2014 Le Mans MotoGP
The 2014 MotoGP Championship headed this past weekend to France’s Le Mans Bugatti circuit, a 2.6-mile circuit that is usually plagued with rain.
But the entire MotoGP weekend was held under sunny conditions, which allowed for warmer track conditions and faster lap times.
Taking the quickest time – and his fifth-consecutive win in as many rounds – was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. The 21-year-old Repsol Honda RC213V pilot has broken record after record so far this season, and this includes a new circuit lap of 1:33.548 en route to the Le Mans MotoGP win.
Marquez began from the pole, but had a rough start, falling back to ninth. But he charged through the field, and took the lead from Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi on the 12th lap.
Marquez would finish ahead of Rossi, who took his third second-place finish of 2014, and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who took his first podium since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bridgestone reports that the track temperature Sunday 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 Saturday’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 – Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone – the other 21 riders selected the soft compound front. Fourteen of the 22 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, Bridgestone reports.
Shinji Aoki, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department, says “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 winner, says “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-percent 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.”
For a review of the round, visit 2014 Le Mans MotoGP Results.