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Marvellous Marquez reigns in Aragon yet again

Marc Marquez held off Andrea Dovizioso to clinch victory at the Grand Prix of Aragon after Jorge Lorenzo crashed out for the second successive race.

Spaniard Marquez triumphed on home soil for a third successive year, though it was far from straightforward for the world championship leader on Sunday.

His battle with Dovizioso ebbed and flowed throughout after polesitter Lorenzo’s early exit, the Ducati rider failing to make it beyond the first corner as he flipped over the front of his bike.

Marquez had initially squeezed into the lead, ahead of compatriot Lorenzo, who suffered a dislocated toe on his right foot, but Dovizioso darted to the head of the field by the end of the opening lap.

The Italian held sway for the majority of the race before the duo began exchanging first place, Marquez – who jumped onto the barriers to salute the crowd during his celebrations – crucially assuming control on lap 21 before moving clear in the closing stages.

Andrea Iannone secured the final place on the podium ahead of Suzuki Ecstar team-mate Alex Rins, with Dani Pedrosa and Aleix Espargaro in fifth and sixth respectively.

Danilo Petrucci was seventh ahead of Valentino Rossi, the Italian making a late move to pass Jack Miller, with Maverick Vinales rounding out the top 10.

Marquez has now won six times this season, though this success ends a four-race drought that stretches back to the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring in July.

He leads the overall standings by 72 points from Dovizioso with five races to go, making it just a matter of when, not if, he is crowned champion again.

IN THE POINTS: 

1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.648 seconds
3. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) +1.259
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.638
5. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) +5.274
6.  Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Gresini) +9.396
7. Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Racing Ducati) +14.285
8. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) +15.199
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing Ducati) +16.375
10. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) +22.457
11. Franco Morbidelli (Marc VDS) +27.025
12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +27.957
13. Bradley Smith (KTM) +28.821
14. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha) +32.345
15. Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto) +37.639

TITLE STANDINGS:

1. Marc Marquez – 246
2. Andrea Dovizioso – 174
3. Valentino Rossi – 159
4. Jorge Lorenzo – 130
5. Maverick Vinales – 130

1. Repsol Honda 333
2. Ducati 305
3. Movistar Yamaha 289
4. Suzuki Ecstar 200
5. Alma Pramac Racing 187

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Autosport Awards: Marquez clinches Rider of the year

MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez secured the Rider of the Year award at the 2017 Autosport Awards.

Marquez’s fourth premier class world title was one of his hardest-earned yet, as he had to battle back from a poor start to the season.

Grappling with a difficult Honda, Marquez languished 37 points away from the championship lead after six of the 18 rounds – having taken just two podium finishes at that stage.

But resurgent form in the second half of the year allowed Marquez and Honda to overcome surprise title rival Andrea Dovizioso and earn his fourth title in just five seasons in MotoGP.

Marquez could not attend the Autosport Awards in person as he was at Honda’s annual ‘Thanks Day’ event in Japan, but he was presented with the trophy there by ex-Formula 1 driver Jenson Button.

“It’s a pleasure to receive this award,” said Marquez in a video from Motegi. “Unluckily I cannot be here with all of you but we have a great event here in Japan with amazing fans who supported me all season.

“Thanks again for this amazing award, I will keep it with me and I promise you that I will keep going – full gas, always.”

Dovizioso was another of the finalists in the Rider of the Year category, having produced the season of his life on a Ducati few expected to be a title contender in 2017.

Though Dovizioso equalled Marquez with six race wins and took the championship fight to the wire, he fell short of becoming Ducati’s first champion since Casey Stoner a decade earlier.

Marquez’s race-winning teammate Dani Pedrosa was also in the Award running, as were star rookie Johann Zarco and Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.

Though Rossi and Vinales both dropped out of championship contention before the finales, Vinales had taken control of the early part of the season in his first year at Yamaha and Rossi startled the paddock by returning to MotoGP action only 22 days after breaking his leg in a motocross accident.

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Marquez ´feeling good´ as title glory beckons

Marc Marquez will sleep a little easier ahead of the final race of the MotoGP season, after a dream qualifying session in Valencia moved him even closer to a fourth premier-class world title in five years.

The world champion in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Marquez came into the year’s last event as a heavy favourite to finish top of the standings again – given his 21-point lead over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso.

Any hopes Dovizioso had of turning things round were severely dented on Saturday as he qualified ninth for the Valencia GP and Marquez took pole.

Marquez will still be nervous when he looks to wrap up the championship, yet he could hardly have asked for a better day.

“We are human and it will be more difficult to sleep. But it’s normal, I would be more nervous if Dovi was on pole and I was 10th, ninth or eighth,” said Marquez, who needs only an 11th-placed finish to be crowned champion.

“I’m really happy to be on pole during this special weekend. I’m happy with the rhythm and the feeling of the bike.

“It’s ‘Marquez style’ until [the] warm up, then maybe we need to change the strategy and adapt to the conditions tomorrow [Sunday]. But I’m feeling good with the bike, which is the most important.

“The first few laps will be more difficult because when you’re fighting for the championship you’re stiff on the bike until you get used to it. But we need to keep the same mentality. That will be the key.”

Dovizioso insisted Ducati will “try right until the very end”, but it will now take a remarkable turnaround to deny Marquez.

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MotoGP Australia: Marquez dominates wet FP3 before late fall

Rain or shine, Marc Marquez continues to show impressive speed at Phillip Island as he dominates a wet FP3; Jorge Lorenzo suffers huge fall at T8.

Marc Marquez showed he will be contender for the race win on Sunday no matter the conditions after dominating a wet FP3 at Phillip Island, before a late fall interrupted his momentum.

The current championship leader appeared unharmed after a relatively low speed crash at Siberia. Fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo wasn’t so fortunate, the Ducati man clipping a white line on the inside of turn eight, resulting in a fast tumble through the gravel. Although able to walk, the Majorcan appeared to tweak a knee in the crash.

Before then, Lorenzo appeared more adept in the wet than he had in the dry the day before, leading the way early on as the clouds rolled in off the Pacific. That was until Marquez found his rhythm. The Repsol Honda rider was a full eight tenths faster than the rest for much of the session until the beginnings of a dry line appeared in the final five minutes.

That allowed Johann Zarco, an early crasher on the exit of turn ten, to halve Marquez’s advantage when the chequered flag was readied. Pol Espargaro carried his speed over from an impressive FP2, the Catalan ending the Saturday morning session in third.

Karel Abraham (fourth), Danilo Petrucci (fifth), Dani Pedrosa (sixth) and Cal Crutchlow (seventh) all headed championship challenger Andrea Dovizioso, with the Italian unable to lap the Phillip Island track within a second of Marquez’s best. Hector Barbera and Jack Miller completed the top ten.

There would be no major breakthrough for Movistar Yamaha in wet conditions here, with factory men Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales struggling to the twelfth and 13th fastest times, one and two places behind Lorenzo (eleventh) respectively.

Andrea Iannone was another rider to fall, the Italian coming undone at the Honda hairpin before placing an underwhelming 22nd, a place ahead of Friday pace setter Aleix Espargaro, who ended the morning 23rd.
(Neil Morrison)

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Rossi fifth as Marquez wins Aragon GP

MADRID- Defending champion Marc Marquez won the Aragon MotoGP on Sunday to take a 16-point lead in the world championship standings.

It was an all Spanish podium as Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa was second and Jorge Lorenzo third for Ducati.

Italian Valentino Rossi, making a remarkable comeback barely three weeks after suffering a broken leg, finished fifth on his Yamaha after lying second earlier on.

Team mate Maverick Vinales of Spain, who started on pole, was fourth and compatriot Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia sixth.

Briton Cal Crutchlow was in contention for a top-six place but crashed and had to retire on lap 17.

Marquez started the race in fifth position after crashing in qualifying and had a slow start but quickly gained on his rivals, taking the lead from Lorenzo on the 16th lap and charging to his fifth title of the season.

“It was a difficult race. At the beginning I didn’t have the feeling. I tried to come back with the feeling but even in the last part of the race I didn’t feel great. I struggled more than other years here. But it’s great,” Marquez said.

Lorenzo came close to claiming his first win of the season but faded as the race entered the final stages.

“It’s a pity to lose the victory by not so much. In the last 10 laps we needed more grip in the rear. With the medium (tyres) of Dani and the hard of Marc I couldn’t follow them. Anyway, I‘m happy with this third position,” Lorenzo told reporters.

By winning with four rounds remaining Marquez was able to take a clear lead in the standings as Andrea Dovizioso, previously the joint leader, managed only seventh place.

Marquez, who also won in San Marino two weeks ago, now has 224 points, Dovizioso 208 and Vinales 196.

The next race is the Japan Grand Prix in Motegi on Oct. 15.

(Steve Tongue)

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Marquez ties at the top with wet San Marino win

Marc Marquez seized the lead on the last lap to win a soaking San Marino Grand Prix for Honda on Sunday and pull level at the top of the overall standings with works Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso.

Italian Danilo Petrucci, who led for much of the race at Misano’s Marco Simoncelli circuit on Italy’s Adriatic coast, had to settle for second on a non-works Ducati with compatriot Dovizioso a distant third.

Marquez and Dovizioso are now tied on 199 points with Spaniard Maverick Vinales, who finished fourth for Yamaha, third on 183.

The top two have both won four races but Marquez has more second places.

Vinales had started on pole position and was the sole works Yamaha rider in the race after Italian Valentino Rossi, who is fourth in the championship on 157 points, broke his leg in training last week.

However it was fellow-Spaniard and triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo who made a lightning start to take the lead on the opening lap for Ducati.

Lorenzo pulled away but crashed on the seventh of 28 laps, flipping off the bike at turn six and handing the lead to Petrucci.

The Italian, who has yet to win a race in the top category, then led the next 20 on his Pramac Ducati with Marquez closing in and biding his time before making the move at the start of the last lap.

“In rainy conditions you never know but I was trying to control all the race, trying to control myself because I was able to be a little bit faster but I said ‘you must be patient’,” said Marquez.

“For a moment I thought of staying in second position. Then on the last lap I said ‘I try’. This championship is really tight and five points can be a lot in the end.”

“After Silverstone this victory is really important for myself and the team,” added the 24-year-old, who retired with a blown engine in the previous round in Britain. His last lap was also the fastest of the race.

Dovizioso, who would have been the oldest rider to win three races in a row since Australian Mick Doohan in 1998 had he continued his run of success from Austria and Silverstone, said he was happy with a first podium at Misano.

“I was there, but I wasn’t feeling so good on the bike so the risk was too high. Everybody almost crashed today,” he said.

“It was a very difficult weekend but we are there and did another podium in a strange and difficult moment.”
(Alan Baldwin)