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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014

Round 05: France

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
May 18, 2014

Miraculous Marquez Continues Perfect Record for Honda

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) continued his astonishing run of historic MotoGP victories with a stunning win at sunny Le Mans this afternoon. The 21-year-old reigning MotoGP World Champion won the French Grand Prix with a comfortable margin ahead of former champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), despite running off the track on the first lap, which forced him to fight back from tenth place.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team), Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team),
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) made it two Hondas on the podium with a storming ride to third that helped erase memories of a difficult start to his season. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) – both recovering from post-Jerez surgery to fix arm-pump problems – finished in fifth and seventh positions.

Marquez started from pole position – as he has done at every race so far this year – but he lost out in the long drag to Le Mans’ high-speed turn one. This was no real worry for the youngster who knew that he and his RC213V had the pace to run at the front. But at the tight Garage Vert double right-hander he ran right off the track when Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) ran slightly wide just ahead of him. That dropped Marquez a further four places.

His comeback was spectacular. Showing remarkable cool, he was soon the fastest man on track, passing Pedrosa, Bautista and Bradley Smith (Yamaha) in short order. On lap seven he rode right round the outside of early leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and established a new lap record as he set off in pursuit of the top three: Bradl, Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) and Rossi.

He took Bradl and Espargaro on consecutive laps at Turn Two, then rapidly closed the gap on leader Rossi, who made things easy for his young rival by running wide at the Esses Bleu just before half-distance, allowing Marquez into the lead for the first time. From there he fully controlled the race, stretching his lead to 3.4 seconds at the start of the last lap, which he ended by cruising across the finish line, 1.4 seconds in front of his childhood hero.

Marquez now has a perfect score of 125 points from the opening five races, the first time any rider has managed this since Giacomo Agostini in 1971, a different era of racing when Ago enjoyed a huge machinery advantage over his mostly privateer rivals. And he broke another record today, becoming the youngest rider to score five premier-class victories.

Bautista, who scored his first points of the year at Jerez after crashing out of the first three races, was delighted with third place, which he grabbed from Espargaro with ten laps to go.

Pedrosa fought a long duel with old rival Lorenzo, eventually leaving his compatriot behind and then closing right up on Espargaro in the final laps, despite issues with front-end grip. Without that concern he would undoubtedly have been closer to the front.

Bradl wasn’t happy with his seventh-place finish. The former Moto2 World Champion ran second for the first two laps and was confident of a strong ride following pre-race changes to his rear suspension, aimed at improving edge grip. In fact the modification had the opposite effect, robbing the German of grip and allowing several riders to pass him.

Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) was the top finisher aboard Honda’s new production racer, the RCV1000R. It was another impressive display from the young rookie, who won last year’s Moto2 race at Le Mans, after a set-up change that allowed him to push deeper into the corners.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was happy enough with his weekend, but like many riders his performance suffered slightly in today’s warmer temperatures. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was happy to score the last point.

Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was the fastest RCV1000R rider in yesterday’s qualifying sessions but his race lasted only a few seconds before he crashed out when Andrea Iannone (Ducati) collided with him on the exit of the third corner.

Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) won his second consecutive victory in the Honda-powered Moto2 race in fine style. Whereas he led from pole position to chequered flag without being challenged at Jerez, he had to work extra hard for this win, which reduced the points gap to team-mate and title leader Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex). Rabat himself finished a close third behind Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing, Forward Kalex) after fighting through from a slow start.

Starting from the second row, Kallio led in the early stages after seizing the lead from pole-starter Jonas Folger (AGR Team, Kalex) at La Chapelle on the first lap. He soon came under pressure from Corsi, who swept into first position on lap three. Aware that he could not make the break out front, Kallio was happy to sit behind Corsi for the next 15 laps, saving himself and his tires for a final push with six laps to go when he retook the lead at the Dunlop chicane. Riding faultlessly, he kept the five riders contesting second place well behind him and crossed the finish line more than a second ahead.

Corsi was chased over the line by Rabat, Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex), Luis Salom (Pons HP 40, Kalex) and Folger, the five of them separated by less than three seconds at the finish.

Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter), reigning World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes (Speed Up, Speed Up) and Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team, Kalex) completed the top ten.

Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) came within four corners of his first Moto3 win today, only to be knocked back to sixth place following a collision with race winner Jack Miller (KTM).

