Seventh heaven for ace Marquez

MotoGP raider Marc Marquez of Spain is followed by Valentino Rossi of Italy and Dani Pedrosa of Spain
MotoGP raider Marc Marquez of Spain is followed by Valentino Rossi of Italy and Dani Pedrosa of Spain

Repsol Honda wonder kid Marc Marquez equalled Valentino Rossi’s run of seven straight MotoGP wins from 2002 with a hard-earned victory at Catalunya yesterday.

In another stunning showdown, Marquez held off his Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa on a dramatic final lap, with Pedrosa touching the rear wheel of the defending world champion’s machine a few corners from the finish, running wide and allowing Valentino Rossi to grab second place on the Movistar Yamaha.

Northern Ireland’s Michael Laverty will have to wait for his first points finish of the 2014 season as the PBM rider crossed the line in 17th position, one place behind team-mate Broc Parkes.

Race winner Marquez said: “I am delighted with this win because this is a track which I have always found difficult. You could see how tough it is for me this weekend: I missed out on pole for the first time this season and had my first crash of the year.

“The race was very hard with a battle against Dani, Jorge [Lorenzo] and Valentino. I think that the last few corners were especially spectacular, with the moves by Valentino and Dani.”

For Marquez, his victory yesterday in front of almost 93,000 fans was Honda’s 100th win since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP era.

In an incredible race Pedrosa and Marquez, who started first and third on the grid respectively, fell to third and fourth on the first lap behind Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi before Marquez passed Pedrosa into third on lap two, setting a new record race lap of 1m 42.182s.

Rossi took the lead from his Yamaha team-mate Lorenzo on lap four and on lap six Marquez and Lorenzo exchanged passes before the Honda star made a move stick.

Pedrosa passed Lorenzo for third place at turn one on lap seven and began to chase down his team-mate, with the two Repsol Honda riders passing each other twice on lap nine before Marquez settled into second place behind Rossi.

Marquez began to hunt down the leader and hit the front for the first time on lap 20, with Pedrosa following suit two laps later to slot into second.

On the final lap, the pair went head to head and traded blows in a thrilling scrap until Pedrosa collided with the rear of Marquez’s machine, causing him to run wide and lose a certain top-two finish with Rossi capitalising to finish second.

Lorenzo finished a comfortable fourth ahead of Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and Aleix Espargaro on the Forward Racing Yamaha.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow retired from the race, while Bradley Smith finished 10th on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Scott Redding took 12th on the Open class Gresini Honda.

Earlier in the day, Marquez’s younger brother Alex won the Moto3 race as the pair became the first siblings in the 65-year history of Grand Prix racing to take a world championship win on the same day.