Marc Marquez suspects Ducati ordered Michele Pirro to shadow him

Marc Marquez is adamant that Ducati ordered its test rider Michele Pirro to follow him during qualifying for MotoGP's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello

Honda rider Marquez scorched to his fourth pole position of the 2019 campaign on Saturday, benefitting from Andrea Dovizioso's tow to beat Fabio Quartararo by two tenths of a second.

Explaining his strategy afterwards, Marquez said his change of tactic came after becoming convinced that wildcard Pirro, who progressed into Q2 out of Q1, had been instructed by his Ducati team to shadow the reigning champion.

"I immediately saw that Pirro was following me all the time," said Marquez. "It looks like Ducati said to Pirro [to follow Marquez].

"I say okay, in the second time it will be a different way, I will follow them, I did this kind of strategy and it worked in a good way.

"Pirro was waiting for me, but Dovizioso was there also, and the lap time was perfect. I calculated the distance in a good way, I did a very good lap time."

Pressed further on whether he really believed Pirro was copying his every move, Marquez replied: "[That] was my feeling. I went out, I went first like always, but Pirro was there.

"I slowed down, Pirro was there. I go away, Pirro [goes] away. I did my lap, Pirro was behind me, the first time. Then I stopped in the box, now I changed the strategy.

"I said 'now I will follow them', and that's what I did. I was waiting, because Pirro was waiting. Then I said 'now I wait for Dovi.'

"You play your cards. I saw Dovi was 12th [after the opening runs], so I said let's follow him, because he needs to push to improve the lap time."

For his part, Dovizioso, who could do no better than ninth in Q2, said he had no qualms with Marquez choosing to follow him.

"I don't know, from that moment I saw him look [at] me and that he wanted to follow me," said Dovizioso. "He did that but it's not a big problem, he can do what he wants.

"I don't understand why he followed me but he did pole position, so he did right."

Marquez predicts Dovizioso will have little trouble recovering to fight for the podium on Sunday despite his relatively lowly grid position.

"Tomorrow he will be there on the race," said the reigning champion of Dovizioso. "I believe he can be on the podium without much difficulty."

Previous article Valentino Rossi says FP3 brake issue the catalyst for poor Q1 pace
Next article Danilo Petrucci takes maiden MotoGP victory in thrilling Italian GP