Jorge Lorenzo insists he is not yet focusing on his future with Honda Repsol as he aims to put a frustrating 2019 MotoGP campaign behind him.

Three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo has struggled this season, with his year marred by a back injury and poor form.

The Spaniard's campaign hit a new low in the Australian Grand Prix in October, as he finished last, 66 seconds adrift of his Honda team-mate and this season's champion Marc Marquez, who won the race.

However, even with his contract at Honda set to expire at the end of next season, Lorenzo is adamant his only aim is to rediscover his form in 2020.

"You cannot think about getting the apple when the tree is not already in the ground," the Spaniard told Crash.net ahead of the final race of 2019 in Valencia.

"Everything comes at the right time. I guess if the results will improve a lot and Honda will be happy and I will be happy, so the thing is to renew the contract.

"This happens in the case of everyone. If it's not like this, both parts will take different directions. It's logical in this sport.

"But you cannot think about what is going to happen in three, five, or seven months. It's not worth it. Especially when I am struggling to get very good results. So I have to focus to try to do much better with the Honda, and this is what I try."

Lorenzo sustained a back injury in the Dutch TT at Assen, and believes he will be far better off once he has the chance to fully recover.

"It's hard because this injury is very tough. It takes very long to heal. But I wasn't able to stop because we have race, race, race, race," he added.

"Every time I do a race, I am after the race two days with pain on my back. Then I recover and I again have to race the next one.

"So I didn't have one or two months of total recovery. This I think is what I need at the end of the season."

Marc Marquez said watching his lightning start at Mugello four years ago inspired him to get off to a flyer as he made history at the Malaysian MotoGP.

The world champion worked his way from 11th on the grid to second on the opening lap and that is where he finished as Maverick Vinales was victorious in Sepang on Sunday.

Marquez had to work his way through the field after crashing in qualifying.

The Repsol Honda rider looked back at how he made a blistering start from back in 13th in the 2015 Italian Grand Prix to help him pull off a repeat and set a new record points haul for a MotoGP season.

"Not only me, but [Andrea] Dovizioso was also very fast [at the start]," Marquez said.

"It was one of the best laps of my career. Mugello 2015 was also very good, and yesterday I watched what I did and said 'okay, I will try to repeat it'.

"And it was very perfect, the first lap."

Marquez was more than happy to take the second step of the podium given he had to come through so much traffic.

"I lost some time with [Jack] Miller on the second lap but, even with this, Vinales was faster than us,"

"He deserved the victory, he rode in a very good way. I mean, I tried, but it was not possible. To start from 11th, second place, is incredible."

Maverick Vinales revealed he kept some pace "in the pocket" to make amends for his Phillip Island heartbreak by winning the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider crashed out of the Australian MotoGP on the final lap last weekend as he battled with champion Marc Marquez.

Vinales declared after agonisingly missing out on taking the chequered flag that he had no regrets, as it was "victory or nothing" duel against Marquez.

The Spanish rider was not to be denied in Sepang a week later, claiming his second win of the season by a margin of just over three seconds from Marquez - who started back in 11th after a qualifying crash.

Vinales stated there was no way he was going to be denied again as he responded brilliantly.

"This time I kept a little bit in the pocket just in case Marc came back," Vinales said.

"Honestly I am very happy because we managed the weekend very good. Finally, I started good in the first laps and I was there.

"For many races I have been trying to fight for the victory. I had the chance and I did it, so I have to say congratulations to all the team, to Yamaha and all the people who always support me. We trusted the bike a lot to get the victory and we did it."

Second place for Marquez was enough to break Jorge Lorenzo's premier class points record of 383 in a season.

Maverick Vinales bounced back from his Phillip Island nightmare by winning the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.

Vinales dramatically crashed out of last week's Australian Grand Prix, having been overtaken by in-form star Marquez on the final lap.

But there was no repeat of that late drama in Sepang, where Monster Energy Yamaha rider Vinales crossed the finish line first on Sunday.

A day of redemption and domination from Vinales – who qualified second fastest behind Rookie of the Year Fabio Quartararo – saw him ease to his second win of the season.

