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Márquez defeated; Dani Pedrosa wins in Brno

© David Davies/PA Wire

By Dan Moakes
October 6 2014

Marc Márquez was looking invincible in the 2014 FIM MotoGP World Championship, despite the efforts of a range of talented and experienced top riders. The Repsol Honda man was 89 points in front of his nearest challenger, a lead that would be very difficult to break down.

Round eleven of the series was taking place back in Europe, the Czech Republic Grand Prix being held at the Brno circuit as ever. And in his efforts to make it eleven in a row, Márquez got a good start when he qualified on pole position for the ninth time in 2014. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa would start from fifth place on the grid, ahead of the other two main players: MoviStar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo was sixth, one place ahead of his team-mate, Valentino Rossi.

This meant that satellite rider Bradley Smith was first of the Yamaha men on his Tech 3 machine, starting fourth; but ahead of him were two Ducati riders. Works rider Andrea Dovizioso was second, ahead of Pramac team man Andrea Iannone. The 25-year-old would be moving to the factory team in 2015, replacing Cal Crutchlow, who qualified in P11 here. Stefan Bradl was eighth for LCR Honda, from Pol Espargaró (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Aleix Espargaró (Forward Yamaha).

In twelfth was Yonny Hernández (Pramac Ducati), then it was Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro, with his best starting slot for his fifth appearance of the season. Then came Álvaro Bautistá and Scott Redding (both Gresini Honda), Hiroshi Aoyama (Aspar Honda), Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Honda), Leon Camier (also Aspar), Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing ART), Alex de Angelis (filling in for Forward Racing man Colin Edwards), Héctor Barberá (Avintia), Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes (both PBM), and Mike di Meglio (Avintia).

Form guide: GP wins at Brno
Rossi 7; Lorenzo 4; Pedrosa 3; Márquez 2; Bautistá, Bradl & Iannone 1

The start of the race saw Márquez only fourth away, as the two fastest Ducati men led a Honda pair and a Yamaha pair. Iannone led from Dovizioso and Pedrosa, with Marc heading Lorenzo, Rossi and then Pol Espargaró, Bradl, Smith and Aleix Espargaró. Turn three, after a short straight, is one of a pair of corners, a left-hander followed by an immediate right at turn four. Lorenzo passed Márquez at turn three, on the outside to gain advantage for four, and Rossi was quick to follow him past. Turns eleven and twelve are another pair, another left-right, and that was where Lorenzo got ahead of Pedrosa for third.

Márquez quickly got back in front of Rossi for fifth, and meanwhile the braking zone for the right-hander at turn one was about to see Dovizioso challenge for the lead on the inside, only for the man in red to go wide and let Iannone back through. Several metres later they both lost out as Lorenzo took the inside line for turn three; and next the pair of right-handers at turns five and six saw Márquez run wide and Rossi once again overtake.

This meant Lorenzo leading from Iannone, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Rossi, Márquez, Pol Espargaró, Bradl, Smith, Aleix Espargaró, Hernández, Pirro, Redding, Bautistá, Camier, Aoyama, Abraham, de Angelis, Barberá, Petrucci and di Meglio, with Crutchlow already having crashed and having to rejoin. The two Ducatis up front would not stay in podium positions for too much longer, and the looping right at turn ten saw Pedrosa through on the inside of Dovizioso. When Dani then got by Iannone on the inside at turn one, it was just before ‘Dovi’ was relegated further by both Rossi and Márquez.

Lorenzo had started to get away, but now Pedrosa was able to start closing the gap. Dovizioso was back to sixth, and so a Márquez move on Rossi at turn three was for fourth place. Then Marc was able to contest with Iannone, which saw the Pramac rider fight back more than once and there were some clashing fairings. But the Honda man got the place, with Rossi also able to get the better of the satellite Ducati. However, at this stage the first two were clear.

Pedrosa took the lead from Lorenzo on the inside at turn three, then began to increase his advantage. At half-distance he was over a second ahead, and on this occasion third man Márquez was also losing ground. Rossi was still in touch, but the next group of riders, Iannone, Dovizioso and Bradl, were not on the leaders’ pace. Pol Espargaró had gone out of the race after being passed by the German rider.

Rather than coming back at the leaders in the usual way, Márquez on this day found his third place under threat, and Rossi finally got past when the Spaniard went wide at turn six. It wouldn’t be the first time that Marc would drift off the ideal line, and he continued losing ground. Towards the end, Pedrosa’s 1.7s lead was reduced by Lorenzo, but the Honda man was in control and he took the race by 0.4s. The order towards the front didn’t alter in the late stages, with Rossi, Márquez, Iannone (fending off a late attack), Dovizioso and Bradl therefore completing the top seven.

Aleix Espargaró had been the lead man amongst the Open runners and, after passing Smith early on, he held the position thereafter and took eighth at the finish. Bradley was next, ahead of Bautistá, Redding, Pirro, Aoyama, Abraham, Camier (with his first point), de Angelis, Barberá, di Meglio and Parkes. Hernández had broken down, Laverty had crashed, and both Crutchlow and Petrucci had also gone out.

It was the first MotoGP race in 2014 not won by Marc Márquez, but it still went to Repsol Honda as Dani Pedrosa took the honours. Dani matched his race number with his 26th victory in the class, which also happened to be the 260th for Honda in the premier class. On the day, Márquez was off the podium and behind all his main rivals, but he still had a significant advantage. Did this result give the other guys just a glimpse of hope?

Standings after eleven races: Márquez 263; Pedrosa 186; Rossi 173; Lorenzo 137; Dovizioso 118; A.Espargaró 85; P.Espargaró 78; Iannone 73; Smith and Bradl 65 ·· Open leader: A.Espargaró.
Honda 275; Yamaha 194; Ducati 125; Forward Yamaha 88; PBM 8; Avintia 6; ART 4.

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