Maverick Vinales hopes to be the beneficiary of a feud between MotoGP's biggest two names, Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi, at the San Marino Grand Prix.

A spat between Marquez and Rossi over track position in qualifying, which led to both riders being hindered and exceeding the track limits on their final flying laps, was the major talking point from Saturday.

The championship leader and the motorsport icon had to settle for fifth and seventh on the grid respectively.

Rossi's Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Vinales, meanwhile, took pole position at Misano, building on his manufacturer's strong showing in testing at the circuit ahead of the race, which had continued through practice.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pol Espargaro claimed his team's first front-row start at a dry race with a superb second and rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo completed the top three.

"When I arrived to parc ferme and I saw the two Yamahas and our orange rocket in the middle, I was fully proud," said Espargaro. "It was an unbelievable moment."

Quartararo's Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli, a qualifying specialist, also impressed and he leads Marquez and Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso on the second row.

Dovizioso will therefore start close to Marquez, who leads the Italian by 78 points in the standings with only seven races to go.

Alex Rins, a thrilling winner at Silverstone last time out, starts eighth due to a three-place grid penalty for Johann Zarco, who drops down to 11th.

Cal Crutchlow (14th), Jack Miller (16th), Danilo Petrucci (17th) and Jorge Lorenzo (18th) were among a host of big names to miss out on Q2, while Andrea Iannone will not take part in the race due to a shoulder injury.

Vinales finished seventh the last time he was on pole, in the season opener in Qatar, but he has recorded three podiums since then including a victory in Assen.

The Spaniard, who was 0.295 seconds clear of the field to claim his eighth career pole, said: "I'm really happy and excited - a really good weekend so far.

"We're enjoying the moment because it's always difficult to be in P1 on Saturday. We've worked well for the race, the rhythm is there, we had great pace in the last laps.

"During the test we worked really hard on the slippery conditions and that's why we are on the front now. All the Yamahas have been working well, but somehow we created better grip than the others.

"My objective is to take the lead from the first corner and then push at my maximum. This is a good track for me and for sure I'll be going for the victory.

"I have nothing to lose and everything to win."
 

MARQUEZ-ROSSI FEUD CAPTURES ATTENTION

The worst qualifying result of the season for Marquez, who had earlier crashed in FP4, came partly because of his battle with Rossi.

Three-time Misano winner Rossi and Marquez tangled during their last attempts to set a time, trading overtaking moves before both riders sat up after coming very close to contact at turn 14.

No action was taken by race stewards, but neither rider was particularly happy, both having touched the green run-off area outside of the track limits at different stages.

Rossi said: "I was on my hot lap, I was pushing 100 per cent and he overtook me in the fast corner at turn 11 and he already made me lose a lot of time.

"He tried to pass me in the Curvone knowing that he was ruining my lap and to overtake me he also went [to the] green. I tried to stay more inside to re-overtake in the hairpin but I arrived wide.

"In the end we lost all the chance to do the lap time."

But Repsol Honda star Marquez insisted he was not aware he had run off track and questioned the motives of Rossi.

"I didn't know that I touched the green," he said. "I was pushing and I thought that I was not on the green.

"I was on my hot lap because it was my last chance. At that moment, even I didn't understand what happened because that kind of overtake in qualifying practice is a little bit strange.

"Of course it was an aggressive reaction [from me] because I didn't expect it. His lap was also cancelled because in the exit of turn six, and this is important, he already touched the green.

"For that reason it's difficult to understand what his intention was, you must ask him. I overtook him in the back straight, then at turn 14, I just go in, I saw one black and yellow bike arriving very, very fast inside with a speed that it is impossible to make that corner with."


DOVI EXPECTED DUCATI STRUGGLES

After his big crash at the British Grand Prix last time out, Dovizioso – last year's winner at this track - suggested he had made the best of a bad situation for Ducati, especially given his team-mate Petrucci starts towards the back.

"We were surprised about the level of grip, but we also knew [it would be poor] because when we did the test that was the reality after the changes made to the circuit," said Dovizioso.

"The changes affected our bikes more. You can see that easily because all the Ducatis are in a group and the other bikes are in a different group.

