Veteran rider Valentino Rossi has finally scored his first MotoGP victory of the 2014 season at San Marino. In large measure, the legendary Italian was helped by the misfortune that befell MotoGP championship leader, Marc Marquez, in an early lap. Marquez’s Honda met with a crash that cost him the race at San Marino. The Spaniard finished a lowly 16th and for the second time this season could not occupy the top spot. Rossi’s win brought him closer to his 10th world title as he led his Movistar Yamaha team to a 1-2 podium finish with Jorge Lorenzo coming second. Marquez’s Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was third.
Earlier on Saturday, Jorge Lorenzo secured the pole position for the first time this season but in his long riding career, it was his 30th top pole finish. Marquez failed here as well, finishing 4th on the grid. Lorenzo has a very impressive record at San Marino, where he has finished as the winner in 2011, 2012 and 2013. When he could not take the top spot at San Marino, the 27-year old Spaniard has always made it to the podium. As the practice session concluded, Pramac Racing rider Andrea Iannone finished 0.051 seconds behind Lorenzo to take the second place while Lorenzo’s Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi was third, 0.064 seconds slower.
Nine-time world champion in all categories of motor-bikes, Valentino Rossi had a great race and his only challenge came from teammate Lorenzo. Wildly cheered by home fans, Rossi got off to a fabulous start along with Lorenzo and Marquez. Although, Marquez was placed fourth on the grid, he soon joined Lorenzo and Rossi and the three bunched up riders pulled away from a pack comprising of Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa. Enthused by thousands of Italian fans in the stands, Rossi smartly curved around Lorenzo in the sixth lap to take the lead and started building the gap as the race progressed. In the ninth lap, Marquez lost control of his machine on a bend and crashed. It was a sad moment for the Spaniard, who lost quite a lot of time before track officials helped him to get going once more. While it was bad luck for Marquez, others got a boost as the champion rider dropped out of contention. Meanwhile, Rossi rode solidly ahead of all others and faced no real challenge in the remaining laps, except the last-minute bid by Lorenzo, who did his best to overtake the Italian. But Rossi is a veteran for nothing; he fended off Lorenzo’s late surge and finished the 28-lap race, crossing the finish line 1.57 seconds ahead of the Spaniard. Dani Pedrosa was third behind Lorenzo. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was placed fourth ahead of Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who finished fifth. The sixth and seventh places were taken by the two riders of Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammates; Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Alvaro Bautista was eighth; Cal Crutchlow, ninth and Yonny Hernandez finished tenth. Marquez, who completed the race despite his crash, was placed sixteenth.
While loss of control cost Marquez, it was a disappointing race for Lorenzo as well. The Spaniard was vying for his fourth successive victory but he was kept in check by teammate Rossi. The Italian used his long riding experience in the final stages of the race and prevented Lorenzo from finding any leeway. In the end, it was a determined and controlled performance from the veteran rider, although he truthfully admitted that he was helped by Marquez’s unexpected crash. With his victory at San Marino, Rossi recorded the 81st win in the elite class and became the first rider to reach 5000 career points.
With five races remaining in the 2014 season, Marc Marquez is still the leader with 289 points with Pedrosa trailing him at 215 and Rossi on 214. The next race of the season will be held in Spain’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon on September 28, 2014.