MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014
Defending World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) claimed a fourth win in four races in emphatic fashion at his home-country GP today, in the first race of the European season.
Already the youngest-ever premier-class champion, the 21-year-old has claimed pole position in every race so far this year, and won them all in increasingly dominant manner.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) also preserved a perfect podium record with third place. Pedrosa has been on every podium so far this year, with two second and two third places. He has also never finished off the podium at the sinuous 4.423-km circuit, outside the sherry capital of Jerez de la Frontera, since his first MotoGP race here in 2006.
A capacity crowd of 117,000 basked in blazing sunshine under a cloudless sky to cheer the currently dominant country’s latest hero over the line. Marquez, already 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, finished a fighting second here last year. Today’s win was his first in any class at Jerez, giving him a full house. It was the only track on the calendar where he had not recorded at least one race win.
The Honda factory pair sandwiched multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who managed to retain second place by the narrowest of margins, with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo dropping away in fourth.
Marquez again displayed his precocious skill in a lonely race, skipping the front wheel and sliding the rear as he used all the track and more to pull steadily clear. He led all the way except for a brief moment on the first lap, when Rossi edged ahead – only to be firmly pushed back to second at the final hairpin. Marquez set fastest lap on the fifth tour, just short of the record in the blazing heat.
There was a strong battle behind him. Rossi held second with Lorenzo in his wheel tracks, and Pedrosa right behind. On the 21st of 27 laps the gap between Rossi and Lorenzo started to stretch. It was the signal for Pedrosa to put the pressure on, and he scythed past at the hairpin at the end of the back straight, and into third place.
At that stage he was a clear second behind Rossi. In a repeat of his chase-down at Argentina the weekend before he cut away at the back, but was not quite close enough for a last corner attack, crossing the line almost alongside Rossi.
The result extends the Repsol Honda pair’s early lead in the World Championship table, with Marquez on a perfect 100 points, and Pedrosa on 72. The closest rival is Rossi, on 61 points.
There was a five-bike battle for fifth, with GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista starting the last lap in that position, but finishing it in sixth behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) by just over a tenth of a second, and a little bit more than that ahead of the three Yamahas of Aleix Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, all five over the line within less than two seconds. Bautista had fought through from tenth on the first lap. The former 125cc champion has a special role as race-tester for Japanese Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by companies with strong links to Honda.
Second Honda satellite team rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) had dropped back to a lone tenth, after seeing off a challenge from Honda’s 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R).
Hayden was significantly the best of four riders campaigning the new-this-year works-replica customer Honda RCV1000R machines, after winning his way through to the top level Q2 qualifying session the day before for a second race. He had closed to within just over a second of Bradl’s factory bike with three laps to go. By the finish, the German had managed to regain another second.
Second Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R rider Hiroshi Aoyama was four seconds behind in 12th. The former 250cc World Champion had caught and passed class rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R), with the three customer Hondas filling from 11th to 13th places.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) slipped off in the early stages, and though he was able to remount it was only for eventual retirement.
The Moto2 class relies exclusively on reliable Honda power, with race-tuned CBR600 engines supplied by the organizers to make for even competition. Different manufacturers provide chassis and running gear for the middle-class machines.
At Jerez, pole starter Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) didn’t bother to wait for his rivals, however, powering off the grid from pole position to lead from the first to the last of 26 laps. He won by 2.4 seconds.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) claimed a career-best second after an ultimately fruitless race-long pursuit and class rookie Jonas Folger (AGR Kalex) also held third from the first lap to last. The results upset the order established in the first three flyaway races.
In Qatar, Texas and Argentina, Esteve “Tito” Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) had qualified on pole and finished first, second and first again to establish a strong early title lead. At home in Spain he qualified sixth, and though he moved through to fourth on lap five, he would get no higher.
Rabat still has a substantial lead on points from team-mate Kallio, on 83 points to 67.
Texas GP winner Maverick Vinales was fifth, after passing Pons HP 40 Kalex team-mate Luis Salom in the closing laps. Class rookie Salom was third in Argentina, while Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) was second there. Today the Belgian rider was seventh.
Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter) won a close battle for eighth in the closing stages from Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex). Former 125cc World Champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter) finished close behind to complete the top ten.
In Moto3, where rival manufacturers compete with strictly controlled 250cc four-stroke engines, Honda took two out of three podium positions in a close finish, with the first three riders over the line within less than two tenths of a second, and the top six within less than two seconds.
The race brought a second successive win to Romano Fenati (KTM), inches ahead of Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda). Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Alex Marquez was a close seventh.
The next best Honda rider, Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) came through to 12th near the front of the next big group, one place but only three hundredths of a second ahead of John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda). Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-Rivacold Honda) finished 20th.
Wild card girl racer Maria Herrera (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) finished 17th in only her second GP, two places but less than a second out of the points.
Vazquez, Rins and Marquez lie a close third, fourth and fifth in the championship table.
The next race is the French GP, at Le Mans in two weeks. Most MotoGP teams stay at Jerez tomorrow for a one-day test session.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|2||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|3||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|4||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||F|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)||F|
|7||Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
|8||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|9||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|10||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)||F|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|12||Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|13||Scott REDDING (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)||O|
|14||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Emergy T.I. Pramac Racing)||F|
|15||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|2||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|3||Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)|
|4||Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Maverick VIÑALES (Pons HP 40)|
|6||Luis SALOM (Pons HP 40)|
|7||Xavier SIMEON (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|8||Johann ZARCO (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing)|
|9||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|10||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|11||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|12||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|13||Ricard CARDUS (Tech 3)|
|14||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|15||Randy KRUMMENACHER (IodaRacing Project)|
|1||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|2||Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|5||Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)|
|6||Jakub KORNFEIL (Calvo Team)|
|7||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|9||Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)|
|10||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)|
|11||Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)|
|12||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|13||John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|14||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|15||Philipp OETTL (Interwetten Paddock Moto3)|