Marc Marquez has told brother and new Repsol Honda team-mate Alex Marquez he must "earn" a contract renewal.

Alex, 23, won the Moto2 title in 2019 and will make the step up to MotoGP for the 2020 season after replacing the retiring Jorge Lorenzo in November.

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc signed a new four-year contract extension last week - keeping him at Honda until the end of 2024 - but his younger sibling has just a single-season deal for his debut campaign.

And Marc, who is bidding for a fifth straight title in 2020, insists he will have no impact on any decision to extend Alex's terms.

"At no point does the team-mate touch on the subject of contracts," he said at a press conference on Thursday.

"I have never vetoed anyone. I did not veto last year the arrival of Jorge Lorenzo, nor will I impose on [Honda] my brother or anyone else.

"If Alex wants to stay with Honda, he will have to earn it himself. If he doesn't, another team-mate will come to the team.

"Alex is old enough to make his own career. I'm focusing on my own."

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez revealed he felt worse than expected on his return to action at pre-season testing in Sepang.

The 26-year-old had surgery on his right shoulder in November, having suffered a partial dislocation when falling awkwardly during a testing session in Jerez.

Marquez underwent a similar procedure the previous year on the other shoulder and is pleased to be in less pain this time around at the same stage of the recovery process.

The Repsol Honda rider exceeded his target of completing 30-35 laps on Friday – managing 37 – but finished up 12th, 0.731 seconds back of pacesetter Fabio Quartararo.

Marquez admitted while there were positives to take out of his work, with the shoulder "stable" throughout, he had hoped to be in a better position with the first race of the 2020 season only a month away.

"It's important to be back on the bike – I'm happy," the Spaniard told BT Sport. "But I felt worse than I expected on the bike. Anyway, I kept working, kept pushing step by step.

"I tried to find a rhythm, try different things. It will be a good test for me to improve and make my rehabilitation on the bike.

"The plan was more or less similar. The first [day] between 30-35 laps, the second arrive at 45 laps, then the last day… try to survive!

"We are on plan, it is already what we expected, but I expected to be struggling in some points and I was struggling more than I expected in the beginning.

"The important thing is that from the beginning to the end, the shoulder was more or less stable, and now in the afternoon I don't have more pain.

"Last year I had more pain in the afternoon, so this year it’s okay. I don’t have the power, but it's step by step."

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez is to have surgery on a shoulder injury.

The Repsol Honda rider was involved in a crash during the first day of testing in Jerez on Monday.

Marquez landed awkwardly in gravel after crashing on the final corner and suffered a partial dislocation of his right shoulder.

Medical tests confirmed the eight-time world champion, six of those titles having come in the premier class, has aggravated a problem he first sustained at the Malaysia Grand Prix this month.

Marquez's latest injury comes after he damaged his left shoulder in 2018 and was in a race against time to be fit for the start of the 2019 season.

In a statement published on the MotoGP website, Marquez confirmed he would have an operation on Wednesday.

He said: "This winter I would have liked to have a nice holiday and enjoy a bit of quiet time after a great 2019 – but it is time to have surgery on the right shoulder.

"As everyone knows, last winter was very tough for me with the operation on the left shoulder, which was very, very damaged. I want to avoid the situation where my right shoulder is in this condition in the future so I spoke a lot with the doctors to see what our options were.

"Before Motegi [the Japanese Grand Prix in October] I had some issues with the shoulder and then after the crash in Malaysia I had a subluxation. Here at the test I had another subluxation after the crash, so we decided with the doctors that it was best to have the surgery to avoid the situation we had with the other shoulder.

"It will take more or less the same time and we will work in the same way to arrive at the Malaysia test as strong as possible."

Marc Marquez concedes it will be tough to replicate the phenomenal consistency he displayed en route to a sixth MotoGP championship in 2019 next season.

The Spaniard rounded off a campaign to remember with a 12th win from 19 rounds, a result that secured the teams championship for Repsol Honda, while he only placed outside of the top two once.

Nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso finished some 151 points adrift of Marquez, who has no doubt 2019 will be remembered as one of the best of his career.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "It's been amazing.

"I mean 2019, I don't know if it will be the best season of my career, but one of the best for sure.

"It will be difficult to improve the consistency, there was just one crash when the leading the race.

"It's been an amazing season and to finish in a good way [is great]. The victory was important but also Repsol can celebrate the team championship, so it's something important for Repsol."

