Magic Marc makes it five out of fiveComment on this story
Le Mans, France – World Champion Marc Marquez (Honda) produced another master class at Le Mans to win from pole for the fifth consecutive time in 2014, with Yamaha veteran Valentino Rossi and Honda privateer Alvaro Bautista making up the podium.
Marquez produced a fantastic fightback after an early mistake to lead by a second on lap 16 after having finished lap one in 10th. Rossi demonstrated his competitiveness again to lead for several laps in the first half of the race but ultimately could not hold off Marquez.
Nevertheless Rossi – who began his Grand Prix career when Marquez was three years old - achieved his 10th premier class podium at Le Mans and his 150th in the top category, while Marquez became the first rider to win five consecutive premier-class races from pole since Mick Doohan in 1997.
Meanwhile, it was Bautista’s first podium since 2012 and a great reward for the determination he has shown since his three DNFs at the start of the season.
An excellent ride from rookie Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech3) saw him hold off Marquez’ works Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa for fourth. Pedrosa appeared to be riding in significant discomfort after recent surgery for arm-pump.
Rossi’s factory Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo – world champion in 2010 and 2012 - finished three seconds behind Pedrosa in the unfamiliar territory of sixth, ahead of Honda privateer Stefan Bradl - recovered from his recent arm operation – Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) with Bradley Smith rounding out the top 10 on the second Yamaha Tech3 machine.
Mika Kallio rode a brilliantly tactical race from fourth on the grid, hunting down early leader Simone Corsi and taking over at the front with eight laps to go. Corsi eventually finished a second behind the winner, holding off a late challenge from championship leader Tito Rabat, who had to settle for third in an all-Kalex podium.
Spanish rookies Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom (also Kalex-mounted) were both in the podium chase as they gathered more Moto2 experience, eventually finishing fourth and fifth respectively, while 2014 intermediate class debutant Jonas Folger (also on a Kalex) was sixth, having started on pole.
Dominique Aegerter (Suter), Thomas Luthi (Suter), Sam Lowes (Speed Up) and Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) made up the rest of the top 10.
Another brilliant race saw eight riders in contention on the last lap with Jack Miller (KTM) holding off a challenge from top qualifier Efren Vazquez (Honda) in the final stages to secure his third win of the year.
Rins led by almost two seconds at one point but was eventually pulled back for second, with Maverick Viñales riding bravely to achieve his first Grand Prix podium result, less than half a second ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (KTM) and Alex Marquez (Honda).
Vazquez had also led the race at various points and was unhappy to finish sixth when a maiden win seemed possible.
Enea Bastianini (KTM), John McPhee (Honda), Alexis Masbou (Honda) and Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) completed the top 10.