World champion Marc Marquez equalled Mick Doohan with his 54th career MotoGP victory after winning the Japanese Grand Prix.

Marquez was scintillating as the six-time MotoGP champion cruised to his 10th victory of 2019 at Motegi on Sunday, with Repsol Honda sealing the constructors title.

The Honda star was scorching on the track, blitzing Fabio Quartararo to move level with Doohan in third on the all-time list for MotoGP wins.

After wrapping up another premier class title in Thailand last time out, Marquez made history by claiming pole position at Motegi, meaning he had earned pole at every circuit on the sport's calendar.

It was an exhibition for Marquez, who left the chasing pack in his wake and sealed a 21st successive finish inside the top-two positions.

Quartararo finished nine tenths adrift to be Marquez's nearest challenger as the Yamaha rider clinched the Rookie of the Year.

"It was not easy, especially because I was pushing from the beginning, because the strategy was clear - I tried to open a gap in the beginning because I felt very strong in the warm-up," Marquez said after celebrating his fourth successive victory.

"Honestly speaking I start to play a lot with the switches and everything, because like you see [he parked right after the chequered flag], with the fuel and everything I was on the limit. When I take these two seconds, I start to play again with the switches.

"Was not easy to ride because you needed to think many, many things on the bike, but I was able to manage in a good way to finish the race [within] the limit."

Andrea Dovizioso earned his 100th podium, while it was a miserable outing for Valentino Rossi – who did not finish the race.

 

TOP 10

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +0.870secs
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +1.325s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +2.608s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +9.140s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +9.187s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +9.306s
8. Joar Mir (Suzuku Ecstar) +10.695s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +14.216s
10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +18.909s

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 (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)

Marc Marquez made history in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix and now he has another milestone in his sights on race day.

The world champion, who sealed his sixth premier class title with a win in Thailand last time out, claimed his first Motegi pole to ensure he has now started at the front of the grid at every circuit on the MotoGP calendar.

If Marquez can follow that up with a 10th victory of 2019 on Sunday, it would see him move level with Mick Doohan on 54 total MotoGP wins in third on the all-time list.

He is also eyeing a fourth consecutive race triumph for the first time since 2014 and, if he makes a 13th straight podium, it will mark his best-ever run.

"To get a first pole position on the MotoGP bike in Motegi is great," said Marquez, who has won this race in two of the past three years.

"I didn't know it was the last one I needed! It's a circuit where I usually struggle at a bit but the set-up was working very well in qualifying and I was able to ride in a different way. It's important to start on pole at the home of Honda. 

"On Sunday we will have a lot of pressure from Yamaha and Andrea Dovizioso, I think, so we still need to work a bit in warm up. The target is to fight for the victory, let's see what the conditions are."

Marquez's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, meanwhile, will start his 200th MotoGP race down in 19th position.

YAMAHAS POSE FAMILIAR THREAT

Franco Morbidelli out-qualified Fabio Quartararo as the two Petronas Yamaha bikes joined Marquez on the front row.

Morbidelli equalled his best qualifying performance from Jerez this year and will be hoping to improve on his eventual seventh place finish there as he continues to show good speed towards the end of 2019.

His team-mate Quartararo has only missed the front row at three races this year and was cruelly denied a maiden win by Marquez in Thailand, instead having to settle for a fifth podium of an excellent rookie campaign.

Maverick Vinales heads the second row to ensure there are three Yamahas in the top four for fourth time this year, with the manufacturer looking well placed to seal a first Japan podium since 2015, despite Valentino Rossi coming 10th.

"I wasn't expecting to be that fast," conceded Morbidelli, who was just 0.132secs behind Marquez.

"We definitely did a great job on Friday in dry conditions and again here with half and half [conditions] we were fast. We will have to see how competitive we will be in completely dry conditions."

Frenchman Quartararo does not want his quest for a maiden win to become a distraction.

"I'm not really focused on it," he said. "I just focus on making a good race and fighting for the victory. I don't want to only focus on the victory.

"We need to make a good start, that's the most important, and then let's see what we can do in the race. Honestly I feel good."

CRUTCHLOW PIPS THE DUCATIS

Cal Crutchlow came through Q1 and then claimed fifth, as he looks to follow up on last season's Motegi podium.

The Briton, who has endured a mixed season, said: "That's always the aim, but I don't know whether I'm going to be on the podium or 15th, I have no idea at the minute."

