MotoGP: Marc Marquez out to end title-winning curse in Japan

Image via Twitter @marcmarquez93

Marc Marquez may have won the championship last time out but the MotoGP record-breaker heads to Japan looking to shake off his curse of crashing after early title success, something he’s done the last two occasions.

Marquez wrapped up the championship early in 2016 and again in 2018 only to crash in the very next grand prix.

This year, having secured a sixth riders’ title in the premier class in Thailand, he is the firm favourite to win at Twin Ring Motegi but only if he stays on the bike.

Read: Marc Marquez wraps up 2019 title with Thai MotoGP win

Marquez determined to shake of title-winning curse

With six MotoGP titles to his name and four on the trot, it is difficult to think that Marquez makes mistakes and yet he is as human as the rest of the field.

In 2016 and again 2018, having clinched the World title with races to spare, Marquez crashed through no fault but his own, going down early at Phillip Island.

This year the Repsol Honda rider will be more determined than ever to stay on his bike.

The one upside: This time he’s celebrating his latest title success in Japan and not Australia so the venue – and the challenges that await – are different.

Twin Rings Motegi is a simple circuit, one designed with to fit around an oval thus giving it its name.

Six right-handers and eight lefts see the riders change gears 40-odd times per lap, putting strain on both the gearbox and the brakes – three braking zones drop from  around 300 km/h down to just 80.

It is, however, a track that has been kind to Marquez and Honda in the past.

The Spaniard has two Japanese MotoGP wins to his name as well as an additional three podiums while he has never finished lower than P4.

Ducati out to upset the Japanese party

Japan is home to Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha – 10 of the 22 MotoGP machines – but Ducati will be keen to get one over on them after losing out at Misano, the second of Italy’s two circuits.

It has been a difficult second half of 2019 for lead Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso.

After opening his campaign with a win in Qatar and a third place a race later, many predicted this would be the season that the Italian took the fight all the way to the line.

Instead he lost it with four to go, worse than last season when he was out of the race with three MotoGPs remaining.

Although in the last six races he has taken three top-three results, including a win in Austria, his DNF at Silverstone followed by a P6 at Misano meant he was unable to keep pace with the ever-consistent Marquez.

Dovizioso and his Ducati Team team-mate Danilo Petrucci have nothing but pride left to play for.

Fabio Quartararo still chasing his first win

Fabio Quartararo has been the revelation of this season with the rookie rider in the thick of it of late.

Riding for Yamaha satellite team, Petronas Yamaha SRT, he has twice been denied by Marquez in the last three races alone.

He lost out to the reigning champion by 0.903s in San Marino and even less, 0.171s, in Thailand.

With five podiums in the last nine races, Quartararo’s first MotoGP win is around the corner… maybe just a couple of metres after Turn 14 on lap 24.

What about Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has not won at Twin Rings since his first stint with Yamaha, taking the chequered flag in 2008.

The 40-year-old Italian is still chasing his first win of this season with his form have dropped since America, round three, where he was last on the podium.

Although Rossi will continue in MotoGP in 2020, the time for him to turn back the clock is fast running out.

A victory in Japan, one of the many countries that adore the nine-time World Champion, would go a long way towards bolstering his confidence for a title tilt next season.

But while Rossi’s fortunes are not flying high, Jorge Lorenzo’s are even lower.

He joined Repsol Honda ahead of this campaign, determined to take on the very best – Marquez – but has been shown up by his team-mate.

Lorenzo has not won a single race while Marquez is after his tenth.

In fact the three-time MotoGP Champion doesn’t even have a top-ten to his name this season.

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