2019 Japanese GP (MotoGP) – Preview

Marc Márquez claimed his sixth MotoGP World Championship, and his eighth across all classes after winning the 2019 Thailand Grand Prix over Fabio Quartararo in what was a thrilling race at the Buriram International Circuit, and is now only behind Valentino Rossi (seven) and Giacomo Agostini (eight) in terms of premier class world championships.

Márquez also has the opportunity now (during the last four races) to not only equal the amount of race victories he had back in 2014 of 13, if he wins all of the remaining four races, but also to surpass the points-scoring tally of Jorge Lorenzo back in 2010 (383 points) for most points scored in a premier class season.

However, despite the dominance of Márquez this season, the grid remains as competitive as ever as we head into the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi, Round 16 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (325 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by an unassailable 110 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (215 points) heading into Honda’s home race, while Dovizioso’s aim now after being knocked out of the title race will be to secure second in the world championship for the third-straight season, and barring any disaster, should be able to do this.

Behind the Top Two in the championship, there is a massive five-way battle for third in the standings with Álex Rins (167 points) from Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, Maverick Viñales (163 points) from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (162 points), Viñales’ teammate Valentino Rossi (145 points), and Quartararo (143 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT are within 24 points of each other as we head into the final four races of the season!

Jack Miller (119 points) has slipped away from the battle for third for Alma Pramac Racing after his bike stopped running on the grid in Thailand, causing him to start from the pit-lane, but managed to fight his way back through the field to finish in 14th, while Cal Crutchlow (102 points), and Franco Morbidelli (90 points) complete the Top 10 in the standings for LCR Honda and Petronas Yamaha SRT respectively.

So, who is going to win the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix?

Marc Márquez is searching for his fourth-straight win, which would be the first time he has done this since winning the opening 10 races of 2014, and it will be remarkably just the third time since he joined the premier class back in 2013 that he has won four races in a row should he win this weeekend in Motegi.

The biggest danger for Márquez, other than the opposition, may well be himself, because when he has secured the world championship in the premier class before the final race of the season (2014, 2016, 2018), he has crashed or had issues in the following race, which was on all three occasions the Australian Grand Prix, that have forced him to retire from those races early.

However, you get the strong sense that Márquez is as strong a rider mentally than he ever has been, and given some of the things he could achieve in the rest of 2019, it would be wise to continue the approach that he has been using throughout this year so far.

It has been a remarkable season from Márquez, especially given the intense struggles of the other Honda riders, with Cal Crutchlow the highest-placed Honda rider in the standings (other than Márquez) in ninth, Takaaki Nakagami in 12th, and Jorge Lorenzo in a truly embarrassing 19th in the championship, and to make things worse for Lorenzo, he hasn’t finished a race inside the Top 10 in over a year!

Honda will hope the form of Márquez will continue, and that the other three will improve during the last four races of 2019. However, it is more likely that the current form trend will continue, and given that, I think Márquez will make it four wins in a row this weekend, and claim a third MotoGP victory in Japan, and his fifth across all classes.

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2019 San Marino GP (MotoGP) – Preview

A couple of weeks ago, it was a thrilling British Grand Prix, with Álex Rins shadowing Marc Márquez for the vast majority of the race, until basically the final corner, and with Márquez unable to hold a tight line through the final corner, Rins was able to move through on the inside to claim an exhilarating victory, the second of his premier class career, and for the second race in a row, Márquez was beaten in a last lap duel!

However, the British Grand Prix was marred by a big accident on the opening lap involving Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso, which has meant that the championship hopes of Dovizioso have virtually evaporated, but there is still a lot to race for as the grid heads to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the 2019 San Marino Grand Prix, Round 13 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (250 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by 78 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Dovizioso (172 points) after the events of the British Grand Prix, while Rins (149 points) moves up into third for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR after his second MotoGP race win, and is ahead of Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (145 points), who had another underwhelming performance, finishing in a disappointing seventh.

