Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Marquez vs Quartararo: the rookie pushes the reigning Champion to the limit at Misano

Sep 16. 2019
Facebook Twitter

By MotoGP

1,975 Viewed

A tense duel to the line sees the number 93 come out on top on the Riviera di Rimini
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was the victor in a Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini duel to the last lap, but the reigning Champion seriously had to work for it. The man who pushed him all the way? Rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who led for most of the race...and attacked straight back when Marquez did on the final lap. It wasn't quite enough and the 93 was able to return the favour, but it was a classic encounter between the two and another incredible show of pace from both. Polesitter Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed the podium.

Viñales was on pole and the Spaniard made it count, keeping the lead heading into Turn 1 as third place Quartararo grabbed P2, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) dropping back slightly from second on the grid. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) pounced for P3, with Marquez giving himself work to do after a wobble off the line. But work is exactly what the seven-time Champion did, grabbing third from Morbidelli at Turn 8 as the leading trio throughout the weekend found themselves 1-2-3 on Lap 1.

Sure enough, the three started to stretch away. The gap on Lap 2 was already up to 0.7 over Morbidelli in fourth and it was Viñales leading the way, but not for long. Quartararo was right behind his fellow Yamaha rider and getting a good run out of Turn 10, the rookie dived past to lead. Marquez wasn’t going to waste any time either, and Lap 3 saw the 93 set the fastest lap of the race as Quartararo started to pull away. Having seen that, Marquez dived under Viñales at Turn 10 on Lap 4 and locked his radar onto the Petronas machine at the front, as Viñales struggled to hold the pace. Further back, Espargaro was still able to make trouble Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and second in the Championship Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) for P5 as the KTM rider continued to impress.

Back at the front, Quartararo had a 0.8 lead over Marquez, with Viñales slipping to 1.5 seconds back on Lap 6. The Frenchman's advantage wouldn’t stay above half a second for long though as the Repsol Honda began to reel the Petronas Yamaha in; the reigning World Champion and the MotoGP™ rookie locked in a face off. Viñales then seemed out of range nearly three seconds back, but late race pace has often been a calling card for the number 12...

In the battle for sixth, Rins was given a long lap penalty shortly after finally dispatching Espargaro’s KTM, but soon it didn’t matter for the Silverstone winner. The Suzuki man was  suddenly down at Turn 4, leaving his third place overall in the standings under attack.

Rossi pressured Morbidelli for fourth, Viñales was at a fairly constant gap, and Quartararo remained nigh on faultless at the front. There was no sign of the 20-year-old buckling under the pressure, with the gap between the two hovering at two tenths.

The laps ticked by and still there was no change, with the Frenchman holding firm. Marquez was fierce on the brakes coming into Turn 10, but ‘El Diablo’ was a demon at picking the bike up onto the straight. There was simply nothing splitting the two, and Viñales was then starting to close the gap...

Onto the final lap, the number 93 was about to strike. Marquez had the run on Quartararo and led into Turn 1, but Quartararo got a good run out of Turn 2 and Turn 3 to bite straight back. Into Turn 4 they went, Quartararo was back in front, but the back straight and Turn 8 provided a golden passing opportunity and Marquez got it stopped into the left-hander – slicing back into the lead. Now it was Marquez’ to lose, with no way through for Quartararo at Turn 10, although the Yamaha got a good run down through Turn 11 and 12. As the tight left of Turn 14 approached, the Frenchman was right behind the Spaniard. Marquez went defensive and was slow mid-corner, Quartararo tried to cut back...but there was no way through as the Yamaha almost touched the rear wheel of the Honda. Subsequently, Quartararo had to sit up, and that was sadly game over. The reigning Champion returned to winning ways after two consecutive second places, winning in enemy territory and overtaking Mike Hailwood’s Grand Prix win record in the process - 77 is now his tally. And his points lead? 93.

Quartararo's second, however, made him 'the real winner', according to Marquez, and the Frenchman is the top Independent Team rider once again. Viñales didn’t quite have enough on Sunday afternoon for the men ahead of him in the end, but a fifth podium of the season continues his consistent form of late to edge clear of teammate Rossi in the Championship.

Speaking of ‘The Doctor’, it wasn’t a home GP podium Rossi would have been looking for, but a great fight with Morbidelli and a third consecutive P4 is a good turn around for the nine-time World Champion since summer break. For Morbidelli, a strong and consistent weekend ends with a fourth P5 of the year - a nice way to celebrate his 100th Grand Prix race. All four Yamahas inside the top five at Misano is also promising for the Iwata factory.

Ultimately Dovizioso could do no more than sixth at the venue he won at last season, with Pol Espargaro next up in P7 as a solid reward for his - and KTM's - impressive weekend. Upon his return from injury, Joan Mir was the sole Team Suzuki Ecstar finisher in P8, with Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller recovering from P16 on the grid to grab ninth ahead of fellow GP19 rider Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) in P10.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), wildcard Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) and Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the race – riders ok.

Marquez vs Quartararo: something we should start getting used to? Misano could be just the first installment of an all-time great rivalry. For now, Marquez has the bragging rights and the number 93 heads to his home Grand Prix at MotorLand Aragon with 93 points over his rivals. But Quartararo is coming. Can anyone beat Marquez on Spanish soil next week?
 
Marc Marquez: "Honestly speaking I knew it wasn't necessary to win because I saw Rins was out and Dovi was far. But yesterday was extra motivation, an extra push for the race. What I did was just try to stay there and stay there, I wasn't sure...but then I decided I would just try on the last lap. I knew that Fabio was really fast in T3, so I tried to overtake him before there, close the door through each corner and be smart. It's really nice to win and it's even nicer to have a 93-point advantage in the Championship!"
 
Race results:
1 - Marc Marquez (SPA - Honda) 42'25.163
2 - Fabio Quartararo* (FRA- Yamaha) +0.903
3 - Maverick Viñales (SPA - Yamaha) +1.636

*Independent Team rider
 
Podium L-R: Quartararo, Marquez and Viñales
 
Fernandez gets feisty to deny 'Diggia' a first win on home turf
A tumultuous final lap decides an intermediate class thriller
Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) secured his third win of the season as the Moto2™ race at the GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini came down to the wire, with the Spaniard going toe to toe with Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) on the final lap to deny the home hero. Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the podium, a little back from the controversy.

Di Giannantonio held position off the line at the Italian grabbed the holeshot from pole position, with Marquez losing out slightly as the lights went out as the Spaniard initially dropped to P6. Fernandez slotted into second behind ‘Diggia’, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) getting a lightning start from P7 to climb to P3.

Home hero Di Giannantonio had Fernandez glued to the back of him and was pushing in the early stages, the Italian out the seat coming out of Turn 2 on Lap 2 in a lucky close call for the race leader. Despite that, the rookie set the fastest lap of the race as the top two started to stretch away...

Meanwhile, Marquez had recovered to get himself up to third after passing Lüthi, with Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) losing the front at Turn 10 to allow the duo through – the Australian just staying on board his Kalex. Marquez was then chasing Di Giannantonio and Fernandez, with the gap over half a second and Lüthi going with him.

On Lap 6, the top four were nearly two seconds clear of Gardner and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with Di Giannantonio keeping his cool at the front. However, Lap 9 saw Fernandez make a first move. The Spaniard swooped around the outside at Turn 1 to have the inside line at Turn 2 – a classic Misano move – but Di Giannantonio didn’t let P1 go without a fight. The Speed Up rider had the inside line for Turn 3 and although Fernandez would get him back to lead, ‘Diggia’ fought back at Turn 8 and Marquez pounced on his title rival, too. Fernandez was down to P3, with Di Giannantonio then holding a half-second advantage over the Championship leader.

With 13 laps to go, Fernandez was back into P2 as Di Giannantonio held a 0.7 lead. But the Kalex rider had the bit between his teeth as he hunted the Speed Up, clawing back Di Giannantonio’s advantage to half a second on the next lap. The gap then stayed fairly constant between the top two, with Marquez just losing touch to sit around a second off the lead. But with seven laps left, Fernandez was closer, seemingly having an advantage in the latter half of the lap, with Di Giannantonio holding the edge in the first half. But then the Spaniard had a huge front-end scare at Turn 10...and ‘Diggia’ was handed a track limits warning.

Five to go, four to go, three to go. Di Giannantonio was holding firm with Fernandez swarming behind: a dream debut home win vs vital points in the Championship. Who would prevail? Fernandez was piling on the pressure with two laps remaining and heading onto the final lap there was nothing between them. Fernandez then pounced, taking the outside line around Turn 1 to grab the inside at Turn 2 – but he was in hot and Di Giannantonio got the switchback once again.

The latter then made a small mistake on the exit of Turn 4 to give Fernandez – not that he needed it – that little extra scent of the win. Turn 8 passed by, as did Turn 10. But, with a good run out of the tight right-hander onto the back straight, Fernandez was in the tow. The Spaniard ran out a little wide at Turn 11 but then, the number 40 went for it. Slight contact and elbows out, Fernandez sat Di Giannantonio up and that was all she wrote, with the Spaniard's aggression moving him to within 26 points of Marquez' lead.

Marquez takes a podium away from Misano and heads to his home GP at MotorLand Aragon still in control, with Lüthi not quite keep tabs on the number 73 as the Swiss rider picked up his best result since Assen in P4. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) took his best finish of the season in fifth after a solid ride at his team’s home race, the British rider finishing just ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder after an impressive ride saw the South African coming from P16 on the grid. +Ego Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro crossed the line eighth after starting from 15th, another who made progress through the field.

Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made a good start but eventually slipped down to eighth place, the Spaniard beating home rider Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) by just over a second - although the rookie returning from injury took a top ten on his 100th GP start. Said duo were able to capitalise on Lorenzo Baldassarri’s (FlexBox HP 40) late long lap penalty for exceeding track limits as he closed out the top 10 at his home GP.

After a strong weekend, ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team’s Gardner and Tetsuta Nagashima crashed out of contention – riders ok. Home heroes Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) crashed out too, with Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) the other faller on Sunday afternoon.

After the drama of Misano, Fernandez cements himself as a title threat to Marquez with win number three of his season, the second on the bounce, although 26 points in his pocket means it's still a healthy margin for Marquez heading to Aragon. Moto2™ go racing again next weekend in Spain, what do we have in store before jetting off to Asia?

 
 
Augusto Fernandez: "It was an amazing race, the pace was really high, Fabio did a really good job on the pace. I just tried to stay behind him and wait until the last laps, I tried at the beginning of the race to make the move and make the pace but it didn't work so I put myself behind him and just waited until the end, and I was able to make the move and win the race.

"If it was an aggressive move, I'm sorry. I don't think so. It's the last lap and we're fighting for the win, I touched the green but it's because I was really close to his rear tyre at Turn 11 where it's really fast. I thought about going inside or outside, but inside was impossible because of the lean angle so I went outside and touched the green. We have three times on the green before a warning and I didn't do it three times."
 
Race results:
1 - Augusto Fernandez (SPA - Kalex) 41'12.535
2 - Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA - Speed Up) +0.186
3 - Alex Marquez (SPA - Kalex) +1.283
Podium L-R: Di Giannantonio, Fernandez and Marquez

Tags:
Facebook Twitter
More in Sport
Editor’s Picks
Top News