An altercation with home favourite Valentino Rossi gave Marc Marquez "extra motivation" to triumph at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday.

Marquez had to start the race in fifth – his worst qualifying performance of the MotoGP season – after he and Rossi exceeded the track limits while vying for position on their final flying laps on Saturday.

The Repsol Honda rider managed to move up to third on the opening lap and soon passed Maverick Vinales, who finished third, before spending much of the race behind rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo.

Although Marquez's championship rivals Alex Rins and Andrea Dovizioso respectively crashed out and lacked pace, the reigning champion made a late push for the win and emerged triumphant from a last-lap battle with Quartararo.

Marquez was greeted with boos and chants of "Vale" when he took to the podium as the fans rued Rossi having to settle for fourth behind Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Vinales.

"I knew it wasn't necessary to win because I saw Rins was out and Dovi was far [behind]. But honestly speaking, [Saturday] was the extra motivation, the extra push for the race," said Marquez.

"I tried to stay there and stay there and decided I'd try [to overtake] on the last lap. I knew Fabio was really fast in turn three so I tried to overtake him before that and then I closed the corners and tried to be smart.

"It's nice to win in Italy, but even nicer to lead by 93 points in the championship."

Quartararo had looked destined to become the second-youngest race winner in MotoGP but was left with a fourth podium of the season as consolation.

Nevertheless, the 20-year-old Petronas Yamaha rider was proud of his performance and having the chance to fight it out with Marquez at the head of the race.

"It was a tough race. I gave 100 per cent I think I made a good race," said Quartararo.

"But today is the first time we had a fight with Marc, we finished really close to the victory and I can say that was the best moment of my career fighting with a seven-time world champion.

"It was a great moment and I hope to be in this position again soon."

Marc Marquez came out on top after a thrilling last-lap battle with Fabio Quartararo to win the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday.

Petronas Yamaha rookie Quartararo led for the majority of the race and looked set to become the second-youngest rider to top a MotoGP podium, but reigning champion Marquez denied him at the death.

The lead changed hands three times on an enthralling final lap, before the Frenchman had to sit up at turn 14 and thus granted Marquez enough of an advantage to hold on for the win.

Pole-sitter Maverick Vinales had to settle for third, taking the final step on the podium ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate and home favourite Valentino Rossi.

The victory was Marquez's 77th across all classes and moved him past Mike Hailwood into sole ownership of fourth in the all-time list, while extending his lead in the riders' championship to 93 points.

Marquez may have produced his worst qualifying result of the season at Misano but he was up from fifth to third by the end of the opening lap.

Quartararo, who had been tipped to challenge for victory at the British Grand Prix last time out but crashed on the first corner, made his move on Vinales on the back straight and Marquez followed him on the next lap with a clever dive down the inside at turn nine.

The duo dropped Vinales and were left to battle it out for the win on their own. The Repsol Honda rider failed with an attempt to pass before finally securing the overtake into turn one on the final circuit.

Quartararo regained track position quickly but gave it up just as fast, and when he misjudged his line at the start of the final sector the game was up.

Alex Rins triumphed at Silverstone but slid out after being handed a long-lap penalty and then retired from the race, while Andrea Dovizioso – Marquez's nearest rival in the championship standings – finished behind Franco Morbidelli in sixth.

Pol Espargaro started second - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's best qualifying performance - but finished seventh, while Jorge Lorenzo was down in 14th and over 47 seconds behind Marquez.

TOP 10

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha)
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha)
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
7. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing)
10. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)

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)

WHAT'S NEXT?

There is only one week to wait until the Aragon Grand Prix, where Marquez has won in each of the past three years.

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).

Valentino Rossi hopes to make the most of what he considers to be a "home grand prix" in San Marino after Yamaha laid down a marker in testing.

The seven-time world champion has secured a podium finish in six of his past 11 races at Misano, although last year yielded a disappointing seventh place.

Yamaha have enjoyed great success at this circuit, although they are winless in the last four visits, and a new carbon fibre swingarm is expected to grant Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales a boost in horsepower and tyre life this weekend.

Indeed, championship leader Marc Marquez suggested Yamaha could be the team to beat, telling reporters: "Misano test was quite interesting; we will check this weekend.

"Race pace was not so fast compared to last year but we were competitive, especially the Yamaha riders were very fast."

Rossi shared a special moment on Wednesday when he rode through his home town of Tavullia as crowds lined the narrow streets to afford him a hero's welcome.

Having finished fourth behind Vinales at Silverstone two weeks ago, the 40-year-old is eager to get back on the podium.

"For sure here in Misano it's always a special grand prix, it's really the home grand prix," he said. "In the last races I was a bit better but, in Silverstone, after a solid weekend, in the race I wanted to fight for the podium but I was not strong enough. So, we will try another time here.

"We did some tests, important tests, my pace was quite good, I feel quite well with the bike, so we try. We are ready and we will see if we are strong enough to fight for the podium."

Vinales is certainly feeling confident after testing having eased two points ahead of Rossi in the standings with his third-place finish in England last month.

"I feel really good on the bike and especially with myself," he said. "Confidence is really high, we'll try to push the maximum, try to keep a good level all weekend and during the race be at the front. The test has been really successful for me, so we will try to do our best."

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.

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 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.

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.

Valentino Rossi hopes a track day at "forbidden" Cavallara can help revive his MotoGP fortunes at the Catalunya Grand Prix this weekend.

The Yamaha rider's last outing at the Italian Grand Prix ended disappointingly when he crashed out, having earlier missed out on Q2. 

Italian Rossi, sitting fifth in the standings, responded by returning to the track where he suffered a broken leg while training in 2017 - having previously been told to avoid it by his team and family. 

"It's a good therapy, after a hard weekend like in Mugello," Rossi said.

"You need to stay concentrated and continue your programme, and after the race in Mugello, we were in Cavallara, that is the track where I injured [myself] in 2017, but it is one of my favourite tracks, it's a fantastic place, I love always to go there and I grew up there also.

"But unfortunately, before the Misano 2017 I had a crash and I had the injury, so all my team - and especially my father and all the guys around - don't let me go, for two years.

"I push always but it is forbidden for me. But this time, from the beginning of the season that we speak with [Andrea] Dovizioso and [Danilo] Petrucci, to go together one time, and they want to come to Cavallara, so I go to my father and I say, 'I have Petrucci and Dovizioso this time, we have to go.'"

Rossi, 40, says he will be competing on one of his favourite tracks in Barcelona this weekend, but has dampened expectations heading into the race.

"We arrive in a difficult moment, we are not very fast unfortunately, but we need minimum to work better than in Mugello, to stay more concentrated, try to be strong from tomorrow and try to make the best," he added.

Danilo Petrucci ended his long wait for a MotoGP victory when he scored a home success at the Italian Grand Prix at the start of June.

Petrucci shook off illness to triumph at Mugello and halt his barren run, providing food for thought for title hopefuls Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso.

It allowed 28-year-old Petrucci to jump to fourth in the season standings after six races, and the Ducati rider will be dreaming of more success this weekend at the Catalunya Grand Prix, despite his best finish at the circuit being the eighth place he achieved last year.

Jorge Lorenzo won this race last year but since switching from Ducati to Honda for this season he has found podiums unattainable.

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

7 - No rider has won the Catalunya Grand Prix more times than Valentino Rossi in 500cc/MotoGP. The Italian great registered victories in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2016.

1 - Rossi has won only one race in his 52 MotoGP outings since his 2016 Catalunya triumph, with that solitary victory coming in 2017.

14 - Rossi has achieved a record 14 podium finishes at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, five more than the next man on the list, local hero Dani Pedrosa who retired at the end of last season.

4 - Marquez has secured pole position in four of the six Grands Prix this season. He is one away from equalling his tally of pole positions in the entire 2018 championship.

58 - Mick Doohan has the record haul of MotoGP pole positions but Marquez is now on 56, just two behind the great Australian.

5 - Lorenzo has won five of the last nine editions of the Catalunya Grand Prix - taking victory in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and also 2018.

9 - Repsol Honda's Lorenzo has not finished in the top 10 in any of his last nine races, however, his worst such run in his 12 MotoGP seasons.

125 - Petrucci will compete in his 125th MotoGP top-tier race this weekend and will chase a second win after breaking his duck in Italy.

