Marc Marquez makes it four in a rowComment on this story
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain – Local hero Marc Marquez has maintained his perfect record this year with a fourth consecutive win – this time with a textbook win on his home circuit in his 100th Grand Prix.
A huge crowd of more than 115 000 fans saw Marquez – who had never won a Grand Prix at Jerez before - become the first rider to win the opening four premier-class races of the year since Mick Doohan in 1992.
Sharing the podium were veteran Yamaha works rider Valentino Rossi and Marquez’ works Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Nobody could stay with Marquez in the heat of the afternoon in Andalusia as he built up a four-second lead by lap 12 and never looked back, eventually crossing the line comfortably ahead of Rossi.
Indeed it was also another superb performance for Rossi as he returned to the podium for the first time since Qatar, holding off a last-corner challenge from Pedrosa, while his Yamaha Factory team mate Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for fourth at his 200th Grand Prix (on his 27th birthday!), crossing the line 8.5 seconds behind Marquez.
Behind the factory Honda and Yamaha riders Andrea Dovizioso was the top man for the Ducati Team in fifth, whilst there was disappointment for his team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who retired early on his comeback from injury, and wild-card test rider Michele Pirro who crashed out on lap three.
Honda privateer Alvaro Bautista picked up his first points of 2014 for sixth, coming home just 0.112sec behind Dovizioso, with fellow Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (Forward Yamaha) seventh and Bradley Smith (Yamaha Tech3) eighth, all three crossing the line within half a second of Dovizioso.
The top 10 was rounded out by Pol Espargaro (Yamaha Tech3) and Stefan Bradl (Honda).
An excellent ride to win from pole by experienced Finn Mika Kallio, over a demanding 26-lap race in the southern Spanish heat, saw him close the gap on Marc VDS Kalex team-mate Tito Rabat at the top of the standings to 16 points - as Rabat came home fourth, behind Dominique Aegerter (Suter) and Kalex rider Jonas Folger.
Behind the top four reigning Moto3 title-holder Maverick Vinales got the better of his Pons Kalex team-mate and fellow lightweight class graduate Luis Salom for fifth, with Xavier Simeon (Suter) seventh.
Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) beat Sandro Cortese (Kalex) by exactly one 10th of a second for eighth, with former 125cc World champion Thomas Luthi (Suter) rounding out the top 10.
Romano Fenti held off a strong final-lap challenge from Honda riders Alex Rins and Efren Vasquez to give KTM its 50th Grand Prix win by 0.144sec – and then Vasquez out-dragged Rins to the line by three thousandths of a second in a thriller climax to a superb contest.
A second later, works KTM rider Jack Miller beat Isaac Viñales for fourth by 0.02sec, with Viñales’ privateer KTM team-mate Jakub Kornfeil 0.613sec further adrift in sixth.
Alex Marquez (Honda), Francesco Bagnaia (KTM), Enea Bastianini (KTM) and Niklas Ajo (Husqvarna) completed the top 10 at a sunny Jerez circuit where the official ambient temperature was 28 degrees but the track surface reached a scorching 50 degrees.