MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) produced another masterclass at Le Mans to win from pole again, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) also on the podium.
Marquez enjoyed a perfect weekend taking pole position (with a new record), setting a new fastest race lap (1’33.548 on lap 8) and crowning it with the victory (in a record time) in front of 88,222 spectators.
Marc Marquez: “I am really happy with this win, which was different to the other victories. I made a mistake at the start; maybe I was too relaxed off the line, then when Jorge passed me I had to take a wide line otherwise we would have touched and as a result, many riders overtook me. However, from that moment on I began a really good comeback it was a lot of fun, ending in my fifth consecutive victory. Although it might look easy to people, we are working extremely hard and this is the reward for the whole team!”
Marquez produced a fantastic fightback after an early mistake to lead by a second on lap 16 having been 10th on lap one. Rossi demonstrated his competitiveness again to lead for several laps in the first half of the race but ultimately could not hold off the rampant Marquez.
Whilst Rossi achieved his tenth premier class podium at Le Mans and his 150th in the top category, Marquez became the first rider to win five successive premier class races from pole since Mick Doohan on a Honda, who won ten successive races from pole in 1997.
Valentino Rossi: “I’m very happy about the race and the result. I did a very good start and when I saw (Andrea) Dovizoso and (Stefan) Bradl in front I knew I could go faster than them and I overtook them. I felt good with the bike, I got in front and I tried and tried. Today was a little bit more difficult with the front maybe because the track was hotter. I tried the maximum and my pace wasn’t bad.”
“I was waiting for Marc or for Jorge (Lorenzo) or Dani (Pedrosa) to arrive, especially Marc. When he arrived I tried to push harder and make his job more difficult, but unfortunately at the crucial moment I made a mistake and I broke a little bit too deep. I went wide and it’s a great pity because that made it too easy for Marc. If not we would have been able to fight for longer because today I was not too bad. I want to try next time out in Italy in Mugello to have a good weekend and to fight with him again.”
Meanwhile, it was Bautista’s first podium since 2012 and a great reward for the determination he has shown since his three DNFs at the start of the season.
Alvaro Bautista: “I knew I could get a good result in the race because during practice we were very close to the other riders, apart from Marquez who has always shown a higher potential. I started the race pretty well, but in the early laps there was a lot of traffic; in any case I kept calm and slowly I took my pace, recovering many positions. Once I reached the third position, I tried to push to try to catch Rossi, but the gap was too big.”
An excellent ride from rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) saw him hold off Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) for fourth. Pedrosa appeared to be riding in significant discomfort after recent arm pump surgery.
Dani Pedrosa: “It was a very difficult race to manage, because I didn’t get a bad start but had Iannone and Smith coming through very strong on the opening corner; they split the group and even pushed a rider off-track. However, this wasn’t the main problem, I had an issue with the front tyre preventing me from making my way up the order. Every time that I tried to be more aggressive I had a lack of grip and it took many laps for me to move forward. It’s a shame, because I didn’t find a setup that allowed me to ride comfortably and we didn’t have a good race. I think I can go a lot faster here than what we saw today”
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished three seconds behind Pedrosa in the unfamiliar territory of sixth for the 2010 and 2012 MotoGP World Champion.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) recovered from his recent arm operation for seventh, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) also in the top ten.
Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) crashed on the first lap after contact with Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), only for the Italian to go down shortly afterwards. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) also crashed early, though none of those three were seriously affected by the incidents.
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 44m 3.925s
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 44m 5.411s
3. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 44m 7.069s
4. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 44m 7.642s
5. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 44m 8.002s
6. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 44m 11.013s
7. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 44m 15.452s
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 44m 26.028s
9. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 44m 26.551s
10. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 44m 27.033s
11. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 44m 29.705s
12. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R)* 44m 43.448s
13. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 44m 46.469s
14. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 44m 46.661s
15. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 45m 0.569s
16. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 45m 18.048s
17. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 45m 23.648s
18. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART)* 45m 34.859s
19. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia)* 45m 38.446s
Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) DNF
Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) DNF
Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) DNF
World Championship Standings
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 125 points
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 83 points (-42)
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 81 points (-44)
4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 53 points (-72)
5. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 45 points (-80)
6. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 39 points (-86)
7. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 38 points (-87)
8. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 37 points (-88)
9. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 34 points (-91)
10. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 26 points (-99)
11. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 25 points (-100)
12. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 23 points (-102)
13. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 21 points (-104)
14. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R)* 18 points (-107)
15. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 16 points (-109)
16. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 15 points (-110)
17. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 9 points (-116)
18. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 7 points (-118)
19. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 2 points (-123)
20. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 2 points (-123)
21. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART)* 1 points (-124)