While Marquez's winning streak ended at five races, the six-time world champion still produced a remarkable performance, having started from 11th on the grid.

Repsol Honda's Marquez also made history by recording the most points in a single season with 395 following his 22nd successive finish inside the top two.

Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati claimed third for his 101st podium position, while Valentino Rossi secured fourth on a good day for Yamaha.

 

TOP 10

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +3.059s
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +5.611s
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +5.965s
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +6.350s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +9.993
7. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +12.864s
8. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +17.252s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +19.773s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +22.854s

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 395
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 256 (-139)
3. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 201 (-194)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 194 (-201)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 176 (-219)

Teams

1. Ducati 432
2. Repsol Honda 430 (-2)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 367 (-65)
4. Petronas Yamaha 287 (-145)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 281 (-151)

Fabio Quartararo will hope a rare mistake from in-form Marc Marquez can help him claim a first MotoGP victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

In the penultimate race of a 2019 season utterly dominated by six-time world champion Marquez, Quartararo will head Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli in an all-Yamaha front row.

Marquez, meanwhile, will start in 11th position after crashing in Q2, suffering a vicious highside when he sought a tow from Quartararo in a dramatic session.

Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow are the top Ducati and Honda riders respectively, with Valentino Rossi completing the second row in sixth.

Alex Rins, third in the riders' championship, starts seventh, with Andrea Dovizioso, who is second overall, down in 10th, just one grid spot ahead of Marquez.

Records have tumbled this season as Marquez has 11 wins and five runners-up finishes from 17 races, retiring just once in Austin.

The Repsol Honda star has won five straight going into this race in Malaysia, the home of Quartararo and Morbidelli's Petronas Yamaha team.

But Marquez's qualifying crash gives pole-sitter Quartararo a strong chance to cap a superb first season in the premier class with a maiden race triumph.

Quartararo, who also set two lap records in practice on Friday, has claimed his fifth pole in 2019 but is yet to finish on the top step.

The Frenchman, who this week received confirmation he will ride the factory-spec Yamaha in 2020, said: "We came to Malaysia from a tough weekend in Australia and we've suffered a lot to get to here. 

"But it's the home race for the team and, while they've not put pressure on us, they clearly want us to perform. 

"That makes the pole position very special for me and the double front row even more special for the team. I'm feeling good for the race; like we're ready to go now." 

 

FELLOW YAMAHAS IN THE MIX

Marquez and Dovizioso may still pose a threat from further back on the grid, but even if they do not, Vinales and Morbidelli will provide competition from closer to home, a gap of just 0.129secs having covered the front three.

Vinales is one of only five riders to have won a race this season but crashed out last week in Australia when he looked to be on course for victory before a last-lap duel with Marquez.

Despite his retirement coming when he was going for glory last time out, Vinales has no plans to change his approach.

"I will try to take the lead in the first corner and then I will push at my maximum from the beginning," he said.

"Like I've said before, we have nothing to lose and everything to win, so we're going to push, push, and push, and we'll see."

Morbidelli, meanwhile, has shown strong qualifying pace in the second half of the season but is yet to translate that into a podium finish.

Rossi is also within striking distance, desperate to end a 14-race streak without finishing in the top three. It is also 44 races since he has won, the joint-worst stretch of the 40-year-old's storied career.

 

MARQUEZ EYEING RECORD POINTS HAUL

Marquez's qualifying result was his worst since the Italian Grand Prix back in 2015 but despite that, he will like his chances of breaking another record this weekend.

This time he is looking to get the best points tally in a single MotoGP season. He needs nine points to better the record held by his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, which is 383 points from the 2010 campaign.

"I'm OK, but of course I'm painful around the body - it was a big crash," Marquez said after qualifying.

"We set up the bike in a way to have the good race rhythm, but we were struggling for one lap pace.

"I just maybe changed [direction] a little bit too aggressive and honestly speaking I'm more disappointed to start 11th than for the crash.

