2014 Le Mans MotoGP Race Results: Even Mistakes Prove Futile

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A fifth-consecutive victory after a terrible first lap has made one fact increasingly apparent: Even Marc Marquez can't beat Marc Marquez. The reigning world champion and current points leader -- relegated to 10th in the first lap after a bad start and subsequent mistakes -- won the Le Mans Grand Prix in dominating fashion Sunday to continue his clean sweep of the 2014 season.

Valentino Rossi, who led the first half of the race, took second place, more than a second behind Marquez. And Alvaro Bautista earned his best result of a tough year with third, a full three seconds behind Rossi. Pol Espargaro, who early on appeared primed for his first MotoGP podium, faded in the latter third of the race to end in fourth, also his best finish of the year. Dani Pedrosa (5th) won a mid-pack battle with Jorge Lorenzo (6th). Stefan Bradl, who held second early in the race but is healing from recent arm-pump surgery, finished in seventh more than 11 seconds behind the leader.

Andrea Dovizioso, who held the race lead for three laps after a terrific start, finished eighth followed by Aleix Espargaro (9th) and Bradley Smith (10th).

For those looking weaknesses in Marquez's armor, here's the slimmest of offerings: He's not a great starter. Of course, he compensates with those finishes.

At the outset, Marquez was pushed to sixth by the lead pack and then ran wide while locked in behind Jorge Lorenzo to let another three riders through. He now found himself in 10th position at the end of the first lap.

At the front, Dovizioso took the lead with Bradl in second and Rossi in third. Rossi made quick work of Bradl and settled in briefly behind Dovizioso. Three laps into the contest, Rossi grabbed the lead. Behind him, Dovizioso began his steady drop back through the pack. Pol Espargaro pushed into second followed by Bradl. Lorenzo had settled into fifth with 24 laps to go. It was short-lived. Already Marquez had begun moving through the cluster of riders like a scythe. With 21 laps to go, he had climbed into fourth and four laps after that -- while running lap times six-tenths of a second faster than the entire field -- he passed Pol Espargaro for second.

He was half a second behind Rossi at this point. Three laps later, he pressured Rossi into a mistake at the circuit's Bleu Esses and moved into the lead. He was never seriously threatened for the rest of the race. Neither was Rossi who maintained a comfortable gap to third for the duration.

But behind the pair, another rider was making a charge: Alvaro Bautista. The satellite Honda rider, who had a miserable start to the season with crashes in three of the first five races, had dropped as low as eighth early on. But the Spanish rider steadily pushed through the pack and passed Pol Espargaro for the final podium position with 10 laps to go.

Qualifying sensation Andrea Iannone crashed out of the race early as did Hector Barbera. Nicky Hayden went down on the first lap and didn't restart.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time / Diff.
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 44'03.925
2 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1.486
3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 3.144
4 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 3.717
5 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 4.077
6 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 7.088
7 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 11.527
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 22.103
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 22.626
10 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 23.108
11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 25.78
12 45 Scott REDDING Honda 39.523
13 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 42.544
14 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 42.736
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 56.644
16 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM +1'14.123
17 5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha +1'19.723
18 23 Broc PARKES PBM +1'30.934
19 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia +1'34.521
Not Classified
  29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 27 Laps
  8 Hector BARBERA Avintia 27 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 0 Lap


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He's making the rest look as stupid as the winners box post race. We have Marquez, then we have the Factory 2nd class aliens. Exactly what was Aleix Espargaro's bike doing alongside Marquez', Rossi's and Bautista's bikes. I thought ( CRT) presence post race was history. Really. What a joke. I'm not about to chastise the OPEN teams and their riders, but to the casual viewer, this state of affairs is confusion to the nth degree. Its tantamount to the casual viewer not understanding the classes in the Le Mans 24 hour. Factory,Sattelite,Factory2,Open and what exactly does Yonny Hernandez compete as? Oh yeah, he's running spec MM software, whatever.
Back to the event. Thank goodness Marc generally duffs his starts and always has one anticipating a Stoner'esque wash out at some point. He pushes so hard it keeps the viewer riveted. Fantastic.
Speaking of which, Nick Harris can be forgiven for confusing Marc with Casey on the starting grid. For a moment there I also blinked.
Credit to Rossi, he's doing a fine job and I was one of his detractors for many years. I reckon Jarvis and Co will confirm him for another 2 years prior to Mugello. A big thumbs up to Bautista and Gresini. The bloke picks up a lot of unnecessary flack. Todays result was a huge boost for them HRC, Nissin and Showa.

