Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) superhuman 2019 season can reach new heights on Sunday at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix if the reigning World Champion can claim nine points.
In 2010 then-Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo notched up a record 383 points across the 18-race calendar on his way to the title. After 17 races so far in 2019, Marquez has managed to total 375 – eight off now-teammate Lorenzo’s number from nine years ago. So, in order to surpass the 18-race record, all Marquez has to do is finish P7 or higher, something he hasn’t done in a ‘normal’ race for his entire premier class career.
After five wins on the spin, Marquez’ form is blistering. It has been all season. Ahead of the weekend’s action, the number 93 spoke about the record in the Press Conference, saying it isn’t something he is worried about, and it isn’t something that is going to change his mentality in the lead up to the race.
“No, I never changed the strategy even when I was fighting for the Championship,” said Marquez, in response to a question about the points record. “The strategy will be the same. It’s true I can score the most points over 18 races but it’s a record we will remember if somebody gets it again, so I don’t care about this record. I’ll keep the same strategy, target to try finish on the podium but of course today my target is to win. My opponents will give an answer whether that will be possible over the weekend.”
Finishing P7 is – 99 times out of 100 – a straight forward task for the 55-time MotoGP™ winner. The Malaysian GP is far from shaping up to be a straight forward weekend though, for every rider. Sepang’s tropical climate is set to bring wet weather for much of the weekend, so it looks like the riders are in for a challenging penultimate Grand Prix of the year.
Every rider and team will be looking to end the flyaway races as strong as possible before heading to the season finale in Valencia. The 2018 Malaysian GP winner won’t have it all his own way at Round 18, and you can see how he and his competitors initially fare when MotoGP™ FP1 kicks off at 10:50 local time (GMT+8) on Friday morning.