Marquez crashes after shadowing the Frenchman in Q2, Yamaha lock out the front row

Saturday, 02 November 2019
Fabio Quartararo took a sensational home GP pole position for Petronas Yamaha SRT in a hugely dramatic Q2 at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix; a stunning 1:58.303 meaning he saw off fellow Yamaha riders Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in the fight for the top. Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez crashed out from following the Frenchman, and he’ll start P11.

A frantic session started with Marquez backing out of his first flying lap, and soon after the 2019 World Champion was locked on to Quartararo. The rookie kept his head down on his first lap to take provisional pole, however, before Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) then took over at the summit in Q2.

Quartararo remained unfazed though, firing in a stunner as Marquez quickly lost touch. The Hondas of Marquez and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) were unable to do anything about the flying Frenchman, but Viñales was the next to take up the challenge and he managed to edge him out by just 0.087.

And then came the drama. As Quartararo headed out for his second run, Marquez rumbled out of pitlane right next to the Yamaha and shadowed him around Sepang, intent on remaining latched onto the rear of the fastest man on Friday. But would Quartararo ruin his next lap in order to not drag the World Champion round? The answer was no, and as the number 20 fired his Yamaha out of the final corner and down the straight, it was go time.

Despatching Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) to latch back onto Quartararo, Marquez made Turn 1 in hot pursuit before it all went wrong soon after. Pushing to stay with the rookie, the reigning Champion then suddenly suffered a highside and tumbled off in to the gravel at Turn 2 as Quartararo continued his final charge.

At the time of the crash, Marquez was fifth. As the red and yellow sectors lit up the timing screens for the rest, that started to look in doubt. And sure enough, it would all shuffle again. Quartararo was pulling out the tenths; 0.2 under halfway around the lap, 0.3 under at the third split…but would he hold on? A slight twitch at the final corner threatened to spoil a phenomenal lap but, although losing time, Quartararo took the chequered flag to take an immense fifth pole of 2019 and his sixth consecutive front row start.

Viñales and Morbidelli make it a Yamaha front row lockout in Malaysia in second and third, with a Ducati, Honda and Yamaha making up the second row: Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) spearheads Row 3 in P7 ahead of Petrucci, with LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Johann Zarco having a sterling ride in Q2 to grab his best dry qualifying of the year in P9 – the second best Honda on the grid.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) took P10 in the end and pipped the man he’s fought for the title for the last three years to the honour, with Marquez’ crash proving even more costly than it initially seemed and the number 93 down in P11 in his worst qualifying since Mugello 2015. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) took P12 to start alongside him.

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) complete the top fifteen.

The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix was already set up to impress, but a tale of two halves for Marquez and a few of his biggest rivals mean Sunday is really poised for a showdown. Who can take the heat? Find out at 15:00 (GMT +8) as the lights go out for the premier class.
Tekst Motor GP
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High-speed chess in Q2 sees the reigning Champion emerge ahead in the final dash for the line

Saturday, 24 August 2019
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez took pole number 60 of his career to steal P1 in a Q2 Silverstone stunner, with everything going down to the wire and a three-man freight train of Marquez, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) fighting it out in the final seconds of the session. Over the line it was Marquez who took the upper hand, with Rossi set to start P2 after taking his first front row since Austin and Miller alongside the two men on the front row in third. Turn 1 is going to be a stunner.

It was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who made it through from Q1 after finding themselves outside the top ten on Saturday morning, with the number 04 ultimately topping the session by 0.246 to set himself up for an assault on Q2. That Q2 didn’t disappoint, with the grid in the air until the final few seconds.

After the first run it was Free Practice pacesetter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who was on provisional pole, but the Frenchman came under threat once the final assault began. Rossi needed a lap time after having his maiden lap cancelled for track limits and ‘The Doctor’, Marquez and Miller came out of pitlane at the same time as a cat and mouse game proceeded on the out-lap, with no one wanting to lead. 

After they’d almost ground to a halt on the Wellington Straight, it had to be go-time and needing a lap time the most, Rossi had to bolt. Marquez and Miller slotted into the tow, and all three were up in the first sector. And the second…and then the third – but Marquez was the man with the biggest margin, the reigning Champion a few tenths under Quartararo’s time by the final sector.

As the three barrelled round the final corner, Rossi was first over the line to take over at the top, before being deposed by Marquez just behind him. A split second later Miller stole third, leaving Quartararo relegated to fourth and a Marquez-Rossi-Miller front row.

