Marquez 'it can be a fun race', Lorenzo 'closer'

Marc Marquez expects a strong, close but fun challenge from rivals at the Italian MotoGP, Jorge Lorenzo confident he is closing the gap.
Marquez 'it can be a fun race', Lorenzo 'closer'

This weekend's Italian Grand Prix could be a pivotal moment in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

Title leader Marc Marquez has only one Mugello win, back in 2014, while the home Ducati team - whose rider Andrea Dovizioso is currently Marquez's closest rival - has been victorious for the past two seasons.

But the new Honda engine looks capable of matching the Desmosedici along the fastest straight of the year, while Marquez arrives on the crest of a wave after dominant wins in the last two races.

If Marquez can continue that form and inflict a home defeat on Ducati, it would send a further signal that the Italian factory must hope for mistakes from the Spaniard in order to prevent the #93 claiming a sixth MotoGP title this season.

"After Le Mans, I am first of all hoping for good weather in Mugello!" said Marquez, winner of three of the opening five races and now eight points clear of Dovizioso despite a DNF in Austin.

"I like the circuit, even if we have not always had the best results there. If we keep working well from Friday as in previous rounds, I feel confident we can have a good race.

"Our rivals are always very strong and very close at this circuit, it can be a fun race on Sunday!”

Mugello was where everything finally clicked spectacularly into place for new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo at Ducati last season, storming to victory on the same weekend it was confirmed he would leave the team.

On paper, the Spaniard's potential for this weekend is likely to be more modest, being yet to even claim a top ten at Repsol Honda. However, he took encouragement from the recent Le Mans round.

“We made good progress in Le Mans with the setting of the bike and were able to be much closer to the front," Lorenzo said.

"I’ve had similar success in the past in Mugello as to Le Mans, so I am hopefully of continuing to improve our position.

"The Repsol Honda Team has been working very hard and I am sure soon I will be able to achieve some results to thank them.”