The initial shuffle off the start saw Marquez get pushed back to fourth as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, Rossi, and Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone slotted into the top three spots. Pedrosa settled into fifth with Lorenzo trailing in sixth. Further back in the field, Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista made contact with Iannone’s teammate, Yonny Hernandez, sending both riders to the ground in the opening turns. Neither rider returned to the track after the incident.
Out front, Rossi moved ahead of Dovi for the lead while Marquez pushed ahead of Iannone for third. Lorenzo fought to keep the leaders in reach and moved past Pedrosa and Iannone in short order, reaching Marquez’s rear tire four laps into the race. On the subsequent rotation, the sparks really started to fly as Dovi made a bid to retake the lead. Rossi quickly answered back, but Dovi wasn’t in the mood to settle for second so tried to get the Doctor again and in the process of this back-and-forth the two made contact and ran wide. This allowed both Marquez and Lorenzo to slip by into the top two positions. Dovi and Rossi collected themselves and immediately started to push to regain position, with Dovi giving Lorenzo a spirited challenge. Rossi had his sights on the lead and got ahead of everyone when Marquez made a mistake and ran wide a few turns after taking the front. When the dust finally settled it was Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo and Dovi running tire-to-tire.
As the contest wore on, Rossi maintained his position but had serious pressure from Marquez and Lorezno. Dovi started dropping off the pace slightly about 10 laps in, but was able to close up when Marquez and the two Yamaha riders started swapping positions again. Lorenzo dove to the inside of Marquez as the three entered Turn 1 but Marquez held tight to the outside of the 2012 champ. This put Marquez in position to slip to the inside of Lorenzo entering Turn 2, a move which also closed off Rossi’s line and allowed the Honda to take the lead. Lorenzo put up a fight through Turn 3 but Marquez protected the inside on entry to Turn 4 and exited with a few bike lengths advantage in the lead. Rossi slipped ahead of Lorenzo on the exit as well for second.
Rossi put in a valiant effort as he tried to stay within striking distance of Marquez, but subsequent laps saw the Honda rider slowly grow his advantage. The Doctor also had Lorenzo to worry about in third. Rossi was given a slight bit of breathing room when Lorenzo went wobbly mid-corner with 16 laps remaining, but the Mallorcan got back on the throttle and three laps later caught and passed Rossi for the runner-up spot. After that, the top three held position to the finish.
Dovi, meanwhile, lost ground during the second half of the race as Pedrosa gained steam. Pedrosa got stuck behind Iannone during the initial laps and when he finally made it past the Ducati rider into fifth-place, the front runners had built a gap on the field. Nearly half the race was in the books by the time Pedrosa reached Dovi’s rear tire, and when the Honda rider made the pass for fourth, there was little chance left of challenging for podium position.
The late-race drop-off continued for Dovizioso during the final laps, as Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith both pushed past the Ducati rider to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Dovi mitigated his losses and held to seventh ahead of teammate, Cal Crutchlow. Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding had one of his best outings of the year, finishing ninth, while Drive M7 Aspar’s Hiroshi Aoyama took 10th.
Overall, only 15 riders of the 23 that lined-up on the grid finished the race. In addition to Bautista and Hernandez, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl suffered a nasty off mid-race after making contact with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro. The incident left Espargaro’s tail section in pieces, forcing the Spanish rider to pull out of competition as well. Iannone ran into technical issues during the latter stages, as did Drive M7 Aspar substitute rider, Leon Camier.
One rider that was able to keep it upright to the checkers, Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, marked his final GP race on American soil with a 13th-place result. Edwards won’t return to action during the following round at Brno, and will only be on track at select rounds during the second half of the season as a wild card entry. Moto2 rider Alex De Angelis will step in to ride in Edwards’ stead, starting in the Czech Republic. Forward Racing Team Owner Giovanni Cuzari offered these remarks following the race at Indianapolis:
“I’d like to thank Colin Edwards for everything he has done for our team. Our adventure in MotoGP has started thanks to him. Two times World Superbike Champion and successful rider in MotoGP, he accepted the challenge of the CRT project with us, scoring the first ever pole position and CRT win in Qatar 2012 in the year debut of this new class. From that race we have constantly grown, improving the results. It was thanks to his experience that last year we chose the best package on the grid to race together in the new Open category. His contribution has been crucial and we can now count 8 wins out of 10 races. We will see Colin again this year as a wild card and he will always be part of the Forward Racing family. I’d like to thank once again Colin, amazing rider and great man.”
MotoGP Indianapolis Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
5. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
8. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati)
9. Scott Redding (Honda)
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
11. Karel Abraham (Honda)
12. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia)
13. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha)
14. Michael Laverty (PBM)
15. Broc Parkees (PBM)
MotoGP Championship Points 2014
1. Marc Marquez, 250
2. Dani Pedrosa, 161
3. Valentino Rossi, 157
4. Jorge Lorenzo, 117
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 108
6. Pol Espargaro, 78
7. Aleix Espargaro, 77
8. Andrea Iannone, 62
9. Bradley Smith, 58
10. Stefan Bradl, 56