Fabio Quartararo out to overcome final hurdle: Marquez

Fabio Quartararo out to overcome final hurdle: Marquez

Image via Petronas SRT twitter account: @sepangracing

With three races remaining in the 2019 season, time is running out for Fabio Quartararo to claim his first win in the premier class with only Marc Marquez standing in his way.

The 2019 World Champion has thrice defeated Quartararo by less than a second, all three taking place in the last four races as the satellite Yamaha rider has emerged as Marquez’s toughest rival.

Their battle will resume at Phillip Island, part two of MotoGP’s triple-header, with Marquez chasing his fifth successive victory and Quartararo his first ever.

Only the small hurdle of Marquez awaits

Quartararo has been the rookie sensation of 2019 with his runner-up result in Thailand, the opening event in the triple-header, enough to secure him the newcomers’ title.

The only thing missing from his impressive debut season with the Yamaha SRT team is a victory.

But there is one thing standing in his way: Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez.

Marquez has beaten Quartararo to the line three times in the last four races and never by more than a second.

The Frenchman has tried everything from attacking final lap manoeuvres to audacious first lap passes but nothing as yet has given him the edge over the Spaniard.

Phillip Island may do just that.

In his 11 visits to Australia across the spectrum of classes, Marquez has managed just three wins, two of which came in MotoGP.

However, his premier class visits to Australia have also resulted in three crashes and one DSQ. Back in 2013 he failed to pit during a mandatory two-lap window, a one-off rule in place as that year’s Bridgestone tyres weren’t up to the task of a full race.

Marquez’s mixed bundle of results at Phillip Island has not only left the rider but also pundits perplexed as the track is known as a rider’s circuit.

Perched on the edge of a cliff, the layout has been virtually unchanged for decades with its rolling elevations.

Riders don’t need to brake hard or even accelerate hard with just two heavy braking points, Honda Corner and MG. There is no high-speed straight but rather one flowing curve after another.

As such it is the rider more than the bike that wins at Phillip Island, a welcome boost for Quartararo as he pits his satellite Yamaha against Marquez’s works Honda.

“I feel very confident with the bike right now,” says Quartararo, “and that feeling from the front end of the bike will be important at Phillip Island.

“I’m arriving at a circuit that I like and where I have good memories. It’s also a track where the Yamaha has historically performed well, as we saw last year when a Yamaha was on the top step.”

First and second decided, P3 still up for grabs

Marquez has already won the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, his victory in Thailand enough to give him an unassailable lead over Andrea Dovizioso while his P1 two weeks later in Japan handed Honda the Constructors’ crown.

That same Sunday Dovizioso’s podium finish assured him of second.

Third, though, is very much up for grabs.

With a total of 75 points still to play for, Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales are tied on 176 points, Danilo Petrucci is seven behind with Quartararo a further six off the pace.

Valentino Rossi, Jack Miller and Cal Crutchlow are also all still in the running although the latter is a long-shot with a 63-point deficit.

For the likes of Vinales and Rossi, the Monster Energy Yamaha team’s riders, third was never the goal going into this season, a year in which Yamaha had hoped to take the fight to Marquez.

But, as they say, it’s not first or second but it’s still better than fourth.

Jorge Lorenzo in need of a late resurgence

Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate and three-time MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has yet to secure a top-ten finish in this year’s championship.

Yes, one could be kind and say he was injured earlier in the season, but even the Spaniard admits his 2019 results have not been what he wanted, or expected.

Rather than get it right as the year progressed and he adapted to the Honda, Lorenzo has fallen further off the pace and hasn’t scored a single point in the last three races.

With his reputation on the line, Lorenzo insists he has lost none of the talent that won him three World titles.

The numbers, though, don’t support that.

Help support journalists, the guardians of independent journalism, through our student media initiative that gives a voice to students and their generation! Find out more…Tags: MotoGP


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *