MotoGP Raceweek: Dovizioso still confident of challenging record-breaker Marquez

By Sports Desk August 10, 2019

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.

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    Despite his frustration, Leclerc's seven poles made him the standout performer in qualifying across 2019.

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    "Congrats to Max, a great lap by him. We seemed to be quite competitive in FP3 and then we seemed to lose in qualifying or they gained.

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    "I gave it absolutely everything. My best lap of the session was the last one, so… awesome."

  • Verstappen tops Vettel to take second career pole in Brazil Verstappen tops Vettel to take second career pole in Brazil

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    The Red Bull driver finished 0.123 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in Saturday's session at Interlagos.

    Lewis Hamilton, who has already sealed the 2019 drivers' title, came third, ending up 0.191s behind Verstappen in a Q3 session where the top drivers were closely matched.

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    Alexander Albon was sixth in the week he was confirmed as Verstappen's team-mate for 2020 and will start on the third row with former Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly, who was the best of the rest outside of the top three teams.

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    Kimi Raikkonen was ninth for Alfa Romeo on the weekend he will equal Fernando Alonso on 312 F1 races, joint-second on a list led by Rubens Barrichello.

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    PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

    1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:07.508
    2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.123s
    3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.191s
    4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.220s (has 10-place grid penalty)
    5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.366s
    6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) +0.427s
    7. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +1.329s 
    8. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +1.346s
    9. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1.476s
    10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.529s

  • MotoGP Raceweek: Jorge Lorenzo has it all to do at final race in Valencia MotoGP Raceweek: Jorge Lorenzo has it all to do at final race in Valencia

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    MARQUEZ NOT ON FAVOURED GROUND

    Lorenzo's struggles have been emphasised by the dominant form of Marquez, who has already wrapped up a sixth premier class title and finished in the top two for all but one race in 2019.

    Marquez's 395 points and 17 podiums this season are already MotoGP records, but he will want to end a poor – by his standards – record in Valencia with a victory to sail over the 400-mark for a tally that may never be beaten. 

    He has won on just one of his six appearances at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with Andrea Dovizioso having triumphed last year. Dani Pedrosa (four) shares the Valencia wins record with Lorenzo.

    "I'm very happy because I'm closer than what I expected," Marquez said after qualifying. 

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    SIX APPEAL FOR QUARTARARO

    Quartararo claimed his sixth pole position, equalling Christian Sarron as the French rider with the most MotoGP poles – a significant accomplishment in his rookie season.

    He has managed six podium finishes but a first race win still eludes him, and this is his final chance to strike before a 2020 campaign where he could kick on to become a championship contender on a factory-spec Yamaha.

    Dovizioso, meanwhile, is in striking distance from sixth. The Italian has charged through from further back to challenge in multiple races this season and is looking to make his 10th podium in a MotoGP season for the first time.

    Elsewhere, Alex Rins was second to Dovizioso here last year and will start his 50th MotoGP race in eighth position.

    Miller has finished the season strongly and poses a threat from third, one spot ahead of in-form Maverick Vinales, a two-time winner this year.

    Francesco Bagnaia, Miller's team-mate, missed qualifying and his race participation is in doubt after a bizarre crash coming out of the pit lane resulted in him suffering a concussion and a broken wrist.

    Valentino Rossi, without a podium for 15 races, was "not very happy" to qualify on the fourth row.

    He added: "Starting from 12th is difficult because here in Valencia it's very difficult to overtake – it's one of the most difficult tracks for that. My pace is not too bad but nothing fantastic, so it will be a hard race."

     

    MARQUEZ COULD JOIN MARQUEZ

    Johann Zarco, riding for LCR Honda in the absence of Takaaki Nakagami, failed to reach Q2 and will start 13th. 

    He had been rumoured as a possible replacement for Lorenzo at Repsol Honda, but reports this weekend suggest Marquez's brother, Moto2 champion Alex, is now in line for the move.

    It means Zarco may end up returning to Moto2, with another of his rumoured MotoGP moves, to Avintia Racing, not proving appealing.

    "For me, it would be a mistake to go there, it would be better to go back to Moto2," the Frenchman told Motorsport. "If Marquez moves up, that means there is a spot with VDS.

    "You need a balanced team that gives you the possibility to perform every weekend and Avintia doesn't. I'm not criticising anyone, but I don't want to make the same mistake as two years ago when I signed with KTM."

    THE GRID

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

    PREVIOUS WINNERS

    2018: Andrea Dovizioso
    2017: Dani Pedrosa (with Honda)
    2016: Jorge Lorenzo (with Yamaha)
    2015: Jorge Lorenzo (with Yamaha)

    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) 

    WEATHER FORECAST

    A dry race with a gentle breeze and temperatures of around 15 degrees Celcius is expected on Sunday.

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