Marquez equals Doohan’s record with comfortable win at Motegi

by Joshua Close
Marc Marquez wins at Motegi 2019

Marc Marquez equaled Mick Doohan’s record of 54 premier class victories by cruising to victory at Motegi.

The 2019 MotoGP Champion, barring a few corners, led the entire race comfortably. A day after clinching his 90th career pole, Marquez becomes Honda’s joint-most successful rider. He’ll no doubt take that record as his own before the end of 2019.

Victory for Marquez also clinched the constructors title for Honda. Across all classes, this is Honda’s 70th constructors championship. It’s also the 20th time they’ve secured both the rider and team championship in the same season.

Fabio Quartararo became 2019 Rookie of the Year by finishing second. Despite momentarily taking the lead on the opening lap, the Frenchman was unable to stick with Marquez. He does, however, now have six podiums this season.

Quartararo was almost caught by Andrea Dovizioso in the closing stages. One more lap and Dovizioso may have finished one step higher on the podium. Instead, the Italian had to settle for third.

Maverick Viñales finished where he started, in fourth spot. The Monster Yamaha was slow off the line and, once again, had to rely on late race pace.

Cal Crutchlow sneaked by Franco Morbidelli at the line to secure fifth. It’s the first time that the Brit has been inside the top five since Brno.

Alex Rins came out on top in a race-long battle with his team-mate, Joan Mir, to take seventh. Danilo Petrucci had another quiet day in ninth, with Jack Miller completing the top 10. The Australian had been battling for a podium in the opening laps, however he began to struggle with his soft rear tyre.

Valentino Rossi had a day to forget. The nine-time champion crashed out of 11th place at turn one. It’s his fourth DNF of the season. Andrea Iannone also crashed out on the Aprilia.

The start of the race was enthralling, with the Petronas Yamaha duo nearly clashing at turn one. As a result, Morbidelli was pushed wide and dropped, momentarily, down the order.

Marquez made a fantastic start, however he lost the lead to Quartararo a few corners into the race. As predicted, the new champion fought back immediately and began to gap the field.

Meanwhile, Morbidelli had regrouped and began battling Miller for third. The pair exchanged positions multiple times in a fantastic fight. Miller eventually managed to pull away.

At the front, Marquez was trying to pull away. Quartararo was keeping the Honda within a second of him, however. As we’ve seen in recent races, Marquez and Quartararo were in a league of their own.

With the leading duo clear in the distance, the battle for third was heating up. Miller, on the soft tyre, was beginning to lose grip. As a result, he lost out to Morbidelli and quickly fell behind Dovizioso and Viñales. A few laps later, Miller dropped to eighth.

Meanwhile, Dovizioso dove down the inside of Morbidelli for third at turn 11. Viñales also got by his fellow Yamaha rider two laps later.

Viñales had fantastic pace heading into the final few laps. The Yamaha worked perfectly through the corners, allowing him to close in. However, Dovizioso had the straight line speed advantage, and was able to brake later.

Behind them, Rossi’s race went from bad to worse. The 40-year-old crashed out of 11th, having struggled all weekend. As a result, he has also fallen behind Quartararo in the championship standings.

At the front, Marquez was in cruise mode. Quartararo, however, was beginning to struggle with his soft rear tyre. Dovizioso, on the medium tyre, was closing in. Fortunately for Quartararo, Dovizioso would ultimately run out of time.

Marquez crossed the line to take his 10th victory of 2019. He now has an astonishing 119-point advantage over Dovizioso in the championship.

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