As it transpired, an alarm on the dash had caused the Frenchman to switch to his number two bike and there wasn’t time to change the front tyre. So Q2 may have been out of reach, but El Diablo’s FP4 pace says he’ll be guns blazing on Sunday afternoon…

Alongside Quartararo on the second row is Rins after a solid session despite the Suzuki rider’s journey through Q1, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) slotting into sixth after he’s shown good speed all weekend at the track that saw him take his first premier class win. Dovizioso, who topped Q1, will line up seventh and will be gunning for another characteristic stunner of a start, although the Italian’s fastest laptime was identical to that of Viñales.

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was eighth fastest and starts just ahead of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) after the home hero suffered a crash in Q2, with his teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completing the top ten.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) had a tough day at the track where he took his first podium and was P11, ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and the Red Bull KTM Factory racing duo of Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco. Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira was only just off the factory duo in P15.

A Q2 treat sees Marquez vs Rossi take centre stage, but there’s plenty of challengers waiting in the wings. The man who set the pace all weekend is certainly one of them, but a good eight riders will fancy their chances of a win or assault on the podium, so it looks like we’re set up for another Silverstone stunner. Tune in for the race LIVE at 13:00 local time (GMT+1) on Sunday afternoon.
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Friday, 23 August 2019
Fabio Quartararo’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) savage 1:59.225 was allowed to stand to give the rookie phenomenon the advantage on Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix with a brilliant new lap record, after the lap was initially disallowed before a photo review. The Frenchman was also fastest in FP1 to make it a full house on Friday, with a significant advantage in both sessions. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sits as Quartararo’s closest challenger, 0.251 back, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top three as Yamaha stormed the timesheets. 

FP1 started under cloudy Silverstone skies as the MotoGP™ riders got their first taste of the new asphalt, and it was Quartararo who came into FP2 with a half-second advantage over the rest. Marquez was again his nearest rival in the opening session and it was the number 93 who instantly led FP2, cutting Quartararo’s advantage to two-tenths on the overall timesheets. Other early improvers were home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), the British rider dipping into the 2:00s, while Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) climbed into the top 10 as well.

Temperatures in England – believe it or not – were soaring and it seemed the riders were struggling to improve their times from FP1 at first, with Marquez’ benchmark putting him over seven tenths clear of the field for the first half of FP2. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for the seven-time Champion as at the Vale complex, Marquez crashed for the first time since Le Mans Q2 – but rider instantly up and ok. FP1 P4 finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then moved into second in the session, but then came Quartararo to cut the gap.

With eight minutes left, the timesheets lit up as fresh Michelin rubber was slotted in for a thrilling time attack. Riders like Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – 10th in FP1 – had slipped down to the lower ends of the timing screens, but the Australian soon jumped up to fourth overall and the two Yamahas were on barnstormers. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) looked set to go top overall and he did so with a new lap record, but ‘The Doctor’ didn’t stay there long as rookie Quartararo then hammered in his stunning 1:59.225: the quickest ever lap we’ve seen around Silverstone.

Viñales then got overhauled by Marquez as he beat his compatriot with a 1:59.476, with Rossi’s time putting him in fourth. Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up into fifth and sixth respectively, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) strong on fresh tyres to end the day seventh on the combined times.

Oliveira once again impressed to lead the KTM charge in P8, the Portuguese rider improving from P16 in the opening 45 minutes, with Miller’s aforementioned time enough to give him ninth overall. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) took tenth. 

Takaaki Nakagami, another who had their laptime reinstated, ended the day in P11, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Espargaro just missed out after the laptime reinstatements despite managing to get back out on his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini machine after first one completely cut out heading into Brooklands corner, and he ends the day in P12. Pol Espargaro, teammate Johann Zarco and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the fastest fifteen.

A fast and furious couple of sessions on Friday now sets us up nicely for Saturday. FP3 should be dry, so there’s still time for the top 10 to change ahead of qualifying. Tune in for a crucial session at 09:55 local time (GMT+1).
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The pre-event Press Conference and the Day of Champions kick off the GoPro British Grand Prix

Thursday, 22 August 2019
Before go-time for the GoPro British Grand Prix, we had a full house of seven riders in the pre-event Press Conference, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) joined by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and the returning Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team). The new surface, the competitive field and what to expect in the weekend ahead meant there was plenty to talk about.

