Marc Marquez has won the 2019 MotoGP World Championship by beating Fabio Quartararo to victory in Thailand in a battle decided only at the last corner.
Marquez tailed Quartararo for the first 25 laps but finally made a move stick on the last lap around the Buriram International Circuit.
Quartararo tried to fight back with a last-corner dive but Marquez re-passed him on exit to clinch a sixth premier class title, and eighth in total, in thrilling fashion.
Behind the #93 Repsol Honda and #20 Petronas SRT Yamaha was the #12 Monster Energy Yamaha of Maverick Viñales, who ran third all the way.
Jack Miller apparently stalled his Pramac Ducati on the starting grid and had to push the bike into pit lane, while Quartararo led the field away when the lights went out, from Marquez and Viñales.
Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) gave his slim hopes of keeping the championship alive a boost by jumping from seventh to fourth by the exit of the first corner.
Marquez got a run on Quartararo as they headed towards Turn 3 on Lap 2, but was on the outside and ran long, failing to complete the move.
Aside from that moment, the Honda rider appeared happy to merely follow the satellite Yamaha, although he looked to be upping the pressure as the 26-lap race moved towards its halfway mark.
Marquez did not try another pass until Lap 23, a similar attempt to his earlier effort which was similarly unsuccessful.
However, he stuck with Quartararo and, on the 26th and final lap, was able to blaze past the rookie even earlier and get his bike stopped in time at Turn 3 to take first position.
Quartararo lunged back past the Spaniard at the final corner but was criss-crossed on exit and ultimately came up 0.171s short of a maiden MotoGP race win.
“I was planning the weekend for try to win the race, doesn’t matter the championship, doesn’t matter the distance between me and Dovi,” said Marquez.
“My target was (to) try to find the best way to win the race and is what I did.”
The contest between Marquez and Quartararo was extremely similar to that which they had two races ago in Misano, as was Viñales’ performance as he lost touch then started to recover ground only once it was too late to challenge for the win.
Dovizioso, the only rider still a mathematical chance of denying Marquez the championship at the start of the weekend, took the chequered flag nearly 10 seconds further back.
The Italian came under early pressure from compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha) before he found himself in a battle with Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), who finished 0.231s behind Dovizioso.
Morbidelli ended up sixth, ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha).
The latter ran as high as sixth before losing spots to both the Suzukis in quick succession, on Laps 10 and 11.
Rounding out the top 10 were Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda), while Miller finished 14th from a pit lane start.
Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda) got home in 18th position but Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory) crashed out and Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) retired in pit lane.
Dovizioso appears destined to finish runner-up in the championship for a third year straight given he is 48 points ahead of third placed Rins in the standings with four races to go.
Round 16 will be held at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi on October 18-20.
Race results: Thailand MotoGP
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||39:36.223|
|2||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+0.171|
|3||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+1.380|
|4||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+11.218|
|5||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+11.449|
|6||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+14.466|
|7||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+18.729|
|8||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+19.162|
|9||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+23.425|
|10||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+29.423|
|11||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+30.103|
|12||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+33.216|
|13||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+35.667|
|14||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||+39.736|
|15||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+40.038|
|16||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+40.136|
|17||53||Tito RABAT||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+44.589|
|18||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+54.723|
|19||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+56.012|
|20||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAS||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+1’01.431|
|DNF||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||9 Laps|
|DNF||82||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||23 Laps|
Race winner: 26 laps