Jack Miller has not scored a point in his previous two races in Japan, but is the top Ducati ahead of factory duo Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

Dovizioso, who starts seventh, won the race in 2017 from even further back in the grid (ninth). The Italian is seeking his 100th podium across all categories.

"There were still some damp patches on the track and I wasn't able to have a really fluid riding style there," he said. "It's a pity about the third row, but we are in quite good shape for the race."

Alex Rins sits third in the championship behind Dovizioso and starts 11th, while Takaaki Nakagami will begin his home race from 13th.


THE GRID

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

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

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 325
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 215 (110)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 167 (-158)
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 163 (-162)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 162 (-163)

Teams

1. Ducati 377
2. Repsol Honda 358 (-19)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 308 (-69)
4. Petronas Yamaha 233 (-144)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 229 (-148)

WEATHER FORECAST

After a wet FP3 and damp FP4, conditions largely cleared for qualifying on Saturday. Sunday's forecast is presently for a dry and cloudy day, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celcius.

World champion Marc Marquez made MotoGP history by claiming pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Marquez, who wrapped up his sixth premier class title in Thailand last time out, has now earned a pole at every circuit on the sport's calendar, having never previously topped the grid in Motegi.

His first pole in Japan and 10th of the 2019 season came after he edged out Petronas Yamaha stars Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo with a time of 1:45.763 on Saturday.

Morbidelli was 0.132seconds behind and out-qualified rookie team-mate Quartararo as his impressive end to the season continued.

Factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales was fourth, just ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who had earlier progressed through Q1 along with Alex Rins.

Jack Miller came sixth for Pramac Racing, ahead of fellow Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci as Aleix Espargaro took a superb ninth for Aprilia.

Valentino Rossi, Rins and Joan Mir made up the fourth row, with home favourite Takaaki Nakagami having to settle for 13th position and Marquez's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo down in 19th.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez will be eyeing his fourth consecutive race victory on Sunday at an event he has won in two of the past three seasons.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:45.763
2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +0.132s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.181s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.327s
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +0.426s
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.574s
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +0.647s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.664s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +0.795s
10. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.795s
11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.837s
12. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar): +0.853s

Johann Zarco will ride for LCR Honda in place of Takaaki Nakagami for the final three races of the MotoGP season, but struggling Repsol Honda star Jorge Lorenzo does not expect the move to affect his situation.

Zarco had been without a seat after his split from KTM, with the team cutting ties with the rider early after he opted to end his deal at the conclusion of the season.

The Frenchman has been granted a return to the sport with Honda, though, as Nakagami prepares to bow out for the rest of the campaign to have shoulder surgery following this week's Japanese Grand Prix.

"I'm really thankful to have this chance," Zarco said. "I will do my best to pick up some good results and to enjoy the time, because these could be the last three races I can do for a while."

Zarco has reached the podium six times in his MotoGP career, qualifying on pole four times, and a ride on a Honda bike could be seen as a threat to Lorenzo heading into 2020.

The three-time champion has endured a miserable first season with Repsol Honda, sitting 19th in the standings, and is backing Zarco to impress.

But, asked if it put him under pressure, Lorenzo said: "No, Nakagami and Cal [Crutchlow] have finished ahead of me in nearly all the races.

"[Zarco] will ride a different bike – one that, in theory, is worse – but it could be an easier bike. Surely it won't be easy for him but, because of his motivation and eagerness, he'll achieve what he can.

"Because after not having been able to ride for three or four races, he'll be very keen to demonstrate what he can do and I'm sure he'll do well."

Even if Zarco has no hopes of unseating Lorenzo or earning a permanent deal with LCR Honda, the previously mooted switch to rivals Yamaha also looks to be off the table.

Zarco had been linked with Yamaha as a test rider but told L'Equipe: "The door has clearly closed. Honda and Yamaha are two big rivals. I talked to both and made an informed choice."

Yamaha star and MotoGP great Valentino Rossi added: "It's a shame. It's no secret that Yamaha was looking at Zarco for test rider and he would have been important for us.

"Now he's close to Honda and we need to see what he decides to do for 2020, but it looks to me like we will have to find another fast test rider. It will be difficult to find someone like Johann."