15 - Alex Rins has completed his last 15 MotoGP races, his best run without retirements in the top category.

31 - Fabio Quartararo has collected 31 points after six races this season, more than the three other MotoGP rookies combined (Joan Mir - 12, Francesco Bagnaia - 9 and Miguel Oliveira - 8).

Marc Marquez denied Fabio Quartararo pole with an all-time lap record at the Italian Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi endured a qualifying nightmare on home soil.

After Danilo Petrucci set a new track record at Mugello in practice and Andrea Dovizioso broke the top MotoGP speed record in FP3 by getting up to a staggering 356.7 kilometres per hour, championship leader Marquez took centre stage again in qualifying.

World champion Marquez, eyeing a third successive race victory, used his skill and experience to ensure Petrucci's mark did not last for long and he will start at the front on Sunday after a time of one minute and 45.519 seconds.

The Repsol Honda rider has been struggling with illness, but the he nipped in with time running out to take pole from the impressive Quartararo by 0.214secs.

Petrucci, under pressure to keep his Ducati seat with Jack Miller making a case to replace him, continued his strong pace from practice to take third spot ahead of Franco Morbidelli.

Rossi took pole in his home race last year, but will start from way back in 18th place after being forced into Q1 along with Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Rins and a number of other big names.

Dovizioso – second to Marquez in the standings - made it through to Q2 but had to settle for ninth on the grid, with Rossi almost crashing on a miserable day for the Yamaha man.


 

Provisional classification

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:45.519secs
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.214secs
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.362s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.440s
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.510s
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +0.560s
7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.662s
8. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.741s
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.774s
10. Takaaki Nakagami (Ducati) +0.868s

Valentino Rossi finished 18th in Friday practice at the Italian Grand Prix and acknowledged he needed to find a solution heading into the weekend.

At his home event at Mugello, the seven-time MotoGP champion endured a difficult start to the week as he went 12th fastest in FP1 and then dropped further down the standings in FP2.

Rossi was 0.994 seconds off Pramac Racing's Francesco Bagnaia and he reflected on a tough day.

"It was a difficult day," he said. "I expected to be more competitive, but already from this morning, I wasn't very fast.

"I wasn't able to ride in a very good way and I am slower than last year. We are all very close and for this reason my position is very bad.

"This afternoon, we tried the hard tyres, but anyway the pace isn't fantastic. I am slow in the corner. I don't have the pace. I need to be faster.

"Today we suffered, so tomorrow we will try to change something. Now we will check all the data and see what we can do."

Rossi is fourth in the standings this year but is yet to record a race win in 2019.

MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi is still overwhelmed by emotion whenever he prepares to take part in the Italian Grand Prix.

Italian Rossi is one of the most decorated riders in MotoGP history, having won seven championships in total.

Results on home soil have not been easy to come by for Rossi in recent seasons, though he went unbeaten at Mugello for seven successive races between 2002 and 2008.

No rider has secured more pole positions than Rossi at Mugello, and the circuit holds a special place in the 40-year-old's heart.

"Mugello is the most special race of the season for me, though more or less it is for all the Italian riders," Rossi told a news conference. 

"It is a historic day and this is more special because the track is fantastic and different to the others.

"The atmosphere, all the fans around the track… when you look [out there], especially on Sunday, it is a very emotional feeling. It is important to give more than the maximum.

"It is always difficult to understand before the weekend but every year is different.

"Last year was not too bad and I was quite strong during the weekend, so we have to see. It looks like we improve in some areas but the bike has improved very much so it depends on many things."

Jorge Lorenzo claimed last year's win at Mugello, though the Spaniard is way down in 14th in the riders' standings this season.

Marc Marquez leads the way, 23 points and three places ahead of Rossi, who has also suggested that Mugello may need to be modified in order to ensure the safety of the competitors.

"It's an old-style track, so at some points it's also dangerous," said the Yamaha rider.

"You are [going] very fast and you have not a lot of space around the first corner. If you arrive at 350 [km/h], it starts to be dangerous for the jump. Maybe we have to modify it a little bit. But it's not very easy.

"Either we try to arrive a bit slower, or we try to cut [the crest] a little bit and make it a bit flatter, if it's possible."

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