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."


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."


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)


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



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)


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


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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    Charles Leclerc has vowed to be in "full attack mode" in the Brazilian Grand Prix after a disappointing qualifying session left the Ferrari driver due to start in 14th place.

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    The Monegasque felt his car had the pace to record the fastest time and reverse the momentum from a poor race in Austin last time out, which was followed up by a penalty for taking a new power unit.

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    "I enjoy starting in the back anytime, though I enjoy a little bit less when I'm fighting for third place in the championship.

    "But it's life, it's like this and I'll try to enjoy it as much as possible and come back."

    "I don't think the pole was out of reach," added Leclerc, who was 0.220 seconds behind Verstappen in a session that saw the top drivers closely bunched together.

    "I'm very disappointed with myself, I did quite a big mistake on my first timed lap in the first corner which cost me at least three-tenths so it's my fault and I take [responsibility for] it completely.

    "The team did a great job, I think the car was there to fight for pole at least and I didn't do the job in the car.

    "Anyway, I've got a 10-place grid penalty, so it was always going to be a difficult day."

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

    Hamilton, meanwhile, was thrilled to split the Ferraris despite struggling for power in his Mercedes.

    "It's always nice, it puts a smile on my face," he told Sky Sports of splitting Vettel and Leclerc.

    "My approach is pretty much the same all year long, but maybe we can try and be a bit more aggressive with these guys now [the title is won].

    "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.

    "Nonetheless I'm really happy I was able to divide the Ferraris – it's always a tough challenge. We've been down on power I guess compared to the others, that's where we lost our time.

    "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

    Max Verstappen produced an impressive qualifying performance to take only the second pole position of his Formula One career at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

    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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    Charles Leclerc was fourth but will drop down the grid due to a 10-place penalty he has collected due to taking a new power unit.

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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.

    Haas sprung a surprise by getting both drivers into the top-10 shoot-out, with Romain Grosjean coming eighth and Kevin Magnussen 10th.

    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.

    It was a bad day for McLaren with Carlos Sainz unable to set a time in Q1 due to suffering a loss of power, while Lando Norris had to settle for 11th as he dropped out in Q2, though Leclerc's penalty does mean he will start 10th.

    Both of those sessions were also topped by Verstappen, who led narrowly after the first runs of Q3 and then improved his time to make sure of pole.

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    "The car was flying and really enjoyable to drive straight from Q1. I'm really happy with this pole position."


    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

    Jorge Lorenzo is a four-time winner of the Valencia Grand Prix but, perhaps fittingly after a 2019 season to forget, he will start the last race of his career from towards the back.

    The three-time MotoGP world champion has enjoyed a glittering career that has included Valencia triumphs in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016 among his 47 race wins.

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    Lorenzo said: "It will certainly be an emotional race so I hope that I can enjoy it all and importantly help Honda as best I can.

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    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.

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    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."



    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."


    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)


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



    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) 


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


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

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