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.

Marc Marquez has already won the MotoGP world title, but he will have his sights set on another slice of history at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard sealed a sixth premier class championship in Thailand earlier this month with four races of the 2019 season still to go.

Subsequent victories in Japan and Australia have moved Marquez onto 375 points for the season and he will fancy his chances of overtaking Jorge Lorenzo's record haul in the year's penultimate race.

Here, we pick out some of the best Opta numbers ahead of the race at the Sepang International Circuit.

 

9 - Marquez needs nine more points from the season's 18th race to surpass Repsol Honda team-mate Lorenzo's tally of 383 - which he set across 18 races in the 2010 season.

22 - Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his past 22 races - his best such run in MotoGP.

5 - Marquez has won five races in a row heading into Malaysia, though he is still some way short of his record of 10 successive victories, which he achieved in 2014.

16 - Should Marquez finish on the podium, it would be his 17th top-three finish of the season, exceeding his record of 16, set in 2013.

44 - Valentino Rossi has not won any of his past 44 races. Should he fail to finish first in Malaysia, it will be the longest drought of his career, eclipsing his 44-race run without a victory between 2010 and 2013.

6 - However, the Italian has won the Malaysian Grand Prix more often than any other rider having been victorious on six occasions.

2 - The Sepang International Circuit is the only track where Andrea Dovizioso has won twice in his career after he triumphed in 2016 and 2017.

4 - Fabio Quartararo retired for the fourth time this season last time out. He now has more retirements in his debut MotoGP season than he did in his two previous years in Moto2 combined (three).

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez extended his winning streak after claiming a dramatic victory over Maverick Vinales on the final lap at the Australian Grand Prix.

Vinales had been the man to beat throughout the weekend in Australia, where the Monster Energy Yamaha rider earned pole position after qualifying was pushed back to race day due to adverse weather conditions on Saturday.

Last year's Australian champion Vinales – at the front of the pack having pulled clear with 18 laps remaining – appeared on track for back-to-back Phillip Island victories until he was overtaken by world champion Marquez at the death.

Marquez sensationally moved ahead of Vinales, who then lost control and crashed out as the Spaniard desperately tried to reclaim the lead on Sunday.

It continued Marquez's dominance, with the Repsol Honda star and six-time world champion recording his fifth consecutive victory in a classic finale.

Marquez also surpassed Mick Doohan for the third most premier-class wins by celebrating his 55th, having equalled the Australian's total during his comfortable Japanese GP triumph last week.

Cal Crutchlow finished second, while home star Jack Miller was promoted to third as he secured the first Australian premier-class podium since Casey Stoner in 2012.

Valentino Rossi – a five-time MotoGP winner in Australia who qualified fourth fastest – finished eighth on a disappointing day for Yamaha.

Maverick Vinales dominated at Phillip Island as he secured pole position for Sunday's MotoGP Australian Grand Prix.

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.

The adverse weather conditions pushed qualifying back to Sunday – just three hours before the race – and Monster Energy Yamaha star Vinales topped the timesheets.

Spaniard Vinales produced a time of one minute, 28.492 seconds for his third pole position of the season, ahead of Petronas Yamaha sensation Fabio Quartararo.

Marc Marquez will complete the front row, despite a tense finish which saw the world champion make a dramatic save following a monumental front-end slide through Turn 1.

Five-time Australian GP champion Valentino Rossi enjoyed one of his best performances after earning fourth place for Monster Yamaha, ahead of Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci, while LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow rounded out the second row.

Meanwhile, Oliveira – who was involved in Saturday's horror crash – has been declared unfit for the race due to pain and swelling in both hands.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): 1:28.492
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): +0.551s
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): +0.724s
4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.751s
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): +0.847s
6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda): +1.043s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team): +1.066s
8. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team): +1.089s
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): +1.123s
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): +1.175s
11. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): +1.224s
12. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar): +1.455s

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is delighted to have the chance to make his 400th grand prix start at Phillip Island.

Rossi is set to become the first rider in history to reach the milestone at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix and the Monster Energy Yamaha star was in a reflective mood.

The Italian, who has claimed nine titles across all classes, has taken part in 42.5 per cent of all motorcycle grand prix events since the start of the world championship in 1949, scoring points in 353 of his 399 starts.

"It's been a long, long time," said Rossi. "It's something you don't expect, especially when I was young, but in my career I've never had a clear idea of what will happen or how long I have to race.

"When I was 17 you see a guy that is 25 years old and it felt like your grandfather! Now I am 40, imagine!

"It's a good achievement because I didn't know what to expect when I started my career.

"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."

While the riders got to enjoy the sun around media activities on Thursday, rain is forecast for when they take to the track across the weekend.

"We pray, everybody prays, for the weekend weather to be like this with the blue sky and fantastic temperature," said Rossi.

"Unfortunately, the good weather has arrived a little bit too much in anticipation of the weekend so we will have to fight with difficult conditions at Phillip Island. Anyway, it is always a pleasure."

Valentino Rossi will be hoping to create more fond Phillip Island memories this weekend after crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rossi said he had "pain everywhere" after the Italian highsided his Yamaha at Motegi last time out.

It was the fourth time this season the 40-year-old had to retire from a race, so he is in need of a lift at the Australian MotoGP.

Rossi will be riding in his 400th grand prix on Sunday and six of his 115 wins have come in Australia.

Marc Marquez, with the title already retained, stretched his winning run to four in Japan and it would be a surprise if Rossi is the man to bring that streak to an end.

We pick out some standout Opta numbers ahead of Rossi's milestone race.

 

- No MotoGP rider has won the Australian Grand Prix more than Rossi and Casey Stoner's tally of six in 500cc/MotoGP.

- No rider has finished on the podium in the race more times than Rossi's 15. Stoner is next on the list with six.

- Spaniards Márquez (two), Jorge Lorenzo, and Maverick Vinales have won four of the last six MotoGP Australian Grands Prix.

- Marquez has reached double figures in wins (10) and poles (10) this year. He had only previously brought up double figures in both back in 2014 - with 13 wins and as many poles.

- Marquez has finished on the podium 15 times this season, just one shy of his best tally in a single MotoGP season in 2013.

- Vinales has finished on the podium in his last three Australian MotoGP appearances (third in 2016 and 2017, winner last year).

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."

Andrea Dovizioso is not giving up on extending the MotoGP title race by a further round despite qualifying down in seventh for the Thailand Grand Prix. 

Reigning champion Marc Marquez, who starts third, needs to score two or more points than his Ducati rival in order to claim a sixth world championship in the premier class after a dominant 2019 campaign. 

Dovizioso and Marquez were involved in a thrilling battle for victory when the Repsol Honda star triumphed in the first edition of this race in Buriram last year. 

And the Italian believes he can be in the mix once again in an unpredictable weekend that has seen Marquez crash twice, pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo go down in qualifying and Dovizioso top the FP3 timesheets amid mixed weather conditions. 

Quartararo and Maverick Vinales occupy the front row with Marquez, with Dovizioso also behind Franco Morbidelli, team-mate Danilo Petrucci – who recorded his best qualifying result in nine races – and Jack Miller. 

"A lot of riders have really good pace, so it could be a big group in the race because Marc is really fast, but not like in Aragon," said Dovizioso, referring to Marquez's emphatic victory last time out. 

"In this kind of race with this heat and with these straights, everything can happen. Maverick and all four Yamahas are also very fast in the pace, Jack can be there like in Aragon and I have a good pace, so we are there. 

"The third row is not the best, but we have our chance - we are all very close and it's impossible to know how much everyone pushed, or if they will be a bit slower in the race. 

"I am going to try to be on the podium, this is our goal. It should be the soft tyre for more or less everyone. 

"For sure you need a good start and after, make a good strategy. We've been working well so I'm relaxed and confident." 

Marquez, who is still in pain after his massive turn-seven FP1 smash, is also taking nothing for granted. 

"Apart from [the crashes] we prepared for the race in a good way," he said. "The race distance is quite long, demanding physically, but we will try to do our best. 

"We will see how the weather is and what the conditions are. I know that as well as [Quartararo and Vinales] that Dovi has a good pace so it will be a tough race." 


YAMAHAS LOOK TO STRIKE AMID TITLE DRAMA

While all eyes are on Marquez and Dovizioso, Yamaha riders Quartararo and Vinales will be hoping to push for a race victory despite their single-lap speed being better than it is over a longer distance. 