Marquez spoke first. “Yeah of course, looking forward to the Silverstone GP and this weekend because as you know I have some good luck, and I was unlucky some years. Anyway, we’ve had great races, it’s a circuit I like, one of our weak points on this race track was the bumps but looks like they’ve resurfaced in a good way, it looks nice from a bicycle! But tomorrow we will check on the bike and yeah apart from that try to concentrate, stay focused and try to fight on Sunday for the best position.”

And is the number 93 expecting tough competition? Most definitely. “Especially here, we saw last year in practice Viñales was fast, all the Yamaha riders were fast, but we weren’t far away. I think this year with the new surface it will be different, we need to understand the tyres, the grip, the level of our bike…we have a better engine this year and here it will be a small help. Of course Dovi will be there, he’s second in the Championship and will try to push, but our target is to finish on the podium and get points for the championship. The forecast looks nice so we’ll keep going!”

Dovizioso was next on the mic, with the Italian actually the most recent winner at Silverstone given his victory in 2017. And he’s the most recent winner overall after that stunner in Spielberg.

“Yes for sure the last race was amazing, a really nice battle from the first lap to the end with Marc, so we are so happy about that, we needed that victory. I’m happy to be here, I think it’s one of the best races in the Championship, the track is really nice. Hopefully without bumps it will be even nicer so I’m excited to try the new asphalt.”

So is it the British weather that Dovizioso has had on his side in the UK? His first premier class win came at Donington and since he’s had a fair few successes…

“I don’t like the weather so much! But I have always had good luck in this country, I’ve been pretty fast in England most of the time, I don’t know why. Donington was a special track and a special first victory but in Silverstone I’ve always felt good, it’s a really difficult track but I enjoy riding here.”

Rossi is another of the long list of previous winners at Silverstone. Incidentally, he also took his first premier class win in the UK at Donington as well, and after a tougher run of things in 2019, the ‘Doctor’ seems to be back on track.

“Yeah for us in the last two races from Brno we start in a better way. After we did another step, we worked well and we were quite competitive in the race. Considering Austria on paper is one of the worst tracks for us, it was quite good. We arrive here, hope to continue in that way because anyway Austria was not so bad, but I wasn’t fast enough to find the podium so we need to continue to work. Silverstone is a fantastic track. It’s great track, it’s a big track, everything is very fast and technical. Everybody is waiting for the asphalt tomorrow. If they’ve done a good job with less bumps and good grip, it will be very fun to ride here. And also we wait for the weather because in 2017 it was a fantastic weekend, a great weekend. Last year, unfortunately, it was a lot more difficult. We hope it’s similar to 2017!

“In the past I had good races and arrived on the podium, so this is the target. About the top speed we know we’re not fantastic but on paper in Austria it’s more important than here. The important thing is to find a good feeling with the bike, a good balance, and be ready for Sunday.”

Rookie Fabio Quartararo, meanwhile, also showed there’s more to Austria than just being the fastest in a straight line. After his podium there, the vibes are good on the way into Silverstone.

“I’m really happy about arriving here at a track that I really like. Like Valentino said, I think everybody is waiting for the new tarmac, I think it should be a good track for us. Suits us better than Austria so I can’t wait for tomorrow.

“The goal is to be top Rookie, we’re leading but the Championship isn’t over. Now we’re improving every race, we’re learning, so that’s still the main goal for this year. But in Austria the goal was to be in front but we didn’t expect to be on the podium, so if we have the opportunity to be on the podium we’ll fight for it.”

Quartararo is top rookie and he’s also leading the Independent Team rider standings at the moment, ahead of the next man to talk: Jack Miller. The Australian spoke about the weekend ahead, and how it feels to arrive with a new contract in his pocket.

“I’m definitely coming into this weekend with a different mindset that’s for sure. This Thursday has been easier, let’s just say that. It’s been nice you know, the Day of Champions has been really nice to see all the fans but no it’s good to be back, like you say I had a chance to make it back to back podiums last weekend, I had really strong pace all weekend but threw it away a bit too early. Had a good feeling this weekend last year, hopefully this year is a lot better and as the boys said the asphalt should be amazing, we’ve heard some decent reviews about the asphalt so I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and I think it’s shaping up to be a great weekend.”

It has sometimes been a more difficult track for the Australian, however, including a high-profile crash with then-teammate Cal Crutchlow a few years ago. But this year Miller is positive ahead of the weekend.

“As long as I don’t have any British road blocks in my way I should be alright! It’s not the best track for me to be honest, I always hated it until last year, with the new asphalt it was like a different track and I loved it. And I’m looking forward to it now with the reviews it’s had, I can’t wait to get out there. Should be a good weekend.”

Home hero Crutchlow was the next man on the mic, and the weekend is a fitting landmark: it’ll be his 150th Grand Prix start on Sunday. 

“I only got told at the last race that it would be my 150th Grand Prix start – I didn’t think I’d done 150 Grands Prix and I definitely haven’t finished 150! I’m looking forward to it, Silverstone is a good race for me, I’ll give my all for the 20-lap race.”

Crutchlow was also asked about the visit he paid to Chelsea F.C. on Wednesday, and dabbled a bit in the beautiful game before.

“It was was good! I’ve been to a few football stadiums in my time so to go back when I wasn’t playing or watching a game…it was nice to go round Stamford Bridge and get taken round by Kepa…he’s a big MotoGP fan, obviously he supports the Spaniards but it was a really good day.”

Finally, it was time to welcome back Jorge Lorenzo. After a long period of recovery after his crash in which he cracked vertebrae and got sidelined, he’s ready to race.

“I’m happy to be back. Finally, after long time. A very long time, no? I’ve never spent so long out of racing competition for about the 17 years I’ve been here. I’m back. What was very difficult at the beginning, the first two weeks was very difficult, I wasn’t recovering fast, it was slow. Luckily after three weeks the recovery has been faster, I have been able to do some physical training again. With some pain after the work during the night, every time the pain was less and less. I think this is the right moment to come back to the bike because you can lose a lot of speed, a lot of pace if you stay so much time out of competition.
 
“Honestly with my injury theoretically you need three months to recover completely, I’m about two months on now from the crash and obviously I still have some pain, but I feel ready to ride again and to try. I’m not here to fight for the win or podium or top five, but as soon as I go on the bike I want to start getting the pace I need to get good performances again, like I started to show before the crash.”

That he did, and it’s a good venue for the number 99 to return to. He’s got three wins at Silverstone and was on pole last season, and although it’s about getting back up to speed, the venue is certainly one the five-time World Champion knows his way around.

Lorenzo rejoins the field on track from Friday morning, with the race on Sunday at 13:00 (GMT +1).

Top photo L-R: Crutchlow, Quartararo, Dovizioso, Marquez, Rossi, Miller, Lorenzo

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Thursday, 22 August 2019
Pre-season testing for the Official Payment Card of MotoGP™ is complete and Dorna Sports is delighted to announce the arrival of the Fandom Pay MotoGP™ Mastercard®. Launched just ahead of the GoPro British Grand Prix, the prepaid cards are now available for fans in the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria, with the corresponding app available in each country’s native language.
 
Global, reliable and fast are key words in the world of MotoGP™ and they also describe the Fandom Pay prepaid MotoGP™ Mastercard® to perfection. Fandom Pay is the first ever payment card to reward MotoGP™ fans for their everyday spending, with a rewards system built around their passion for the sport. Payments can be made anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard® and fans who sign up can start enjoying the app and benefits instantly, putting security and speed at the fingertips of every user.
 
The Fandom Pay MotoGP™ Mastercard®
•  Exclusive discounts on merchandise, experiences, technology and more, with rewards available from leading rider and lifestyle brands including GoPro
• Automatic entry into competitions with a chance to win VIP access, fan experiences, money-can’t-buy prizes and limited-edition products
•  Contactless payments for ease and speed
•  ATM cash withdrawals
• Built-in analytics and spend categorisation to keep your finances on track
• No credit checks – the Fandom Pay MotoGP™ MasterCard® is a prepaid debit card.
 
For a limited time only, there are also two grandstand tickets for a 2020 MotoGP™ race up for grabs* for the first 150 fans to sign up!
 
Scott Jaeckal, Fandom Pay Managing Director and MotoGP™ fan: “We’re excited to be launching Fandom Pay in partnership with a sport that has such passionate fans. We are grateful for the support of our launch partners and proud to offer impressive rewards, discounts and competitions for fans. We are adding new partners regularly to get fans closer to the MotoGP action. We’re looking forward to meeting lots of fans at Silverstone this weekend and introducing them to the Official Payment Card of MotoGP™ and all it has to offer.”
 