Behind the Top Four in the world championship, we find the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Maverick Viñales (118 points) and Valentino Rossi (116 points), who have continued their resurgent form at Silverstone, finishing third and fourth respectively, backing up fifth and fourth-place results at the Austrian Grand Prix, and you feel that they could be strong contenders this weekend at Misano.

The two factory Yamaha riders have pulled away from Australian Jack Miller (94 points) for Alma Pramac Racing, who has jumped into seventh in the championship after finishing eighth at Silverstone ahead of Quartararo (92 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT, who is just ahead of Cal Crutchlow (88 points) from LCR Honda, while Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (69 points) completes the Top 10, just ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (68 points), and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (62 points).

So, who is going to win the 2019 San Marino Grand Prix?

Even though he has been beaten in the last two races, you feel that Marc Márquez is the favourite to win this weekend, but he will face a strong challenge from both Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, along with both Álex Rins and Andrea Dovizioso if he is 100 percent fit, while you sense that Fabio Quartararo could be due for a first race victory in MotoGP.

However, I think Márquez will return to the top step of the podium for the seventh time in 2019, and for the third time in the premier class at Misano, and the sixth time across all classes to move ahead of Mike Hailwood into outright fourth for most race victories across all classes.

2019 British GP (MotoGP) – Preview

What a race in Austria! What a duel between Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez! A duel that went all the way to the final corner, and it was the Italian who got past the great Spaniard at the final corner to grab a memorable victory, his 14th in the premier class, to keep Ducati’s undefeated run at the Red Bull Ring alive!

However, can Dovizioso back up and defeat Márquez for a second race in a row? We will find out as MotoGP heads back to Great Britain, the spiritual home of motorsport and grand prix motorcycle racing, and to Silverstone for the 2019 British Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (230 points) for the Repsol Honda Team had his sizeable championship lead cut to 58 points by Dovizioso (172 points) from Mission Winnow Ducati, but you feel like the Spaniard has got this world championship under complete control, and hasn’t gone two races in a row without a race victory in 2019, so you think he is the man to beat at Silverstone.

As for Dovizioso, he needs to win again if he is to keep his slim championship hopes alive, and given the characteristics of Silverstone, it should be a great chance for Dovizioso to claim just his third win of 2019.

Danilo Petrucci (136 points) is still in third in the world championship for Mission Winnow Ducati despite finishing a disappointing ninth in Austria, and is set to come under pressure from Álex Rins (124 points), who finished sixth for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, as well as the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Valentino Rossi (103 points) and Maverick Viñales (102 points) after stronger fourth and fifth-place results at the Red Bull Ring.

Petronas Yamaha SRT rider Fabio Quartararo (92 points) has overtaken both Jack Miller (86 points) from Alma Pramac Racing and Cal Crutchlow (78 points) from LCR Honda after finishing a brilliant third in Austria, capitalising on the crashes of both Miller and Crutchlow.

Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (62 points) is just inside the Top 10, and is ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (61 points), and Franco Morbidelli (58 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT in the standings.

So, who is going to win the 2019 British Grand Prix?

Last year, the British Grand Prix was cancelled due to dangerously wet conditions, but the weather is set to be fine all this weekend at Silverstone, with the temperatures hovering around the mid-to-high 20s (degrees Celsius), and if that is the case, you would expect a duel between Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso, although you wouldn’t be surprised if others do challenge the two leading men in the championship for a fair portion of the race, and if others can challenge, it will be a race to remember!

2019 Austrian GP (MotoGP) – Preview

The MotoGP grid returned from their mid-season break, along with the same story that has dominated this season so far, the dominance of Marc Márquez!

Márquez not only grabbed his 50th premier class victory, his sixth race victory of the season in the Czech Republic, being the only rider so far in 2019 to have more than one win to his name, but before that, Márquez in changeable conditions took a remarkable 58th premier class pole position to equal the record held by Mick Doohan!

