Marc Marquez accepts the next round in Thailand will act as his “first match point” to seal the 2019 MotoGP world title and despite his comfortable victory at Aragon he was surprised to be joined on the podium by two Ducati riders.

The Repsol Honda rider never looked troubled in his lights-to-flag victory at MotorLand Aragon, his eighth win of the season to give him a 98-point lead in the MotoGP riders’ standings, which puts him within touching distance of the 2019 world title.

But with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso pulling off maximum damage limitation in second place, Marquez knows he cannot ease up until the title is mathematically certain.

“I am happy because it was a good 25 points but this guy on my right side [Dovizioso] never gives up, he is still pushing so in Thailand I will have the first match point and of course that will be in my head but I will try to be stronger than here.” Marquez said. “It will be difficult but we will be more focused on that than here.”

Marquez had anticipated to see Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo on the podium alongside him at Aragon, with both riders his nearest challenges in practice and qualifying, but riders faded to fourth and fifth place respectively with Jack Miller completing the podium for Pramac Ducati.

“It is strange because in qualifying practice Yamaha looked very strong and in practice it looked very strong but then when I arrived over the race distance all Ducati riders they were very consistent and very strong,” he said.

“The experience of Austin was always in my head so then I just kept going and tried to understand and manage the distance because what I learnt in Austin is that it doesn’t matter if you win by four seconds, 12 seconds or one second. The most important thing is to arrive with 25 points and that is what we did.”

Looking towards the Thailand MotoGP, Marquez anticipates a tougher challenge from the Ducati riders including Dovizioso having fought the Italian for victory at the Buriram circuit 12 months ago when the round debuted on the MotoGP calendar.

Marquez will wrap up the 2019 title at the next round if he outscores Dovizioso by two points in Thailand.

“Last year was a great battle between me and Dovi until the last corner so this year it could be more or less the same,” he said. “The main difference for me is it is looks like this year the engine is faster and in Thailand there are the big straights but then in the small parts it will be more difficult.

“We need to understand what is our level and what is Dovi’s level and try to fight for the victory. I already said in Thursday that my focus is to try to finish on the podium in every race.”

Even if Marquez is unable to beat Dovizioso in Thailand, the destination of the MotoGP world championship looks certain given the Spaniard’s 98-point advantage with a maximum of 125 points left to score in 2019 across the final five rounds.

 

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