Team Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez celebrated a record-setting weekend at Le Mans during the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. On Sunday, the defending MotoGP World Champion picked up his fifth consecutive win of the season and accomplished several career milestones in the process.
For 21-year-old Marquez, this victory marks his 11th career MotoGP win and it made him the youngest rider to win five straight races in the premier class. He also became the first rider to win five straight MotoGP races since nine-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi did it in 2008. And he became the first rider to win the opening five races of the season in the premier class since Giacomo Agostini in 1972.
In Sunday’s race, Marquez started from pole position and became the first rider to win five straight premier class races from pole since Mick Doohan in 1997. But he suffered a poor start and made some mistakes on lap one. Despite this, the determined Spaniard advanced through the field from 10th to take over the lead on lap 13.
From there, Marquez held on to take the win over second-place finisher Rossi on his Movistar Yamaha. This result was Rossi’s 150th podium in the premier class and his third of 2014. Rounding out the French MotoGP podium was Go&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, picking up his first podium since 2012.
“I enjoyed quite a lot, especially after that first lap,” said Marquez on the Cycle News website. “On the first lap I was maybe too calm. I know that my rhythm was so good, so maybe I have too much confidence. Then when (Jorge) Lorenzo overtake me, I go a little bit wide and I go off side of the track and then many riders pass me. After that I start a great overtakes. I enjoyed it a lot."Then I saw that Valentino (Rossi) start to open a small gap and then I was pushing my 100 percent," he continued. "And then when I catch him I expect a little bit more battle, but he did a small mistake and he went wide and after that I saw that was a time to move and open the gap. I’m really, really happy for my fifth victory in a row. We must enjoy the moment, because it looks easy, but is so difficult.”
Finishing fourth was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro. The rookie MotoGP rider and Moto2 World Champion turned in a fantastic ride at Le Mans after starting from the front row of the grid for the first time. Espargaro ran in a podium position for half the race before finishing fourth. He also managed to hold off Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who finished fifth.
In the title chase, Marquez now has a perfect score of 125 points. Additionally, he is 42 points ahead of the rider in second place, his Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa.