MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez claimed a classic third successive pole-to-victory win at Argentina’s brand-new Termas del Rio Honda circuit today, extending his championship lead in a perfect start to his season as defending World Champion.
The factory team’s celebrations were all the more intense after a stirring ride from his team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who set the new track’s lap record as he fought his way back from seventh place to take second from Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) with just over a lap to go.
It was the second double-top result in succession for the Repsol Honda pair, extending their early lead in the World Championship race on the eve of the European season and reinforcing the status of the Honda RC213V as the leader of the MotoGP pack. Marquez has won every race, and Pedrosa has a full house of podium finishes to back it up.
Marquez was in dominant form all weekend. He led all but one of the free practice session, then underlined his margin with a comfortable third pole in succession ahead of Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
The new circuit is in the remote north-west of Argentina, but the first race the country for 15 years attracted a massive capacity crowd from all around Latin America.
They were treated to a thrilling race. The first laps on the fast and sinuous circuit were a dramatic scramble for positions up front.
As Lorenzo capitalized on an early lead, Marquez fought his way through to second by the fourth of 25 laps, closed on his rival, then stalked him patiently before firmly outbraking him on lap 17 to move away steadily.
He won his third race successive race at a canter by 1.83 seconds. Already the youngest ever GP winner and World Champion, it was further proof of devastatingly strong form for the 21-year-old and his triumphant 1000cc V4 Honda.
The spur for him to take the lead was Pedrosa, for Marquez knew by now that his team-mate was closing fast. The older rider had been pushed back to sixth in an early brawl more reminiscent of Moto3 than MotoGP. It gave him a hard task, but he set to it with a will, picking off his rivals one by one to take third before half distance.
At this point he was more than three seconds behind Lorenzo … but with his quarry in view round several of the popular track’s long, wide corners Pedrosa used the skill and determination of a former 125 and double 250 champion to cut away at the gap with sustained aggression. With less than two laps to go, he had caught him, and scythed firmly past.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) was fourth, after finally prevailing over Stefan Bradl (Team LCR Honda RC213V). The German rider was battered from a heavy fall on the previous day, so fifth was a well-earned addition to his fourth at the previous round.
The fourth Honda RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) crashed out of the race in the early stages – a victim of heavy traffic and a slippery sandy track surface off the racing line. It was a third non-finish in a row for the former 125cc World Champion, who has an extra role race-testing Nissin brakes and Showa suspension.
The new customer Honda RCV1000R machines played an exciting part in a long and fierce battle for the last top-ten position. All four were closely involved at some stage, and the result was only decided in the last corner, when Hiroshi Aoyama pounced on his Drive M7 Aspar team-mate Nicky Hayden to steal the place by inches over the line.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was hardly any further behind in 13th, with Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 12th, all four over the line within less than two seconds.
Scott Redding (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RCV1000R) had been part of the battle for much of the race, and was a close 14th.
In the all-Honda-powered Moto2 class, Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider Esteve “Tito” Rabat extended his points lead with a masterful start-to-finish victory, after claiming his third pole position in succession.
Close, exciting and reliable racing is guaranteed in Moto2, with all entries powered by identical race-tuned CBR600 engines supplied by the organizers. Rabat rose above his rivals for all 23 laps, finishing better than two seconds clear.
Front-row qualifier Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) followed him, also moving clear, leaving class rookie Luis Salom (Pons HP 40 Kalex), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) and Simone Corsi (NGM Forward-KLX) to live up to the class’s reputation for close fighting in a battle for third. They finished in that order.
It was Salom’s first rostrum in the class, and he also claimed fastest lap; Pons HP 40 Kalex team-mate Maverick Vinales – a surprise winner in Austin – crashed out in close combat in the early stages.
Alex de Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2 Suter) was a safe sixth; Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was seventh; rookie Sam Lowes (Speed Up) came through to eighth, ahead of Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter).
In the Moto3 class, where rival manufacturers battle it out using 250cc four-stroke engines, Honda continued its run of podium finishes, with Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) fighting tooth and nail to hang on to second in a thrilling last-corner battle.
The race was won by Romano Fenati (KTM), with the similarly mounted Jack Miller third, less than half a second behind the leader.
Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Alex Rins had been with the leading group, and was still less than five seconds away in fifth. He narrowly held off fellow-Spaniard Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda), who had dropped back after disputing the lead in the early stages.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) was at the head of a group fighting for 11th; Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) claimed the final point in 15th. John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda) crashed out unhurt while running strongly in the top five in the earl laps.
The next race at Jerez in one week marks the start of the European season, after the three opening flyaway races in Qatar, the USA and Argentina. There are 18 rounds in the World Championship, which concludes in Valencia in Spain in November.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|3||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)||F|
|6||Andrea IANNONE (Pramac Racing)||F|
|7||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|8||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|9||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||F|
|10||Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|12||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Emergy T.I. Pramac Racing)||F|
|13||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)||O|
|14||Scott REDDING (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)||O|
|15||Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|2||Xavier SIMEON (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|3||Luis SALOM (Pons HP 40)|
|4||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|5||Simone CORSI (NGM Forward Racing)|
|6||Alex DE ANGELIS (Tasca Racing Moto2)|
|7||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|8||Sam LOWES (Speed Up)|
|9||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|10||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|11||Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)|
|12||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|13||Franco MORBIDELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|14||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|15||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|1||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|2||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|3||Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Livio LOI (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|7||Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)|
|8||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)|
|9||Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)|
|10||Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)|
|11||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|12||Juanfran GUEVARA (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|13||Alessandro TONUCCI (CIP)|
|14||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|15||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Ongetta-AirAsia)|