Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez continued his relentless push for a second MotoGP World Championship as the Spaniard won his fifth race in a row with victory at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
Starting from pole position, Marquez had a poor start and as the riders completed their first lap, found himself in tenth position. The reigning champion then increased his pace and made his way through the field, setting a new Circuit Record Lap time of 1'33.548 on lap eight, and then taking the race lead on lap twelve. Marquez’s constant pace led him to victory over Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who claimed his third second-place finish of the year. Taking third place was GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who rode brilliantly to claim his first podium since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.
The track temperature today reached its highest level of the race weekend, with a figure of 46°C recorded in the final stages of the race. Race tire choice amongst the riders was similar to that from yesterday’s Free Practice 4 session, with the soft compound front and rear slicks proving to be most popular. Only one rider selected the medium compound front slick for the race, the other twenty-one riders selected the soft compound front. Fourteen of the twenty-two starters opted for the soft compound rear slick, while eight riders selected the extra-soft rear that was available only to the Ducati and Open-class entrants. Despite the warmer than usual temperatures at Le Mans, tire performance during race was excellent, with today’s French Grand Prix having the highest average speed ever recorded at this circuit.
Marquez’s latest victory sees his lead in the championship over his teammate Dani Pedrosa increase to forty-three points. Rossi remains in third place in the rider standings, but now sits just two points behind Pedrosa after five rounds.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“It’s been a while since we had a completely dry race weekend at Le Mans, and the constant fine weather gave riders plenty of time to find a setup to get the best performance out of the tires. The pace this year was a big step forward from last year, but the riders also commented that the warm-up performance and safety of our tires at Le Mans has also improved, so I am pleased with this result. New Circuit Best Lap, Race Lap and overall race time records were set this weekend at Le Mans. This is a very positive outcome for Bridgestone and shows that our revised tire allocation for this circuit worked well for the riders.”
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“I enjoyed today quite a lot, particularly the early part of the race. Maybe I was too calm in the early laps, I knew my rhythm was good so maybe I had too much confidence. Then when Lorenzo overtook me, I started to go quick and overtaking many riders which I enjoyed. When I was in second place I saw Rossi in front so I pushed 100% and when I reached Valentino I thought it would be a fight to pass him, but he made a mistake which allowed me to get through. I’m really happy for my fifth victory in a row, and I want to enjoy this moment as even though it looked easy, it was difficult go get the win.”
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.