"But the race pace is closer [to the front-runners]. If we make a good start, I believe we can have a say in the matter because the race is particularly long."


THE GRID

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
2. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
11. Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12. Michele Pirro (Ducati)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Andrea Dovizioso
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Dani Pedrosa (for Honda)
2015: Marc Marquez

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 250
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 172 (-78)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 149 (-101)
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 145 (-105)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118 (-132)

Teams

1. Ducati 317
2. Repsol Honda 281 (-36)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 234 (-83)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 192 (-125)
5. Petronas Yamaha 161 (-156)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry, cloudy and humid race is expected on Sunday, with light winds. Temperatures should be warm, reaching the low to mid 20s (in Celsius).

Fabio Quartararo remained upbeat despite a tough outing at the British MotoGP after he and Andrea Dovizioso both emerged unharmed from a first-lap crash.

Rookie star Quartararo had the third retirement of his debut season on Sunday after going down early at Silverstone, inadvertently taking out title contender Dovizioso in the process.

Both men were taken to hospital for tests as Alex Rins pipped defending champion and season leader Marc Marquez to victory.

But the two felled riders were both able to post encouraging updates on their Twitter accounts later on Sunday.

"Rider OK! See you in Misano," Quartararo wrote alongside a picture. "Thanks for all your messages."

An update from Dovizioso's social media account, attached with a group photo, read: "Dovi's fine and he's already flying back home!"

Quartararo posted a further message on Monday: "Overall we had a good weekend at Silverstone and I want to thank my team for all their hard work and support. We keep pushing."

Alex Rins snatched a thrilling British Grand Prix victory from Marc Marquez after Andrea Dovizioso and Fabio Quartararo were involved in a huge first-lap crash at Silverstone.

Marquez looked set to hold off Rins and win the race for the first time since 2014 but was denied by his fellow Spaniard in a dramatic finish.

Suzuki Ecstar rider Rins nipped in on the inside of Marquez on the final corner and pipped the championship leader by a margin of 0.013 seconds to take his second win of the MotoGP season.

Dovizioso's last-ditch move prevented Marquez, who was battling wearing tyres, from taking the top step of the podium in Austria last time out and the five-time champion failed to see it out again following a stunning late twist.

Rins pushed the Repsol Honda pole-sitter all the way and was rewarded when he made one last move and exited Luffield expertly to pull off a sweet victory.

An elated Rins said: "Two laps to the end I thought it was the last lap and that's why I overtook Marc on the straight. In the last corner I was unbelievable, so much faster than him. And I did it."

Maverick Vinales worked his way through the field to take third spot ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi, who started in second. 

Marquez was able to increase his championship lead to 78 points as Dovizioso was taken to hospital after suffering a severe blow to the head when he collided with Quartararo's bike after the Frenchman crashed in a nightmare start.

Dovizioso's Ducati caught fire as his hopes of back-to-back victories evaporated, with Quartararo also looking shell-shocked after rising from the gravel.

 

TOP 10

1. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.013secs
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +.0.620s
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +11.439s
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +13.109s
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +19.169s
7. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +19.682s
8. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +20.318s
9. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +21.079s
10. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia) +25.144s

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 250
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 172 (-78)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 149 (-101)
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 145 (-105)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118 (-132)

Teams

1. Ducati 317
2. Repsol Honda 281 (-36)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 234 (-83)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 192 (-125)
5. Petronas Yamaha 161 (-156)

Valentino Rossi enjoyed his second place in qualifying for the British Grand Prix even more because of the criticism he has encountered in 2019.

The MotoGP icon, 40, now hopes to be in the mix with pole-sitter Marc Marquez on race day and end a long absence from the podium.

Rossi finished second in two of the first three races this season but has not returned to the podium since in a stretch of eight grands prix that included three straight retirements.

His poor run of form, and a gap of over two years since his last victory, has led to speculation that Rossi may contemplate retirement, but a fourth-place finish in Austria last time showed signs of life and now the Monster Energy Yamaha star has a higher placing in mind.

Rossi told reporters: "It's normal at my age and at my point of my career, if I make three very bad races, people start to say 'He's old, it's time to stay at home', it's like this. 

"For this reason I'm happier [with the result], because I know I can be competitive if I ride well.

"It's already a good result, but it is important on Sunday to make a good race and fight for the podium. I know I have the motivation and I can be strong, because also I feel good physically."

Rossi, who has his first front-row start since the third race of the year in Austin, believes the Silverstone circuit suits his Yamaha machine, but stressed the team have been making progress over recent weeks regardless of track suitability.

"The layout of the track, the radius of the corners are good for our bike, medium-fast," he said. "For sure the new asphalt with a good grip helps. 

"But in the last period Yamaha start to work in the right direction. They start to do clever things, change the situation very much compared to the last two years.

"The bike is better, we accelerate better, the bike is easier to ride in more or less every part of the corner. We are not fast enough on the straight, but on the rest I think we improve in general.

"Here at Silverstone is good for Yamaha but also in Austria we were not so bad."

Five-time world champion Marquez once again distanced himself from the rest of the field on Saturday, claiming his fourth straight pole and eighth from 12 races with a stunning lap that was a stunning 0.428seconds quicker than closest challenger Rossi.

He lost out to Dovizioso in a dramatic battle in Austria, but still leads the championship by 58 points and his Ducati title rival could only qualify seventh at Silverstone.

Marquez has only won in Britain once but is in a perfect spot to improve that record, while his Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo is back from injury but only qualified 21st as he continues to battle pain.
 

TECHNICAL ISSUE HAMPERS QUARTARARO

The closely matched chasing pack of Rossi, Jack Miller, Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins, Maverick Vinales and Dovizioso were separated by under two tenths.

Australian Miller claimed his third front row of the season to celebrate his new deal with Pramac Racing, while Quartararo had been quickest in practice but fell short in Q2, later explaining a warning alarm for an unspecified technical problem hampered him.

The French rookie said: "The first row I think yes [was possible], because we are [0.010s behind] and in this lap I made many mistakes. 

"From the second sector of my first lap I had an alarm on my dashboard. I decided to finish my lap and then go to the box to check the problem. We had to change the bike and didn't have time to change the tyre. But we have a good pace and we'll give everything."

HOME HOPE CRUTCHLOW FRUSTRATED AFTER CRASH

Hopes of a good home result lie with LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow, but he endured a poor qualifying session, crashing at Stowe while on his final flying lap.

That left him ninth on the grid, his worst Silverstone performance since 2014, with plenty of work to do to do in his 150th race as he looks to bounce back from a retirement in Austria.

"Bit of an amateur mistake to be honest, braked a bit too deep," Crutchlow said of his crash. "We looked on the data afterwards and I was so close to pulling it down, and if I would have pulled it down, I would have gained a big chunk of time.

"That was why I committed to the corner, because I knew how deep I'd braked, I knew I had to be smoother and not lock the rear, because it would have sent me on anyway, but I committed to it.

"On my actual timed lap I lost three tenths in one corner, that would have put me into the 1:58s. This is the way it is. I can't complain, I did the mistake myself and that's it. It's what happens when you push."
 

THE GRID

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: No race due to poor weather
2017: Andrea Dovizioso
2016: Maverick Vinales (for Suzuki)
2015: Valentino Rossi

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 230
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 172 (-58)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 136 (-94)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 124 (-106)
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) 103 (-127)

Teams

1. Ducati 308
2. Repsol Honda 259 (-49)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 205 (-103)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 163 (-145)
5. Petronas Yamaha 150 (-158)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry, hot race is expected at Silverstone on Sunday, much like conditions for qualifying. Temperatures for the race could potentially reach 30 degrees celcius.

Andrea Dovizioso has regained his form in MotoGP and the Ducati rider will be looking to keep up his recent hot run at the upcoming British Grand Prix.

Dovizioso claimed his second win of 2019 in Austria last time out, edging out standings leader Marc Marquez by 0.213 seconds.

Defending champion Marquez still holds a big lead over the Italian, who sits on 172 points, 58 behind the Repsol Honda rider.