Rookie sensation Quartararo has been formidable in qualifying this season and this pole position, despite crashing in Q2 as he attempted to go even quicker, was his fourth of the campaign. 

But the Frenchman's target over the last five races of the season will be a maiden win. As his race experience has grown, he has registered four podiums from the last eight and looks one of Marquez's main threats in the coming years. 

"I give 100 per cent in every race so on Sunday it will be the same for me," said Quartararo. "Looking at the race pace [from practice] Marquez is a lot faster than us but we know that in the races it is different. 

"We will try to stay with him. If I am there with him we will try everything to fight with him like in Misano. I've felt strong on the bike all weekend, everything is working really well, and I can't wait to see what we can achieve." 

VINALES EYEING SECOND 2019 VICTORY

Yamaha have three of the top four riders on the grid and also had four of the first five in Friday's dry practice running, with Vinales now hoping to add to his famous victory at the Dutch TT. 

"It is very important from the beginning to push and try to make a small group because if not it will be very difficult with the Ducati guys [coming up from behind]," said Vinales, who was third at Chang International Circuit last year. 

"We will try to push from the beginning. In FP4 we made a jump from Friday [in race pace], we improved quite a lot, especially on the rhythm which we will looking to try to improve on, make another step and be closer to Marc. 

"We have a good chance, we will push from the first corner and we will see. It will be very important to manage the tyres because normally here the tyres drop quite a lot. 

"We are in close contention for the victory. When it comes to one lap, we know our bike is good. There are still some things to improve for the race but I'm feeling great on the bike." 

Valentino Rossi went down at turn five in qualifying like Quartararo and Marquez and he starts ninth on the grid, one place ahead of Alex Rins, who sits third in the championship. 

THE GRID

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Marc Marquez

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)

WEATHER FORECAST

Torrential rain early on Saturday delayed the start of the day's racing, but the sun was back out by the time of qualifying.

Stormy weather is a possibility on Sunday, with hot temperatures of over 30 degrees Celcius and high humidity expected, with the chances of rain presently just under 50 per cent.

Fabio Quartararo claimed a fourth pole position in an impressive debut MotoGP season in Thailand as Marc Marquez once again came off his bike in Buriram.

Rookie Quartararo is becoming an expert at qualifying, setting a record for the fastest lap time at the track as he clocked one minute 29.719 seconds during the second session.

However, the Frenchman - still chasing his first race win - pushed too hard on his final attempt to go even quicker in Q2, resulting in him coming off his bike at turn five.

"It's never good to crash, but now we feel the limit. I was braking too much and I know where the limit is on the bike - that is really positive," Quartararo told BT Sport. "This pole position tastes even better than the other ones."

The same had also happened to Marquez - who had wrecked his bike on Friday when hitting the ground heavily in FP1. He came a cropper at turn five too, forcing him to settle for third place on the grid.

Still, the Spaniard appears on course to clinch a sixth world title on Sunday. He will be crowned champion yet again if he picks up two more points than nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso, who will start the race from seventh position.

A fast-finishing Maverick Vinales squeezed in between Quartararo and Marquez with his final attempt, by which time both his colleagues on the front grid were out of action.

Valentino Rossi also had a spill during an eventful session, though he was able to get back to the garage and use his second bike, eventually finishing in ninth position.

Danilo Petrucci came through Q1 to take fifth, behind Franco Morbidelli. Jack Miller claimed sixth on his Pramac Ducati to leave Dovizioso on row three.


PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha): 1:29.719
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha): +0.106s
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda): +0.212s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha): 0.712s
5. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati): 0.803s
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing): 0.878s
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati): 0.973s
8. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar): 1.016s
9. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha): 1.022s
10. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar): 1.059s
11. Pol Espargaro (KTM): 1.346s
12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team) 1.539s

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."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOP 10

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

TITLE STANDINGS

Riders

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 275
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 182 (-93)
3. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 151 (-124)
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 149 (-126)
5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 134 (-141)

Teams

1. Ducati 333
2. Repsol Honda 308 (-25)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 263 (-70)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 200 (-133)
5. Petronas Yamaha 192 (-141)

WHAT'S NEXT?

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

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