, such as Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, this is the race the manufacturers want to win most of all and there is a special atmosphere for it every time. Motegi Twin Ring Circuit has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar since first hosting a race in 1999, but the very first Japanese Grand Prix was held back in 1963 at the Suzuka circuit.
Due to his irresistible recent form, it comes as no surprise that Marc Marquez is once again the favourite, and he’s Evens to register a win in Japan and potentially secure another World Championship. However, another in-form rider and the winner at Motegi last year, Andrea Dovizioso, is not far behind as second-favourite, at odds of 2/1.
Marc Marquez secured yet another win last time out at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix to extend his lead at the head of the World Standings to 77 points. It looks like a foregone conclusion that he will wrap up a second consecutive title sooner rather than later, but can he do it in Japan? Marquez has only won once at the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit, back in 2016, and was beaten into second place at the track by his title rival Andrea Dovizioso last year. He did finish runner-up in 2013 and 2014 too, but this year the title celebrations might have to wait one more week.
Andrea Dovizioso has been in excellent form since winning in the Czech Republic at the start of August and is the firm favourite to secure a second-place finish in the World Standings, now that he has opened up a 22-point lead ahead of Valentino Rossi. He won this race last year but was second to Marquez in 2016. However, the Italian will be the biggest threat to Marquez once more and he can certainly keep his faint title hopes alive with another success in Japan.
Valentino Rossi recorded his best result for some weeks when finishing fourth at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix to maintain his hopes of finishing third in the World Standings or even catch Dovizioso for second place. His record in Japan is not great, though, registering a best result of runner-up in 2015. Although struggling for form, that fourth in Thailand showed he can never be written off, but winning here is a very big ask for him.
It seems very likely that Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso will slug this one out again. Not only are they dominating races at the moment, they have also been the top two at this track for the last two meetings. Dovizioso knows he needs to win so has to go for it, as he did when securing maximum points last year.
Sports.net's Top Tip
Maverick Vinales looks a very interesting each-way chance at 8/1 to land a podium finish. He can still take third place in the World Standings from Valentino Rossi. At odds of 25/1, Danilo Petrucci has an outside chance of a podium place, having secured exactly that last year in Japan, behind Marquez and Dovizioso. He can certainly repeat that very good result.