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Ten in a row as Marc Márquez wins the Indy GP

© David Davies/PA Wire

By Dan Moakes
October 6 2014

Who will be runner-up to Marc Márquez in the 2014 FIM MotoGP World Championship? That seemed the obvious question when the 21-year-old had won all nine of the races held so far, and with nobody else doing enough of a consistent job to really stay in touch with the Honda man.

Round ten of the series was back across the Atlantic at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where there had been one or two modifications to some of the infield corners of the Grand Prix circuit. Following the four week break since the German race, there was news of changes to be expected for the 2015 season. Stefan Bradl was going to take over from the retiring Colin Edwards at Forward Yamaha, making way at LCR Honda for Cal Crutchlow, who had not been achieving his goals with the Ducati. Additionally, the Paul Bird Motorsport team was going to be calling time on its MotoGP activities.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa finished qualifying back in eighth position, but team-mate Márquez was on pole position for the eighth time in 2014. The MoviStar Yamaha pair were in touch as ever, with Jorge Lorenzo third and Valentino Rossi fifth, but it was Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso who was closest to the champion - second place was the best for a Desmosedici rider since 2010.

The usual satellite riders in the Factory class filled most of the rest of the top ten places on the grid, but Open class leader Aleix Espargaró was once again in the mix with fourth place on the Forward Yamaha. Pol Espargaró was sixth, with Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Bradley Smith (with an injured finger) ninth; in seventh was Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati) and tenth went to Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda).

Cal Crutchlow was in P12 on the second works Ducati, with Álvaro Bautistá in only P14 for Gresini Honda. The Spaniard’s Open class team-mate, Scott Redding, was in a promising P11. Yonny Hernández was in thirteenth place for Pramac Ducati, and the only rider from the United States was Colin Edwards in P15 for Forward Yamaha.

This was in the absence of Aspar Honda rider Nicky Hayden, out for surgery on his right wrist, with World Superbike regular Leon Camier replacing him for two rounds. The 28-year-old Englishman had previous GP experience in 2002-03 on 125cc machinery, but without having scored any points. But Leon qualified in P16, from Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing ART), Hiroshi Aoyama (Aspar Honda), Mike di Meglio and Héctor Barberá (both Avintia), Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda), Broc Parkes and Michael Laverty (both PBM).

Form guide: GP wins at Indianapolis
Márquez 3; Pedrosa 2; Rossi, Lorenzo & P.Espargaró 1

The race start saw Dovizioso lead away ahead of Rossi, and Lorenzo initially next until being shuffled back as Iannone passed Márquez for third at the right-handed turn two. The same corner had already seen Rossi take the inside to put his Yamaha ahead of the leading Ducati. Pedrosa was the fifth man as Lorenzo found himself back in P6, ahead of Aleix Espargaró on the first Open machine. Turn four saw Hernández and Bautistá crash out together.

It wasn’t long before Márquez and Lorenzo gained back positions, with Dovizioso also still showing some threatening form. Rossi therefore led the Ducati man, with Márquez third and then Lorenzo, Iannone and Pedrosa. Pol Espargaró was seventh, with brother Aleix battling for eighth with Bradl, and Smith tenth. Crutchlow had his hands full with Redding.

There was some frantic action involving the leaders. Turn one is a left-hand bend where the bikes come infield from the banking after the main straight. Dovizioso passed Rossi here on the brakes, taking the inside line, with Valentino challenging again immediately and the two machines making contact. Then at the tighter turn four, both men went wide and it allowed Márquez and Lorenzo to get past; only for Rossi to re-pass his team-mate, with Jorge having to fight off Andrea soon afterwards. Then it was Márquez who went wide and so Rossi was back at the front.

Rossi might have expected a bit of a break as Márquez and Lorenzo swapped places behind him, but when Marc re-passed Jorge on the inside at turn one, they both managed to go through on the inside of the Italian. Valentino got back ahead of his team-mate, and meanwhile Pedrosa was past Iannone and closing on fourth man Dovizioso. But with Márquez into the lead, the Honda man started to pull away from the Yamaha duo.

As Márquez built a lead of 1.3s and more, taking yet another win, Lorenzo finally got past Rossi and moved away, with the Italian earning a podium slot for the sixth time this season. Dovizioso had faded after losing out to Pedrosa, ending up seventh behind Pol Espargaró and Smith; whilst Aleix and Bradl were both out when the German hit Espargaró from behind. Crutchlow finally got clear of the top Open finisher Redding, who was ninth.

Iannone had stopped his bike with mechanical woes when running seventh; and Camier, from P15 early on, had been forced to stop with electronics problems. Barberá and Petrucci also non-finished, with tenth finisher Aoyama therefore heading Abraham (who’d made up three places), di Meglio, Edwards, Laverty and Parkes.

Recent seasons have seen Valentino Rossi string together five consecutive MotoGP race wins on more than one occasion, and in 2002 he managed seven. But for Marc Márquez, the achievement of winning ten premier class races in a row was the first time since 500cc racer Mick Doohan did the same in 1997, from the Italian GP through to the Catalan GP. Before that, the only men to have done better were John Surtees in 1958-60 (11), Mike Hailwood in 1963-64 (12) and Giacomo Agostini in 1968-69 (20). There was an added significance as it marked the 100th premier class victory for a Spanish rider, from a group with Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Álex Crivillé, Sete Gibernau, Carlos Checa, Alberto Puig and Toní Elías.

Standings after ten races: Márquez 250; Pedrosa 161; Rossi 157; Lorenzo 117; Dovizioso 108; P.Espargaró 78; A.Espargaró 77; Iannone 62; Smith 58; Bradl 56 ·· Open leader: A.Espargaró.
Honda 250; Yamaha 174; Ducati 114; Forward Yamaha 80; PBM 8; Avintia 6; ART 4.

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