As dark clouds loomed over Montmeló, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez weathered a storm of challenges from his MotoGP rivals to win his seventh race from seven starts in 2014.
The rain that threatened to fall over the Spanish circuit failed to eventuate, allowing the riders to compete at a ferocious pace on slick tires resulting in today’s Catalan Grand Prix being completed in record time, beating the old mark by over five seconds. The electric pace also created one of the most exciting race finales in recent history as Marquez, his teammate Dani Pedrosa, and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi all battled for victory.
It was Marquez who ultimately prevailed from the three-way fight for the lead. He survived a late attack from Pedrosa on turn ten of the final lap which saw the riders touch, and went on to win the race from Rossi by 0.512 seconds. Pedrosa’s last gasp move on Marquez saw him run wide, but he recovered to claim third place, finishing just over a second behind Rossi. On his way to victory, Marquez set a time of 1’42.182 on the second lap of the race to break the six-year-old race lap record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Widespread cloud cover and fresh winds brought a cool change, with the peak track temperature recorded today being 40°C; 14°C less than recorded during yesterday’s Free Practice 4 session. Despite the significant change in temperatures, the cooler weather didn’t have a major effect on race tire choice, as riders still used the slick options they preferred in yesterday’s hotter conditions. All riders except for Stefan Bradl selected the medium compound front slick, with the German rider opting for the hard compound front. For the rear tire, thirteen of the twenty-four starters selected the medium compound rear slick, with the remaining eleven riders selecting the soft compound rear slick. No riders chose to use the hard compound rear slick for the Catalan Grand Prix. Tire performance at what is the one of the most gruelling events on the calendar for tires was exceptional, with the top four finishers completing the race under the existing overall race time record.
Marquez moves to 175 championship points and extends his lead over second-placed Rossi to fifty-eight points. Pedrosa remains in third place on the championship table, and just five points behind Rossi in the standings.
Shinichi Yamashita – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“What an excellent race! Congratulations to Marc and Repsol Honda on their seventh victory this year, not to mention Honda’s one-hundredth win in the modern MotoGP era. Well done also to Valentino and Dani for making the podium and pushing Marc all the way to the chequered flag. We had much cooler conditions today but this didn’t change the riders’ minds on which tire combination to use for the race. This circuit has quite a low grip level so I am very pleased with how our tires performed in the race, with a new Circuit Record Lap being set by Marquez and the top four riders able to complete the race quicker than the existing overall race time record. I am proud that Bridgestone was involved in such a fantastic race here in Catalunya, but now our attention turns to this week’s MotoGP tests at Montmeló and Aragon, as we continue to test new tire developments in our quest to give riders even higher levels of safety and performance.”
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“Today was more difficult than the last race at Mugello as the Yamaha riders had strong pace at the beginning of the race. I made a mistake chasing Valentino when braking into turn one, which cost me around a second, but after that I was able to catch him again and we had a nice battle. In front of the crowd here at my home circuit it was really special to fight the last few laps with Valentino and Dani, but the most important thing was we were able to get the victory and the twenty-five points for the championship.”