Marc Marquez with Misano masterclass
MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez demonstrated his class and a cool head to make a last lap pass to win the San Marino Grand Prix and extend his championship lead to 93 points with just six rounds remaining.
The Misano circuit had appeared to suit the Yamaha riders during practice, and it was French starlet Fabio Quartararo who led from the lights on his Petronas Yamaha.
In a tense race, Marquez stalked his young rival and drafted past as they crossed the start/finish line for the penultimate time, holding on to take his seventh win of the season. After the race he said: “Honestly speaking, I knew it wasn’t necessary to win because I saw that Rins was out and Dovizioso was far from us but I had some extra motivation. I just tried to stay with Fabio as close as I could and in the end I was weighing up whether to try or not. On the last lap I decided to go. I knew Fabio was very fast in sector three, so I made my move before that and closed the corner as much as I could. Fabio rode a very strong race today. I raced as smart as I could and in the end it is nice to win in Italy, but even nicer to have 93 points of advantage.”
By winning, Marquez denied Yamaha taking a clean sweep of the top four places. Quartararo led home fellow M1 riders Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi and Frankie Morbidelli, with Marquez’s main title rival, Andrea Dovizioso, taking sixth.
Despite missing out on a maiden win, Quartararo was positive about his day’s work, adding: “I can only be happy about the result. We led the race until almost the end, but I knew Marc would try something on the last lap because he’s been fast all weekend. I was able to pass him back when he did, but I just went a little bit wide when he overtook me for a second time. I was faster than him in turn 11 and I fought until the end, but we had to settle for second. He had better grip at the end in one side of his tyres but I had an advantage on the right side, which is something to be proud of because it means I’m learning how to manage them. I gave it my all, but Marc has more experience in last lap battles and today he was able to use it all. It’s the first time I’ve even able to fight with him, and to be able to have battled with a seven-time world champion is the best moment of my career so far.”
Asides from the Marquez win, Misano proved a challenge for the other Hondas. Multiple world champion Jorge Lorenzo’s miserable time as Marquez’ team-mate at the factory Repsol team continued, as he came home a distant 14th, while Cal Crutchlow had a tough weekend on the LCR Honda, crashing out of a lowly 11th in the closing laps. He said: “To crash out of a bad position way too far off the lead is never good. I didn’t have a good feeling (with the bike) in the test and didn’t have a good feeling all weekend here and that’s the reality of the situation. I didn’t think I would crash at that corner or in the race at all, I felt I could manage it until the end of the race so it was a bit of a shock to crash, even though I was going slow. In general, I just didn’t feel good with the bike this weekend and we need to improve for Aragon.”
The championship continues in Aragon, Spain, next weekend.