Márquez continues victory streak at Le Mans
18 May 2014 – Marc Márquez maintained his extraordinary start to the 2014 MotoGP season by bouncing back from a woeful first lap to claim his fifth successive victory at the French Grand Prix.
Márquez tumbled down to the fringes of the top 10 on the opening lap but stormed through on his rivals to take another triumph as he bids for a second world title.
Valentino Rossi was second for Yamaha, while Álvaro Bautista secured a much needed podium in third place at a sunny Le Mans.
It was yet again a frenetic start as Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso snatched the lead at the start while Márquez dropped to fourth. The reigning champion then had to take evasive action against Jorge Lorenzo into Garage Vert and slipped to tenth.
Rossi moved up to third at the start and quickly dispensed with Stefan Bradl, before getting through on early leader Dovizioso a lap later. Bradl also had to play second fiddle to Tech 3 star Pol Espargaró, who soon got through on Dovizioso as Rossi eked out a small gap.
Márquez began his charge back through the field as he eased through on Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa before scything past Álvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith. Márquez made another error by again going wide at Garage Vert but recovered and rapidly passed rival Lorenzo.
Dovizioso's inevitable slide down the order continued as he lost places to the recovering Márquez, as well as Lorenzo and Bautista.
Márquez's rise up the order continued as he took Bradl and Espargaró on successive laps before cutting into Rossi's lead at a rapid rate. The Italian hung on for a couple of laps but made a mistake at Garage Bleu, handing the advantage to Márquez.
Bradl slipped back behind Lorenzo and Pedrosa, while a podium scrap materialised between Espargaró and Bautista. The Gresini rider passed Espargaró into Garage Vert while behind them, Lorenzo and Pedrosa duelled over fifth place, with the battle resolved in favour of the Honda rider.
Up front Márquez eventually came across the line 1.4 seconds ahead of Rossi, while Bautista completed the podium and Espargaró claimed a fine fourth place at Tech 3's home race.
Pedrosa was fifth on a low key weekend for the Spaniard following an arm operation earlier this month, while Lorenzo's struggles continued as he finished a distant sixth.
Bradl was seventh, ahead of Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaró and Bradley Smith. Cal Crutchlow was 11th for Ducati, while Scott Redding, Yonny Hernández, Hiroshi Aoyama and Karel Abraham rounded out the points after Colin Edwards had to scoot across the line.
Nicky Hayden was a first corner victim after making contact with Andrea Iannone, who promptly dumped his Ducati in the gravel a few corners later. Héctor Barberá also crashed out of the race.
Márquez's perfect start to the season now leaves him with 125 points, 42 ahead of nearest rival Pedrosa. Rossi holds third place - two points down on Pedrosa - with Dovizioso in fourth and Lorenzo 80 points behind Márquez in fifth.
The next round takes place at Mugello in Italy in two weeks' time.