"Yamaha riders, when they have new tyres, are very fast. I was behind Quartararo, he changed direction and I tried to copy. But I just flew.

"We will see what we can do. From 11th it will be difficult, even if we did have a good rhythm in FP4."

If Marquez can recover to make the podium, it will be his 17th top-three finish of the season, topping his previous best haul of 16.

THE GRID

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

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

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 375
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 240 (-135)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 183 (-192)
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 176 (-199)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-206)

Teams

1. Ducati 409
2. Repsol Honda 408 (-1)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 329 (-80)
4. Petronas Yamaha 268 (-141)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 264 (-145)

WEATHER FORECAST

Sunday's race will be hot – with temperatures at around 30 degrees Celcius – and humid. The unknown is whether it will be a dry race, with the present chance of rain rated at around 25 per cent, but changing regularly.

Fabio Quartararo stormed to pole as Yamaha locked out the front row while Marc Marquez will start the Malaysian MotoGP in 11th after crashing on Saturday.

Quartararo said Petronas Yamaha SR would need to go even quicker in qualifying for their home race after twice smashing the lap record during practice in Sepang on Friday.

The Frenchman duly took first place on the grid ahead of Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), with Quartararo's team-mate Franco Morbidelli taking third place.

Quartararo clocked a sensational one minute 58.303 seconds on his last qualifying lap to take pole.

Marquez suffered a massive highside at Turn 2 in the second qualifying session when hunting 20-year-old rookie Quartararo for a tow.

The world champion was able to pick himself up after that dramatic smash, but will have to come from a long way back on Sunday.

Jack Miller heads up the second row ahead of Cal Crutchlow, quickest in Q1, and Valentino Rossi. 

Andrea Dovizioso could only qualify in 10th spot as Quartararo celebrated his fifth pole of the season.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SR): 1:58.303
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.103s
3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +0.129s
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.422s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +0.648s
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.697s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.787s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.794s
9. Johann Zarco (LCR Honda): +0.836s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.870s
11. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): +0.875s
12. Franesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing): +1.337s

Fabio Quartararo twice smashed the lap record in practice for Petronas Yamaha SRT's home race but says he will need to go even faster in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix if the rain stays away.

Quartararo set a new quickest circuit of one minute 59.057 seconds in FP1 on soft tyres in Sepang on Friday – then bettered that time with a 1:58.576s lap in the second session.

The Frenchman's team-mate Franco Morbidelli was second-fastest, with Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso in third following two dry sessions.

Quartararo said a dream start will count for nothing if Petronas Yamaha are unable to deliver when it really matters.

"It is only Friday so for sure in qualifying - if it's good weather – we will need to be [faster] again to make the front row. I'm happy to do the lap record, but it will be better to do in qualifying and then fight for the race," he said.

"Phillip Island was really tough and did not go like we expect; two crashes, one on Friday and another at the beginning of the race, so we arrived here with not a lot of confidence, but we already made first in the morning and then the afternoon also.

"The confidence came back, which is good for tomorrow."

The 20-year-old added: "I think we need to be smooth with this bike, but there is a balance between really smooth and aggressive. We need to find the right balance to suit the Yamaha and I think we did it."

World champion Marc Marquez finished FP2 in sixth position following an issue with his bike in the first session.

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez is closing in on another record heading into the penultimate race of the season at the Malaysian Grand Prix, though he insists it is not on his mind.

Having already secured his fourth successive championship, Marquez is now aiming to better the record points tally of 383 points, set by his now Honda Repsol team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in 2010.

Lorenzo, then of Yamaha, amassed the total across 18 races in the 2010 season, while Marquez - after 17 events so far in 2019 - has managed 375.

To surpass the record, Marquez, who has won the last five races on the bounce, will need to finish seventh or higher.

"No, I never changed the strategy even when I was fighting for the championship," Marquez told a news conference when asked about breaking the points record.

"The strategy will be the same. It's true I can score the most points over 18 races but it's a record we will remember if somebody gets it again, so I don't care about this record.