Marquez added: "I'm very, very happy. It's been the perfect season, it will be difficult to repeat it.

"Now it's time to enjoy it, then Tuesday we start the 2020 season."

Rookie Fabio Quartararo completed a fine debut campaign with a seventh podium finish after placing second and the Frenchman is confident he can do even better next season.

"Who imagined at the end of the season we will have six poles and seven podiums?" He said. 

"I think nobody, we can't ask for no more. I dedicate this to my team, everyone told me I didn't deserve this season in MotoGP, I wanted to prove them wrong.

"It's unbelievable to finish this way. I'm really looking forward to next year, we will be stronger."

Jorge Lorenzo will take time to travel and "party" before deciding on his next career move after calling time on his competitive MotoGP career.

The Spanish great announced the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix would be his last race and he finished 13th in front of his home fans on Sunday.

It has been a disappointing final campaign for the three-time MotoGP champion, who has struggled with injuries and form after switching to Repsol Honda.

Lorenzo is open to the possibility of taking on a position as a test rider in the future but for now he plans to unwind after a brilliant career.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "Now I can breathe, now I can relax! 

"It's a big relief to finish my career without a crash, I didn't feel great on the bike with the wind and the cold and when I knew I couldn't have the pace this weekend, when I understand I can't be quicker, I just tried to finish without crashing. 

"I spent my life travelling, sacrificing, training, feeling pressure to get results, I have many, many beautiful moments but also hard moments and a lot of discipline during my life.

"Now I just want to go on holiday. I will see what happens in a month, two months of holiday then when I'm home plan my next chapter. 

"Life is very open, there are many things to do. I love obviously to travel, to eat, to sleep, to party, just enjoy life. There is only one life, I'm just here to enjoy it.

"As I told you there are a lot of things in life, I'm open to any possibility, that [test riding] could be a possibility but I'm not close to that."

Lorenzo has many fond memories on the bike but counts the 2015 title win when he pipped Valentino Rossi to glory as his greatest achievement.

"Obviously, 2010 [was special] because I made a record of points, it was almost the perfect season," he added. 

"Apart from this I will remark 2015 because there was a lot of pressure. Valentino had to finish fourth, it happened, I won by three points."

Team-mate and compatriot Marc Marquez – who rounded off another memorable title-winning campaign with victory in Valencia – paid tribute to Lorenzo.

"I mean what we saw this year from Jorge is not the reality, of course [he will be] disappointed with the way he finished his career," he said. 

"I don't have in my mind this Jorge. Jorge is the one that was winning, a strong character, strong riding style. 

"I say all the best to him and for me he is one of the references in MotoGP and one of the references for the young kids."

Marc Marquez rounded out a memorable season with a dominant victory at the Valencia Grand Prix as fellow home favourite Jorge Lorenzo's final race ended with a disappointing 13th-place finish.

Having already sealed a sixth MotoGP world championship, Marquez's 12th win from 19 races in the last round of the season also ensured the teams' trophy for Repsol Honda.

Fabio Quartararo started on pole but after being passed by Marquez was unable to keep pace with the brilliant champion and crossed the line second ahead of Jack Miller.

Marquez's team-mate and three-time MotoGP champion Lorenzo announced his retirement earlier in the week and the 32-year-old, having qualified 16th, was unable to make significant headway on a cold and windy day in Spain.

Quartararo quickly regained the lead out of the second corner having seen Miller make a flying start off the line, as Marquez began slowly.

The world champion wasted little time slaloming his way back through the pack, though, and by the end of the end of lap two was second and in pursuit of Quartararo.

It must have felt like deja vu for the Frenchman, who has been denied a win in his rookie season on a couple of occasions by Marquez, and there was an air of inevitability when the brilliant Spaniard stole ahead.

With 20 laps to go, Marquez sent his Repsol Honda down the inside from way back at Turn 11 and quickly set about opening up an unassailable gap.

Further down the pack, Johann Zarco was taken away from the side of the track on a stretcher after a hugely unfortunate incident.

Danilo Petrucci, Zarco and Iker Lecuona all came off their bikes independently at Turn 6, but the latter's bike wiped out an unaware Zarco leaving him clearly winded, with television images later showing the Frenchman back in the garage with no apparent major damage.

The rest of the race passed by without major incident as Marquez coasted to an astonishing 18th top-two finish of another memorable campaign, surpassing 400 points in the process.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will be aiming to cap another extraordinary season with yet another record in the final race of the campaign in Valencia.

