Spanish sensation Marc Marquez made it five straight MotoGP wins on American soil, staving off a determined Yamaha charge in the process, to win his tenth consecutive victory of 2014.
|The Yamahas didn’t make Marquez’s life easy early on
Photo: Repsol Honda
After an early battle with the Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso the 21 year old eased clear to become the first rider to win ten consecutive races in the premier class since Mick Doohan in 1997.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was much changed from the track that greeted the riders a year ago. Three of the chicanes were opened up and a new surface was laid down, shaving eight seconds off the lap time and, according to Marquez, making it less suited to the RC213V Honda.
And in the early laps it seemed his opinion was right. Rossi started brilliantly, going into the first turn behind Andrea Dovizioso and taking the lead soon after with an aggressive move at the tight turn two.
The two broke clear while Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo got past the fast starting pair of Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa, who was the only rider to choose a harder option Bridgestone front tyre.
By the sixth lap the front four had broken clear and Dovizioso proved his capabilities on fresh rubber by snatching the lead at turn one. Not to be outdone, Rossi came straight back at the next opportunity, barging his countryman out of the way at the tight, left handed turn three. Both riders ran wide as a result allowing Marquez and Lorenzo through.
The unpredictable nature of the race continued until lap eleven. Rossi recovered from the earlier moment to lead again and with Dovizioso losing touch with the front, Lorenzo pounced on Marquez at the first turn. Spurned into action by the move, the number 93 instantly dived under both Yamahas and pulled a six tenth gap within a lap.
With Lorenzo struggling to get past his team-mate for another four laps, at times pushing over the limits as his huge front end moment through the final chicane proved, Marquez extended his lead to two seconds. easing home to the flag.
Dovizioso’s regression through the top ten allowed Pedrosa to get fourth in what would surely count as a disappointing display for a rider who finished inside the top two at IMS in the past four years.
Pol Espargaro maintained an impressive fifth while a collision between Stefan Bradl and Aleix Espargaro on lap 13, which put both riders out, promoted Bradley Smith to seventh. A late move on Dovizioso’s Ducati gave him his first top six finish since Texas.
Cal Crutchlow put another difficult weekend behind him by overcoming Scott Redding, the top ‘Open’ finisher for the first time this year, in a race long battle for eighth. Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top ten.
The 27 lap race claimed the likes of Alvaro Bautista and Yonny Hernandez (first lap collision), and Andrea Iannone and the impressive Leon Camier with bike issues. Mike Di Meglio in twelfth and Michael Laverty in 14th claimed their first points of the season as a result.
The performance at the front left experienced heads such as three time world champion Wayne Rainey to start believing Marquez can win every race this year. Speaking after the race Marquez said, “When I go out I expect an easier race! In the first laps I was waiting for the tyre. The rear one was difficult at the end but I’m really happy with the 25 points.”
Lorenzo was left to lament not getting past Rossi sooner. “I push 100 percent,” he said. “The problem was Marc was second and I was third when he passed Valentino. He opened a second that I couldn’t recover. Maybe if I was closer I could have caught him. We are in a good shape so let’s see if we can get a victory as soon as possible.”
Rossi was graceful in defeat, admitting his team-mate had simply outridden him on the day.”Marc and Jorge were faster. There were three or four corners were Jorge rode better than me, he was able to pick up the bike. I’m satisfied because this track is difficult for me. To stay on the podium is good because since 2008 I haven’t seen the podium here!”
The action resumes next week in the Czech Republic.