However, Dovizioso has the chance of reaching three podiums in a row for the first time this season after his second place in Brno and his win in Spielberg. He is just one podium finish away from equalling Max Biaggi with the 10th most in MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, is nearing a milestone, while Marquez heads to Silverstone as the rider to have recorded the most pole positions in the top category.

Using Opta data, we have previewed the British Grand Prix in numbers.

16 - Honda have triumphed 16 times at the British Grand Prix, a record.

3 - Dovizioso has the chance of winning back-to-back races for the third time in his career, and for the first time since 2017.

198 - Rossi is on 198 podiums as things stand. He needs two more to become the first rider to finish in the top three in 200 MotoGP races.

2 - If Marquez fails to win at Silverstone, it will be the first time the Spaniard has failed to finish first in two successive races the since the 2018 Czech Grand Prix.

77 - Marquez is one victory away from surpassing Mike Hailwood as the rider with the fourth-most victories in MotoGP. He is currently on 76.

10 - Jorge Lorenzo, who is due to return from injury at Silverstone, has failed to finish in the first 10 places in the last 10 grands prix - his worst run in any category.

8 - Eight of the 11 MotoGP races this season have been won by Spanish riders.

58 - Dovizioso is one podium away from matching Biaggi's tally of 58 top-three finishes.

Andrea Dovizioso conceded his thrilling last-ditch pass of Marc Marquez to seal MotoGP glory in Austria was "crazy".

Marquez, whose lead in the riders' standings was narrowed to a still-imposing 58 points, was involved in a gripping duel with Dovizioso that reached its remarkable conclusion on the final corner at the Red Bull Ring.

Ducati's Dovizioso ducked down the inside of Repsol Honda's Marquez to overtake him and spark wild celebrations in the paddock.

"When I arrived there [at the last corner] I did not feel I can enter in that corner because I can't brake in the same place as Marc," Dovizioso said following his team's fourth consecutive win in Austria.

"But it was the last corner. I had to try, I wanted it. If I arrive too late, I can finish second easily.

"I feel so strong in that moment. It is something in the past I always think about but I did something crazy and sometimes it works."

Marquez was not too disheartened, revealing an errant tyre choice could have led to a far less productive result.

"I'm happy because we did a big mistake with the rear tyre," Marquez said. "Immediately I saw when I got out, all soft tyres had better grip and even consistency in the end.

"Anyway, I try because I am Marc and I need to try. This second place, of course missed the last corner, but I was sliding a lot at the rear.

"Dovi did an incredible job. At the moment we are leading by 58 points so we continue on the same way."

Marc Marquez claimed a record 59th premier class pole at the Austrian Grand Prix, but Andrea Dovizioso believes he is still in the picture.

Reigning MotoGP champion and 2019 leader Marquez set himself up for another successful weekend with a fastest time of 1:23.027 in qualifying.

Dovizioso, third on the grid, acknowledged the Spaniard is "so fast" but insists he will fight Marquez all the way on Sunday.

"We work really hard for the race, we are quite consistent, but Marc is so fast with every tyre, in every practice," Dovizioso told a news conference.

"But we are there. We work so hard and I think we are ready to fight. There are still some things that I can prove and that's a positive.

"We'll see the conditions and we also have the warm-up to be working on that."

Marquez delighted in his performance on Saturday but similarly acknowledged Dovizioso could yet come back on race day.

"Already, before, I saw that it was maybe possible [to get one minute and] 22 [seconds], but in the end 23.0 is a good lap," Marquez said.

"Most important is that we feel good on the bike and the confidence is really high. All weekend with the Repsol Honda team, we've worked in the best way with the correct steps.

"But tomorrow the most important day is coming and this guy on my left [Dovizioso] is not far away. He is consistent and, especially with the used tyre, he has a good pace."
 

'TOUGHEST RACE OF THE SEASON'

Fabio Quartararo, rather than Dovizioso, was closest to Marquez's time, but the qualifying specialist was less confident of a genuine race challenge.

"Normally I always set myself a goal in terms of position, but I think this race will be the toughest one of the season," Quartararo said.

