MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) won a stupendous seventh victory from seven races, at the end of an unforgettable battle with team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) that was only settled in the final few corners. It was Marquez’s 13th premier-class victory (from just 25 starts!) which also made Honda the first manufacturer to achieve 100 wins in MotoGP, the four-stroke category introduced in 2002.
Once again the 21-year-old Spaniard proved he is the master of every situation, willing to fight to the bitter end of a race, however great his World Championship points advantage might be. After seven of the year’s 18 races he now leads the title chase with a perfect 175 points, 58 points ahead of today’s runner-up finisher Rossi. Pedrosa holds third place overall after finishing a close third today.
The race was greeted by the paddock as one of the greatest in recent memory, with four riders in with a chance of victory for much of the 25 laps. In the closing stages the fight came down to three men: Marquez, Rossi and pole-starter Pedrosa, while Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) slipped back to finish a lonely fourth.
Rossi did most of the leading but it was always obvious that Marquez was simply biding his time, waiting for the right moment to thrust his RC213V into the lead. He looked like he might do it at Turn One at the start of lap 14 but he ran so close to Rossi that he had to take avoiding action and run wide, dropping himself to third place behind his team-mate.
In typical Marquez style, he counter-attacked Pedrosa immediately, diving past a few corners later and then grabbing the lead from Rossi a few laps later at Turn One. Then followed a confusing moment: Marquez saw a yellow warning flag at Turn Three and slowed, as did Pedrosa right behind him. By the time they’d got to the next corner Rossi had charged back into the lead but he only stayed there for a lap before Marquez was back in front.
Rossi was still not done, however, and snuck inside Marquez with four laps to go, only to be immediately relegated to second by the World Champion, who never waits a moment longer than necessary to counter attack. Then Pedrosa found a way past Rossi and the scene was set for a Repsol Honda showdown.
On the last lap Pedrosa took the lead at Turn One, Marquez was back in front two corners later, then Pedrosa retook first place at the very next corner, only to run fractionally wide, allowing Marquez to squeeze back ahead.
As they rode through the final section of the last lap Pedrosa was looking for a way past, his front tire snagging the rear of Marquez’s machine which sent him wobbling off the racing line, allowing Rossi to reclaim second place. And that’s how one of the greatest races of the last decade or two finished: Marquez first, Rossi second, 0.5 seconds down and Pedrosa third, a further 1.3 seconds back.
Marquez’s latest success completed a Spanish monopoly of today’s racing and also made some more history, along with his younger brother Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) who won the earlier Moto3 race, making them the first fraternal winners at a Grand Prix in history. And all this on the weekend that motorcycling’s World Championships celebrated their 65th birthday. The first World Championship event was staged on the Isle of Man on 13 June 1949.
In among all the drama and history, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) had a sterling ride to fifth. The German, badly battered by two huge crashes on race day at Mugello, ran with the lead group for the first quarter of the race, until he had a major moment at Turn Ten. From there he raced alone for his best result since April’s Argentine GP.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) was an early retirement from the race, withdrawing with a suspected electrical glitch.
Rookie Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) had another brilliant ride to cross the line as top RCV1000R rider in 12th, just ahead of the similarly mounted Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) who is still recovering from post Mugello surgery on a persistent right-wrist injury. Redding, however, was later relegated one position for allegedly cutting Turn One during the race, thus promoting Hayden to 12th.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) took the final point in 15th place after a long duel with Michele Pirro (Ducati). Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) was the first man to exit the race, sliding off after two laps.
Barcelona’s Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) made it two local wins from the first two races of the day when he dominated the Honda-powered Moto2 race, scoring his fourth win from the first seven races of the year. In the early stages the pole-sitter had to fight back and forth with a determined Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex). On lap three fifth-placed Luis Salom (Pons HP 40, Kalex) fell at the Turn One/Two esses, almost bringing down Jonas Folger (AGR Team, Kalex) who had to take to the gravel trap to avoid him.
Finally Rabat’s superior pace told and he was able to go it alone out front to cross the finish line 4.2 seconds ahead of reigning Moto3 World Champion Vinales. The contest for third place was more the kind of confrontation that the crowd expects from the hard-fought Moto2 class. Several laps from the end Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) was in the fight for the final spot on the podium when he fell and brought down Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) who quickly remounted to finish 14th.
That incident left three riders in the group disputing third and their contest went down to the final few corners. Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter) took advantage when Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter) tried to pass Kallio at the tricky Turn Ten, slipping past his rivals to grab third place, a fraction ahead of Kallio and Luthi.
Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing, Forward Kalex) and Ricard Cardus (Tech 3, Tech 3) finished all alone in sixth and seventh, while Axel Pons (AGR Team, Kalex), son of former 250 World Champion Sito Pons, won a busy skirmish for eighth, his best-ever GP finish.
Marquez the younger rode an incredible race to win Honda’s first Moto3 victory of the year in front of his home crowd. The 18-year-old got the holeshot from pole position and was never headed, keeping his focus and steadily pulling away from the pack to win by 3.3 seconds.
Behind him a seven-man battle raged for the final podium positions. The final few laps were frantic, with positions changing every other corner. At the finish line Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) made it two Hondas on the podium with third place, just two tenths of a second behind runner-up Enea Bastianini (KTM). Less than one second separated second place to seventh, with championship leader Jack Miller (KTM) fourth after an amazing last-lap charge from the back of the group.
John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R), who led his first GP at Mugello two weeks ago, finished the race in ninth place after struggling with rear-grip issues. Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250R) was 11th. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda NSF250R) finished 16th, just four tenths of a second out of the World Championship points.
Marquez’s team-mate Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) was out of luck. He retired from the race with a broken gear-change linkage.
After a brilliant day of racing, MotoGP and Moto2 teams will stay to test here over the next two days. Riders may get to try the Formula 1 chicane in the final section of the lap following a tumble during today’s Moto3 race in which Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) and his bike hit the barrier. The Italian was uninjured.
The race action continues in two weeks with the Dutch round of the series at Assen, the only venue that has remained on the calendar since 1949.
|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||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)||F|
|6||Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
|7||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|8||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||F|
|9||Andrea IANNONE (Pramac Racing)||F|
|10||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|11||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)||F|
|12||Scott REDDING (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)||O|
|13||Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Ducati Team)||F|
|15||Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|2||Maverick VIÑALES (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)|
|3||Johann ZARCO (AirAsia Caterham)|
|4||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|6||Mattia PASINI (NGM Forward Racing)|
|7||Ricard CARDUS (Tech 3)|
|8||Axel PONS (AGR Team)|
|9||Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)|
|10||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|11||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Gresini Moto2)|
|12||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|13||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|14||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|15||Louis ROSSI (SAG Team)|
|1||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|2||Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)|
|3||Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|4||Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|5||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|6||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|7||Isaac VIÑALES (Calvo Team)|
|8||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)|
|9||John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|10||Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|11||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|12||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|13||Alessandro TONUCCI (CIP)|
|14||Karel HANIKA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||Jakub KORNFEIL (Calvo Team)|