"I'll keep the same strategy, target to try and finish on the podium but of course today my target is to win. My opponents will give an answer whether that will be possible over the weekend."

While finishing seventh or above should prove a routine task for Marquez, adverse weather could present the biggest obstacle for the Spaniard, with heavy rain forecast.

Marc Marquez has already won the MotoGP world title, but he will have his sights set on another slice of history at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard sealed a sixth premier class championship in Thailand earlier this month with four races of the 2019 season still to go.

Subsequent victories in Japan and Australia have moved Marquez onto 375 points for the season and he will fancy his chances of overtaking Jorge Lorenzo's record haul in the year's penultimate race.

Here, we pick out some of the best Opta numbers ahead of the race at the Sepang International Circuit.

 

9 - Marquez needs nine more points from the season's 18th race to surpass Repsol Honda team-mate Lorenzo's tally of 383 - which he set across 18 races in the 2010 season.

22 - Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his past 22 races - his best such run in MotoGP.

5 - Marquez has won five races in a row heading into Malaysia, though he is still some way short of his record of 10 successive victories, which he achieved in 2014.

16 - Should Marquez finish on the podium, it would be his 17th top-three finish of the season, exceeding his record of 16, set in 2013.

44 - Valentino Rossi has not won any of his past 44 races. Should he fail to finish first in Malaysia, it will be the longest drought of his career, eclipsing his 44-race run without a victory between 2010 and 2013.

6 - However, the Italian has won the Malaysian Grand Prix more often than any other rider having been victorious on six occasions.

2 - The Sepang International Circuit is the only track where Andrea Dovizioso has won twice in his career after he triumphed in 2016 and 2017.

4 - Fabio Quartararo retired for the fourth time this season last time out. He now has more retirements in his debut MotoGP season than he did in his two previous years in Moto2 combined (three).

Maverick Vinales declared it was "victory or nothing" for him at the Australian Grand Prix after crashing out on the final lap of a Phillip Island thriller on Sunday.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider dropped back to sixth place after starting on pole but worked his way back to the front.

Vinales looked set for a repeat of his win in the race last year, but dominant champion Marc Marquez overtook him on the last lap as they fought it out in a dramatic finale.

It was Marquez who took the chequered flag yet again after Vinales ended up in the gravel at Turn 10, having lost control as he strived to pass his fellow Spaniard.

Vinales had no regrets at the end of a race that promised so much for him.

"Well actually I'm very happy because I gave my best every lap, every single lap," Vinales said.

"But for sure we have things to improve – you could see [that] in the race on the TV. So, we need to keep working, keep improving the bike. I think we have very positive points and some that we have to improve but, as a rider, I gave my best.

"If not there, the crash was 10 metres later because I already attacked to go in, so it was there or later. I tried my best. When you try your best… okay, for me today, it was victory or nothing. I think it was the best."

Vinales, seven points behind third-place Alex Rins in the MotoGP driver standings, is confident he can mount another strong challenge at the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend. 

"Sepang is a track that I really like. Here the feelings were very positive. I rode fast in all the areas, especially on the race pace we were very fast," he said.

"We need to keep working. For sure it won't be easy in Sepang because of the long straights. But we'll keep working and we'll be there for sure. We're really motivated as always."

Marc Marquez said he slow-cooked victory after defying Maverick Vinales in a final-lap Australian Grand Prix thriller as he surpassed Mick Doohan.

MotoGP champion Marquez extended his winning streak to five races after overtaking Monster Energy Yamaha rival Vinales on the final lap at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Vinales, who was quickest throughout the weekend, secured pole position and appeared on track for back-to-back victories in Australia until he was leapfrogged by Marquez.

Repsol Honda's Marquez sensationally moved ahead of Vinales, who then lost control and crashed out as the Spaniard desperately tried to reclaim the lead.

"Today the fastest guy was Maverick," Marquez told MotoGP afterwards. "I knew before the race it was crucial in the last five or six laps… But I was able to follow him to the limit and I keep pushing.

"I start cooking, cooking the victory, try to analyse and check the tyres. Even like this, I was still not 100 per cent sure because he was very fast. Both of us were finished with the tyres. But I try to overtake him on the straight, where I had a small advantage. All sector two and three, he was incredibly fast. I was just sliding more but able to survive.

"Sometimes the fastest bike doesn't always win," Marquez added.

Marquez moved above Doohan for the third-most premier-class wins by celebrating his 55th career victory, having equalled the Australian's total during his comfortable Japanese GP triumph last week.

It also saw Marquez become the most successful Honda rider and the six-time world champion said: "It's some very special. To be the most successful rider for Honda and moving ahead of Doohan, incredible. Especially Doohan, he is the first rider I have in my memory.

"But I don't want to think a lot about it, we just keep going. I feel really good with Honda. We need to enjoy this sweet moment, we don't have the future in our hands."

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez extended his winning streak after claiming a dramatic victory over Maverick Vinales on the final lap at the Australian Grand Prix.

Vinales had been the man to beat throughout the weekend in Australia, where the Monster Energy Yamaha rider earned pole position after qualifying was pushed back to race day due to adverse weather conditions on Saturday.

Last year's Australian champion Vinales – at the front of the pack having pulled clear with 18 laps remaining – appeared on track for back-to-back Phillip Island victories until he was overtaken by world champion Marquez at the death.

Marquez sensationally moved ahead of Vinales, who then lost control and crashed out as the Spaniard desperately tried to reclaim the lead on Sunday.

It continued Marquez's dominance, with the Repsol Honda star and six-time world champion recording his fifth consecutive victory in a classic finale.

Marquez also surpassed Mick Doohan for the third most premier-class wins by celebrating his 55th, having equalled the Australian's total during his comfortable Japanese GP triumph last week.

Cal Crutchlow finished second, while home star Jack Miller was promoted to third as he secured the first Australian premier-class podium since Casey Stoner in 2012.

Valentino Rossi – a five-time MotoGP winner in Australia who qualified fourth fastest – finished eighth on a disappointing day for Yamaha.

Maverick Vinales dominated at Phillip Island as he secured pole position for Sunday's MotoGP Australian Grand Prix.

Saturday's qualifying session was postponed by a day after strong winds and rain in FP4, when KTM's Miguel Oliveira was blown off track, meant organisers declared conditions unsafe.

The adverse weather conditions pushed qualifying back to Sunday – just three hours before the race – and Monster Energy Yamaha star Vinales topped the timesheets.

Spaniard Vinales produced a time of one minute, 28.492 seconds for his third pole position of the season, ahead of Petronas Yamaha sensation Fabio Quartararo.

Marc Marquez will complete the front row, despite a tense finish which saw the world champion make a dramatic save following a monumental front-end slide through Turn 1.

Five-time Australian GP champion Valentino Rossi enjoyed one of his best performances after earning fourth place for Monster Yamaha, ahead of Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci, while LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow rounded out the second row.

Meanwhile, Oliveira – who was involved in Saturday's horror crash – has been declared unfit for the race due to pain and swelling in both hands.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): 1:28.492
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.551s
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): +0.724s
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.751s
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.847s
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +1.043s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +1.066s
8. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team): +1.089s
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +1.123s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +1.175s
11. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +1.224s
12. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.455s

MotoGP riders will race just three hours after qualifying on Sunday at an Australian Grand Prix that has been hit by adverse weather conditions.

Saturday's qualifying session was postponed by a day after strong winds and rain in FP4, when KTM's Miguel Oliveira was blown off track, meant organisers declared conditions unsafe.

That halted the momentum of Monster Energy Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, who sat at the top of the timesheets after the first three Phillip Island practice sessions.

One consolation for the Spaniard is that if qualifying is not able to be run, practice times will be used to determine the grid order.

Vinales' FP2 effort of one minute and 28.824 seconds put him half a second clear of Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.

Level on points with Alex Rins in the battle for third in the championship, Vinales loves racing in Australia. He has finished on the podium for each of the last three years, including his win in last year's event.