So, the question about whether anyone can challenge or stop Márquez will be the main storyline, along with whether Márquez can break Doohan’s pole position record in the premier class as we head into the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, Round 11 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Márquez (210 points) leads the championship by 63 points for the Repsol Honda Team over Mission Winnow Ducati Andrea Dovizioso (147 points), and even Dovizioso, along with the rest of the grid, is wondering how are they going to get on terms with the five-time MotoGP World Champion, despite finishing second in Brno.

It is one thing doing it at one venue every few rounds, like what could happen this week at the Red Bull Ring, with Ducati being a strong chance of challenging Márquez, it is another thing doing every round, and right now, no one else on the MotoGP grid can match what the great Spaniard is doing!

Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (129 points) is third in the world championship, losing ground to his teammate in battle for second in the championship after a disappointing eighth-placed finish at the Czech Republic Grand Prix, while Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (114 points) maintained his challenge for third in the standings despite finishing fourth.

Behind the Top Four in the world championship, we have the two Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders in Maverick Viñales (91 points) and Valentino Rossi (90 points) after finishing sixth and 10th respectively in Brno.

As a team right now, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP should be embarassed about where they are right now, and with the exception of the single race victory by Viñales in Assen, they haven’t looked genuinely close to winning a race in 2019 on merit, and right now are being challenged by Jack Miller (86 points) from Alma Pramac Racing after finishing a brilliant third in the Czech Republic from second on the grid.

If he continues this kind of form for the rest of 2019, Miller will finish ahead of both factory Yamaha riders in the championship!

Cal Crutchlow (78 points) is eighth in the world championship for LCR Honda after finishing fifth behind Márquez, Dovizioso, Miller, and Rins, and is in a close battle for this position in the standings with Petronas Yamaha SRT rookie Fabio Quartararo (76 points), who finished two places behind the British rider in seventh, while Pol Espargaró (61 points) completes the Top 10 in the championship for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, ahead of Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (57 points), and Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (52 points).

So, who is going to win the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix?

This race should suit Ducati because of the long straights, the hard-braking sections at the end of the long straights, and the general point-and-squirt nature of the Red Bull Ring. However, Marc Márquez was right there with the Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo last year, like he was with the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in 2017, and with Honda taking a big step forward with their bike in 2019 in regards to straight-line performance, Márquez has to be the man to beat at every circuit for the rest of 2019!

2019 Czech Republic GP (MotoGP) – Preview

The mid-season break is over, and Marc Márquez returns from his mid-season break with a firm stranglehold on the 2019 MotoGP World Championship after claiming his seventh-straight premier class victory at the Sachsenring, and his 10th-straight across all classes at the German venue.

So, with 10 races remaining in the season, can anyone prevent Márquez from winning his sixth MotoGP World Championship, and his eighth across all classes?

The answer will be revealed at Round 10 of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.

Márquez (185 points) leads the championship for the Repsol Honda Team by 58 points over Mission Winnow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (127 points) after his fifth race win of the season in Germany, and is in imperious form in 2019, having finished inside the Top Two in every race so far with the exception of crashing out of the lead at the Circuit of the Americas.

Meanwhile, Dovizioso has been struggling to keep up with the great Spaniard, having failed to finish on the podium in each of the last three races, and is in desperate need of a second race victory in 2019 this weekend at a circuit which should suit the Ducati, having won at the Brno Circuit last year in a thrilling race with then-teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Márquez.

Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (121 points) is third in the world championship, despite having not been on the podium in the last two races, while Team SUZUKI ECSTAR rider Álex Rins (101 points) is in fourth position in the standings despite crashing out of the last two races, which of course came after finishes the previous 16 completed races (not including the 2018 British Grand Prix).

