San Marino Grand Prix: Marc Marquez steals Valentino Rossi’s thunder

Marquez says his motivation to win the race had been high after his spat with local hero Rossi in qualifying.

Sweet victory: Spain’s Marc Marquez celebrates on the podium after his win.   -  AP

Spaniard Marc Marquez screamed with joy as he snatched victory on the final lap at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday to close in on a sixth Moto GP world title. The 26-year-old Spaniard said his motivation had been high after his spat with local hero Valentino Rossi in qualifying on Saturday.

“I knew there was no need to win because [Andrea] Dovizioso was far behind but what happened [on Saturday] in qualifying gave me extra motivation and winning today was the best way to answer,” said Marquez.

Marquez and Rossi both insisted the other had deliberately ruined his chance to start on pole position as they pushed for the best time on the final lap in qualifying. Honda rider Marquez, starting on the second row, matched Rossi with a third Moto GP win in Misano, finishing ahead of France’s Fabio Quartararo, on a Yamaha-SRT, who had the lead for most of the race.

Pole sitter Maverick Vinales completed the podium for Yamaha.

Marquez now has a 93-point lead on Italian Ducati rider Dovizioso with six races left this season. Dovizioso finished sixth on Sunday in front of his home crowd.

Seven-time Moto GP world champion Rossi — who last won in Misano in 2014 — finished fourth, 12.660sec behind Marquez, after starting from the third row. “At the end I just decided to go for it,” said Marquez, after his seventh win this season after being pipped on the line in the last two races at Silverstone and the Dutch GP.

 

“Having lost two races on the last corner burned a bit,” said Marquez. “Fabio, however, is ready to win a race and, starting next year, fight for the championship. Now I can say that it is very nice to win in Italy.”

Marquez has now won 77 Grand Prix races in all categories to overtake British legend Mike Hailwood, who competed in the 1960s. The Spaniard has won 51 Moto GP races, 16 Moto 2 and 10 Moto 3 — and is fourth overall behind Giacomo Agostini (122), Rossi (115) and Angel Nieto (90).

‘Tough race’

“It was a very tough race,” said Quartararo, 20, who has now achieved four podium finishes in his first season. “It was the first time that I battled like that with Marquez.”

Marquez claims a sixth win in Misano and third in the Moto GP category after 2015 and 2017. He matches Rossi’s record of three wins at the San Marino GP.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins, winner in Silverstone, lost his third place in the championship standings after crashing out of the race, with the next round at home in Valencia next weekend.