Marquez had his sixth world title wrapped up with four races to spare after triumphing in Thailand last month, and has since gone on to set a new points record in MotoGP.

The Repsol Honda rider is now just five shy of becoming the first rider to reach 400 points in a single season.

Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi needs a podium finish in the season finale to avoid equalling his longest run without one in MotoGP.

Using Opta numbers, we take a look at the best facts ahead of the final race of 2019.

395 – Marquez's tally of 395 is a MotoGP record for a single season, while the Spaniard has also achieved 17 podium finishes.

23 – Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his last 23 races, his best such run in MotoGP.

7 – Maverick Vinales has finished on the podium seven times in 2019. He has never tallied eight podiums in a MotoGP season.

15 – Rossi, who has not won in his last 45 Grands Prix appearances, has not finished on the podium in his last 15 races, meaning he needs to do so on Sunday to avoid matching his poorest run of 16 between 2011 and 2012.

8 – There are some good omens for the Italian, however, with Rossi having triumphed eight times at the Ricardo Tormo circuit – more than any other rider.

12 – Andrea Dovizioso won the last Valencia Grand Prix, breaking a 12-year run without a victory for an Italian rider in the traditional season finale.

50 – Alex Rins will be bringing up a half-century of MotoGP races; he has two wins, eight podium finishes and two fastest laps in the top category.

244 – Marquez, who has won in only one of his six appearances at Valencia, has led for 244 laps this season in MotoGP – 51 more than the rest of the riders combined.

0 – Jorge Lorenzo could finish without a win, podium or pole position for the first time in his 12 seasons in MotoGP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CRUTCHLOW BACKS QUALIFYING CALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARQUEZ NEARING PEAK SEASON

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

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

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

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

MILESTONE FOR ROSSI

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

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

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

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

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

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

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 350
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 231 (-119)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 176 (-174)
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 176 (-174)
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 169 (-181)

Teams

1. Ducati 400
2. Repsol Honda 383 (-17)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 321 (-79)
4. Petronas Yamaha 263 (-137)
5. Suzuki Ecstar 246 (-154)

WEATHER FORECAST

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

Marc Marquez wrapped up a fourth successive MotoGP world title on Sunday by snatching victory in the Thailand Grand Prix.

Marquez was behind Fabio Quartararo for much of the race but made his move late on to cross the line in first place.

The 26-year-old Repsol Honda rider has now been crowned champion in six of his seven seasons at the top level, with only Giacomo Agostini (8) and Valentino Rossi (7) having won more premier-class titles than the Spaniard.

Following Marquez's triumph, we look at the greatest spells of dominance across motorsport.

MotoGP: Marquez joins elite group

Marquez is not the first rider to dominate MotoGP. Rossi, arguably the most high-profile competitor in the sport, won five world championships in a row between 2001 and 2005, as part of seven triumphs in total.

Before Rossi burst onto the scene, Australian Mick Doohan ruled the roost, triumphant for five seasons on the bounce in the 1990s, while Agostini - who holds a world record of 122 grand prix wins and 15 world titles - was dominant in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Formula One: Hamilton, Vettel and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton looks all set to win his sixth F1 world championship title, a triumph which would also be his fifth in the last six seasons.

Since Sebastian Vettel won the last of his four titles in a row, in 2013, only Nico Rosberg's 2016 championship season has prevented Hamilton enjoying total dominance.

Michael Schumacher, of course, was at his peak in the early 2000s, with four of his seven titles coming between 2000 and 2004, while Jose Manuel Fangio was a five-time world champion and won the drivers' crown each year from 1954 to 1957.

World Rally Championship: French connection

There is nobody more successful in the history of the World Rally Championship than Frenchman Sebastien Loeb, who won the title a record nine successive times from 2004 and 2012.

Loeb's compatriot Sebastien Ogier then took the mantle in 2013, going on to clinch the championship for six straight seasons. In the 1990s, Tommi Makinen was the dominant force.

NASCAR: Johnson takes over from Earnhardt

A true NASCAR great, Dale Earnhardt won his first championship in 1980 but had to wait another six years for a second. His five race wins and 10 top-five finishes in an ominous 1986 season began a sensational run of six championships in nine years that set a near-impossible act for others to follow.

Jimmie Johnson, though, has proved a worthy heir, the Californian proving as such by winning five in a row between 2006 and 2010 and adding another two by 2016 to cap an incredible decade.

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)

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."

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