Marc Marquez may have wrapped up a sixth MotoGP World Championship last time out in Thailand but there are still plenty of landmarks on offer for the brilliant Spaniard at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda star produced a stunning last lap to deny rookie Fabio Quartararo a maiden win last time out to make it six titles in seven years and continue his period of dominance.

But immediately after the race, Marquez insisted he wants to finish the season with a flourish in the final four rounds of 2019.

Below, with the help of Opta data, we look at the key numbers at Motegi - including milestones Marquez can hit along with Valentino Rossi's unwanted barren run.


13 - Marquez has finished on the podium in his last 12 MotoGP appearances. If he reaches the podium in the next Japan Grand Prix, it will be his best historical run in the top category. 

10 - The Spaniard has won nine races in 2019, the same figure he recorded across the whole of last season. Only in 2014 has he won more races in a single season in MotoGP (13).

54 - Marquez (53) could level Mick Doohan (54) as the third-placed rider with the most wins in 500cc/MotoGP.

4 - The Repsol Honda rider has won his past three MotoGP races; the last time he won in four top category races in succession was back in 2014 (10). 

4 - No MotoGP rider has won the Japan Grand Prix more often than Rossi in 500cc/MotoGP and he is the only current rider that has won races at both the Suzuka (2001, 2002 and 2003) and Motegi circuits (2008).

42 - Rossi has not won in any of his past 42 MotoGP races (since Netherlands, 2017), just three off his longest run without winning in the top category (45 between 2010 and 2013).

12 - This is also the longest run Rossi has recorded without a podium finish with Yamaha in MotoGP (12 grands prix in a row).

99 - Andrea Dovizioso has finished on the podium 99 times in his career (all categories); only three Italian riders have reached 100 podiums previously (Rossi, 234, Giacomo Agostini, 159, and Max Biaggi, 111).

200 - This will be Jorge Lorenzo's 200th grand prix in MotoGP; he has three World Championships, 47 wins, 113 podiums, 43 pole positions and 30 fastest laps in the top category.

Marc Marquez is determined not to let his standards drop after wrapping up a fourth consecutive MotoGP world title with four races to spare. 

The Repsol Honda rider trailed Fabio Quartararo for much of Sunday's Thailand Grand Prix but made the pass late on and a last-gasp effort from his rival to regain first spot failed to stick. 

It has been another utterly dominant season for Marquez, with the Spaniard winning nine races and only failing to place lower than second on one occasion, when he retired in Austin in round three. 

Marquez accepted he was worried when rookie Quartararo was leading and while there will be celebrations for a sixth premier-class world title he plans to finish 2019 with a flourish. 

"Yeah I was panicking, I said 'okay I will try'. I was riding 100 per cent, I didn't feel good enough," he told BT Sport. 

"I was trying to manage in the best way but it was impossible. I didn't give up and finally caught him.  

"I mean it was a perfect season at the moment [but there are] still four races to go, the championship is done but the year is not finished.  

"It's time to celebrate but the last four races I want to finish in a good way." 

Quartararo has impressed during his debut MotoGP campaign, with this second-place finish his fifth podium in the past nine races and Marquez expects the Frenchman to be a strong title contender in 2020.  

"I tried to study in the last three laps if it was possible to overtake and I said 'okay, it is possible'," he added at a later news conference.  

"Even in the last corner he tried - Fabio every time becomes stronger and stronger so he will be a very tough contender for next year, for the championship." 

Quartararo was disappointed to see another chance for a first MotoGP win slip from his grasp but acknowledged Marquez's brilliance. 

"For sure, this race was more or less like Misano but at the end, Marc in Misano overtook us quite long from the last corner," he said.  

"I was a little bit, or a lot frustrated, on the main straight, but at the end we are fighting with a guy who is an eight-time world champion in our rookie year, so we really can be happy with the job we did with the team. We will keep working in the same way." 

Marc Marquez secured his sixth MotoGP premier class world title with a dramatic victory at the Thailand Grand Prix, as Fabio Quartararo was cruelly denied a maiden race win.

Marquez, who has now been crowned champion in six of his seven seasons at the highest level, edged out Quartararo on the final corner to leave the Frenchman crestfallen.

Yamaha rider Quartararo, who started on pole for the fourth time this season, led for the vast majority of the race only to eventually be passed by Repsol Honda rider Marquez in the closing stages.

There was almost a sensational final twist as Quartararo briefly sneaked back ahead at the final turn, but he could not make the move stick and cut a frustrated figure as Marquez celebrated yet another success.

