MotoGP Raceweek: Quartararo admits Marquez could be unstoppable

By Sports Desk September 21, 2019

Marc Marquez is "on another level" at the Aragon Grand Prix and Fabio Quartararo is not convinced he can deny the pole-sitter a second straight MotoGP victory.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez crashed during FP2 on Friday but was top of the pile in qualifying for the fifth time in the past six grands prix 24 hours later.

The Spaniard ended his longest winless streak of the season – just two races – at the San Marino Grand Prix last weekend by pipping Quartararo in a thrilling final-lap battle.

The rookie Petronas Yamaha rider will start next to Marquez on the grid on Sunday but thinks it unlikely that he will challenge for a first win of his career in Aragon.

"On qualifying I disconnected my brain on the last lap and try to make the best. We did it, and this is really positive because we know our bike is not the best on this track, but we really pushed her to the limit and made P2 and it was the best we could get today," said Quartararo, before discussing the chances of defeating Marquez.

"Everything is possible, but honestly he's on another level on this track. My main goal is to finish the race in a really good way, try to bring points home. I think we have the pace to finish in the top five and that's the goal."

Maverick Vinales joined Marquez and Quartararo on the front row of the grid, with Valentino Rossi taking sixth behind Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Vinales suggested the race will be decided in the opening laps, but Marquez knows he cannot afford to let his concentration slip throughout.

"We showed a good performance all weekend. We worked really hard in FP4 and it was a good rhythm, I was able to be very fast during many laps," said Marquez.

"The main target was front row, but pole position was even better. I just have to concentrate on tomorrow, analyse everything and choose the best [tyre] compound.

"The key for the race is to be concentrated during all the laps, to be focused in our rhythm, understand the grip of the track and the tyres, understand the weather.

"Apart from these things we will work in our way, find the limit in our bike and keep pushing until the end."

 

'PERFECT' ESPARGARO FOLLOWS MARQUEZ

Another man full of praise for Marquez was Espargaro - so much so that he considered his ability to stick with the superstar for a stretch and qualify fifth "a perfect lap".

"I was already quite fast on my first run, then with the second tyre I was behind Maverick but, just before we started the last lap, Marquez overtook me," Espargaro said.

"I thought 'there's no way to follow him' because he's on another planet this weekend. But I was able to follow. I did a perfect lap."

It was a rare good day for Aprilia, with Espargaro's team-mate Andrea Iannone enjoying his best qualifying session of the season to come in 11th.

Espargaro added: "There's nothing to lose. Our season has been a disaster so far. I hope that I can do a good race.

"The most important thing for me is that, when I come back into the garage afterwards all the faces of my team, all the people around me are smiling because we need this.

"We need some positive energy in the garage ahead of the flyaway races because everybody is working hard yet the results aren't coming."

His brother Pol, at KTM, is not enjoying such a good week, though, as he potentially faces surgery on a wrist fracture that will keep him out of the race.

18th place for Mika Kallio on the #aragongp #motogp grid for the 23 lap race tomorrow at 13.00 as @polespargaro heads back to Barcelona for further check-ups on a left wrist fracture and perhaps surgery #KTM pic.twitter.com/JF2xf6zcaS

— KTM Factory Racing (@KTM_Racing) September 21, 2019  

THE GRID

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team)
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
7. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
11. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team)
12. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Marc Marquez
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Marc Marquez
2015: Jorge Lorenzo

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 275
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 182 (-93)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 151 (-124)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 149 (-126)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 134 (-141)

Teams

1. Ducati 333
2. Repsol Honda 308 (-25)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 263 (-70)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 200 (-133)
5. Petronas Yamaha 192 (-141)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry day is forecast, with conditions expected to be similar to qualifying - dry and with an air temperature in the mid 20s (degrees Celsius).

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    TOP 10

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +0.870secs
    3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.325s
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +2.608s
    5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +9.140s
    6. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +9.187s
    7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +9.306s
    8. Joar Mir (Suzuku Ecstar) +10.695s
    9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +14.216s
    10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +18.909s

    TITLE STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 350
    2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 231 (-119)
    3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 176 (-174)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 176 (-174)
    5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-181)

    Teams

    1. Ducati 400
    2. Repsol Honda 383 (-17)
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha 321 (-79)
    4. Petronas Yamaha 263 (-137)
    5. Suzuki Ecstar 246 (-154)

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    YAMAHAS POSE FAMILIAR THREAT

    Franco Morbidelli out-qualified Fabio Quartararo as the two Petronas Yamaha bikes joined Marquez on the front row.

    Morbidelli equalled his best qualifying performance from Jerez this year and will be hoping to improve on his eventual seventh place finish there as he continues to show good speed towards the end of 2019.

    His team-mate Quartararo has only missed the front row at three races this year and was cruelly denied a maiden win by Marquez in Thailand, instead having to settle for a fifth podium of an excellent rookie campaign.

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    CRUTCHLOW PIPS THE DUCATIS

    Cal Crutchlow came through Q1 and then claimed fifth, as he looks to follow up on last season's Motegi podium.

    The Briton, who has endured a mixed season, said: "That's always the aim, but I don't know whether I'm going to be on the podium or 15th, I have no idea at the minute."

    Jack Miller has not scored a point in his previous two races in Japan, but is the top Ducati ahead of factory duo Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

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    Alex Rins sits third in the championship behind Dovizioso and starts 11th, while Takaaki Nakagami will begin his home race from 13th.


    THE GRID

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
    2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
    3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
    5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
    6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
    7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
    8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
    9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team)
    10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
    11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    12. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)

    PREVIOUS WINNERS

    2018: Marc Marquez
    2017: Andrea Dovizioso
    2016 : Marc Marquez
    2015: Dani Pedrosa

    TITLE STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 325
    2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 215 (110)
    3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 167 (-158)
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 163 (-162)
    5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 162 (-163)

    Teams

    1. Ducati 377
    2. Repsol Honda 358 (-19)
    3. Monster Energy Yamaha 308 (-69)
    4. Petronas Yamaha 233 (-144)
    5. Suzuki Ecstar 229 (-148)

    WEATHER FORECAST

    After a wet FP3 and damp FP4, conditions largely cleared for qualifying on Saturday. Sunday's forecast is presently for a dry and cloudy day, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celcius.

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