The race was a real thriller, with the top positions changing multiple times each lap as riders slipstreamed each other on Le Mans’ two long straights, then battled it out in the corners. Starting from pole position, Vazquez was in the fight from the very beginning until he lost several positions following a collision during the mid-stages of the race. He regrouped brilliantly and steadily moved back to the front, taking the lead again with three laps to go, thanks to the impressive speed of his NSF250R.

With more than half a dozen riders in the lead group, the last lap was sure to get busy and it did as Vazquez and Miller swapped the lead on several occasions. Vazquez made his bid for victory entering the final Esses Bleu where the Spaniard and the Australian made contact, pushing Vazquez completely off line.

That made Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) Honda’s top finisher in second place, less than a tenth behind Miller. Rins had led much of the race and at one point looked like escaping from the pack, but he was caught by his pursuers and just lost out in the last-lap skirmish. His team-mate Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) also showed strongly in the lead group and finished a very close fourth, less than half a second behind Isaac Vinales (KTM).

Two places behind Vazquez came his team-mate John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R), having another great ride. Fourth-fastest in qualifying, local star Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250R) finished ninth, just ahead of Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda NSF250R).

The MotoGP circus now travels south to Italy, where the championship will reach one-third distance with the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on June 1.

Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: race winner
“I am really happy with this win, which was different to the other victories. I made a mistake at the start; maybe I was too relaxed off the line, then when Jorge passed me I had to take a wide line otherwise we would have touched and as a result, many riders overtook me. However, from that moment on I began a really good comeback and it was a lot of fun, ending in my fifth consecutive victory. Although it might look easy to people, we are working extremely hard and this is the reward for the whole team!”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 3rd
“I’m so happy to be on the podium, especially since it’s more than one year since I’ve had this feeling. After the three crashes we had in the first three races and the practice troubles we had at Austin and in Argentina, we began to work well again at Jerez. Here I felt so good on the bike from FP1, so we’ve been competitive all weekend. Marc was on another level today, but I could stay with others, always trying to keep my rhythm. My thanks to the team – this result gives us a lot of confidence.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th
“It was a very difficult race to manage, because I didn’t get a bad start but I had Iannone and Smith coming through very strong on the opening corner; they split the group and even pushed a rider off-track. However, this wasn't the main problem, I had an issue with the front tyre preventing me from making my way up the order. Every time that I tried to be more aggressive I had a lack of grip and it took many laps for me to move forward. It’s a shame, because I didn’t find a set-up that allowed me to ride comfortably and we didn’t have a good race. I think I can go a lot faster here than what we saw today.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 7th
“Honestly I am not so happy today because seventh position is not what we expected. Maybe the problem is the change we made from the warm-up to the race to the rear suspension, trying to find more edge grip. Definitively we went in the wrong direction because at the beginning on a new tyre I was pretty fast, but after six or seven laps I was not able to use my rear tyre out of the corners. I tried to regain something on braking but then I found my limit on the front, so Espargaro and Bautista passed me. For the rest of the race I could not find my pace and I managed to finish seventh. I am looking forward to the Mugello GP because that’s one of my favourite tracks and we can go for more there.”
Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 12th
“Overall I’m pretty pleased with the result today. On Friday I was struggling with the bike and the crash when I lost the front knocked my confidence a little. But the team and our suspension guys worked hard to improve the bike and, in FP4 on Saturday, the feeling was much better. This gave me the confidence in the front end I’d been missing and I was able to push harder as a result. My aim was to finish in the points and as the first Honda RCV1000R home today, and we achieved that, so I’m pretty happy. We started on a low on Friday, but we ended on a high today and you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 14th
“Today was a tough race but luckily after starting from 17th on the grid we came through to take a couple of points in 14th. The plan for the race was to put together a fast and consistent pace, especially in the first laps, and we have improved in comparison to recent races, so I am happy about that. Unfortunately the higher temperatures today compared to yesterday worked against us and with the soft tyre the feeling wasn’t the same as the rest of the weekend. My pace wasn’t as fast as I wanted at the end of the race but we will try to improve again at Mugello in two weeks.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: 15th
“I took one point but certainly it wasn’t a good race for me. I must express my thanks to the team, because the bike worked perfectly. I tried to push one hundred per cent, but simply it wasn’t enough to get a better result. In the very end of the race I climb to 15th position only because Colin Edwards was out of fuel and crossed the finish line with a dead engine. It would be more fun beating him regularly in the race.”
Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: DNF