Pau Serracanta, Managing Director at Dorna Sports: “I’m very happy to see the Fandom Pay MotoGP Mastercard become the Official Payment card of MotoGP. Our sport is about speed and style, but most importantly, it’s built around the fans and that makes the Fandom Pay MotoGP Mastercard a perfect partner. Rewarding fans for their loyalty and dedication to our sport is important and I can’t wait to see cardholders enjoying the benefits of this new way to pay – from its simplicity and ease to the incredible offers and experiences available.”
 
For more information on the Fandom Pay MotoGP™ Mastercard® including terms and conditions, rewards and FAQs, head to www.fandompay.com, search for Fandom Pay in the App Store or Google Play and tune in for the GoPro British Grand Prix this weekend.
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Foto Motor GP
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Day 2 of the KymiRing test is now done and dusted for MotoGP™ manufacturers’ test teams, with better weather early on Tuesday allowing everyone some dry track time and with it, a new – although unofficial – fastest lap of the venue. That fastest lap was set by Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith, who put in a 1:47.540 to top the timesheets before action was cut a little short as the weather closed back in.

Whilst it stayed dry and sunny earlier in the day, Honda test rider Stefan Bradl bounced back from a crash midway through yesterday to end the test second quickest, 0.324 behind Smith. After using a ‘salad box’ yesterday, Bradl’s RC213V was seen without it for the entirety of Tuesday’s track time. 

Ducati’s Michele Pirro, meanwhile, had an eventful day on Tuesday but it ended in him finishing the test third quickest. The Italian was the only faller after a crash at Turn 11, rider ok, and Pirro was then later seen testing a larger ‘salad box’ than was spotted yesterday – that’s as well as a modified aero fairing that broke cover. Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli, fresh from being announced as Joan Mir’s replacement for the British Grand Prix, ended the day just over a tenth adrift of Pirro in fourth.

KTM’s Mika Kallio was again the first rider out on track on Tuesday to the delight of the Finnish fans in attendance, and he completed the most laps of the day: an apt 36. Yamaha’s Jonas Folger was just a tenth behind Kallio, with all six riders separated by just over a second and a half.

That’s it from the second and final day of testing in Finland, with data gathered for both Michelin and the factories alike and work now continuing to prepare for the track’s future debut on the MotoGP™ calendar .
Some thoughts on Day 2:
Bradley Smith: “I think in general we’re quite happy with the test, we’ve been able to try the track in the rain and dry, for Michelin we’ve been able to gather information in both conditions.

“For MotoGP the track is quite tight, the first part of the track, the first five corners are really nice, and Sector 3 I like a lot. But Sectors 2 and 4 is quite tight. I like it because it’s different, in the World Championship it’s important to have different circuits and a different challenge for the riders.”

Stefan Bradl: “We were suffering a bit with the weather yesterday, it’s wasn’t so easy to find your way around. But we got some data, first impressions and congratulations to them for building this great facility here in Finland, people are so excited and thankful they’ll have a GP.

“From a rider point of view, it’s quite slow in places and there are a lot of changes of direction. It’s hard to say much right now because we weren’t pushing at absolutely 100% because of the track conditions, but my first impression is good.”

Timo Pohjola, KymiRing Circuit Director: “I think these two days have shown all of us that we’ve succeeded in the work we’ve done. We’re now on the way to the first Finnish GP and although a lot of work is still to be done, these days show we’re going the right way.

“I’m sure you’ve realised that it’s a work day, Tuesday, but still the spectator area is full of fans…I think that shows everyone how important it is to have MotoGP here!”
Tekst en foto’s Motor Gp
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De italiaan Andrea Dovizioso #04 wint de MotoGP van Oostenrijk op de Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Op de 2e plaats eindige Marc Marquez #93 met achter hem Dani Pedrosa #26.

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Op het circuit van Duitsland won de Spanjaard Marc Marquez. Hierdoor is hij momenteel leider voor het kampioenschap 2017.

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De Italiaan Iannone wint de MotoGP van Oostenrijk. Zijn teamgenoot Dovizioso pakte de 2e plaats gevolgd door Lorenzo. Rossi werd 4e en Marc Marquez 5e (ondanks schouderblessure).

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