Marc Marquez scored his seventh victory from seven MotoGP races in 2014 in Barcelona today by winning the Catalan Grand Prix by the narrowest of margins from team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
The race was a true epic with all four factory riders – including Jorge Lorenzo for Yamaha – duelling throughout the Grand Prix and the lead changing several times.
Lorenzo swooped from 2nd on the grid to lead around the outside of pole-sitter Pedrosa at turn one, but it was Rossi who soon put the younger men in their place when he overtook Lorenzo to lead the race almost immediately. From there on in the two Honda’s and the two Yamaha’s were glued nose-to-tail with the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl holding a watching brief in 5th before slipping back as the fight at the front intensified, Marquez and Pedrosa taking lumps out of one another as they battled to pass Rossi for the lead.
Marquez nearly came unstuck again as he did at qualifying at turn one when he got just slightly too close for comfort to Rossi’s rear wheel, but he survived to take up station behind Pedrosa after running wide before lunging back up the inside two corners later and regaining 2nd.
A bizarre incident with a yellow flag at turn one caused mild confusion among the leaders and allowed Lorenzo, who had been falling off the trio in front in 4th, to make up for lost time though he fell back again as the race entered the closing stages; Marquez eventually squeezed past Rossi only for Pedrosa to follow and set about his younger rival with a ferocity not seen in the Spaniard for some time after an arm operation earlier this year blunted his competitive edge.
In the end even Pedrosa’s best was not enough to halt Marquez, though only after the two Honda men had the briefest of wheel touches in the penultimate corner that allowed Marquez to forge ahead while Pedrosa drifted wide and allowed the ever-present Rossi to cut up the inside for 2nd.
Elsewhere, Cal Crutchlow’s dire run of form continued when he retired from 12th place with another electrical failure on his Ducati, while Alvaro Bautista suffered similar gremlins that eliminated him from 11th. Karel Abraham and Mike Di Meglio were the only two other retirees.
CLASSIFICATION – Race – Catalunya MotoGP 15th June 2014