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MotoGP Italy: Front row trio: Marquez 'remains a podium threat'

Mugello's front row of Andrea Iannone, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso have refused to write off Marc Marquez's prospects of mounting a rostrum attack on Sunday despite his fifth row grid slot.
The top three MotoGP qualifiers at Mugello refused to rule out Marc Marquez's prospects of challenging for the rostrum even though the Repsol Honda rider struggled to 13th place on the fifth row of the grid in Italy.

Pole man Andrea Iannone, Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso conceded that although the odds are against the reigning world champion, Marquez couldn't be discounted completely on Sunday.

Iannone, who set a new record lap on his way to his first pole start in the premier class, said: “Marc is always fast and it was a difficult qualifying today for him, but he has a good pace and for sure he can fight for the podium because he is the world champion.”

Asked for this thoughts on the prospects of Marquez attempting to make up ground into Mugello's Turn 1 on the opening lap, Iannone added: “For sure it is really dangerous in the first corner because I think Marc wants to stay in front in the first lap, not in the first position but in the first five or six positions. I don't know… I hope to stay in front of him.”

Lorenzo, who has won the previous two MotoGP races at Jerez and Le Mans, responded to a member of the press who cited Valentino Rossi's claim that Marquez remains a threat by admitting the Honda rider 'has the pace for a much better position'.

“Valentino has to take care of him [Marquez], myself, [Dani] Pedrosa, Andrea – everyone. We cannot forget Marc tomorrow and I think he has been a little bit unlucky in the morning and also in the qualifying,” said Lorenzo.

“For sure he has the pace for a much better position than he starts in tomorrow. If he starts well tomorrow he can overtake some positions in the first metres and then let's see.

“In the first corner here it's always quite complicated and it's going to be dangerous for everyone. Let's see, I hope that nothing happens.”

Dovizioso was a little less convinced of Marquez's chances but stopped short of writing off the hard-riding Spaniard's potential of forcing his way onto the podium.

“He has a really good pace but to start 13th I think will be very difficult. With a good start, everything can happen but if he doesn't gain a lot of positions in the start its not so easy because a few riders have a really fast pace, so it will be difficult for him I think,” said Dovizioso.

“The run in here is not easy, so to overtake can be dangerous [at the first corner]. Marc is a really aggressive rider but I think he has the control.

“It looks like sometimes he is over [the edge] but most of the time he controls the bike, so anything can happen.”

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