"This is a track that, for Yamaha, does not suit us really well. But tomorrow is a race where we need to learn from the riders, take experience here from a track where we need to manage the tyres at the begininning of the race.

"We will give 100 per cent and enjoy the race."


THE GRID

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing)
6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
8. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
11. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Jorge Lorenzo
2017: Andrea Dovizioso
2016: Andrea Iannone

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 210
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 147 (-63)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 129 (-81)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 114 (-96)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 91 (-119)

Teams

1. Repsol Honda 216
2. Ducati 177 (-39)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 163 (-53)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 131 (-85)
5. KTM 61 (-155)

WEATHER FORECAST

Light showers are anticipated in Spielberg on Sunday morning, but the track may well dry out by the time Marquez and his rivals are in action, giving the pole-sitter the opportunity to ride to an uneventful victory.

Marc Marquez claimed a record-breaking MotoGP pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix to continue his sensational run of form.

The five-time world champion and 2019 standings leader claimed his 59th premier class pole on Saturday, giving him the record outright having equalled Mick Doohan's mark last week.

Marquez obliterated the field in Spielberg, his time of 1:23.027 topping qualifying specialist Fabio Quartararo by 0.434 seconds on Saturday.

It is the Repsol Honda rider's third pole in a row and seventh of the season. He will now seek a race victory at the Red Bull Ring, the only circuit he is yet to win at in his MotoGP career.

Andrea Dovizioso completes the front row after taking third for Ducati, who have won this race in each of the last three years.

Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales came fourth, with Francesco Bagnaia of Pramac Racing and LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami impressing to join him on the second row.

Alex Rins, Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow are on row three, with Valentino Rossi 0.790s off the pace in 10th.

Danilo Petrucci will start 12th behind Pol Espargaro after a Q2 crash ended his hopes of moving up the grid.

Marquez had earlier dominated practice and ended FP3 with an advantage of over three tenths on the other big names to move straight into Q2.

Crutchlow and Bagnaia emerged at the top of the Q1 timesheets to join the top 10 in Q2, while Franco Morbidelli – who will start 14th – was among the riders to miss out on the second session.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:23.027
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.434s
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.488s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.496s
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing): +0.625s
6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda): +0.642s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.654s
8. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.661s
9. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +0.727s
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.790s
11. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): +0.839s
12. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.937s

Marc Marquez set the pace on day one of practice for the Austrian MotoGP and Andrea Dovizioso suffered a rare crash pushing for quick time late in FP2.

Dovizioso went quickest in the opening session at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, but the championship leader hit back to top the timesheets.

Italian Dovizioso pipped the Spaniard in FP1 before the Repsol Honda rider turned the tables on his nearest rival with a lap of one minute and 23.916 seconds.

That gave Marquez an advantage of 0.066 over compatriot Maverick Vinales, with Ducati's Dovizioso 0.117 adrift of the three-time defending champion in in Spielberg.

Dovizioso found himself on the deck as he strived to go top of the timesheets, losing control at Turn 3 in the first red sector.

Takaaki Nakagami moved up from ninth in the first session to fourth ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Jack Miller.

Miguel Oliveira, Danilo Petrucci, Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro rounded off the top 10.

Marc Marquez has six MotoGP wins this season and has triumphed in the past two races from pole, but his record at this weekend's event is less impressive.

The Austrian Grand Prix has proven tricky for Marquez. He is yet to win at the Red Bull Ring and has been forced to settle for second-place in each of the past two years.

Ducati have fared well in Spielberg, although star rider Andrea Dovizioso has also been frustrated of late.

With the help of Opta we look at some of the best stats heading into the race.

 

3 - Three different Ducati riders have won the Austrian GP since its return to the championship after an 18-year absence (Andrea Ianonne in 2016, Dovizioso in 2017 and Jorge Lorenzo in 2018).

0 - The Red Bull Ring is the only circuit where Marquez has not won in the premier class.

1 - Dovizioso is the only rider to finish on the podium in each of the three races since the Austrian GP returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2016 (second in 2016, first in 2017, third in 2018).

