Marc Marquez won this afternoon’s MotoGP race at Le Mans in France, recovering from a dreadful first lap in stunning style to beat Valentino Rossi to victory in the fifth race of the season.
Marquez broke the 1962 record set by Mike Hailwood for the youngest rider to win five successive races, pushing himself even further ahead of nearest rival and team-mate Dani Pedrosa in the hunt for the 2014 rider’s title.
Marquez started from pole but went rapidly backwards to 10th after going wide in a close encounter with the back wheel of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha, meaning he had it all to do as Rossi battled it out at the front with Pol Espargaro, Stefan Bradl and early leader Andrea Dovizioso. Rossi took five laps to assert his authority at the head of the pack, but by that time Marquez had already fought his way through to 7th behind Pedrosa and Lorenzo; the two senior riders could offer no resistance to the cutting attacks of the late-braking Marquez who then proceeded to devour the gap between himself and the leading four men.
With seventeen laps to go Marquez had made short work of three of them, leaving just Rossi between himself and victory; the Italian was powerless to halt Marquez slashing his lead by around 0.6 a lap and the slim 1.7 enjoyed by the Yamaha rider soon disappeared. Pressure eventually told and Rossi went wide, allowing Marquez the smallest window of opportunity he was never going to miss.
The battle for 3rd enjoyed most of the attention after that, with Pol Espargaro succumbing to the attentions of Alvaro bautista who duly scored his first podium since the end of 2012 for Gresini Honda.
British riders Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding finished line astern in 10th, 11th and 12th positions.
Nicky Hayden and Andrea Iannone made contact on lap one, leaving the American down and out before the Pramac rider slipped and followed him into retirement a lap later. Hector Barbera was the race’s only other retirement, though Colin Edwards missed out on points on the final lap when he ran out of fuel and was forced to push his bike into 17th place.
Copyright – DORNA