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San Marino Grand Prix preview and predictions: Dovizioso to repeat 2018 victory at Misano and extend Marquez's winless run, says Laverty

Michael Laverty is anticipating a fierce battle between championship rivals Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso in San Marino - but reckons the Italian will have a slim advantage after pipping the Spaniard to victory at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli last year.

It's neck and neck at the top of the leaderboard after the MotoGP team picked up a crucial round-12 victory to peg back BTSport.com.

Now Michael Laverty comes in to see if he can keep up the winning momentum ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix and the final European circuit in the race calendar.

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As ever, 10 points are awarded for correctly predicting a rider’s position on the podium or five if they finish elsewhere in the top three.

You can watch each session from all three classes across the race weekend on TV or via live stream on the BT Sport app and BTSport.com.

Here are the overall standings after 12 rounds:

Round MotoGP team BTSport.com
Qatar 10 10
Argentina 15 10
Americas 0 0
Jerez 15 10
Le Mans 10 20
Mugello 10 20
Catalunya 10 10
Assen 15 5
Germany 20 10
Czech Republic 10 15
Austria 10 20
Great Britain 15 10
Total: 140 140

We're backing Marc Marquez to bounce back to winning ways after that dramatic final lap at Silverstone. What are you thinking?

"I’m going for the last three race winners in Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez and Alex Rins.

"They’re going to be my one-two-three, but putting them in order is the tough part!

"With it being an Italian round and given that Dovi won around Misano last year I’ll go with Dovi for the win, Marquez second and Rins third."

Predictions Round 13: San Marino GP

Podium position MotoGP team (Laverty) BTSport.com
1st Andrea Dovizioso Marc Marquez
2nd Marc Marquez Maverick Vinales
3rd Alex Rins
Andrea Dovizioso

Dovi crashed out at Silverstone, why are you so sure he's ready to deny Marquez race victory for a third successive round?

"That’s a good question! The statistics would say Marc is not going to go another race without a victory having been beaten in the last two races.

"But given that last year at Misano Dovi was able to ride off at the front and beat Marc by a couple of seconds - along with the fact that Ducati do a lot of testing riding around there with Michele Pirro, so the bike works good at that circuit – I think it gets Dovi an advantage in terms of outright performance.

"I think Marc has raised the game this year. His Honda’s better and, in general, he has been better over race distance at circuits that haven’t suited him.

"I think it will be a closer fight between Marc and Dovi this year but just given that he had that significant advantage over Marc last year that just tips the scales slightly in his favour."

So you can see Dovi and Marquez fighting it out. Why don't you fancy Rins to repeat his victory from round 12?

"The issue for Rins at the moment is qualifying. He generally tends to qualify on the third row and has to work hard to get up to the front.

"The way things worked out at Silverstone when he was in there and with Marc after three or four laps he was able to control tyre wear-out – but Marc isn’t going to get beat in the same scenario two weeks in a row so I think it’s going to be too hard for Rins to repeat that win.

"Until Suzuki find a little bit more outright pace to allow Alex to qualify on the front row of the grid week-in-week-out I think it’ll be too hard for him to find the kind of form to keep pace with Dovi and Marc.

"Those two seem to have a little bit extra compared to the rest of the grid."

We need to talk about Valentino Rossi. He's won around here three times in the past, with his last triumph coming in 2014. Is it too unrealistic to hope for a fairytale homecoming for the Doctor?

"I think it’s too much to ask.

"It would be great but given the Yamaha has really struggled around Misano the last few years.

"They seem to have found some improvement in recent rounds and they’ll be hoping they can show the same sort of form they showed in Silverstone, but I would say it’s a step too far.

"With the level at the front in MotoGP at the moment, if you’re giving even half a percent then you’re struggling to make the podium.

"There are plenty of other riders in the mix too, like Cal [Crutchlow], who was on the podium here last year, and also Jack Miller.

"I wouldn’t rule it out! But it’s going to be a tough ask for Valentino to be up there fighting for a race win."

And a word on the circuit. What can race fans expect Sunday?

"Misano’s a strange circuit because it was originally designed to go in the other direction so it has a unique feeling to it.

"As I mentioned earlier, it’s not Ducati’s primary test track – they tend to test more at Mugello – but they do tend quite a lot of time at Misano.

"They seem to have figured out something that suits the circuit and make their bike work, even though there are a lot of fast corners round there and Ducati are considered to lack corner speed.

"There’s something quite strange about the layout when you ride it. It doesn’t flow naturally and the corners feel funny so you have to work quite hard to set your motorcycle up on the circuit."