With four races of the season remaining, MotoGP's dominant figure holds an unassailable 110-point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso, who could only finish a distant fourth.

Only Giacomo Agostini (8) and Valentino Rossi (7) have won more premier-class titles than Marquez, who holds eight MotoGP crowns in all. At just 26, the Spaniard appears highly likely to surpass both men.

Maverick Vinales rounded out the podium on Sunday, while Alex Rins finished just behind Dovizioso in fifth.

The day belonged to Marquez, though, who gradually increased the pressure on Quartararo throughout the race before sealing his latest championship success in style.

TOP 10

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +0.171secs
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +1.380s
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +11.218s
5. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +11.449s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +14.466s
7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +18.729s
8. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +19.162s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +23.425s
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +29.423s

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 325
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 215 (110)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 167 (-158)
4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 163 (-162)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 162 (-163)

Teams

1. Ducati 377
2. Repsol Honda 358 (-19)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 308 (-69)
4. Petronas Yamaha 233 (-144)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 229 (-148)

Marc Marquez crashed again in qualifying for the Thailand Grand Prix and insisted he would prioritise a podium finish to boost his world title bid over scrapping with the Yamahas for victory when the race begins.

The Repsol Honda rider is on the brink of claiming a sixth MotoGP title and will seal it on Sunday if he scores two or more points than Ducati rival Andrea Dovizioso.

After suffering an enormous crash on Friday, Marquez – still in some pain from the incident – went off his bike again at turn five in Q2 on Saturday.

But he had still done enough to qualify third and with Dovizioso down in seventh, the championship is within his grasp.

That means a fight with the two riders ahead of him on the front row – Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales – is not his priority.

"My main target is to try and stay on the podium one more time, one more Sunday and if it is in front of Dovi it will be much better," said the Spaniard.

"We are trying to manage it like a normal weekend. We are working and pushing and trying to prepare for the race to have the chance to fight for the victory.

"But victory is not our main goal. We know that [Quartararo and Vinales] will push a lot as one is looking for his first victory and the other wants to come back to the top of the podium.

"I am happy about the day and happy about the weekend. Unfortunately with the crash in FP1 the body is quite painful but it is not a problem or an excuse.

"When I woke up this morning getting out of bed was quite hard but then when the body is warm it is perfect, I can ride in a normal way."

Explaining his latest crash at Chang International Circuit, Marquez added: "Unfortunately in Q2 I crashed with the second tyre.

"That was when I felt better but I knew that these two guys [Quartararo and Vinales] with new tyres are very, very fast and I tried for pole but it was not possible.

"I had a shaking from turn four and when I arrived at turn five the calipers were open and then I braked but I was not braking in the same way.

"I knew I went into the corner with more speed – but I realised it was the last lap, so I tried anyway. I already understood when I was in the braking point that it was a big chance to crash."

This is only the second race in Buriram, Marquez having won the 2018 event.

Valentino Rossi thinks Marc Marquez is "very close to the perfect season", but the Repsol Honda rider disagrees.

Marquez holds a 98-point lead in the riders' standings and can seal his sixth MotoGP title and fourth in succession by scoring two more points than nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso at this weekend's Thailand Grand Prix.

With the Spaniard, who has finished first or second in all but one of this season's races, having a chance to wrap up the championship with four rounds to spare, Monster Energy Yamaha rider Rossi conceded little can be done to stop him.

"For me there are different factors. I think this one is the best season for him in MotoGP together with 2014," said seven-time champion Rossi, referencing the year Marquez won the first 10 races and went on to seal the title.

"From the first season he was very fast but now he is in a moment of his career where he is still very young but also has a lot of experience, so he has reached the top level.

"Always finishing in the top two except for one time in Austin when maybe he did a mistake due to a problem with the bike, I think that this is very close to the perfect season."

Marquez's only failure to finish this season came when he crashed out while leading the Grand Prix of the Americas in April.

The 26-year-old did not agree with Rossi's evaluation of his campaign but acknowledged it has been one of his best seasons in the premier class.

"It is one of my best seasons and it is not perfect, that doesn't exist. But apart from Austin, at the other race tracks I have been very, very happy how we worked with the bike and with the team," said Marquez.

"The team has been focused and I have concentrated more on our weak points and our weak tracks and that is where we have finished second sometimes. But it is not the same as finishing second behind the top guy by five or six seconds, it has been just one tenth.