110 - Ianonne's win in 2016 remains his only victory in the top category in 110 appearances.

8 - Eight of the 10 grands prix this season have been won by Spanish riders: Marquez (six), Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales.

9 - Dovizioso has failed to win any of his past nine races, his worst run since his first MotoGP victory for Ducati (Malaysia in 2016).

198 - Valentino Rossi is two top-three finishes away from becoming the first rider to record 200 podiums in the premier class.

10 - The Red Bull Ring has just 10 turns, the fewest of all circuits on this year's calendar.

Andrea Dovizioso has acknowledged Ducati are still struggling to adjust to Marc Marquez's style of racing in the 2019 MotoGP season.

Marquez cruised to a second successive victory at the Czech Grand Prix on Sunday, claiming his 50th premier class win to move 63 points clear of Dovizioso in the drivers standings.

Though Dovizioso kept pace with Marquez for 11 of the 20 laps at Automotodrom Brno, the defending champion pulled away from there, eventually finishing 2.4 seconds clear.

Dovizioso, whose second-place finish halted a three-race streak without a podium finish, was pleased with his performance in the opening half of the grand prix, but conceded there was little he could do once Marquez stepped up the pace.

"It was a strange race. At the start we were riding in a perfect way," Dovizioso said. "We did everything to the maximum.

"But half way through the race he pushed more in braking and I couldn't stay there. I'm happy to be back on the podium.

"I wanted to stay with him until the end but he's riding a bit different compared to last year. We're still struggling a bit with that."

Marquez led from the off on Sunday, though only because of a stunning performance in qualifying, when the 26-year-old somehow displaced Johann Zarco on provisional pole on his penultimate lap.

Repsol Honda's star rider said: "I'm very happy because it was a crazy weekend. The team was very precise and that helped me achieve this victory.

"The strategy was clear, push from the beginning to the end. I keep pushing, keep going. In the end, I started to drop, but [Dovizioso] dropped a bit before me."

Marc Marquez took another step towards successfully defending his MotoGP title as he cruised to a landmark victory at the Czech Grand Prix.

After a delayed start due to a wet track, Marquez led from pole-to-flag, though 2018 winner Andrea Dovizioso, his closest challenger for the championship, was on his tail until the Spaniard managed to pull clear at the halfway stage.

Having already dropped Alex Rins and Jack Miller, Marquez, who claimed pole in stunning fashion in qualifying, continued his relentless pace and, in the space of three laps, increased his lead to 2.2seconds.

The Repsol Honda driver, who has now finished on the podium in six of his past seven MotoGP events at Autodromo Brno, did not let up as he stormed to his 50th premier class victory, leaving him 63 points clear in the standings.

Dovizioso looked set to be caught by a resurgent Rins at one stage, though a mistake from the latter on lap 17 allowed the Italian to break clear as he halted a three-race run without a podium finish.

From looking on course to test Dovizioso for second, Rins found himself out of podium contention on the last lap - Miller fighting back to overtake on Turn 5 after a failed attempt on Turn 1.

There was disappointment for Joan Mir and Franco Morbidelli, meanwhile, as they crashed out on Turn 4 of the first lap, while Valentino Rossi - a five-time winner at Brno - finished sixth.

But the day belonged to Marquez, who picked up where he left off at Sachsenring prior to MotoGP's break to claim his sixth win of the season.

TOP 10

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +2.452secs
3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +3.497s
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki) +4.858 
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +6.007s Maverick Vinales 
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +9.083s
7. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +12.092s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +13.976s
9. Takaaki Nakagami (Repsol Honda) +15.724s
10. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +16.558s

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 210
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 147 (-63)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 129 (-81)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 114 (-96)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 91 (-119)

Teams

1. Repsol Honda 216
2. Ducati 177 (-39)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 163 (-53)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 131 (-85)
5. KTM 61 (-155)

Fabio Quartararo continued his fine pace over a single lap to pip Marc Marquez and sit top of the MotoGP timesheets after FP2 at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.

