Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) won his seventh victory of the year at Misano today, snatching the lead on the last lap after an enthralling race-long duel with remarkable rookie Fabio Quartararo.
This latest success was Marquez’s 77th Grand Prix victory across all three classes, which moves him past 1960s legend Mike ‘The bike’ Hailwood into fourth place in MotoGP’s 71-year-old all-time winners’ list. It is another important milestone for the masterful 26-year-old Spaniard who has won five of the last six MotoGP titles.
Marquez was especially keen to win here after taking tantalizingly close last-corner defeats at the last two races – by two tenths of a second in Austria and by 0.013 seconds three weekends ago in Britain. Today Marquez shadowed Quartararo lap after lap, making sure he saved his tires for when it mattered most.
On the last lap he dived past the Frenchman at turn one, only for Quartararo to regain the lead at turn four. Next Marquez attacked again at turn eight and rode the rest of the lap to perfection to cross the line nine tenths of a second in front to take an apt 93-point lead into next Sunday’s race at Aragon, Spain, where he has been victorious on his last three visits.
Even by his own standards this is an incredible season for Marquez. From the 13 races so far he has won seven, finished second in five and slid out of the lead at the other. He has taken victories in Argentina, Spain, France, Catalunya, Germany, Czech Republic and San Marino. His runner-up results – all but one of them less than a second behind the winner – have been achieved in Qatar, Italy, Netherlands, Austria and Britain. His only non-finish came at the Grand Prix of Americas, where he led the race until he tumbled out of first position.
Today’s latest successes also strengthened Honda’s grip on the 2019 MotoGP Constructors World Championship. Currently the company is chasing its fourth consecutive constructors title and a landmark 25th in total.
Conditions were tricky in the extreme all weekend at Misano. The track offered significantly less grip than it had last year, with slower lap times and more crashes in all classes. Heroic Moto3 winner Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) even likened the grip available to riding in the rain. Therefore many MotoGP riders struggled to find enough grip to allow them to achieve the lap times they knew they and their machines were capable of.
Team-mates Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) both fell victim to the treacherous grip. Nakagami was fighting for a top-ten position when he slid off on the fourth lap. The 27-year-old from Chiba remounted and continued racing, bravely taking the flag in last position.
Crutchlow fell with five laps remaining and wasn’t able to continue because his bike was damaged. The 33-year-old Briton had had a challenging two days of practice and qualifying, so he knew today’s race wasn’t going to be easy. He will now sit down with his team and prepare for Aragon, which should be kinder to him.
Marquez’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) rode his second race since a four-race absence following a nasty crash during practice for June’s Dutch TT. The 32-year-old three-times MotoGP king is still far from full strength, so his main focus at the moment is to complete races and steadily build his physical energy and power. He will continue his comeback at Aragon, moving forward step by step. Today he finished 14th for the second race in a row, an impressive improvement from 18th on the grid.
The MotoGP paddock has no time to rest after today’s racing as it travels westward towards the Aragon region of Spain for round 14 at MotorLand Aragon, near the ancient town of Alcaniz.