Marc Marquez, who has already sealed the 2019 riders' title, and Valentino Rossi were down in sixth and seventh positions respectively, closely followed by Rins.

In-form Fabio Quartararo had to sit out FP2 due to a crash in FP1 that led to him being taken to the medical centre.

Though the Rookie of the Year winner – who collected his sixth podium of the season in Japan last time out - avoided a left leg fracture, he will continue to receive treatment for a haematoma in his ankle.

Due to FP3 taking place in poor conditions, Quartararo could not match the Friday times of the other top riders and will have to progress through Q1 if qualifying goes ahead.


CRUTCHLOW BACKS QUALIFYING CALL

Crutchlow was among the riders in agreement with the decision to postpone qualifying.

"These decisions don't get taken lightly and I think we made the correct decision not to ride," the British LCR Honda rider said.

"The conditions for our bikes were horrendous. Moto2 went out in front of us and they had not as many problems, but people seem to forget they've got half the horsepower that we've got.

"Some people wanted to ride, some people didn't. It's as simple as that. If we all went out and something would have happened, I think we would have all looked like idiots and that's the reality.

"You saw what happened to Miguel. I was behind him coming down the straight, so I saw first-hand how easily you can fly off track.

"To me it was bad. Some guys think it was rideable, but I didn't and I'm a guy who will always take a risk."

MARQUEZ NEARING PEAK SEASON

With three races to go, Marquez is looking to complete an historic season.

Leading Dovizioso by 119 points after recording his fourth straight race win in Japan, he already has 10 poles and 10 victories in 2019.

This is only the second time in his MotoGP career he has reached double figures in both categories. The other was when he got 13 of each back in 2014, tallies that he can still match.

The Repsol Honda star is also eyeing his 15th podium of the season, which would equal his best career tally. He landed 15 in 2013 and would have two races in Malaysia and Valencia to go better still if he succeeds in making the top three here.

MILESTONE FOR ROSSI

Valentino Rossi, who is looking to bounce back after crashing out at Motegi, will make his 400th grand prix start.

The Italian said earlier this week: "It is good to make the 400 here in Phillip Island as it is an iconic place for MotoGP and all the riders love the circuit because it is something special compared to the rest. It is one of the best places.

"I didn't know what to expect when I started my career. When I was 17 you see a guy that is 25 years old and it felt like your grandfather! Now I am 40, imagine!"

Rossi has won six times at the circuit in the premier class and twice more in 250cc. The veteran could do with drawing on those positive memories after a season that has fallen well short of expectations.

Since a second-place finish in Austin back in April, he has gone 13 races without reaching the podium and retired on four occasions.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Maverick Vinales
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Cal Crutchlow
2015: Marc Marquez

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 (Monster Energy 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)

WEATHER FORECAST

Riders will be watching the weather right up until the race starts as there is a chance of showers striking. Even if the event is a dry one, high winds are highly likely to be a factor to contend with.

Fabio Quartararo is ready to return to Australian Grand Prix action on Saturday after sitting out FP2 on Friday due to a crash in the opening session.

Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo was taken to the medical centre at Phillip Island after a highside in FP1, with the painkillers he was administered forcing him to remain in the garage for the rest of the day.

X-rays revealed no fractures in his left leg, but the 2019 MotoGP Rookie of the Year will continue to receive treatment for a hematoma in his ankle and is subject to further assessment.

Quartararo posted a picture of himself on Twitter with the caption: "After this morning's crash, resting to swap the crutches for the M1 again tomorrow!"

In a statement on the MotoGP website, medical director Angel Charte said: "We submitted [Quartararo] to an exhaustive medical examination on the left ankle area, which is what he complained about most, and the footage looked like where he had the impact in quite a violent way.

"The conventional X-rays don't show any fracture to neither the tibia, nor the fibula or to the bones of the left foot. It's true that he has a big hematoma and bruising on the top of the foot and we've given him anti-inflammatories as well as cryotherapy and a more intensive treatment to bring down the pain.

"The rider is fit but we're going to monitor him day-to-day or hour-to-hour to see if it's recommendable that he goes out to ride or not."

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