2014 Qatar MotoGP Results
Spoiler Alert: 2014 MotoGP Results from Qatar’s Losail International Circuit listed below.
Following the final round of 2013 MotoGP at Valencia last November, much has changed in the series.
The biggest? The addition of the “Open” option machines, which replaced the CRT class. These Open prototypes must use the spec ECU hardware and software, but get some privileges, such as 24 liters of fuel vs. 21 for the Factory riders, 12 engines vs. five, and a softer-rear Bridgestone tire.
From the first preseason test and on, one rider dominated aboard the new Open-option machines – NGM Forward Racing Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard continued the pace into the first free practices of the opening round at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Due to his performance, Aleix automatically entered Qualifying 2. But it appeared the pressure got to him, and he qualified ninth. Espargaro regained his composure during warm-up, topping the time sheets ahead of round 1 of 18 in 2014 MotoGP.
As impressive of a story was the man who earned the first pole of the 2014 MotoGP – the reigning champion Marc Marquez. It was his 10th career pole in just 19 starts. Nothing new for Marquez, but he completed the feat while injured.
The 21-year-old Spaniard arrived in Qatar just four weeks after breaking his leg during a dirt-track training accident. And though he had to favor his right arm for strength aboard the RC213V, Marquez rode with fervor, wanting to immediately start defending his title.
And this is just what he did following some of the best racing observed in years at Losail. The sophomore rider began battling with the most experienced rider with eight laps remaining – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi – creating the ultimate generation-gap GP.
And until the finish line, these two that represent different eras of MotoGP swapped the lead numerous times, even contacting each other on numerous occasions. But it was Marquez who came out on top, 0.259 of a second ahead of Rossi. Taking the final podium position was Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa.
When the 22-lap race got underway at the 3.34-mile containing 16 corners, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith got the holeshot. But it was the rider who won the previous two rounds at Qatar that got to turn one first – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, who started from fifth on the grid after struggling with grip issues on his YZR-M1 In tow were Smith, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, Marquez and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
But Lorenzo’s leadership of the 23-rider grid was short lived; he would crash at turn six – the corner that claimed the most crashes of any other corner in the past five years of racing at Qatar.
This put Bradl into the lead, who, along with Marquez, passed Smith. Behind, Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone passed Dovizioso for fourth, and Rossi soon passed Dovi to take fifth. As for Espargaro, he was in 11th by the end of the first lap, again seeming to fold under pressure.
On lap three, another crash occured – this time Iannone. Behind, GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista – who qualified second but got a horrible start – began charging to the front, and was in third with 18 to go.
The next lap, Rossi also passed Smith for fourth, and set his eyes on the front of the pack. While running in second, Marquez made a small mistake, and fell back to third.
Bautista was the next to make a huge mistake, one that was definitely the best save of the race. At turn six – the same turn that claimed Lorenzo – he had a huge wobble on his RC213V. He dropped back into sixth, placing Marquez in second and Rossi in third.
But another crash would further upset the order when Bradl suffered a nasty low side with 14 to go…also on turn six.
This gave Marquez the lead, and the battle between him and Rossi immediately began. Rossi, who started from 10th on the grid, passed Marquez for the lead one lap later. Behind, Pedrosa passed Smith for third.
Marquez, whose RC213V had more on the straights than Rossi’s YZR-M1, made an attempt at the end of the start/finish straight with 13 to go, but Rossi blocked him.
Bautista and Smith fought, with the Spaniard beating the Brit for fourth. Pedrosa was somewhat alone in third, stalking Rossi and Marquez, waiting for a mistake.
With nine to go, Marquez took the lead after the start/finish straight. And it appeared like he was saying hasta luego to Rossi…see you at the winner’s circle. But this battle wouldn’t be won that easily.
Behind, Pedrosa and Bautista battled for third, and Bautista grabbed third on turn two with four to go. On this same lap Pol Espargaro headed into the pits with what appeared to be transmission issues on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1. But it was double trouble for the French team when Smith crashed at turn two.
Up front, Rossi passed Marquez at turn four, and the youngster immediately responded, getting out front again. There would be some more attempts, but Marquez would hold off any charges for the win. This would also satisfy the expectations that Factory machines would finish on the podium.
Pedrosa would be the final prototype in the winner’s circle. He would take an easy third when Bautista’s challenges ended with a crash with two laps to go. Finishing fourth was Espargaro, who was followed by the Ducati Team GP14s piloted by Dovi and Cal Crutchlow, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding, Drive M7 Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden, NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Iannone, who rejoined the grid after crashing on lap three.
With his win, Marquez earned 25 points, and leads Rossi by five as the series heads to Circuit of the Americas in Texas April 11-13.
2014 Qatar MotoGP Results from Losail International Circuit:
|1||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||166.4||42’40.561|
|2||20||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||166.3||+0.259|
|3||16||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||166.1||+3.370|
|4||13||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||NGM Forward Racing||Forward Yamaha||165.6||+11.623|
|5||11||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||165.6||+12.159|
|6||10||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Ducati Team||Ducati||164.5||+28.526|
|7||9||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||164.3||+32.593|
|8||8||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Drive M7 Aspar||Honda||164.3||+32.628|
|9||7||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Forward Racing||Forward Yamaha||163.8||+39.547|
|10||6||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||163.6||+43.360|
|11||5||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||Drive M7 Aspar||Honda||163.4||+46.595|
|12||4||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Energy T.I. Pramac Racing||Ducati||163.4||+46.688|
|13||3||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Honda||163.1||+50.581|
|14||2||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||IodaRacing Project||ART||162.4||+1’03.127|
|15||1||23||Broc PARKES||AUS||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||161.7||+1’14.386|
|16||70||Michael LAVERTY||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||PBM||160.5||+1’32.593|
|17||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Avintia Racing||Avintia||160.3||+1’36.085|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||GO&FUN Honda Gresini||Honda||166.2||2 Laps|
|38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||166.1||4 Laps|
|44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||165.0||5 Laps|
|6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||165.6||14 Laps|
|8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Avintia||160.7||18 Laps|
|99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||0 Lap|