“The team have worked really hard all weekend and we have made some progress as a result, even in the warm-up this morning. So it is a shame that the weekend ended like this, with a crash that wasn’t my fault. Looking at the data it was probably my best start of the season so far but as we went through the chicane I could feel another rider touch my handlebar and I couldn’t do anything to avoid the crash. It is a shame for the team and for me but sometimes these things happen in racing. Luckily I am okay and we just have to look ahead to the next round.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: race winner
“It’s such a good feeling, I’m very happy. The start of the weekend wasn’t so easy. We used the same setting we used to win the race at Jerez, but the bike didn’t fit this track. We were struggling to stop the bike on the brakes, so Friday wasn’t easy. On Saturday we found a better setting and we improved it again in qualifying, so I began to feel quite good. I was confident I could have a good race. I started well and immediately pushed to make a gap, if I could, but after a few laps I saw that it wasn’t possible. When Corsi overtook me I decided to cool down and think about the best way to finish the race. I learned a few things following him, then he started to struggle a little, maybe with rear grip, so I said, okay, now is the time to attack. After I found somewhere to attack I rode the next few laps at the limit and when I saw I had a one-second gap, the last laps were easier, though of course, it’s never easy to win in Moto2. I want to thank the team who were really brilliant all weekend.”
Simone Corsi, NGM Forward Racing: 2nd
“This is my first podium of the year so I’m very happy. The bike was very fast today and I was able to go very fast from the start. But Mika finished the race faster than me! I want to thank my team, and now we look forward to our home race at Mugello, where we hope to take another podium result.”
Esteve Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd
“The weekend went really well until the race. From FP1 I had a good rhythm and the team were doing a great job. In the race I had not such a good start and many riders passed me. I tried to push but it wasn’t possible to go, even with my usual smooth style. Eventually I started moving forward. At the end I tried to overtake Corsi, but I made a mistake at Turn Four and went wide. I tried my best but it wasn’t possible. I’m happy because this is the first time I’ve finished at Le Mans for many years. Now we have some work to do because Mika has had two really good races and our last two races haven’t been so good.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd
“I am very happy with this second position. The important thing is that I felt very comfortable with Miller and Vazquez early on in the race. I tried to escape; I guess they must have had a scare to have dropped so far back. But it is difficult to maintain this pace alone, and as they had me as a reference, they caught up with me. It was a fun race without much trouble for me. I heard that others had difficulties, but maybe I was lacking a little aggression. Anyway, I’m happy with this result, which is very good for me, for the team, for Honda and for the championship. At Mugello we will continue to work hard.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 5th
“I think I had a good race. I started seventh, but gradually was able to move up into second. Although the gap was very large, I was able to reduce it, but at the end I was unable to feel comfortable and found it hard to stick with the lead group. We need to improve a few aspects of the set-up to give us a boost, so we will continue trying to develop ahead of the coming races. After the test in Aragon we have made a step forward, but there are still some things that aren’t working well and we will have to improve them progressively.”
Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG: 6th
“Jack always used the same system – close the line completely. After the collision earlier in the race I came back step by step, always pushing to my maximum. On the last lap when I was in the lead Jack overtook me again, lost some speed in the corner and then made like a chicane on the back straight. I won the lead four corners from the finish, but he closed the door again and if I hadn’t braked I would’ve crashed, maybe him too.”
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix
Round 05: France

Rank Rider (Team) F/O
1Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)F
2Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)F
3Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)F
4Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)F
5Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)F
6Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)F
7Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)F
8Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)F
9Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)O
10Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)F
11Cal CRUTCHLOW (Ducati Team)F
12Scott REDDING (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)O
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)F
14Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar)O
15Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)O

* F=Factory option, O=Open category

Rank Rider (Team)
1Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
2Simone CORSI (NGM Forward Racing)
3Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)
4Maverick VIÑALES (Pons HP 40)
5Luis SALOM (Pons HP 40)
6Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)
7Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)
8Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)
9Sam LOWES (Speed Up)
10Franco MORBIDELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
11Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)
12Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
13Randy KRUMMENACHER (IodaRacing Project)
14Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)
15Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
Rank Rider (Team)
1Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)
4Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)
7Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)
8John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)
9Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
10Jakub KORNFEIL (Calvo Team)
11Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Ongetta-AirAsia)
12Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)
13Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)
14Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)
15Philipp OETTL (Interwetten Paddock Moto3)

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