Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez achieved his seventh consecutive win in as many rounds at Catalunya, maintaining his perfect race record for 2014. Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi crossed the line in second followed by Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, in third.
As riders rolled off the grid for the final sighting lap, pit crews throughout scrambled to prepare the riders' second bikes since the skies appeared on the brink of unleashing a downpour. Thankfully the rain never came, allowing for a thrilling battle between Marquez, Rossi, Pedrosa and Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.
Off the start, Lorenzo got the early advantage and maintained the lead through the opening turns but was under attack from Pedrosa, Rossi and Marquez from behind. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl slipped into fifth-place during the initial rotation as well and staged a strong early race performance, holding pace with the front runners for much of the contest.
Positions shuffled straight away as Rossi pushed past Pedrosa for second on Lap 1, followed by Marquez besting his teammate for third on Lap 2. Out front the Mallorcan played defense against Rossi, who was hounding the 2012 world champion for the lead. The two Yamaha riders fought hard against one another on Lap 3 when Rossi made his initial move for the top-spot. Lorenzo quickly answered back but the Doctor didn’t hesitate in his retaliation and made a pass for the front which stuck. Lorenzo quickly faced another challenge from Marquez as the young Repsol rider barreled up the ranks from third. The next lap was marked by a spirited battle between the two for the runner-up spot, which was eventually won by Marquez.
Lorenzo fell out of podium position soon after as Pedrosa powered ahead into third-place. Though he’d keep close to the top-three for much of the remainder of the race, Lorenzo was unable to prove an effective challenger for a rostrum finish after the initial laps.
The action settled slightly as Rossi, Marquez and Pedrsoa maintained their running order, but there were plenty of looks and no one was able to build a gap large enough to feel safe in the least. With 13 laps remaining, Marquez appeared ready to make his move on Rossi for the lead, lining up a slip-stream move on the Doctor as they approached Turn 1. He made a mistake during the maneuver though and was forced to stand the bike up to avoid a crash. The run-off section was entirely paved though, which allowed Marquez to rejoin quickly, having allowed Rossi to remain in front and Pedrosa to move up to second. The current points leader wasted no time after the incident, passing Pedrosa a few corners into the lap for second-place once again.
Marquez’s brief run off track allowed Rossi to stretch a miniscule lead on the field, but the Repsol rider was soon back on the Yamaha’s rear tire. With seven laps remaining, Marquez passed Rossi for the lead, followed by Pedrosa, who made a huge push past both Rossi and Marquez for the front soon after. The two Honda pilots quickly ceded position back to Rossi however, since they’d moved ahead on a yellow flag, acknowledging the infraction with hands raised as soon as their error was realized.
Entering the final laps, Marquez pushed up against Rossi once again, gaining the lead position with six to go. Rossi did not go quietly though, fighting back on the subsequent rotation. Marquez's next move stuck and soon Rossi faced heavy pressure from Pedrosa in third. The Italian lost position to Pedrosa with four to go, and from there it was a dog-fight between teammates for the race win.
Pedrosa was aggressive during the final laps, looking for any opening possible to disrupt Marquez’s as-yet unbroken race-win streak this season. Entering the final lap Pedrosa moved ahead of Marquez, only to face a quick and decisive retaliation in the following turns. Nearing the latter portion of the lap Pedrosa was nearly on top of Marquez and made the mistake of getting too close, touching his front tire to Marquez’s rear mid-corner. Amazingly, Marquez was hardly moved by the contact but it was enough to send Pedrosa wide and allow Rossi the opening he needed to slip into second-place.
Behind, Lorenzo crossed the line in fourth well off the pace of the leaders. Bradl, too, lost significant ground late in the race but was able to hold on to fifth-place to the checkers. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro picked off a number of riders to finish in sixth, including his brother Pol of Tech 3 Yamaha, who crossed the line in seventh. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took eighth followed by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in ninth and Pol’s teammate, Bradley Smith, in 10th.
The list of frustrations this season grew for a few riders, primarily Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, both of whom retired with mechanical issues.
Marquez’s spotless race record through the opening seven races of 2014 leaves him well ahead of the field in points, leading second-placed rider Rossi by 58 after Catalunya. Pedrosa sits third an additional five points back followed by Lorenzo in fourth.
MotoGP Catalunya Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda)
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
6. Aleix Espargaro (Forward-Yamaha)
7. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
9. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
11. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati)
12. Scott Redding (Honda)
13. Nicky Hayden (Honda)
14. Michele Pirro (Ducati)
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
16. Broc Parkes (PBM)
17. Michael Laverty (PBM)
18. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha)
19. Hector Barbera (Avintia)
20. Michel Fabrizio (ART)
MotoGP Championship Points 2014
1. Marc Marquez, 175
2. Valentino Rossi, 117
3. Dani Pedrosa, 112
4. Jorge Lorenzo, 78
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 71
6. Pol Espargaro, 58
7. Aleix Espagarao, 54
8. Stefan Bradl, 50
9. Andrea Iannone, 41
10. Bradley Smith, 40