By Lisa Lewis

Alex Marquez fought Maverick Vinales all the way to the line to take his first Moto3 victory in a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi.

Vinales led for a large portion of the race before being pushed to the limit by the Estrella Galicia rider. Vinales attempted to slipstream Marquez across the line but had to settle for second, leaving the Team Calvo still without a race win since Le Mans.

However with title rivals Luis Salom and Alex Rins both falling, Vinales is firmly back in the title hunt heading to the Valencia finale.

Salom's race turned into a disaster when he was hit by Isaac Vinales who got out of shape on the opening lap, flying over and collecting the Mallorcan. The riders are to present themselves to Race Direction for further investigation.

While pushing to get back into the point scoring positions, the Red Bull KTM rider then had a highside, putting him out of the race for good.

Rins recovered after a busy opening lap, then an altercation with team-mate Marquez - which saw a lot of gesticulation from the title hopeful and prompted the junior Marquez brother to take a more supporting role until overtaking with nine laps to go and reigniting the victory battle.

It was while pushing hard to take back the position that Rins fell with four laps to go, blowing the championship wide open after losing his rear on the start/finish straight. The Spaniard rejoined to cross the line in 24th.

Salom thus clings onto the championship lead by just two points from Vinales, who moves into second, with Rins just five points off the lead. That means a win for any of the trio in Valencia will hand them the title.

The KTM victory of Marquez also means that the Austrian factory now holds the record for the longest sequence of successive wins in the lightweight class by any one manufacturer at 20, taking the record from Honda who won 19 times in a row over the 1990/1 seasons.

Jonas Folger rode sensibly in an action packed race to seal the final podium spot for Aspar.

Next across the stripe was Mahindra's Miguel Oliveira in fourth, who tore through the field after a terrible qualifying session saw him start down in 18th.

Also making excellent progress was Romano Fenati. The San Carlo team Italia rider scrapped his way to the front of the chasing pack and took fifth over the line, after starting from 26th on the grid, snatching the position from Jack Miller, also making the Italian the top Honda finisher.

Miller finished sixth just ahead of his Caretta Technology-RTG team-mate, Briton John McPhee in seventh, his best finish to date.

Nikas Ajo was eighth at the flag, ahead of Niccolo Antonelli in ninth. Ambrogio's Brad Binder finished tenth, but after Zulfahmi Khairuddin didn't make it past the first corner after an incident with the South African, he finds himself placed under investigation by Race Direction.

Also in the points were Jakub Kornfeil in eleventh, Livio Loi scored for the third time in his debut season on only his third session on the track in twelfth. Philipp Oettl put a torrid qualifying behind him for 13th.

Alan Techer finished 14th with home rider Hyuga Watanabe taking the final available point.

Alexis Masbou crashed on the final lap of the race. Also failing to go the distance were Matteo Ferrari, Luca Amato, wild-card Hiroki Ono, Efern Vazquez and Luca Geuenwald.

The 17th and final round takes place at Valencia in two weeks time.