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Monday, August 11, 2014

MotoGP 2014 – Indianapolis: Round Up

The summer break, vacations, recovery, relaxation, new/extended rider contracts and… 10 out of 10 for Marc Marquez as the racing resumed for the 10th round of motorcycle Grand Prix

It’s getting difficult to write a report on the latest MotoGP race for the fear of it becoming redundant. I am trying to find new vocabulary to write but it’s getting tough or should I just get one with it. Alright then, here it goes... Marc Marquez has won again and for the 10th time in a row since the start of this season. Meaning he hasn’t lost a single race so far this year. So there it is, report done!

But it’s not so straightforward.

Lately, I have been reading on the World Wide Web that how MotoGP is becoming boring with Marc Marquez always coming out on top. I disagree. The racing has been anything but boring this year. While you and I may want some other rider to win, it’s still amazingly exciting to see a young “kid” like Marquez to shatter record books like anything. His character is lovable and he enjoys racing and the attention that comes with it. Behind him, we are watching a rejuvenated Valentino Rossi who is determined to fight at the front more than ever and his results are telling the same thing. Lorenzo seems to have regained his lost confidence and the physical strength as the second half of the season begins. Dani Pedrosa, though out of the podium this time, is able to give consistently better performance in the later stages of the race, an area where he hasn’t been particularly strong in the past.

Other than that, there’s the new qualifying format with two 15 minutes sessions, new spec tyre rule and the introduction of the Open Class allowing non-factory riders to give better performance in one way or the other. Something that seems to be helping out Ducati to give slightly better results than before, at least for Andrea Dovizioso.

So after nearly a month’s gap, riders put on their leathers once again and arrived at the updated Indianapolis circuit in USA. This circuit hasn’t been favored much by riders in the past due to the way it was originally designed. It had bumps and certain turns didn’t make riding much enjoyable. This year though, the circuit has been modified to make it smoother than before, bumps ironed out and riders did like it as they said during the practice sessions (on an average, riders went 9 seconds faster on the updated Indianapolis circuit than before). That’s a huge improvement. Also, earlier it has been said to suite Hondas more but yesterday’s race showed that Yamahas liked it too.

The weather forecast for this weekend didn’t really show a nice picture as heavy rain was predicted; however, the race went dry even though there were dark clouds present throughout the entirety of the event. At the starting grid, Marc Marquez occupied the top spot accompanied by factory Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in 2nd and Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in 3rd on the front row. The second row was headed by Forward Yamaha’s Aleix Espargaro, Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi in 5th and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro in 6th. Marquez’s team mate and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa did not have a good qualifying and started his race from 8th on the grid.

The lights went on and off and the chase to the finish line began. Valentine Rossi had one of his best starts from 5th position as he took the 2nd spot going into turn 1 while Andrea Dovizioso led the pack. Both Marquez and Lorenzo didn’t have a good start and were in 4th and 6th respectively. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone (Ducati) and Marquez’s team mate Dani Pedrosa were sandwiched somewhere in 3rd and 5th in the early tussle. Rossi quickly took over the lead in next 1 or 2 turns and for the next few laps Rossi and Dovizioso indulged in some close racing. Meanwhile, Marquez got past Iannone for 3rd and Lorenzo in his bid to keep the leaders in sight overtook both Pedrosa and Iannone and arrived behind the current world champion. Around 5 laps down the race, matters hot up as Dovizioso and Rossi started swapping positions. Since both the Italians were trying hard to stay in lead, they made a slight contact and ran wide giving space to both Marquez and Lorenzo to go past. Rossi quickly regained his speed and attacked his team mate Lorenzo for the 2nd position. The Italian soon overtook Marquez as well to lead the race once again when the Spaniard ran wide on one of the turns.

Riders settled into their current positions for the next few laps with Rossi leading, followed by Marquez, Lorenzo and Dovizioso all within striking distance of each other. During this time, Pedrosa and Iannone were indulged in a battle of their own. While Rossi had developed around half a second gap from Marquez, the Spaniard was slowly starting to close the distance. Around 10 laps gone, Marquez and Lorenzo both piled pressure on Rossi as they entered into turn 1 coming in from the main straight. They both got past the Italian relegating him to 3rd as they entered into turn 2. But Rossi didn’t give up and quickly responded as he overtook his team mate almost instantly for the 2nd position. Rossi continued his effort to stay with Marquez but in the following laps Marquez pulled up a slight gap of over 1 second.

With 16 laps to go, Lorenzo had a slight moment in one of the corners but he and Rossi stayed close. With another 3 laps down the race, Lorenzo got close enough and made a pass on Rossi for the 2nd spot and made it stick. From there on, positions of the front 3 remained same till the end. Marquez won from the factory Yamaha pair of Lorenzo and Rossi. The gap between Marquez and Lorenzo was around 1.8 seconds as they crossed the finish line and Rossi finishing in 3rd with the gap of around 6.5 seconds from the race winner.

With his 10th successive win, Marc Marquez has become the second rider since Mick Doohan in 1997 to win 10 races in a row. Mick Doohan was also the Repsol Honda rider then. While the winner is same, this race still displayed some of the best racing seen in recent times especially in early 10 laps.

The 21 years old current world champion Marc Marquez now leads the world championship with a total of 250 points following by Dani Pedrosa with 161 points and Valentino Rossi with 157 points in 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.

Here are the race results from the Indianalipolis circuit and championship standings:

MotoGP Indianapolis Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
5. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
8. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati)
9. Scott Redding (Honda)
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
11. Karel Abraham (Honda)
12. Mike Di Meglio (Avintia)
13. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha)
14. Michael Laverty (PBM)
15. Broc Parkees (PBM)

MotoGP Championship Points 2014
1. Marc Marquez, 250
2. Dani Pedrosa, 161
3. Valentino Rossi, 157
4. Jorge Lorenzo, 117
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 108
6. Pol Espargaro, 78
7. Aleix Espargaro, 77
8. Andrea Iannone, 62
9. Bradley Smith, 58
10. Stefan Bradl, 56

Other developments during the month long summer break:

Repsol Honda team
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both extended their contracts for two more years and they will be riding as Repsol Honda riders till the end of 2016.

Honda and Repsol also extended their partnership for next three years till 2017. This is the longest partnership between two companies in MotoGP.

Movistar Yamaha team
Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo also extended their contracts for another two years. This means that the grid for factory Honda and Yamaha teams will remain same till the end of 2016.

Factory Ducati team
Andrea Dovizioso will ride for the factory Ducati squad for another 2 years as he extended his contract with the Italian manufacturer. Looking at the slightly better results compared to last year and also with the promise of a new and better GP15 bike next year, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati both are looking forward to their future together.

Meanwhile, Cal Crutchlow decided not to extend his stay at Ducati and has signed on to ride for CWM-LCR Honda in 2015. It was earlier reported that Crutchlow has extended his contract with Ducati for one more year but that isn’t the case anymore.

Suzuki has still not chosen their rider(s) as they look to re-enter MotoGP next year.

Text by: Sachin Sen
Image Courtesy: MotoGP.com
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Item Reviewed: MotoGP 2014 – Indianapolis: Round Up Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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