The throaty roar of an inline-four, the swish of a chequered flag, the camaraderie of riding together, and the legends and their greatest hits.

MotoGP Replay: Five at Le Mans

I have been terrible. I know. No excuses. I hate myself when I neglect this website for too long. And it has been too long. Anyway, our MotoGP heroes have dusted off legendary Le Mans and are now at the stunning, Mugello circuit, tucked away in the hills, its curves and straights tantalizing the riders.

But Le Mans can’t be ignored. Because it is here that records were set yet again! When is Marc Marquez ever going to stop? Not that we are complaining. I just wish there was a little competition for the first spot of the podium. Marquez just makes it seem easy.

Anyway, since I have been remiss with posting the Le Mans race review, I thought highlights would do the trick, especially if you want a quick refresher ahead of what promises to be an “interesting” race in Mugello!

5  The Lorenzo Luck

It is becoming an old story – at least so far this season. Jorge Lorenzo’s bad luck continued to haunt him, as the race started and the posse charged leaving the former two-time world champion in the 7th place. It wasn’t a nice start considering he qualified in 6th place. Lorenzo started making up places, climbing up to 5th with 24 laps to spare. He looked like he was in charge. He continued battling, losing to Marc Marquez but moving past Stefan Bradl, only to lose to Dani Pedrosa. He finished 6th on the grid.

4  Dueling With Ducati

Andrea Dovizioso lead the pack briefly before giving way to the others behind him. Image courtesy Ducati (editorial use only)

Andrea Dovizioso lead the pack briefly before giving way to the others behind him. Image courtesy Ducati (editorial use)

As much as I admire Luigi Dall’Igna, I do wish Ducati would get its act together a tad quicker. It breaks my heart seeing Cal Crutchlow way at the back when we know he is built to be at the lead and on the podium.

But at least they are providing us with some good racing and overtaking manoeuvres courtesy Andrea Dovizioso. He started the race from the third place and lead the first three laps – Exciting, but only until the others caught up. He slipped down to 9th place, but managed to gain a place after dicing with Aleix Espargaro.

Cal Crutchlow however managed to finish the race finishing 11th. He later said in a Ducati press release, “Today it was important first and foremost to finish a race, and for me that’s good seeing how my 2014 season has been so far. I got a great start and felt really good on the bike, but there was a crash on the first lap, and I got hit really hard by (Yonny) Hernandez by accident, which gave me a dead leg, and I lost a few places. I also made a few mistakes in the race, but it’s clear that for the moment it is difficult for Ducati to aim for anything higher in the results. A big thanks to my team, who are working really hard for us to become competitive, even though the result is not what we hope for.”

3 Battling Bautista

Image courtesy Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini (editorial use only)

Image courtesy Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini (editorial use)

Phew! And here is a guy who managed to evade Lady Bad Luck in Le Mans. It’s a start! Alvaro Bautista claimed his first podium finish of the season, ending 3rd after starting from 7th place. He battled his way to the top, and at one point seemed like he would threaten Valentino Rossi as well. He said in a team press release, “Once I reached the third position, I tried to push to try to catch Rossi, but the gap was too high.” Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise!

2  The Power of Rossi

Image courtesy Yamaha Racing Team (editorial use only)

Image courtesy Yamaha Racing Team (editorial use only)

It never ever gets old, watching Valentino Rossi, the eternal maestro at work, battling for position and podium. It does the fan in me a world of good when I see him on the podium, the higher the step, the better. And so it was that Rossi, despite a bad beginning – when he qualified 5th on the grid – took advantage of a mistake by Marc Marquez. He charged to the front and reached 3rd place. He then started hunting Stefan Bradl and Dovizioso, taking the lead with 25 laps still to go. It almost seemed like we would be gifted with a win… or a battle. We got neither. Rossi knew Marquez was right behind him, and waiting to make a move. He ran wide into the last chicane with 16 laps to go. It was a small mistake, but it cost him dearly. Rossi finished in 2nd place

He said in a team release: “…I was waiting for Marc or Jorge and Dani to arrive, when Marc arrived I tried to push a lot to stay on the 1’34.0 to make the work difficult for him, but in the crucial moment of the race, I made a mistake in braking. I braked a little bit too deep and went wide. It’s a great pity as it was too easy for Marc. If not we could have fought a little bit because today I was not so bad, difficult to beat but for sure more fun. I hoped he would wait for me but…he didn’t!”

1  Let’s Make It Five

Image courtesy Repsol Honda Team (editorial use only)

Image courtesy Repsol Honda Team (editorial use only)

Admit it. You hoped this wouldn’t happen, but rationally, you knew it would. Not that you could even hold it against him. Marc Marquez is just too quick, too talented, and too nice to hate. So it was that he broke yet another record – with absolutely no resistance or competition. He kicked off the record-breaking weekend by setting the fastest lap ever on two wheels at the Le Mans circuit. Then, during the race, he set the new fastest race lap. He also became the youngest ever rider to win five successive races in the premier class breaking Mike Hailwood’s record. He also became the first rider since Giacomo Agostini in 1972 to win the opening five races of the year.

All of this despite slipping to 9th place during race start, and making his way up to 2nd by lap 13. All it took was a tiny error courtesy Rossi for Marquez to slip in and take first place, before hightailing it out and building an unsurmountable gap.

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2 Responses

  1. All the riders should be given a handicap 😉
    Not that it matters – he’d just roll over everybody ….

    All that said, it’s a treat to watch him ride – especially against the top riders.

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