"At our weak circuits we have fought until the last corners so I am happy. It is difficult to repeat for next year, but we are working to improve ourselves, to improve the performance of the bike and the team and to try to be better and stronger."

Marc Marquez can clinch his sixth MotoGP world title this weekend at the Thailand Grand Prix.

The Spaniard needs to claim two points more than Andrea Dovizioso at the Chang International Circuit to capture the championship yet again.

Thailand's very brief history as a MotoGP circuit is on his side, with Marquez having won the only race at the track last year.

Here we look at the best Opta facts ahead of a potentially decisive race.

9 - Marquez has taken nine pole positions this season in MotoGP, his best tally in the top category since 2014 (13). 

9 - The Spaniard has recorded the fastest lap nine times in 2019, his best tally in MotoGP since 2014 (12).

19 - Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his last 19 races, his best such run in MotoGP.

17 - Since 2012, Spanish riders have won in 17 of the last 23 MotoGP races in Asia (Qatar, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand). 

7 - Dovizioso was second last year in the Thailand Grand Prix. The Italian rider has finished seven times on the podium this season and with three more he will set a new personal record in the top category (9 in 2018).

99 - Ducati's Dovizioso has finished on the podium 99 times in his career (all categories). Only three Italian riders have reached 100 podiums previously (Valentino Rossi, 234; Giacomo Agostini, 159 and Max Biaggi, 111).

1 - Danilo Petrucci is the only rider to collect points in every MotoGP race this season. His 155 points this season represent his record in his eight seasons in the top category. 

11 - Valentino Rossi has not finished on the podium in his last 11 MotoGP races, his second-worst run in the top category (16 Grands Prix in 2011 and 2012) and the worst he's managed with Yamaha. 

1 - Rossi has only finished on the podium in one of his last seven MotoGP races in Asia (3rd in the 2018 Qatar Grand Prix).

4 - Maverick Vinales has finished on the podium in four of his seven last MotoGP races but has finished on the podium in only three of his 14 MotoGP previous races in Asia, although one of them was at Chang International Circuit in Thailand (3rd in 2018).

Marc Marquez said he had enjoyed "a perfect weekend" as he moved to within touching distance of a sixth MotoGP title with victory at Aragon.

The Spaniard opened up a 98-point lead in the championship by triumphing in his 200th race, finishing comfortably clear of Andrea Dovizioso after the Ducati rider powered from 10th on the grid to second place.

It was Marquez's day, as it has been his season, and the Repsol Honda rider should wrap up the championship either in Thailand on October 6 or in Japan a fortnight later.

The defending champion had qualified fastest at MotorLand and few doubted he would motor to victory, with Marquez never looking vulnerable.

"I'm happy of course, happy about the way we finished as we can," Marquez said. "It was a perfect weekend."

"I was clever, I was convinced about my strategy during the race."

He pulled away steadily to win the race by 4.836 seconds from Dovizioso, who sits second in the season standings but has long been fighting to finish the year as runner-up."

"I pushed a lot in the beginning and then controlled the distance and took 25 points in a very good way," Marquez told the MotoGP official website. "It was the best way to finish the home Grand Prix.

"I was very comfortable. I was riding in a very good way. I felt everything of the bike. It was very nice to ride. I'm happy.

"In Thailand we will have the first 'match ball' so I will try, but I know that 'Dovi' will be very strong too."

With five races left, Marquez need not panic about when the title is clinched, given it is now a formality.

"The target in Thailand is to try to fight for the victory, like every weekend," he said. "I know that 'Dovi' will be strong but we will try to give 100 per cent, try to push from the beginning until the end of the weekend."

The 26-year-old added: "The championship is closer and closer but we'll keep going with the same mentality."

Dovizioso was satisfied with second, given he was unusually off the pace in qualifying.

"When I was on the grid and I was 10th, I saw too many riders in front of me and at the start everybody blocked me so I couldn't really gain a lot of position," said the 33-year-old Italian.

However, as others fell away, he began to motor through the field, achieving the satisfaction of having only Marquez ahead of him come the finish.

"[I'm] really happy because we needed that result, especially after the mistake in qualifying, for the championship, so I'm pretty happy," Dovizioso said.

"We knew we could be the second fastest in the championship, but in the last few races it was difficult so it's really important especially with the way we did it."

Marc Marquez enjoyed one of the most serene victories of his outstanding MotoGP career as he led from start to finish at the Aragon Grand Prix on Sunday.

The defending champion and season leader qualified fastest at Motorland and showed the speed of his Repsol Honda from the outset on race day.

Even at Turn 1, the rest of the front row could not get close to Marquez and he raced away to build a lead of more than second after one lap.

A significant response was immediately out of the question and Marquez simply had to negotiate the remaining 22 laps to wrap up a ludicrously simple triumph, inching towards another championship.

There was at least a notable tussle to join the outstanding champion on the podium, with Jack Miller, starting fourth, passing Maverick Vinales from the start and getting Fabio Quartararo at Turn 12 in the same lap.

Miller threatened to get clear but, unable to latch onto Marquez, soon found himself battling Vinales and Quartararo again and was passed by the former with a brave move up the outside.

Andrea Dovizioso had started in 10th but got himself back into contention and picked off Quartararo to go fourth, before getting Miller too.

Dovizioso worked hard to catch Vinales, finally doing so with two laps remaining to at least get as close as possible to imperious title rival Marquez.

And there was still time for Vinales' place on the podium to be snatched away entirely as Miller, so far back when passed by Dovizioso, recovered to get up to third with a smart move at Turn 1 on the final lap.

Elsewhere, Alex Rins had failed to make Q2 on Saturday and his aggressive efforts to make amends quickly landed him in trouble.

The Spaniard made swift progress up the grid but moved across Franco Morbidelli's line, making contact with the Italian and sending the pair off the track.

Rins came back in 18th and recovered some ground, yet he served the long lap penalty for his role in the incident, although still able to finish a respectable ninth.

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

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 300
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 202 (-98)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 156 (-144)
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 155 (-145)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 147 (-153)

Teams
1. Ducati 357
2. Repsol Honda 333 (-24)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 284 (-73)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 209 (-148)
5. Petronas Yamaha 203 (-154)

WHAT'S NEXT?
There is a fortnight before the next race in Thailand, where Marquez could wrap up his sixth MotoGP world title.

Marc Marquez is "on another level" at the Aragon Grand Prix and Fabio Quartararo is not convinced he can deny the pole-sitter a second straight MotoGP victory.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez crashed during FP2 on Friday but was top of the pile in qualifying for the fifth time in the past six grands prix 24 hours later.

The Spaniard ended his longest winless streak of the season – just two races – at the San Marino Grand Prix last weekend by pipping Quartararo in a thrilling final-lap battle.

The rookie Petronas Yamaha rider will start next to Marquez on the grid on Sunday but thinks it unlikely that he will challenge for a first win of his career in Aragon.

"On qualifying I disconnected my brain on the last lap and try to make the best. We did it, and this is really positive because we know our bike is not the best on this track, but we really pushed her to the limit and made P2 and it was the best we could get today," said Quartararo, before discussing the chances of defeating Marquez.

"Everything is possible, but honestly he's on another level on this track. My main goal is to finish the race in a really good way, try to bring points home. I think we have the pace to finish in the top five and that's the goal."

Maverick Vinales joined Marquez and Quartararo on the front row of the grid, with Valentino Rossi taking sixth behind Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Vinales suggested the race will be decided in the opening laps, but Marquez knows he cannot afford to let his concentration slip throughout.

"We showed a good performance all weekend. We worked really hard in FP4 and it was a good rhythm, I was able to be very fast during many laps," said Marquez.

"The main target was front row, but pole position was even better. I just have to concentrate on tomorrow, analyse everything and choose the best [tyre] compound.

"The key for the race is to be concentrated during all the laps, to be focused in our rhythm, understand the grip of the track and the tyres, understand the weather.

"Apart from these things we will work in our way, find the limit in our bike and keep pushing until the end."

 

'PERFECT' ESPARGARO FOLLOWS MARQUEZ

Another man full of praise for Marquez was Espargaro - so much so that he considered his ability to stick with the superstar for a stretch and qualify fifth "a perfect lap".

"I was already quite fast on my first run, then with the second tyre I was behind Maverick but, just before we started the last lap, Marquez overtook me," Espargaro said.

"I thought 'there's no way to follow him' because he's on another planet this weekend. But I was able to follow. I did a perfect lap."

