Marc Marquez didn’t have it all that easy in his seventh race this season at Catalunya MotoGP on Sunday June 15, 2014. Earlier on Saturday, Marquez couldn’t win the pole position during the qualification laps. For the first time in 2014, he had to concede the pole to his Repsol-Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa under dubious circumstances. At the first turn in the final qualification lap, Marquez applied the brakes a trifle too late and crashed. The mishap ended his unbeaten pole this year and the champion rider apologized to his Honda team after the crash saying he owned the fault. Until the crash occurred, Marquez had recorded an impressive lead that placed him at the third place behind Pedrosa and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. Regardless of the handicap of starting late on the race day, the world champion proved his mettle and scored his seventh successive victory at Barcelona. But it was not a cakewalk for the master rider, who faced tough challenges from not just his team-mate Dani Pedrosa but both Yamaha team riders too. Veteran Valentino Rossi and his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo were riding neck-to-neck until the last stages of the prestigious Catalunya MotoGP, when Marquez overtook them before finishing ahead of the pack in an absolute thriller.
As the race began on Sunday, Jorge Lorenzo rode brilliantly to immediately overtake the pole-topper and Honda rider Dani Pedrosa at Turn 1 itself. While Pedrosa moved quickly to regain his inherent advantage, Lorenzo continued to keep himself ahead. Other than Pedrosa, two riders; Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl were also hot on Lorenzo’s trail. At that time, Marquez had dropped back to the fifth place but he rode steadily without a care and pretty soon passed Stefan Bradl. For most part, the four drivers; two each from Honda and Yamaha teams; continued as the four race leaders. Rossi overtook Lorenzo on the fourth lap and led the pack-of-four for the better part of the race. As the race progressed, Marquez passed Lorenzo and Pedrosa and fell behind Rossi, who continued to lead. Marquez’s presence at his tail, made Rossi summon all his experience and riding skills in trying to ward off the champion. But Marquez continued to harass Rossi and at one time came so close that the two riders almost collided when Marquez braked too late at Turn 1. However, Marquez avoided the mishap by moving away to the run-off area. This incident pulled Marquez back to the third place behind Pedrosa and allowed a comfort zone to Rossi. This respite for Rossi didn’t last long as all four leaders got nearly bunched together in the final stages of the race. With seven laps remaining, Marquez overtook the other three but as tried to break away from the pack, he saw a yellow flag. No riders wanted a penalty of an illegal overtaking and therefore they rode steadily for a while. While Marquez rode ahead in the lead position, Rossi was tantalizingly close to him and the champion wanted to shake off the veteran. Rossi tried to overtake Marquez on two occasions, only to make his bike going off the running area on both attempts.
As the race was drawing to the close, Pedrosa passed Rossi and moved too close to Marquez in a last minute challenge. With four laps still remaining in the race, Pedrosa was bent on taking the lead from Marquez. On the last lap, Pedrosa drove past Marquez, first on Turn 1 and then again on Turn 4 but Marquez managed to sneak past his team-mate at the exit on both instances. An unsavory situation was fortunately avoided, when Pedrosa tried to pass Marquez one last time and hit the rear of Marquez’s bike. While the impact sent Pedrosa wide and allowed Rossi to take the second spot, Marquez crossed the finish line for his seventh successive victory of the 2014 season.
Despite the adventure from Pedrosa, he still finished third. Lorenzo, who had gradually drifted off came fourth; Bradl was fifth; Aleix Espargaro sixth; Pol Espargaro seventh; Andrea Dovizioso eighth; Andrea Iannone ninth and Bradley Smith brought up the rear with the tenth place.
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