Marquez secures 8th world title with Thailand Grand Prix win

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              Spain's rider Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team rides during final round Thailand's MotoGP at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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BURIRAM, Thailand (AP) — Marc Marquez of Spain passed Fabio Quartararo of France on the last lap to win the Thailand Grand Prix and clinch his eighth MotoGP world title at the Chang International Circuit on Sunday.

In a typically inspired performance the defending champion chased down the Frenchman but left his decisive move until just before the end.

“I planned from the start of the weekend to win the race, not worrying about winning the championship or the battle between me and (Andrea) Dovizioso. My target was to try to find the best way to win the race,” said the 26-year-old who also produced a late burst to win the same race last year.

It was a stunning performance by the Spaniard who crashed on both Friday and Saturday. It was Marquez’s ninth win of the season, which propelled him to his eighth world title with a total of 325 points, putting him beyond Dovizioso’s reach at 215 points with four races remaining this season.

“Fabio was really fast in most parts of the race. I wasn’t able to grab the lead in the middle of the race. I caught up in the last lap and took it from there. It’s been an amazing year. It’s now time for me to enjoy and celebrate the eighth title,” added Marquez who has won titles in 2010, 2012-14, 2016-19.

In another dominating year, Marquez has finished on the podium 14 times in 2019.

The 20-year-old rookie Quartaroro, the youngest to secure four pole positions in a season including Sunday’s race, appeared to be on his way to a maiden victory before the late charge from Marquez.

“I can’t say anything except that I’m so proud of the work of my team and myself. I couldn’t be happier as I fought until the last corner. I already tried everything. If I didn’t try to make a move in the last corner, I would have gone up unhappy. My time will come,” said the French rider who had to settle for second for the third time this year.

He finished in a time of 39 minutes and 36.394 seconds with Maverick Vinales of Spain third just over a second behind. Dovizioso just missed out on a podium finish in fourth.