A late effort from Petronas Yamaha's rookie star, who has claimed pole in two of the last three races, saw him beat reigning world champion and standings leader Marquez by just 0.023seconds.

Friday's action in Brno took on an added importance with rain expected during Saturday's FP3, meaning these times are likely to prove crucial in determining the 10 riders who seal automatic progression to Q2.

The Ducati machines looked competitive with Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso setting identical times 0.269secs behind Quartararo, closely followed by in-form Maverick Vinales in fifth and Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins.

Valentino Rossi - who overcame a mechanical issue - and Danilo Petrucci are also in the top 10 as things stand, the latter narrowly edging Joan Mir into 11th, while Takaaki Nakagami crashed in FP2 and had to settle for 12th.

Dovizioso, who sits second in the riders' championship and won last year's race at this circuit, had topped FP1, with Marquez also coming second in that stint.

But every rider went faster in a competitive later session, with just 0.423s covering the top six and under a second between the 13 fastest riders on the track.

Repsol Honda star Marquez has won five of the nine races this season and added three second-place finishes, giving him a comfortable 58-point advantage over Dovizioso going into this event, the first since MotoGP's mid-season break.

Valentino Rossi may sit sixth in the MotoGP rider standings, but he is hopeful a return to a happy hunting ground will be the start of a 2019 resurgence.

Rossi's star has faded since his era of MotoGP domination, when he claimed seven titles in a nine-year spell from 2001 to 2009.

But the man affectionally known as 'The Doctor' is more than a threat on his day and started the campaign with podium finishes in two of the first three races.

Ahead of Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix, the Yamaha rider remains within striking distance of all of the chasing pack behind runaway leader Marc Marquez.

Rossi has history on his side, too, having won the Brno event on five occasions, more than any other current rider.

Here, we take a look at some of the other key numbers ahead of the race, courtesy of Opta, as 2019 resumes following a mid-season break.

- No rider has won back-to-back events at the Czech Republic Grand Prix since Rossi achieved the feat in 2008 and 2009.

- Marquez has finished on the podium in five of his past six MotoGP events at Brno.

58 - Marquez is well clear of his nearest rival, Andrea Dovizioso, on the rider standings.

- Marquez's speed is shown by the fact he has the fastest lap at six of the nine MotoGP events this year.

- Dovizioso has failed to finish on the podium in his last three MotoGP appearances, his worst run since May 2018.

- Alex Rins has abandoned the race in his last two MotoGP events. He has never abandoned three in a row in the top category.

9 - Danilo Petrucci has finished in the top 10 in his last nine races, the best run in his MotoGP career.

Marc Marquez looks to be running away with the MotoGP championship, and will hope to extend his lead by triumphing for a 10th successive time at Sachsenring.

The German Grand Prix is next up, and Marquez - who is in the hunt to beat a personal record - has proved unbeatable across his last nine races in Chemnitz.

Maverick Vinales pipped Marquez to victory in Assen in raceweek eight, however, and the Yamaha rider will be looking to build on his third-place finish in last season's German GP.

Here, we take a look at some of the other key numbers ahead of the race, courtesy of Opta.

9 –If Marquez triumphs, it will be his seventh MotoGP victory at Sachsenring, surpassing the six wins he has at the Circuit of the Americas. He would also overtake Giacomo Agostini as the record-winner in Chemnitz.

3 – Valentino Rossi has abandoned the track in his last three MotoGP races, his worst run since 2011. He has never abandoned four successive races in his 20 seasons in the top category.

2 – Andrea Dovizioso has only finished on the podium in two of his previous 11 appearances at the German Grand Prix, in 2012 and 2016.

16 – After his abandonment in the Dutch TT at Assen, Alex Rins' run of 16 consecutive races in which he collected points came to an end.

15 – Honda have won 15 of 21 MotoGP races at Sachsenring, including each of the last nine.

5 – Andrea Iannone finished fifth in three of his five previous races at the German GP, although he came outside the top 10 in both 2017 and 2018.

75 – This will be Jack Miller's 75th race in MotoGP. He has recorded one win, two podium finishes, one pole position and one fastest lap during his previous 74 outings.

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