However, a resurgent force is coming in the form of Maverick Viñales (85 points) from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP after winning in Assen, and finishing in second at the Sachsenring after a difficult opening seven races of 2019, where he only achieved one podium, and had three retirements. In my opinion, Viñales is one of the few riders when he is at his best and has the bike underneath him that can give Márquez a difficult time, and I believe he has at least another victory or two in him during the last 10 races of this season.

However, things are heading downhill for Valentino Rossi (80 points) after three retirements leading into the Sachsenring, where the seven-time premier class world champion only finished in eighth, 19.110 seconds behind Márquez, and you feel like the end might be nigh, maybe not in terms of his career, but in terms of high-level competitiveness for Rossi, and it is going to be interesting to see whether Rossi can turn his form around to prove that he is still capable of challenging for podiums and race wins on a consistent basis.

Behind the Top Six in the world championship, there is a strong three-way battle for seventh in the standings between Jack Miller (70 points) from Alma Pramac Racing, Fabio Quartararo (67 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT, and Cal Crutchlow (67 points) from LCR Honda, while there is also a three-way fight for 10th in the championship between Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (56 points), Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli (52 points), and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (50 points).

So, who is going to win the 2019 Czech Republic Grand Prix?

This should be a strong circuit for Ducati, and Andrea Dovizioso should be very hard to beat, along with Danilo Petrucci, and to a lesser extent Jack Miller. However, you cannot discount Marc Márquez from the fight for the race win, and given that he is won twice at the Brno Circuit in the premier class, and three times across all classes, you feel that he can triumph over the Ducati riders, and if he does, he will take one big step towards winning a fourth-straight world championship!

2019 Dutch TT (MotoGP) – Preview

The 2019 Catalan Grand Prix was a championship-defining race in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship after Jorge Lorenzo, who showed much improved form at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, took out Maverick Viñales, Valentino Rossi, and Andrea Dovizioso like a bowling ball on Lap Two of the race, while Marc Márquez managed to just avoid the incident and took the lead on his way to his 74th Grand Prix victory across all classes, and his 48th in the premier class to move into outright fourth for most premier class wins ahead of Lorenzo, and is now just two wins away from moving to equal-fourth alongside Mike Hailwood for most race victories across all classes.

However, most importantly, Márquez extends his lead in the championship to 37 points over Dovizioso as MotoGP heads to Assen for the 2019 Dutch TT, Round Eight of the 2019 season.

Márquez (140 points) leads the way for the Repsol Honda Team over Dovizioso (103 points) for Mission Winnow Ducati, and right now, given the way Márquez is riding right now, Dovizioso (and others) are firmly out of championship contention, unless Márquez has two or probably three retirements, or misses two or three races, or has a combination of each, and although Márquez does have a tendency for taking a few risks, the possibility of others getting back into world championship appears highly unlikely.

And, what’s worse for the rivals of Márquez is that it could have been a lot worse if the defending world champion had not crashed out of the Grand Prix of the Americas, a race where Márquez was previously undefeated at. It is going take a miracle, perhaps beyond that, for someone other than Márquez to win the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Álex Rins (101 points) is third in the championship for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR after finishing fourth in Barcelona, and remains just ahead of Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci (98 points) who finished third.

Valentino Rossi (72 points) is fifth in the world championship for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP after a second-straight retirement, the first time that has happened since the final three completed races of 2011 when he was at Ducati (NOTE: Does not include the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix), while Jack Miller (53 points) leads the battle from behind for Alma Pramac Racing after his fourth points finish of 2019 (all Top Fives).

Fabio Quartararo (51 points) moves up into seventh in the championship for Petronas Yamaha SRT after claiming his first premier class podium in Barcelona, finishing second, and looks likely to challenge for a race victory before the season comes to an end.

Behind him, Takaaki Nakagami (48 points) is eighth for LCR Honda, and Pol Espargaró (47 points) is ninth for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing after strong points finishes, while Cal Crutchlow (42 points) slips to 10th in the standings for LCR Honda after failing to finish for the second time in 2019.