I am extremely hopeful for Rossi this year. He appears to be the only one capable of consistently challenging Marquez, though ultimately falling just a bit short.

The real question is, what's going on with Lorenzo? The master of the Yamaha is struggling in a way we haven't seen since his debut in MotoGP. I have a hard time believing he isn't giving it his best effort. This is a man who has been rolled to his bike on a wheel chair, lifted onto the seat, finished on the podium, and lifted back into a wheelchair to accept his trophy. I have never seen a more dedicated racer in my lifetime.

Here's hoping that the Yamaha boys have something for Marc. What's very clear now though, is that it isn't the Honda. Dani is nowhere in sight, arm operation or otherwise.

Dani's had a good run, but ultimately his bad luck and inconsistent performance have cost him a few championships. His seat is definitely vacant for next year, but the question remains regarding exactly which brave soul is prepared to combat Marc.

Excellent racing, hoping for more to come.

I'd love to agree, as a vr fan, but have a feeling dp and jl would be performing better if Marquez was out of the picture.

It must be seriously difficult to be coming into a season thinking you have a high chance of getting the title only to realise that in fact you have virtually no chance at all and will probably be lucky to even win a race. Lorenzo is looking at spending the peak of his career playing second fiddle to Marquez. I think it's different for Rossi, glory for him is to be the top Yamaha, and he's trouncing Jorge right now.

This race had some interesting telemetry displayed when Marquez was chasing Rossi. It appeared - and this is difficult to be precise without a sheet tagging the information - that Rossi was carrying 5 - 10kph more corner speed (looking at minimum speeds through the corners), but that Marquez was arriving at a higher speed after exit about 50 meters sooner. Top speeds seemed similar, and the Honda seemed a little bit better on the brakes, but not too much - but that extra grunt out of corners was quite obvious. Marquez obviously had the right set-up and is riding brilliantly, but it does seem that the Honda has a small but significant advantage in generating drive; whether that's power (in the mid-range), more sophisticated traction / wheelie / gearbox etc. control or simply Marquez' somewhat smaller stature I don't know. But that did appear to be the difference today, at least...

Does anyone know the consensus view on this (beyond Marquez's obviously great ride)?

The Yamaha has been built to maintain corner speed, the idea being that the more speed you can carry, the less you need to accelerate out of the corners. The new 2014 tires have less grip in the drive area (just inside the edge), and as the Yamaha spends more time on its side than the Honda, this is where they do most of their accelerating. The Honda is much more point and shoot, hard in, turn the bike quickly, then stand it up as quickly as possible (watch Pedrosa, who has perfected this). Because of the style it needs, the Honda works better with the new tires, and is getting more drive. This, more than than rider weight, is where Marquez is gaining. The Honda gets better drive out of corners.

Still, good observations, though.

If only Rossi had been racing at a time when Marquez wasn't, he might have won more races & championships ;-)

Looked up data on Marquez and Rossi: 6kg and 14cm difference. It sure seems like a LOT more than that when they stand side by side.
It appears to me that Honda has built the perfect bike for Marquez -- small (thanks to early development work for Pedrosa, then more for Stoner), and also has small, light, very talented riders.
I will always be a fan of Rossi's... followed him since 250's, but I'm realistic -- as mentioned by others: Rossi finishing 2nd feels like a win (and surely must to him, as I expect at his age he's probably accepted the situation).
I still hope for a Rossi win fair and square, (and obviously DREAM of it happening at the next race), but it appears things would need to go perfectly for Rossi and slightly wrong for Marquez (which isn't really "fair and square", I suppose).
At least the racing this year seems to be exciting for the early parts of the race!