Repsol Honda sensation, Marc Marquez, has enjoyed a perfect weekend in Le Mans taking pole position (with a new record), setting a new fastest race lap (1’33.548 on lap 8) and crowning it with the victory (in a record time) in front of 88,222 spectators. He also became the youngest ever rider (21 years and 90 days) to win five successive races in the premier class, taking the record from Mike Hailwood (22 years and 160 days old). Teammate Dani Pedrosa struggled to find his rhythm in the 28 lap race, slowly progressing through the field from ninth on the grid to fifth by the chequered flag.
It was a chaotic start to the race with Marc slipping back from pole to ninth – after being pushed wide by Lorenzo – and Dani dropping a position to tenth by the end of lap one. As things began to settle down, and the race found it’s tempo, Marc started to pluck off the riders in front of him and by lap seven he was already up to fourth, with Dani also passing Smith and Dovizioso into seventh by lap nine. Marc then set the fastest lap of the race en route to passing Stefan Bradl and Pol Espargaro, and by lap thirteen he was on the tail of race leader Valentino Rossi. A slight error from the Italian gifted Marc first position and from this point he didn’t look back.
Dani found some rhythm on lap sixteen, passing Bradl and then on lap eighteen traded places twice with Lorenzo. On lap twenty he made the pass stick and took fifth place but despite a late challenge he was unable to close in on Pol Espargaro and finished 0.3s behind the fellow Spaniard, less then one second off the podium.
With his fifth win of 2014, Marc is the first rider since Giacomo Agostini in 1972, to win the opening five races of the year in the premier class, the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2008 to win five successive MotoGP races and the first to win them all from pole since Mick Doohan in 1997, also on a Honda. He now extends his lead over Dani in the riders’ Championship to 42 points, Honda lead the constructors’ Championship by 38 points and the Repsol Honda Team lead the teams’ Championship by 82 points after five rounds.