So, who will win the 2019 Dutch TT?

The race at Assen is always a good race that always tends to suit most bikes on the grid, and is loved by all of the riders. I am going to tip Marc Márquez to continue to extend his championship lead, ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Jack Miller in what will be a thrilling race!

2019 Catalan GP (MotoGP) – Preview

What a race at Mugello! It was the race of the year so far, and it delivered a well-deserved first time Grand Prix winner in Italian Danilo Petrucci in front of his home crowd on the Ducati in a nailbiter ahead of Marc Márquez, who extended his championship lead ahead of Petrucci’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, and Álex Rins, with the Top Four covered by just 0.535 seconds!

However, the MotoGP grid heads to Spain, and to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Round Seven of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, the 2019 Catalan Grand Prix as Grand Prix motorcycle racing celebrates its 70th birthday!

Márquez (115 points) leads the championship by 12 points for the Repsol Honda Team, ahead of Dovizioso (103 points) for Mission Winnow Ducati.

Márquez set up his weekend at Mugello very well by taking an amazing pole position, the 56th of his premier class career, moving ahead of Valentino Rossi into outright-second on the list of most pole positions in the premier class, and is now just two behind Mick Doohan’s record of 58 premier class pole positions.

However, it wasn’t an easy weekend for Dovizioso, only qualifying ninth after having to go through the first part of qualifying, but did extremely well to recover and finish third in the race, but has lost ground on Márquez, and you sense Dovizioso needs to win the Catalan Grand Prix to give himself a fighting chance in the 2019 championship battle.

Rins (88 points) is third in the world championship for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR after coming back from 13th on the grid to finish a close fourth. Unless there is a problem with the actual Suzuki bike itself over one lap that doesn’t exist over long race runs, which is plausible given Rins has consistently not qualified well in 2019 so far, Rins has got to qualify way better than he has if he is going to challenge consistently for race wins.

Petrucci (82 points) moves up into fourth in the championship after claiming his first MotoGP race victory at Mugello in Italy, and while I don’t think he is a serious championship contender, he will need to help his teammate Dovizioso steal points off Márquez consistently to give Dovizioso a great chance of winning his first premier class world championship.

Valentino Rossi (72 points) drops to fifth in the standings for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP after having an absolute shocker at Mugello, qualifying in 18th (his equal-worst qualifying performance) after failing to get to the finish line in time to start one more flying lap, and then was unusually lacklustre in the race, crashing out of the Italian Grand Prix on Lap Eight, and it wasn’t because of a lack of performance from the bike, but in my opinion because of a lack of performance from the great man himself, almost a sign that his time in MotoGP, at least as a competitve force, may well be coming to an end, sadly!

Behind the Top Five in the world championship, Jack Miller (42 points) is sixth for Alma Pramac Racing after performing well at Mugello before crashing out on Lap 16, and is level on points with Cal Crutchlow (42 points) for LCR Honda, but ahead of Crutchlow due better race results, with Rossi’s teammate Maverick Viñales (40 points) struggling in eighth in the standings after finishing sixth in Italy, while Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (40 points), and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaró (38 points) complete the Top 10 in the standings after strong performances at the Italian Grand Prix.

However, the struggles for Jorge Lorenzo (19 points) at Repsol Honda Team are continuing after another race finish outside of the Top 10, and down in 14th in the championship, and you feel like there is no way out of this shocking form slump, and drastic changes are required from him to return to the form we know he can produce!

So, who is going to win the Catalan Grand Prix?

With five Top Two finishes from six races, Marc Márquez is the obvious choice to win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but who finishes behind him gets a bit more complicated with the varying strengths of the bikes, and varying form of the riders, but I think Andrea Dovizioso, who has finished inside the Top Four in all six races in 2019, is the safest choice to finish second, while I think Álex Rins will finish third if he can qualify well, just ahead of Jack Miller.