It was a rare good day for Aprilia, with Espargaro's team-mate Andrea Iannone enjoying his best qualifying session of the season to come in 11th.

Espargaro added: "There's nothing to lose. Our season has been a disaster so far. I hope that I can do a good race.

"The most important thing for me is that, when I come back into the garage afterwards all the faces of my team, all the people around me are smiling because we need this.

"We need some positive energy in the garage ahead of the flyaway races because everybody is working hard yet the results aren't coming."

His brother Pol, at KTM, is not enjoying such a good week, though, as he potentially faces surgery on a wrist fracture that will keep him out of the race.

18th place for Mika Kallio on the #aragongp #motogp grid for the 23 lap race tomorrow at 13.00 as @polespargaro heads back to Barcelona for further check-ups on a left wrist fracture and perhaps surgery #KTM pic.twitter.com/JF2xf6zcaS

— KTM Factory Racing (@KTM_Racing) September 21, 2019  

THE GRID

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Marc Marquez
2017: Marc Marquez
2016: Marc Marquez
2015: Jorge Lorenzo

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)

WEATHER FORECAST

A dry day is forecast, with conditions expected to be similar to qualifying - dry and with an air temperature in the mid 20s (degrees Celsius).

Marc Marquez's procession towards another MotoGP title looks set to continue at Aragon after he secured his ninth pole position of the season.

Marquez is 93 points clear of nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso at the top of the standings as he bids for a fourth straight championship - and there was no let-up in his performance during qualifying on Saturday.

The Repsol Honda superstar saw a dominant run of poles disrupted last week as he clashed with Valentino Rossi in qualifying at San Marino, but he has now run fastest heading into race day nine times this season - his most in a campaign since an outstanding 13 in 2014.

Marquez has recorded three consecutive wins at Aragon, too, and his time of one minute and 47.009 seconds makes him favourite to triumph again in what will be his 200th start.

He set the benchmark after a strong early showing from Maverick Vinales, although Fabio Quartararo - a qualifying expert - pushed hard late on.

Quartararo left his best lap for last and fell just 0.327 seconds short as he failed to match Marquez's pace over the final sector.

Further down the grid, there were contrasting results for the Espargaro brothers, with Pol suffering a wrist fracture and deemed unfit to ride as Aleix starred to sit in fifth.

Dovizioso's hopes of challenging Marquez this weekend took a hit as he came 10th in the second session.

Danilo Petrucci's slump continued, meanwhile, as he failed to even reach Q2. The Italian is third overall for 2019 but has not made the podium in the past six races, finishing a year-low 10th last time out in San Marino.

Jorge Lorenzo, who has been working his way back from injury, was way off in Q1, 20th overall.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): 1:47.009
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.327s
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.463s
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +0.649s
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +0.724s
6. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +1.006s
7. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +1.313s
8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +1.363s
9. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.449s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +1.599s
11. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team): +2.231s
12. Pol Espargaro (KTM)

Fabio Quartararo is hoping to build on the "best race" of his fledgling MotoGP career so far as he targets a maiden win at the Aragon Grand Prix.

The Petronas Yamaha rookie appeared on course for victory in San Marino last time out, only to be overtaken by Marc Marquez in a thrilling finish to the race.

Forced to settle for second place on that occasion, Quartararo hopes to again be fighting at the front of the field this Sunday – and expects his bike to "go well" around the MotorLand track, considering recent results.

"For sure Misano has been the best race so far during my career and coming into this race it's a track that we saw the Yamaha in the past, like Maverick [Vinales] in 2017 on pole position, also Valentino [Rossi] was on the front row, so looks the bike is going well," said the 20-year-old Frenchman.

"It's a track that I like so, like always, we will give 100 per cent. Yes, I hope to fight in a good position."

Quartararo also claimed second place at the Catalan Grand Prix earlier in the season, ending up behind Honda rider Marquez having started the race on pole position, while he has finished third on two other occasions in 2019.

He has picked up 112 points in his debut MotoGP campaign despite admitting he is still learning on the job.

"From the beginning of the year the goal was to be rookie of the year, even when in the Sepang test [Francesco] Bagnaia was a second, more than a second, faster than us," Quartararo said, according to MotoGP's official website.

"I never expected to make already pole position, front rows and four podiums, so now I want to keep going on podiums but we need to stay calm because we are rookies and every time we going to a track that is new for us. So I keep working and learning every time."

Page 1 of 4
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.